Tailor-Made Tours

Seabirds, Cetaceans & Spices

Flores I Komodo I Wakatobi I Banda Island I Ambon, Moluccas

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Highlights

From the Komodo dragons of Rinca and the marine life of the Wakatobi National Park to the seabird colonies of the Banda Sea and the nutmeg forests of the Banda Islands, this exceptional 12-day cruise with Gert de Jong will introduce you to abundant wildlife above and below the water, masses of seabirds, remote island cultures and the illustrious history of the spice trade as we voyage through the islands and seas of the Coral Triangle, home to some of the most diverse marine life on the planet.

Indonesia’s remote and uninhabited islands support regionally and globally important breeding colonies of at least 15 seabird species. Colonies are usually situated on islands, cliffs or headlands, which mammals have difficulty accessing. Seabirds are a vital component of the marine ecosystems of the Banda and Flores Seas, and their presence serves as a good indicator of the health of the wider marine ecosystem. The Banda Sea is also a major migration route for many whale species, which we hope to encounter en route. In the company of Gert de Jong, an inveterate seabird expert who is looking at ways to protect the last remaining seabird breeding islands of Indonesia, you will have the opportunity to participate in a conservation project aimed at recording the numbers of frigate birds, boobies and terns on the islands of Kakabia, Moromaho, Manuk and Gunung Api.

Activities: cruise - live on board, sight-seeing, culture, nature, leisure & adventure.

TOUR SCHEDULE: NOT AVAILABLE

This is a cruise group tour, with a fixed itinerary and scheduled start dates.

Itinerary
DAY 1
ARRIVAL LABUAN BAJO - KOMODO

Welcomed by the Ombak Putih at the harbor when you arrive in Labuan Bajo. You can get acquainted with the crew & other passengers over lunch while we cruise to the Island of Rinca in the heart of the Komodo National Park. Started by Loh Buaya, we will set off nature trek searching for Komodo dragons as the indigenous creature to this island. However, you will also spot other animals like wild buffaloes and some endemic birds as well. There, unwind yourself with a breathtaking view from the top of the hills before swimming and snorkeling in a quiet spot. Then, we will head to the northeast to Bonerate Island. Meals Included : lunch & dinner

DAY 2
BONERATE ISLAND

Find yourself waking up in the middle of the Flores Sea, Bonerate. Here, we will visit the main village with its sandy streets and houses built on stilts in typical Makassarese style. On the beach, we may be able to observe the construction of the elegant Lambo boats. Afterward, we can swim, snorkel and enjoy the beautiful beaches and reefs at the northwest side of the island. Later, we will continue cruising in a northeasterly direction for Kakabia. Meals Included : Breakfast, lunch & dinner

DAY 3
KAKABIA ISLAND

Today, we will drop anchor off the little Island of Kakabia for a day of bird counting, exploring, swimming and snorkeling looking out for sea turtles and dugongs. We will take the tenders and go ashore, and we can expect to see frigate birds and red-footed boobies. Meals Included : breakfast, lunch & dinner

DAY 4
WAKATOBI MARINE PARK

We will be having two days wandering around Tukang Besi archipelago, also known as Wakatobi. This place is renowned for its pristine coral reefs that inhabited by a tribe of daring seafarers, shipbuilders and maritime traders. We will visit Wakatobi National Reverse, where we should see pods of dolphins and probably get a chance to see pilot whales, sperm whales or even the rare beaked whales! We will also watch local blacksmiths at work high up on steep rock plateaus, visit local markets, and, oh! We will have a perfect beach barbeque in the most quintessential spot in Wakatobi. In the evening, we will depart for Moromaho Island. Meals Included : Breakfast, lunch & dinner

DAY 5
MOROMAHO ISLAND

Wake up beautifully with the view of stunning Moromaho — a coral island surrounded by an expansive reef that can only be crossed at high tide on a small boat or kayak. We can swim, snorkel, bird watch and bird count (we should see parakeets), and there is a stable colony of breeding red-footed boobies and roosting great frigate birds on the island. Several species of migrating shore birds from both Asia and Australia winter here; the island is a breeding ground for green turtles, and there are also megapodes breeding here and small fruit bats. In the afternoon, we will embark on our longest leg of the cruise, our journey to Gunung Api in the middle of the Banda Sea. Meals Included : breakfast, lunch, & dinner

DAY 6
GUNUNG API

Two days here to get closer to the volcano named Gunung Api, that sits alone in the middle of the Banda Sea. Gunung Api which quite simply means ‘fire mountain.’ This volcano is a huge, four-kilometre-high seamount, but almost all of it is submerged, and we will only see the top 300 metres above the surface. The volcano is active, with smoking vents around the crater. Gunung Api is also home to many species of boobies, shearwaters, frigates, red-tailed tropic birds, and home to a multitude of banded and olive sea snakes. Therefore, we will have a great time watching and counting those varieties of birds. Although the volcano is inaccessible, we will still circumnavigate the islands in the tenders and see this pristine and unspoiled biodiversity. The two days that we spend here will be very relaxing for swimming and snorkeling while enjoying the tropical sun. Towards the end of the second day, we will depart to the Lucipari Archipelago. Meals Included : breakfast, lunch & dinner

DAY 8
LUCIPARA ARCHIPELAGO

The Lucipara Archipelago consists of a group of four uninhabited wooded islands that occasionally visited by fishermen from Buru and Ambon. These volcanic outcroppings in the northeastern part of the Banda Sea are populated by terns, spoonbills, orange-footed scrub fowl, the Nicobar pigeons, as well as salamanders, crabs, and butterflies, all are living in perfect harmony with an apparent absence of fear, reminiscent of the Galapagos. We will spend some time wandering and pondering this impressive secluded space. Meals Included : breakfast, lunch & dinner

DAY 9
BANDA ARCHIPELAGO

The ninth day of our trip will be full of historical excitement as we are going to visit the renowned Banda Archipelago. We will figure out the beauty and cultural heritage of the island along with its well-documented history regarding the world’s source of nutmeg and mace that once only existed in Banda. In the 15th and 16th centuries, the demand for the aromatic nutmeg, which was believed to be a cure for the bubonic plague, inflicted colonial empire that sold them in a price worth more than its weight in gold. Despite their illustrious and well-documented history, the Banda Islands are a place that time seems to have forgotten. Today they retain an aura of mystery, allure and astonishing remoteness, with a quiet colonial ambience and an exceptional biodiversity that makes this destination truly special. We will anchor in a sheltered bay off Gunung Api and then go by tender to visit Banda Neira, the major village in the Banda's. Last, we will be strolling through the ancient town visiting Old Fortresses and admiring plantation mansions from the past. Meals Included : breakfast, lunch & dinner

DAY 10
BANDA ISLANDS

These two days will be filled with visits to a few of the other islands in the group, the tiny Island of Run as well as the Islands of Ai and Hatta where we will see what remains of the Dutch colonial houses and land parcels known as ‘perken’ that were handed to Dutch planters – ‘perkeniers’ – to manage. We will see more forts, as well as churches, cemeteries and nutmeg plantations. Being in the middle of the Coral Triangle, we will also have several opportunities to explore the pristine waters and bountiful reefs of the islands. We invite the fit and ambitious to make an early morning ascent of Banda’s Gunung Api volcano, the most famous of the Banda Sea ‘Ring of Fire’. While this is a challenging climb up a narrow track to an elevation of about 640 metres, the reward when reaching the top of the ‘Fire Mountain’ is well worth the effort and you can revel in a stunning and unforgettable view. When it is time to depart for Ambon, we will navigate through the ‘Sonnegat’ (sun’s gap) between Banda Neira and Gunung Api under the escort of a ‘Kora-Kora’ sea canoe that once was used in ancient times to attack the invading colonists. Meals Included : breakfast, lunch & dinner

DAY 12
DEPARTURE

After an early morning arrival in the Bay of Ambon, we will have a short sightseeing tour of the city, and we will visit Fort Victoria, another fort dating back to colonial days. We will then say farewell to the captain and crew of the Ombak Putih before being transferred to the airport for our onward journey. Meals Included : breakfast

Include
  • Eleven (11) night accommodation in luxury phinisi Ombak Putih - based on twin bed sharing (notes : For the single traveller who wants to secure their own cabin we do charge a 75% supplement. If you are a single traveller and don't mind sharing a twin cabin with another person of the same gender, then this fee will not apply).
  • Meals (breakfast, lunch, dinner, tea time, snacks & soft drinks) as mentioned in the itinerary, except alcoholic drinks.
  • Private tours, transfers and all services as mentioned in the itinerary.
  • Entrance fees for all mentioned sights visited.
  • Professional english speaking guides.
Exclude
  • Domestic & international airfares to and from our start and end points + departure taxes if applicable (notes : The price of this cruise does not include any domestic airfares to and from our start and end points, however, our reservations specialists are more than happy to help arrange domestic flights on your behalf and advise on scheduling. We book hundreds of flights each year on behalf of our guests and we know the best routes to take to ensure you arrive on time. We only book with IATA-approved airlines that have met with international standards of safety and dependability. Except for Bali, transfers to and from local airports to the boat are also included. If you are booking flights by yourself, do not book any flights before checking with us first. Our first and last day programmes rely on strict time scheduling, so please confirm with us to ensure that you arrive and depart at your destination with plenty of time to spare and to avoid disruption to other guests' schedules).
  • Additional tour or activity if available (optional).
  • Personal expenses (mini bar, laundry, room services, additional food & drink at hotel/restaurant, etc).
  • Personal travel insurance & visa fees.
  • Tipping to captain & crew (notes : on your final night on board, you will have an opportunity to discretely contribute to a collective ‘captain and crew’ tip fund, which will be distributed equally among the crew members. We believe that between US$ 5-10 per cruising day is an appropriate amount (i.e. seven-day cruise = $35 to $70 total, not per crew member). However, this is just a suggestion and remains entirely up to the judgment and discretion of the guests. We do ask that you please refrain from offering tips to crew members at any time, except during cases of exceptional service, when it should be arranged through the office. Tipping of your tour leader for their hard work is also welcome, and is at your discretion. There will be an envelope provided for both crew and tour leaders in the cruise bag in your cabin).
Price & Additional Information
Age Accommodation Room Type Price/Person
Adult Ombak Putih Twin Bed Sharing $5,990/Person


THE EXPERT'S ADVICE
In addition to leading the monitoring of seabird habitat, searching for dugongs, spotting whales and other endemic wildlife, Gert will be giving a series of lectures, talks, briefings and showing a couple of short films over the course of the cruise on the following topics :

  • Searching for Seabirds in Indonesia
  • Whales & Dolphins in Indonesian Waters
  • The Habitat and Habits of Dugong in Indonesia
  • The Magnificent Underwater World of the Coral Reef
  • The Misunderstood Mangrove
  • Geology of the Ring of Fire
  • History of the Dutch in Indonesia
  • The Lure of Spice in the East Indies


