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Various dates available

Alfred Wallace Expedition

From £5790 Per person

Deposit Deposit 25%. Balance due 12 weeks before departure
Discover the magnificence of the Golden Birdwing butterfly, Wilson’s Bird of Paradise and the unbelievable jellyfish lake and much more on this incredible adventure for nature lovers
Clear
Pay a 25% deposit per item
Suited to
Families, Couples, Groups, Individual
Difficulty
No previous experience required
Nights onboard
11
Vessel type
Traditional Indonesian Pinisi made from Ironwood
Vessel length
42 metres
Skipper
Yes
Crew
Total crew of 14
Berth Style
24 guests in 12 cabins All cabins offer creature comforts and necessary amenities: Spacious twin-share cabins with twin bunks or double beds Each cabin has a private bathroom with toilet and hot shower Washbasin and toiletries provided in your cabin Eac
Insurance Required
Yes

Discover the secrets of Alfred Wallace's voyage of discovery around the Malay Archipelago

11 nights: Various dates January & October 2020 & 2021

Fr $7,250/ £5,790 per person*

*Trips are priced in the operator’s local currency. The sterling amount shown is a guide only and the amount you pay in sterling will change with currency fluctuations.

If you have a love for mysterious creatures, beautiful scenery and the wonders of the natural world then this is the trip for you! Following in the footsteps of British naturalist, Alfred Wallace you will get the chance to explore some of the most stunning areas of the world with diverse and rarely seen wildlife. We will be keeping our eyes peeled for some of Wallace's greatest zoological discoveries, such as Birds of Paradise, Golden Birdwing butterfly and the endangered black macaque. As well as visits to submerged underwater caves with dramatic stalactites, the incredible stingless jellyfish lake, a coconut crab sanctuary, and the 'fishbowl', known for its incredible underwater rainbow of fish species.

Not only does this adventure highlight some of the most amazing creatures, but we will also have the opportunity to enjoy the beautiful sandy beaches, fantastic snorkelling, and lots of exploring of the local villages and getting to know the locals and the culture.

The whole vessel is available for charter. Please enquire for details. 

TERNATE – SORONG

DAY 1
-Your flight arrives on the small island of Ternate, the capital of the North Maluku Province. You will be met at the airport and transferred to the stately Ombak Putih, moored off Ternate City. There will be time for you to get settled into your rooms, have a quick safety briefing, and enjoy an alfresco lunch while meeting the other passengers and the crew.

-In the afternoon we will venture into the city, which has retained its commercial and political importance as the administrative and trading centre of North Maluku. Of the four historically powerful spice sultanates, Ternate is the only one where the sultanate has survived uninterrupted.

-We will visit Fort Toluko built by the Portuguese and the ‘Kedaton’, the palace of the Sultan, with its rich collection of heirlooms. We will also see the impressive Fort Oranje built by the VOC (Dutch East India Company) and the probable site of the house where Wallace was living when he posted his essay on natural selection to Charles Darwin in 1858. After our tour, we will move back to the boat ready to start our journey.

DAY 2
-Today we will wake up off the coast of Halmahera, just across from Ternate, with the mighty peaks of Ternate and Tidore as our dawn backdrop.

-After breakfast, we will head to the village of Dodinga: the very place where Wallace was living when, in a fit of malarial delirium, he discovered the mechanism which drives evolutionary change – natural selection. Once he had recovered, he promptly wrote a detailed essay explaining his theory, which he posted to Charles Darwin as soon as he returned to his base on Ternate. His essay, which was published together with Darwin’s thoughts on the subject in August 1858, prompted Darwin to publish his book Origin of Species in 1859, which explained the theory in greater detail. Dodinga is a pretty little riverside village with friendly people, colourful houses and the ruins of an old Portuguese fort, and its importance in the history of science cannot be understated.

-After spending some time with the villagers, sharing some fresh coconuts and enjoying their hospitality, we will head back to the boat for lunch and then go off for an afternoon of snorkelling and relaxation. We will head south later in the day ready for our first Bird of Paradise encounter the following morning.

DAY 3
-We will rise at 3.00am, have coffee and snacks, and transfer to cars at Bastiong Village, Halmahera, which will drive us over the dividing range towards Weda Reef & Rainforest Resort. Together with the local community, the owners of the resort manage a foundation for education and conservation of the primary forest and its wildlife. They are proud to be able to protect 700 hectares of primary rainforest, home of Wallace’s Standardwing Bird of Paradise, plus many other species of birds and other wildlife.

