- Trip Outline
- Trip Includes
- Trip Excludes
Raja Ampat, West Papua’s “Four Kings”, lies at the heart of the “Coral Triangle”, the world’s epicentre of marine biodiversity. An archipelago of approximately 1500 islands, Raja Ampat offers so much more than its fabled reefs: it is an assemblage of some of the most incredible biological and geological features, both above and under water.
Words can do no justice to what you’ll see and experience; it is a snapshot of the world in its most primeval state.
On this adventure, we will follow in the footsteps of the great Alfred Russell Wallace, 159 years after his exploration of the Island of Waigeo.
This journey is designed this ship-based expedition to give participants a naturalist’s experience of Raja Ampat, the Bird’s Head (Vogelkop) Peninsula and Cendrawasih Bay. Led by a scientist who’s worked over a decade in conservation and research in West Papua, they will gain a better understanding of the processes
that influence the region’s ecosystems as well as the challenges of protecting this incredible corner of our Planet.
So, buckle up and get ready for the trip of a lifetime!
Our route through Raja Ampat & the Vogelkop Peninsula
For this expedition, Kalawai Adventure is teaming up with the crew of the Shakti, a 32-m traditional “Phinisi” schooner.
This beautifully crafted wooden ship has six air-conditioned cabins with bathrooms, five of which are equipped with a double and a single bunk, while the sixth cabin on the upper deck has two single bunks. We limit the number of passengers to 11, with a maximum of 3 per cabin. The Shakti has operated in Raja Ampat since 2000, making it the first Papua-based live-aboard. It is fully equiped for snorkeling and SCUBA diving. The cook prepares delicious dishes from fresh seafood and produce sourced in the different locations the Shakti visits. Individual meals are also prepared for those on special diets (vegetarian, gluten free, etc.)
We will sail from Sorong out to Raja Ampat’s largest Island, Waigeo. This is where Wallace set up camp in 1860. Some of the highlights include the landscape and reefs of Alyui Bay and the birds-of-paradise of Saporkren. Our next stop will be the tiny island of Piai, where a conservation program saved the island’s green turtle nesting population. Besides the turtles, Piai has an amazing fringing reef and teems with birds. From Piai, we will sail down to one of the gems of Raja Ampat: the Wayag Islands. After two days spent exploring Wayag’s maze of karst “mushroom islands” and scaling its limestone hills, we will leave Raja Ampat for the Vogelkop (aka “Bird’s Head”) Peninsula, the northernmost tip of the island of New Guinea. This is where the last significant population of Pacific leatherbacks come to nest. Two nights in this wild place will give us the opportunity to discover giant turtles and other stunning wildlife. We will then sail on to Weyos Bay. Weyos owes its pristine state to its challenging access, which is only possible by swimming to shore. A walk up a river stream will lead us to a magical waterfall. Along the way, if we get lucky, we may come across a giant cassowary. After Weyos Bay, the Shakti will return to Sorong where we will spend our last night aboard the ship.
Physical efforts and health considerations
West Papua is one of the last natural frontiers. As such, it is also one of the most challenging… and rewarding!
The trip will be entirely ship-based and very comfortable (see the description of our vessel, the Putiraja). However, we will go on land almost daily for exploratory trips into the rainforest, visit islands and villages.
Most walks won’t exceed two hours back and forth, on fairly flat terrain. Reasonably fit travellers of all ages will be able to take part in most, if not all, of these terrestrial activities. Our four guides will provide extra help and care. Each participant will be able to choose what they want to do according to their physical condition.
How safe is West Papua?
We often hear this question. The answer is that West Papua is one of the friendliest and safest travel destinations on Earth, providing basic precautions are taken.
First and foremost, each traveler should visit his/her doctor to make
sure all vaccines are up-to-date. Malaria is endemic to West Papua, so prophylactics are highly recommended. In terms of safety, the ongoing but low-intensity conflict between supporters of the “Free Papua Movement” and the Indonesian government is limited to a few urban focal points such as Timika (next to the Freeport gold mine) and Jayapura (West Papua’s capital). Our expedition is held in wild, natural areas, far from potential civil unrest.
Your Expedition Leader
DR. GEOFFREY GEARHEART is a marine biologist and oceanographer who was raised in Indonesia and 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.
Fluent in Bahasa Indonesia, he teamed up with a local Papuan non-profit group to protect the archipelago’s most important green turtle rookery at Piai Island. Geoff left for San Diego (USA) in 2008 to pursue his PhD at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, where he studied the leatherback sea turtles of Papua’s Bird’s Head (Vogelkop) Peninsula, and emperor penguins in Antarctica.
Geoff is now based in Australia with his family and continues his conservation work in the region. 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.
Building on a desire to share his knowledge of New Guinea’s environment while supporting conservation through ecotourism, Geoff founded Kalawai Adventure, a name inspired by a Papuan fishing spear.
Itinerary for 19th August 2020
*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.) For instance: arrival in Jakarta one day before Day 1 and departure on Day 14.
Day 1International travel. Overnight in Jakarta Hotel. Start of trip.
Day 2Meet fellow travellers. Travel to Papua.
Day 3Arrival in Papua. Board the Shakti. Start of cruise. Sail to Waigeo Isl.
Day 4Birds-of-Paradise. Sail to Alyui Bay. Night snorkel
Day 5Snorkel and visit of pearl farm. Sail to Piai. Presentation by Geoff. Turtle patrol.
Day 6Morning walk, birding, snorkelling. Sail to Wayag. Sight seeing at Wayag.
Day 7Wayag hill climb / snorkelling / exploration
Day 8Hill climb. Departure to Vogelkop Peninsula. Presentation.
Day 9Arrival at Jamursba Medi. Leatherback patrol.
Day 10Jamursba Medi: Batu Rumah camp visit, forest walk. Leatherback patrol.
Day 11Sail to Weyos Bay. Exploration of Weyos. Sail to Sorong.
Day 12Arrival in Sorong in afternoon. Last night on the Shakti.
Day 13Airport transfer. Flight to Jakarta. Arrival at Santika Hotel.
Day 14End of the expedition.*
- Air, land & sea transportation from Jakarta to West-Papua and back to Jakarta
- Local permits & fees
- Guide wages
- All food & accommodation aboard the Putiraja
- All hotels (double occupancy rooms) are included, and all breakfasts during transits.
- Snorkelling equipment and select SCUBA dives will also be offered free of charge.
- International airfares
- Travel insurance, tips to guides, airport taxes, extra baggage fees, government permits
- Hotel lunches and dinners while in transit (Bali, Makassar and Manokwari, indicated as “optional”)
- Wayag hill climbs are organised separately by Sartika Cruises and charged AUD200 per person
- Soft drinks & alcoholic drinks aboard the Putiraja
- Individual ground transportation from Jakarta Airport to Jakarta Hotel and back will be reimbursed to a maximum of AUD15 per ride
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