Ambon I Seram, Moluccas I Raja Ampat I Misool I Waigeo, West Papua
From this unforgettable cruise, we will travel to remote and exotic Indonesian islands in the wake of the legendary British naturalist, Alfred Russel Wallace, co-discoverer of the theory of evolution by natural selection. In 1854, Wallace set off on a voyage to the Malay Archipelago (now Indonesia and Malaysia), where he spent eight years, collecting more than 125,000 specimens. His book “The Malay Archipelago” is the region’s most famous travelogue; it has been in print for nearly 150 years. Wallace’s observations of the marked zoological differences across a narrow strait between the islands of Bali and Lombok, as well as Borneo and Sulawesi, led to his proposing the zoogeographical boundary now known as The Wallace line.
Like Wallace, we will go in search of the Birds of Paradise, which he regarded as “one of the most beautiful and most wonderful of living things.” Our journey on-board the Ombak Putih will visit some of the places that most fascinated Wallace, including Ambon, Seram, and the Raja Ampat Islands with their pristine and incredibly diverse coral reefs and glorious Birds of Paradise. The Ship’s Naturalist will be Dr. George Beccaloni, a knowledgeable naturalist and a world expert on Wallace. George is the Director of the Wallace Correspondence Project (WCP), which aims to locate, digitize, transcribe, and interpret all of Wallace’s surviving letters and other manuscripts. The project’s online digital archive and publications will be an invaluable resource for all those interested in the life and work of this great man.
Activities: cruise - live on board, sight-seeing, culture, nature, leisure & adventure.
TOUR SCHEDULE: FEBRUARY 2020
22 February - 4 March 2020
This is a cruise group tour, with a fixed itinerary and scheduled start dates.
Your flight arrives in the port town of Ambon, the gateway to the Moluccas. You will be met at the airport and transferred to the harbour where the Ombak Putih will be waiting at anchor. Once settled into your cabin, you will have time to meet your tour leader, who will then brief you about the trip. We will take an (optional) short tour of the surrounding area. We will start with visit to the Commonwealth War Cemetery, where many Allied troops from World war II are buried. We will then head to the north of the island and visit Hitu Lama, the ancient port of the Spice Trade that was in use for centuries before Europeans made it to the Indies. We will visit the market and see a traditional Balieo house. Also on our tour will be the Waipauwe Mosque (1414), the Immanuel Church (1512) and finally to Fort Amsterdam (1514) one of the first European forts built in Maluku. After this we will return to the boat for lunch before heading out and on our way to the Banda Islands. Meals Included: lunch & dinner
This morning will be spent on the island of Manipa, said to have magical powers because the Portuguese, the Dutch and the Japanese never set foot on it despite occupying the surrounding islands. The village we will explore is simple but bright with tropical blooms, while the surrounding gardens, groves and forests yield produce such as cashew nuts and the sago palm. We will visit a distillery for the locality’s famous ‘kayu putih’ oil – a universal panacea that no Indonesian household is without, for all the aches and pains, colds and stomach upsets that afflict us. It is distilled from vats full of the crushed leaves of melaleuca trees. Meals Included : breakfast, lunch & dinner
Today we will wake up in front of Boano Island, which is famous for its towering cliffs, karst formations and white-sand beaches. We’ll use the tenders to explore this beautiful coastline. During lunch we will move to a nearby string of uninhabited islands for some spectacular snorkelling. Meals Included : breakfast, lunch & dinner
Seram (formerly Ceram) is a remote place of hilly jungle, which is rarely visited by outsiders, yet our vessel will allow us access to this most fascinating and mysterious island. Our destination is the village of Sawai, an oasis in itself, but also a perfect land base for us to make the most of Seram’s stunning northern coast and Manusela National Park. We will spend two days trekking, exploring and bird-watching in the area before we continue on our course for the famous Raja Ampat Archipelago. Meals Included : breakfast, lunch & dinner
Today we will try our best to see not one, but two beautiful birds of paradise in the wild, an unforgettable experience for anyone lucky enough to see them. We will rise around 4am and have a quick breakfast go ashore at Kapatcol, where local guides will be waiting for us to take us through the forest to hopefully see the Lesser and possibly the King birds of paradise as they dance around in their ‘lekking’ trees. We can make no guarantees, however, as we do not have them on a leash. We will have time for a look around the village and possibly a visit to the school and to learn about the way Nature Conservency is working with the village to empower with local women with a fishing practice called sasi. Later that afternoon we will head off to the eastern part of Misool island and the amazing Tomolol Bay. Meals Included : breakfast, lunch, & dinner
Today we will find ourselves anchored in Tomolol Bay on Misool Island. A swim through Tomolol’s mysterious dome-topped cave is undoubtedly one of Raja Ampat’s most memorable activities. After an early breakfast, our tenders will take us into the heart of the bay to see this partially submerged cave where it is possible to swim, snorkel or simply float while gazing up at the cavernous grotto adorned with astonishing stalactites. The more adventurous can swim or paddle through the dark waters to the other mouth of the cave. After returning to the ship, we will use our tenders to explore more of this impressive maze of karst islands, both above and below the surface, complete with mysterious skull cairns in sea-cave cemeteries, and prehistoric cave paintings, estimated to be anything from 3,000 to 5,000 years old and depicting various human figures and huge human palms, fish, flowers and plants, tools and vessels. Meals Included : breakfast, lunch & dinner
In the morning, the boat will be moored in front of the island of Penemu. The heart of the island is home to the famous ‘Hidden Bay’. We will take a short hike here to experience one of the most famous views that Raja Ampat has to offer. The rest of the day we will spend exploring, kayaking, paddle boarding and snorkelling in the surrounding areas. Meals Included : breakfast, lunch & dinner
Today the Ombak Putih will make its way through the Dampier strait, home of some of Raja Ampat’s premier reefs. With a bit of luck, we hope to snorkel with some of the larger marine life attracted to the strait’s nutrient- rich currents. We will end our day in front Arborek Village, where we can easily circumnavigate the tiny island by foot and get a sense of the Asai culture, which is still kept alive by the villagers living on this tiny isolated island. Arborek is also home to a local manta conservation project where volunteers will happily show us around and explain their efforts and programmes in more detail. Meals Included : breakfast, lunch & dinner
This morning we wake up on the north coast of the jungle-clad island of Batanta. The jungle-clad island of Batanta offers us a chance to stretch our legs on a trek into the island’s interior. We will anchor at the foot of Arefi Village, nestled on the north coast of the island, where we will find local guides to escort us through the mangrove waters to the start point of our hike. A short walk along the riverbed brings us to the first of two jungle waterfalls complete with a refreshing pool for cooling off. The fit and adventurous may choose to continue the uphill climb along the rocks to where a second, larger cascade awaits. After leaving the wilderness behind us, we will find a nearby spot to swim and snorkel. Meals Included : breakfast, lunch & dinner
We will wake offshore of Sawinggarai Village. It will be an early morning start as the dinghy takes us in the dark over to the village and a local guide will take us on a 20-minute walk into the forest. As dawn breaks in the forest canopy, we should get good views of the bright ‘Cendrawasih Merah’ or Red Bird of Paradise. Back in the village there will be time to meet with the community and perhaps visit the school. We will be back on the boat by mid-morning and if time permits we’ll travel over to Pef Island to snorkel and motor around the convoluted coast, while learning the myth about the prehistoric hand print still visible high on a limestone cliff. In the afternoon we’ll head towards Sorong and should have time for a snorkel before dinner. Meals Included : breakfast, lunch & dinner
After breakfast we will say goodbye to the the crew and our sea-based home, the Ombak Putih. We will take the tenders ashore where you will be transferred to the airport for your onward travel. Meals Included : breakfast
|Adult||Ombak Putih||Twin Bed Sharing||$6,990/Person|
(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).
MEET THE EXPERTS - Dr. GEORGE BECCALONI
Dr George Beccaloni is an zoologist, evolutionary biologist and historian of science, who worked at London’s Natural History Museum (NHM) for more than 20 years on butterflies and other insects. He enjoys natural history photography and travel, and has visited Indonesia five times, twice as a speaker on tours. George has studied Wallace’s life and work for c. 16 years and is the founder and Director of the Wallace Correspondence Project. In 1999 he set up the Wallace Memorial Fund, which restored Wallace’s grave in Dorset and paid for several memorials to him, including a bronze statue now in the NHM. George has published a number of articles about Wallace and co-edited the book Natural Selection and Beyond: The Intellectual Legacy of Alfred Russel Wallace. He was the Historical Consultant for Bill Bailey’s Jungle Hero, an award winning two-part BBC series about Wallace, and he recently helped the Folio Society produce the first ‘deluxe’ edition of Wallace’s famous travelogue The Malay Archipelago.
WHAT TO BRING
Unforgettable experiences you’ll get:
Ambon I Seram, Moluccas I Raja Ampat I Misool I Waigeo, West Papua
Cruise - Live on Board
from $7,250 per person
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