Red Birds-of-Paradise – Leatherback Sea Turtles – Wayag Islands – Wilson’s Birds-of-Paradise – Whale Sharks – Pacific Manta Rays – Green Sea Turtles – Rainforest Treks – Vogelkop Peninsula – Richest Coral Reefs on Earth – Cendrawasih Bay – Coastal Villages


An expedition like no other, join scientist Geoffrey Gearheart for a “naturalist’s expedition”, to one of the most remote and exciting corners of our planet.

The focus is not only on seeing and experiencing, but also on understanding the complex natural interactions at play, and the challenges of preserving unique ecosystems.

Because of the positive impact conservation tourism can have in developing countries, part of Geoffrey’s proceeds  is used to directly support conservation projects that you visit during the trip, building a relationship between travellers and local conservation heroes that will last for years to come.

Dates: 14 May 2018 and 2 June 2018 (reverse itinerary)
Length:  18 days / 18 nights
Tour route: Raja Ampat, Vogelkop & Cendrawasih Bay Expedition
Costs:  $9,150 triple share / $11,650 twin share
Group number: Minimum 8, maximum 12


Come aboard the “Phinisi”

Our first expedition to West Papua, Indonesia—the lesser-known half of the Island of New Guinea—is aboard a beautiful “Phinisi” schooner to explore the islands of Raja Ampat, land on the wild beaches of the Bird’s Head Peninsula where giant leatherbacks nest, and to swim with whale sharks in secluded Cendrawasih Bay…

This beautifully crafted wooden ship has five air-conditioned cabins with bathrooms, four of which are equipped with a double and a single bunk, while the fifth cabin in the bow has two single bunks.The Putiraja is manned by a crew of eight. The cook prepares delicious dishes from fresh seafood and produce he sources in the different locations the Putiraja visits. He will also prepare individual meals for those on special diets (vegetarian, gluten free, etc.)

Are you ready to join us on the trip of a lifetime?

Your host:

Geoffrey Gearheart is a marine biologist and oceanographer who has worked in research and conservation in West Papua for over a decade.

From 2005 to 2008, Geoff worked as a biologist for Conservation International, spearheading their Raja Ampat sea turtle conservation program. Over the years, he has developed a keen understanding of Papua’s “big picture”: the interactions between terrestrial and marine ecosystems and the challenges of preserving this unique corner of our planet.

Geoff is drawn to the last virtually unexplored places of our planet and travels to New Guinea and Antarctica to study how powerful processes, such as ocean currents and climate change, influence the ecology of sea turtles and emperor penguins. His passion for these animals has pulled him into the realm of conservation, fully aware that here lies one of the biggest challenges of our generation – how do we reconcile the needs of humans with those of our fragile marine ecosystems?

Itinerary for 14 May 2018 (please note our 2 June 2018 trip is the reverse itinerary)

Day 1 International travel. Arrival Denpasar*. Transfer to Taman Ayu Hotel in Seminyak. AIR/LAND
Day 2 This morning is your last chance for shopping or changing money before departing for Papua. Depart Denpasar 1720 – Arrive Makassar 1930. Night at Ibis Airport Hotel. LAND/AIR
Day 3 Depart Makassar 0630 – Arrive Sorong 0730.  Transfer to Putiraja (PR), late breakfast, begin cruise. Afternoon arrival in Saporkren, Gam Island. Village visit. AIR/LAND/SEA
Day 4 Early morning visit to Saporkren Red Bird-of-Paradise and 4×4 transfer to Wilson’s Bird-of-Paradise site. Return to PR, transit to Kabui Bay, late afternoon sightseeing of Kabui “karst maze” by tender. This evening we transit to Arborek. SEA
Day 5 Morning snorkel/SCUBA (optional) with manta rays.  Late afternoon transit to Aceleok Bay for birding. After dinner, presentation by Geoff. SEA
Day 6 Early morning birding in Aceleok Bay.  Transit to Selpele (W-Waigeo) then onwards to Piai Island.  This evening we head out on green turtle patrol at Piai and sleep overnight on the beach or aboard the PR. SEA
Day 7 Early morning option for birding, snorkelling orSCUBA (optional). Exploration of nearby Sayang Island. This evening Turtle patrol. SEA
Day 8 Today Transit to Wayag to climb mount Wayag. Sightseeing by tender. SEA
Day 9 A bit more sightseeing of Wayag before transiting to Vogelkop Peninsula. SEA
Day 10 This is an extra “buffer” day for birding on Waigeo. SEA
Day 11 Travel to Jamursba Medi and explore Batu Rumah, birdwing butterflies, beach walk to Warmamedi (birds). Tonight well return to Warmamedi to see nesting leatherbacks. SEA
Day 12 Early morning forest walk. Birds-of-Paradise and many other New Guinea endemic birds, barking deer, pademelon, etc. Evening presentation about leatherbacks at camp, dinner, before a walk back to Warmamedi for leatherback patrol. SEA
Day 13 This morning we transit early to Saubeba village, stop for a visit and onwards to Weyos Bay.  This afternoon we can explore Weyos Bay (subject to no swell). This evening we transit to Kwatisore (Cendrawasih Bay). SEA
Day 14 We have a re-supply stop in Manokwari this morning before we continue on our way to Kwatisore (Cendrawasih Bay). Evening: presentation by Geoff. SEA
Day 15 This afternoon we arrive at Kwatisore and enjoy some Snorkelling or SCUBA (optional) with whale sharks. Tonight we also visit Bagan fishing platform. SEA
Day 16 This morning more opportunities for Snorkelling/SCUBA (optional) with whale sharks or even an option for Birds-of-Paradise. This afternoon we have a village visit, more whale sharks and back to Bagan fishing platform this evening before transiting to Manokwari. SEA
Day 17 Our last day at sea arriving in Manokwari. Transfer to Mansinam Resort. Night at Mansinam Resort. SEA/LAND
Day 18 Today we fly from Manokwari to Denpasar.  Overnight at Taman Ayu Hotel in Seminyak. LAND/AIR

*It is strongly recommended to have an extra 1-day ‘buffer’ at the beginning and (especially) at the end of the trip, due to possible delays (ship, domestic flights, etc.) 

Watch the video of Geoff’s amazing adventures below and call Clare at Back Track Adventures to be part of this life-changing experience.

Hungry Whale Sharks of Cendrawasih Bay (West Papua, Indonesia)

Wayag – Raja Ampat: Morning of the Earth

*Photos by: Christine Bull, Caught in Colour /  Videography: