The smallest of the four islands is the jungle-clad island of Batanta. This is indeed a change of scenery from the Misool islands and provides the opportunity for those with plenty of energy to undertake a guided (and adventurous) trek into the island’s interior. For those less adventurous there is plenty to do, small villages, great scenery and waterfalls. Later in the day we will return to Bidadari, find a nearby spot to swim and snorkel before moving north to the island of Waigeo.
Raja Ampat is located off the north west tip of the island of New Guinea in the province of West Papua (formerly known as Irian Jaya). Raja Ampat consists of over 1,500 small islands, cays and shoals surrounding the four main islands of Misool, Salawati, Batanta and Waigeo. The area covers more than 40,000 square kilometres of land and sea.
Strands of coral reef, mangroves, sea grass beds and white sandy beaches surround the islands. Some of the islands are quite mountainous with cliffs extending 500 to 900 metres upwards. The topside of the islands are known for their raw beauty and bird life. The karst forests contain rare orchids, birds of paradise, tree kangaroos and many varieties of bird life.
The enchanting beauty of Raja Ampat’s natural landscape and breathtaking scenery is unmatched. Everywhere you look you will be amazed by the perfect harmony between the green islands and the multi-hued turquoise waters.
You will arrive in the West Papuan port town of Sorong, which is the gateway to Raja Ampat and the magnificent adventures that await you on the days ahead. From the airport we will transfer you to the harbor where the KM Bidadari will be waiting at anchor. Once settled into your cabin, your cruise director will familiarize you with the vessel’s facilities and safety procedures. Ready to start our adventure, we will weigh anchor and set a southerly course for the Misool archipelago, stopping for a refreshing swim along the way. Your dinner will allow you to meet and get to know the other passengers and crew and enjoy the sunset as we head to sea.
Morning we will see the sun rise over the picturesque chain of islands that makes up the Misool archipelago. Misool is one of the four major islands that make up Raja Ampat, The Four Kings. It was home to a major naval base during WWII. We will make the most of the fact that very few people visit this area and enjoy deserted beaches and the magnificent underwater environment. With all the limestone “karsts” around there are many caves to explore, we will go to the Tomolol cave, a magnificent dome topped cone that is undoubtedly one of Raja Ampats most magnificent sites. After a full day of island hopping through this archipelago, the KM Bidadari will spend a quiet night at anchor in Misool’s Tomolol Bay.
Today we will ‘go with the flow” as we continue to explore the many islands that make up the Misool archipelago. We will explore both on sea and land and make the best use of our tenders and kayaks to get close to the rocky outcrops. There is plenty to do or just relax! Overnight, our boat will cruise north to the island of Batanta.
During the evening we have made the short trip to Waigeo, Raja Ampat’s biggest island. Our base will be Mayalibit Bay. This bay, which almost splits the island in two, is entered via a narrow fjord-like channel that meets the ocean just east of Waisai on Waigeo’s south coast. When the tide is running, the huge volumes of water flowing into or out of Mayalibit make the channel look like a swift and powerful river. Don’t stress, our captain has done this many times but it is a memorable experience. The rest of the day allows us plenty of time to explore the many villages and dramatic landscapes. A swim or snorkel or a beach walk is a great way to finish the day. Please make sure you have enough time to look at all the photos you have taken today!
It will be an early start today as we further explore the island and try and find a suitable spot to spot the remarkable Red Bird of Paradise, one of the species that the explorer Wallace was most anxious to collect. Fingers crossed we hope that we are able to catch a rare and privileged sight of the bird’s elaborate courtship dance as the day breaks over the forest canopy. Regardless you will have a re markable experience in the early morning atmosphere. We will return to Bidadari and make our way through the Dampier strait, home to some of Raja Ampat’s premier reefs. We will ensure we have time to snorkel and photograph some of the many specimens of marine life attracted to the strait’s nutrient-rich currents. Tonight we will moor off Pulau Arborek, with its nick name of manta island we hope to see some of these wonderful creatures during our stay.
Today we will explore the island of Waigeo, the largest of the archipelago’s four islands. Home to magnificent coral reefs we hope to snorkel and see the white tip reef sharks as they cruise along. We can explore the numerous small bays along the coast or you may wish to trek into the jungle interior. You can use the tenders or kayaks to get up close to this unique environment. We dont mind if you decide to simply relax on one of the many pristine beaches. The choice is yours! Pearling is an important industry throughout Indonesia and a number of farms can be seen in the waters of Raja Ampat, where possible we will explore a local pearl farm. After dinner we will make our way across the equator into the northern hemisphere on our journey to the islands of Wayag.
You are indeed in for a treat as we spend time amongst the unsurpassed natural splendour the Raja Ampat’s Wayag islandshave to offer. These islands, right on the equator, offer the picturesque karst spires that look like mushrooms sprouting from the sea. As well you will enjoy the brilliant colours and vibrancy of the reefs and the marine life that flourishes below. Being based on Bidadari gives you the rare chance to enjoy these islands that include a series of coves and lagoons, narrow channels and inlets, caves, jagged rocks and shaded, sandy beaches. We will spend a quiet night here at anchor.
The Wayag islands are rated by many as Raja Ampat’s best, and we will make the most of this unique region for one more morning, navigating the maze of mushroom-shaped islands, and stopping for swimming and snorkelling and beach exploring. In the afternoon, we will return to the southern hemisphere on our way back to mainland West Papua. In the evening we will have our farewell dinner with our captain and crew.
After a quick stop for a final swim and refreshments on one of the nearby islands we will make our way back to the harbour of Sorong, arriving around lunch time. Here we will bid farewell to the KM Bidadari and her crew. Our tenders will take you ashore for your transfer to the airport for your onward travel.