-We will start our walk into the forest so that by 6am we will be quietly below the trees used by males of Wallace’s Standardwing for their communal courtship display. We’ll walk back to the road where we will have breakfast at a shelter before heading out for a morning of bird watching (hornbills, giant cuckoos, parrots, and possibly the Paradise-crow, another less spectacular species of Bird of Paradise).

-There might be a chance for a snorkel in Weda Bay before having lunch at the resort. After lunch, there is an optional field-trip by car into the hills behind the resort to search for birds and insects, including one of Wallace’s greatest discoveries, the Golden Birdwing butterfly, which he regarded as being “the finest butterfly in the world”. Those who would prefer a relaxing afternoon can stay at the resort until the others return, or go back to the boat.

DAY 4
-We will wake up off the western coast of Bacan, another of Indonesia’s historic spice sultanates. We go ashore to explore the forested slopes where Wallace made some of his greatest zoological discoveries, including the Moluccan Cuscus, the Standardwing Bird of Paradise, the world’s largest bee Megachile pluto, and the huge and magnificent Golden Birdwing Butterfly. Wallace described the latter species as the “finest butterfly in the world”. When he caught the first male in 1859 he wrote: “When I took it out of my net, and opened its gorgeous wings, I was nearer fainting with delight and excitement than I have ever been in my life; my heart beat violently, and the blood rushed to my head, leaving a headache for the rest of the day.” Very few Westerners have ever seen this species alive and no groups of tourists have ever been taken to see it before. Of course, there is no guarantee we will see it – but we will try very hard and will be employing as our guide the one person on Bacan who knows exactly where it can be found.

-We will also keep a close watch for these and a host of other animals, some of them endemic to these islands, including parrots, cockatoos, lorikeets, hornbills, the elusive cuscus and the endangered black macaque – the only monkey in Maluku. It’s the wrong side of the Wallace Line for monkeys; these ones were introduced hundreds of years ago from North Sulawesi.

DAY 5
In the morning we make landfall at the Pisang Islands. These tiny gems isolated in the vast waters of the Ceram Sea offer us a chance to relax and enjoy the sparkling white-sand beaches, clear waters, and vibrant reefs before making our way to the shores of West Misool.

DAY 6
-Today we will try our best to see the Lesser Birds of Paradise displaying in the wild, an unforgettable experience for anyone lucky enough to see them. We will rise around 4am and have a quick breakfast and go ashore at Kapatcol, where local guides will be waiting for us to take us through the forest to hopefully see the birds as they dance around in their ‘lekking’ (courtship display) 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 their way of life. Mid-afternoon we will set off to the eastern side of Misool to Tomolol Bay.

DAY 7
-This morning we will wake to see the sunrise over the picturesque chain of islands that makes up the eastern part of the Misool archipelago. The topography is typical of ‘karst dissolution’ featuring a great number of tiny islets whose bases have been eroded over time by the relentless motion of the tides.

-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.

-We will then move on to a mysterious jellyfish lake and swim amongst the many thousands of stingless animals: undoubtedly one of Raja Ampat’s most memorable activities. 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 between 3,000 to 5,000 years old and depicting various human figures and huge human palms, fish, and plants, tools and vessels.

DAY 8
-After our days of marine exploration, the jungle-clad island of Batanta offers us a change of scenery and a chance to stretch our legs on an adventurous trek into the island’s interior. We anchor at the foot of Arefi Village, nestled on the north coast of the island, here we can visit the village and the school, and watch the children’s performance.

-For those who wish, if the tide is right, we will be able to take 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 this, the boat will move to Dayang Island for another great snorkelling opportunity.

DAY 9
-We will wake up in front of the island of Penemu, a dramatic location with a short hilltop climb to take in the amazing views. After some great snorkelling on the island’s reefs, we will set course for the tiny Arborek Island, where the local children will perform their traditional dances for us.

-We can also walk around the village and gain a sense of the Asai culture, which is still kept very much alive by the villagers living in this isolated place. There’s a chance that we may get to see some manta rays as we snorkel, but there are no guarantees.

DAY 10
-Today will present another opportunity for keen naturalists, as we rise early and walk into the forest on a pre-dawn quest to spot the remarkable Red Bird of Paradise, one of the species that Wallace was most anxious to collect. With a little luck and the help of our knowledgeable guides, we will see this rare bird’s elaborate courtship display as dawn breaks over the forest canopy.

-After returning to the ship, we will turn our attention from the sky to the sea as the Ombak Putih makes her way through the Dampier strait, home of some of Raja Ampat’s premier reefs. If the currents are in our favour, we might see some of the area’s larger specimens of marine life, which are attracted to the strait’s nutrient-rich waters.

-We will spend the afternoon in Yenbeser village where Wallace spent some months and (if the tides are right) we’ll visit a faithful replica of Wallace’s small hut, which was built by the villagers using plans from FFI (Fauna & Flora International).

-We will also visit a nearby small island where a local man has set up a coconut crab ‘sanctuary’. The island is home to a small number of these monsters (Birgus latro, the world’s largest terrestrial arthropod), and you can get up close and personal with these magnificent yet docile beasts. Another late afternoon snorkel along a reef with some spectacular giant clams (the world’s largest bivalve) will lead us into dinner at anchor on board, ready for an early morning venture for the Red Bird of Paradise.

DAY 11
-Today we will rise at 4.30am, off Saporkren village. The dinghy will carry us across to the village in the dark and a local guide will take us on a short drive into the forest on a pre-dawn quest to spot the gorgeous Wilson’s Bird of Paradise. We hope that the efforts of our early start will pay off, enabling us to catch a rare and privileged sight of the bird’s elaborate courtship dance as the day breaks over the forest canopy.

-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 we will head to Yenbuba at Mansuar island for some snorkelling before lunch. This place is known as the ‘fishbowl’ because of the chance to see different types of fish around the bay. The boat will then move to Mioskon island for more snorkelling and the opportunity to watch a multitude of bats flying overhead just after sunset. Tonight we will have a farewell party.

DAY 12
-Today is the end of our adventure, but there is still one last chance for a swim and a snorkel at a small offshore island before we cruise into the port. Alternatively, we can explore Doom Island.

-Once at anchor, we will say goodbye to George, our crew and our sea-based home, the Ombak Putih before taking the tenders ashore where you will be transferred to the airport for your onward travel.

 

SORONG – TERNATE

DAY 1
-Your flight will arrive in the West Papuan port town of Sorong, the gateway to Raja Ampat. From the airport, we will transfer you to the harbour where the Ombak Putih will be waiting at anchor. Once settled into your cabin, your cruise director will familiarise you with the vessel’s facilities and safety procedures.

-Ready to start our adventure, we will weigh anchor, leave the harbour behind, and cruise to a small island, where we can enjoy our first snorkel. Upon entering the marine protected area of Raja Ampat, we will head towards Waigeo, Raja Ampat’s biggest island.

DAY 2
-Today we will rise at 4.30am off Saporkren village. The dinghy will carry us across to the village in the dark and a local guide will take us on a 20-40 minute walk into the forest on a pre-dawn quest to spot the gorgeous Wilson’s Bird of Paradise. We hope that the efforts of our early start will pay off, enabling us to catch a rare and privileged sight of the bird’s elaborate courtship dance as the day breaks over the forest canopy.

-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 a nearby island to snorkel. In the afternoon, we should also manage a snorkel on the reefs of Mioskon Island before dinner on board at anchor, ready for an early morning venture for the Red Bird of Paradise.

DAY 3
-Today will present another opportunity for keen naturalists, as we rise early and walk into the forest on a pre-dawn quest to spot the remarkable Red Bird of Paradise, one of the species that Wallace was most anxious to collect. With a little luck and the help of our knowledgeable guides, we will see this rare bird’s elaborate courtship display as dawn breaks over the forest canopy.

-After returning to the ship, we will turn our attention from the sky to the sea as the Ombak Putih makes her way through the Dampier strait, home of some of Raja Ampat’s premier reefs. If the currents are in our favour, we might see some of the area’s larger specimens of marine life, which are attracted to the strait’s nutrient-rich waters. There’s a chance that we may get to see some manta rays as we snorkel, but there are no guarantees.

-We will end the day by mooring off the tiny Arborek Island, where the local children will perform their traditional dances for us. We can also walk around the village and gain a sense of the Asai culture, which is still kept very much alive by the villagers living in this isolated place.

DAY 4
-When we emerge from our cabins we will be in the southwest corner of Kabui Bay next to ‘Wallace’s Channel’ where Wallace emerged after his very challenging sail from Seram. After breakfast, we will take dinghies through the narrow channel, examine the vegetation clinging to the limestone cliffs, and snorkel at a few contrasting sites. We will then return to the ship and head out of the bay; with luck, we might see some dolphins.

-We will spend the afternoon in Yenbeser village where Wallace spent some months and (if the tides are right) we’ll visit a faithful replica of Wallace’s small hut, which was built by the villagers using plans from FFI (Fauna & Flora International). We will also visit a nearby small island where a local man has set up a coconut crab ‘sanctuary’. The island is home to a small number of these monsters (Birgus latro, the world’s largest terrestrial arthropod), and you can get up close and personal with these magnificent yet docile beasts.

-Another late afternoon snorkel along a reef with some spectacular giant clams (the world’s largest bivalve) will lead us into dinner at anchor on board.

DAY 5
-Today is a day or snorkelling, Wallace tracking, and exploring some of Raja Ampat’s most beautiful limestone karst islands.

-We will wake up in front of the island of Penemu, a dramatic location with a short hilltop climb to take in the amazing views. After some great snorkelling on the island’s reefs, we will set course for Klaarbeck, where Wallace landed after his difficult journey from Seram after a combination of unpredictable winds, fierce currents, difficult anchorages and lack of water sources ended with him being unable to retrieve two crewmen who were stranded to the south on the small island of Kommerrust. Hopefully, we will be able to land on Klaarbeck and climb the hill that Wallace climbed in the vain hope of signalling to his stranded men.

-Afterwards, we hope to reach nearby Yar Island at dusk to witness thousands of flying foxes emerging and flying off to feed. This night we will find a remote beach where we will have a beach BBQ and party.

DAY 6
-This morning we will wake to see the sunrise over the picturesque chain of islands that makes up the eastern part of the Misool archipelago. The topography is typical of ‘karst dissolution,’ featuring a great number of tiny islets whose bases have been eroded over time by the relentless motion of the tides.

-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. We will then move on to a mysterious jellyfish lake and swim amongst the many thousands of stingless animals: undoubtedly one of Raja Ampat’s most memorable activities.

-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 between 3,000 to 5,000 years old and depicting various human figures and huge human palms, fish, and plants, tools and vessels.

DAY 7
-Today we will try our best to see the Lesser Birds of Paradise displaying in the wild, an unforgettable experience for anyone lucky enough to see them. We will rise around 4am and have a quick breakfast and go ashore at Kapatcol, where local guides will be waiting for us to take us through the forest to hopefully see the birds as they dance around in their ‘lekking’ (courtship display) 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 Conservancy is working with the village to empower with local women with a fishing practice called ‘sasi’.

DAY 8
-When we wake up today we will find ourselves off the extreme southern tip of Halmahera near the islands of Djoronga and Damar, where we will go snorkelling and visit a local village before heading off later in the day for Bacan.

DAY 9
-We will wake up off the western coast of Bacan, another of Indonesia’s historic spice sultanates. We go ashore to explore the forested slopes where Wallace made some of his greatest zoological discoveries, including the Moluccan Cuscus, the Standardwing Bird of Paradise, the world’s largest bee Megachile pluto, and the huge and magnificent Golden Birdwing Butterfly. Wallace described the latter species as the “finest butterfly in the world”. When he caught the first male in 1859 he wrote: “When I took it out of my net and opened its gorgeous wings, I was nearer fainting with delight and excitement than I have ever been in my life; my heart beat violently, and the blood rushed to my head, leaving a headache for the rest of the day.” Very few Westerners have ever seen this species alive and no groups of tourists have ever been taken to see it before. Of course, there is no guarantee we will see it – but we will try very hard and will be employing as our guide the one person on Bacan who knows exactly where it can be found.

-We will also keep a close watch for these and a host of other animals, some of them endemic to these islands, including parrots, cockatoos, lorikeets, hornbills, the elusive cuscus and the endangered black macaque – the only monkey in Maluku. It’s the wrong side of the Wallace Line for monkeys; these ones were introduced hundreds of years ago from North Sulawesi.

DAY 10
-We will rise at 3.00am, have coffee and snacks, and transfer to cars at Bastiong Village, Halmahera, which will drive us over the dividing range towards Weda Reef & Rainforest Resort. Together with the local community, the owners of the resort manage a foundation for education and conservation of the primary forest and its wildlife. They are proud to be able to protect 700 hectares of primary rainforest, home of Wallace’s Standardwing Bird of Paradise, plus many other species of birds and other wildlife.