WHAT TO BRING

  • Clothing - The tropical climate means you can safely leave all of your warm weather gear at home. Bring cool cottons, T-shirts and shorts. We cruise during the dry season in each of the regions that we visit but rain is always a possibility so bring a lightweight waterproof jacket; it can sometimes be a bit windy on the boat and this will also help keep you warm. Likewise, a lightweight fleece could be useful for pre-dawn trekking or if there is a cool wind on the boat – even if you don’t need it onboard, it will be useful for the plane. Adventure Archipelago is respectful of the local cultures and customs; bring clothes that cover your shoulders and knees for village visits. Finally, you might want to bring at least one smart-casual outfit for sunset cocktails and evening meals on the boat. Ladies: beach throw-overs, kaftans and sarongs are always useful; choose fabrics that dry easily. Also, bring a lightweight sundress or two – the boat offers a great setting for a photo shoot, live it up.
  • Bags - A day backpack is essential on day hikes to carry things such as your water bottle, camera, binoculars, and rain jacket. Ombak Putih or Katharina provides each guest with a metal water bottle, which can re-filled as often as required, and makes a nice souvenir to take home. A waterproof wet/dry bag is a good idea for your phone, camera etc.
  • Footwear - Pack comfortable trainers, trekking sandals, sturdy walking shoes or hiking boots for hikes and walks. Bring socks to wear inside your walking shoes to avoid getting blisters. Many travellers appreciate the added stability of a walking stick or hiking pole; lightweight telescopic poles are easy to pack. You might also want waterproof sandals or reef shoes for wet landings and water activities. Flip-flops are great for the beach. Note: Standard practice is to go barefoot on the boat.
  • Sun Protection - You’ll be spending plenty of time out in the scorching tropical sun, so be sure to pack sunscreen with a high enough SPF to protect your skin from the sun’s damaging rays, which are stronger in the water, and some sun-protective clothing as well. Cover-ups, sarongs, sun shirts, and other such clothing will ensure that you come back from your trip with just happy memories and photographs – and not sunburn. A good hat is essential; a wide brimmed hat or cap will keep the strong equatorial sun off your face and neck. Sunglasses keep your eyes protected and add a little glam to your photos. A strap to hold your glasses can be a good idea on more active adventures. Just in case you fail to avoid getting sunburnt, bring an aloe-based lotion to soothe burned skin.
  • Swimwear - Don’t forget your swimsuit/bikini/shorts/trunks/Speedos —and preferably more than just one swimsuit, so that one or two can be drying while you are wearing another. Luckily, swimsuits and/or swim trunks don’t take up too much space in your luggage. The water is warm but a rash guard (or a wetsuit) will protect you from the sun, abrasions and stings.
  • Skin & Hair Protection - Ladies, it’s important that you take good care of your skin and hair. The sun, seawater and salty air may be beautiful to experience but it can be tough on your body and will wreak havoc on your locks. Bring moisturising lotion to soothe skin parched by the sun and the saltwater; bring a leave-in conditioner to de-tangle your hair with ease because the water, mask, and hair-ties will leave it in knots. Also consider bringing a scarf or headband to hold back unruly hair, or hair-ties/pins to keep your hair off your face and therefore prevent water seeping into your mask. Note: Your cabin is outfitted with towels, shampoo, conditioner and bodywash.
  • Camera Equipment - If you are photo enthusiast bring all of the camera and video equipment that you will use as you can expect exceptional opportunities for photography. If you prefer the ease of a point & shoot, bring that. If you want to take underwater photos you might want to invest in a waterproof camera/GoPro or waterproof housing to capture photos of the incredible marine life.  It’s a good idea to bring a spare memory card; our cruises explore remote regions where memory cards cannot be purchased.

Unforgettable experiences you’ll get:

  • Twelve-days liveaboard experience, cruising from Labuan Bajo, Flores to Ambon, Moluccas by the luxury phinisi vessel, Ombak Putih.
  • Learn about abundant wildlife above and below the water, masses of seabirds, remote island cultures and the history of the spice trade by cruise led expert - Gert de Jong.
  • Nature trek searching giant lizards-komodo dragons in Rinca Island, Komodo.
  • Snorkel looking out for sea turtles, dugongs, dolphins, and enjoy the beautiful beaches & pristine coral reefs at Wakatobi Marine Park & Banda Archipelago.
  • Challenging climb up a narrow track to an elevation of about 640 metres Banda Api volcano 'Ring of Fire' to see stunning and unforgettable view from the top.
  • Strolling through the ancient town visiting old fortresses, Fort Belgica in Banda & Fort Victoria in Ambon and admiring nutmeg plantation mansions from the past.

TRIP OVERVIEW

Flores I Komodo I Wakatobi I Banda Island I Ambon, Moluccas

Cruise - Live on Board

12 Days 11 Nights

start from $5,990 per person

Each of our itineraries is here to inspire you. We use them as a foundation for your bespoke trip or design your trip completely from scratch based on your requirements. Contact us with your holiday's ideas, no matter how big or small, our travel specialists will start planning a unique and personalized trip just for you.

Adventure Archipelago Team

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