-We will start our walk into the forest so that by 6am we will be quietly below the trees used by males of Wallace’s Standardwing for their communal courtship display. The polygamous males gather and perform a spectacular aerial show, each ‘parachuting’ with its wings and its vivid-green breast shield spread, and their feather ‘standards’ fluttering above its back. We’ll walk back to the road where we will have breakfast at a shelter before heading out for a morning of bird watching (hornbills, giant cuckoos, parrots, and possibly the Paradise-crow, another species of Bird of Paradise).

-There might be a chance for a snorkel in Weda Bay before having lunch at the resort. After lunch, there may just be time to explore behind the resort for Wallace’s Golden Birdwing butterfly, before driving back to the boat at Bastiong.

DAY 11
-Today we will wake up off the coast of Halmahera, just across from Ternate, with the mighty peaks of Ternate and Tidore as our dawn backdrop.

-After breakfast, we will head to the village of Dodinga: the very place where Wallace was living when, in a fit of malarial delirium, he discovered the mechanism which drives evolutionary change – natural selection. Once he had recovered, he promptly wrote a detailed essay explaining his theory, which he posted to Charles Darwin as soon as he returned to his base on Ternate. His essay, which was published together with Darwin’s thoughts on the subject in August 1858, prompted Darwin to publish his book Origin of Species in 1859, which explained the theory in greater detail. Dodinga is a pretty little riverside village with friendly people, colourful houses and the ruins of an old Portuguese fort, and its importance in the history of science cannot be understated.

-After spending some time with the villagers, sharing some fresh coconuts and enjoying their hospitality, we will head back to the boat for lunch and then go off for an afternoon of snorkelling and relaxation. Tonight we will have a final farewell party.

DAY 12
-Today marks the end of our adventure, but first, we will head into the city, which has retained its commercial and political importance as the administrative and trading centre of North Maluku. Of the four historically powerful spice sultanates, Ternate is the only one where the sultanate has survived uninterrupted. We will visit Fort Toluko built by the Portuguese and the ‘Kedaton’, the palace of the Sultan, with its rich collection of heirlooms.

-We will also see the impressive Fort Oranje built by the VOC (Dutch East India Company) and the probable site of the house where Wallace lived when he posted his essay on natural selection to Charles Darwin in 1858. After our tour, we will move back to the boat and say goodbye to our crew and our sea-based home, Ombak putih, before transferring to the airport for our onward travel.

  • Professional cruise directors
  • Outdoor sleeping facilities
  • Complimentary snorkelling equipment and two sea canoes (add SUP)
  • Free tea, soft drinks, juices, coffee and mineral water
  • Excellent food and snacks (vegetarian and special menus on request)
  • Television, DVD and music centre in the lounge
  • Dining in spacious air-conditioned lounge
  • Teak wooden furniture in lounge, cabins and on deck
  • Spacious sun and semi-covered decks
  • Mooring fees
  • Visits to restaurants, museums, galleries etc during the trip
  • Fine selection of wines, beer and spirits for sale
  • Travel to and from the vessel (including internal/domestic airfares)
  • Open to beginner sailors.
  • Open to families.
  • Open to solo travellers.

Fly to Sultan Babullah Airport (Ternate), North Maluku / Domine Eduard Osok Airport, Sorong

Fly from Domine Eduard Osok Airport, Sorong / Sultan Babullah Airport (Ternate), North Maluku

TERNATE – SORONG

DAY 1
-Your flight arrives on the small island of Ternate, the capital of the North Maluku Province. You will be met at the airport and transferred to the stately Ombak Putih, moored off Ternate City. There will be time for you to get settled into your rooms, have a quick safety briefing, and enjoy an alfresco lunch while meeting the other passengers and the crew.

-In the afternoon we will venture into the city, which has retained its commercial and political importance as the administrative and trading centre of North Maluku. Of the four historically powerful spice sultanates, Ternate is the only one where the sultanate has survived uninterrupted.

-We will visit Fort Toluko built by the Portuguese and the ‘Kedaton’, the palace of the Sultan, with its rich collection of heirlooms. We will also see the impressive Fort Oranje built by the VOC (Dutch East India Company) and the probable site of the house where Wallace was living when he posted his essay on natural selection to Charles Darwin in 1858. After our tour, we will move back to the boat ready to start our journey.

DAY 2
-Today we will wake up off the coast of Halmahera, just across from Ternate, with the mighty peaks of Ternate and Tidore as our dawn backdrop.

-After breakfast, we will head to the village of Dodinga: the very place where Wallace was living when, in a fit of malarial delirium, he discovered the mechanism which drives evolutionary change – natural selection. Once he had recovered, he promptly wrote a detailed essay explaining his theory, which he posted to Charles Darwin as soon as he returned to his base on Ternate. His essay, which was published together with Darwin’s thoughts on the subject in August 1858, prompted Darwin to publish his book Origin of Species in 1859, which explained the theory in greater detail. Dodinga is a pretty little riverside village with friendly people, colourful houses and the ruins of an old Portuguese fort, and its importance in the history of science cannot be understated.

-After spending some time with the villagers, sharing some fresh coconuts and enjoying their hospitality, we will head back to the boat for lunch and then go off for an afternoon of snorkelling and relaxation. We will head south later in the day ready for our first Bird of Paradise encounter the following morning.

DAY 3
-We will rise at 3.00am, have coffee and snacks, and transfer to cars at Bastiong Village, Halmahera, which will drive us over the dividing range towards Weda Reef & Rainforest Resort. Together with the local community, the owners of the resort manage a foundation for education and conservation of the primary forest and its wildlife. They are proud to be able to protect 700 hectares of primary rainforest, home of Wallace’s Standardwing Bird of Paradise, plus many other species of birds and other wildlife.

-We will start our walk into the forest so that by 6am we will be quietly below the trees used by males of Wallace’s Standardwing for their communal courtship display. We’ll walk back to the road where we will have breakfast at a shelter before heading out for a morning of bird watching (hornbills, giant cuckoos, parrots, and possibly the Paradise-crow, another less spectacular species of Bird of Paradise).

-There might be a chance for a snorkel in Weda Bay before having lunch at the resort. After lunch, there is an optional field-trip by car into the hills behind the resort to search for birds and insects, including one of Wallace’s greatest discoveries, the Golden Birdwing butterfly, which he regarded as being “the finest butterfly in the world”. Those who would prefer a relaxing afternoon can stay at the resort until the others return, or go back to the boat.

DAY 4
-We will wake up off the western coast of Bacan, another of Indonesia’s historic spice sultanates. We go ashore to explore the forested slopes where Wallace made some of his greatest zoological discoveries, including the Moluccan Cuscus, the Standardwing Bird of Paradise, the world’s largest bee Megachile pluto, and the huge and magnificent Golden Birdwing Butterfly. Wallace described the latter species as the “finest butterfly in the world”. When he caught the first male in 1859 he wrote: “When I took it out of my net, and opened its gorgeous wings, I was nearer fainting with delight and excitement than I have ever been in my life; my heart beat violently, and the blood rushed to my head, leaving a headache for the rest of the day.” Very few Westerners have ever seen this species alive and no groups of tourists have ever been taken to see it before. Of course, there is no guarantee we will see it – but we will try very hard and will be employing as our guide the one person on Bacan who knows exactly where it can be found.

-We will also keep a close watch for these and a host of other animals, some of them endemic to these islands, including parrots, cockatoos, lorikeets, hornbills, the elusive cuscus and the endangered black macaque – the only monkey in Maluku. It’s the wrong side of the Wallace Line for monkeys; these ones were introduced hundreds of years ago from North Sulawesi.

DAY 5
In the morning we make landfall at the Pisang Islands. These tiny gems isolated in the vast waters of the Ceram Sea offer us a chance to relax and enjoy the sparkling white-sand beaches, clear waters, and vibrant reefs before making our way to the shores of West Misool.

DAY 6
-Today we will try our best to see the Lesser Birds of Paradise displaying in the wild, an unforgettable experience for anyone lucky enough to see them. We will rise around 4am and have a quick breakfast and go ashore at Kapatcol, where local guides will be waiting for us to take us through the forest to hopefully see the birds as they dance around in their ‘lekking’ (courtship display) 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 their way of life. Mid-afternoon we will set off to the eastern side of Misool to Tomolol Bay.

DAY 7
-This morning we will wake to see the sunrise over the picturesque chain of islands that makes up the eastern part of the Misool archipelago. The topography is typical of ‘karst dissolution’ featuring a great number of tiny islets whose bases have been eroded over time by the relentless motion of the tides.

-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.

-We will then move on to a mysterious jellyfish lake and swim amongst the many thousands of stingless animals: undoubtedly one of Raja Ampat’s most memorable activities. 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 between 3,000 to 5,000 years old and depicting various human figures and huge human palms, fish, and plants, tools and vessels.

DAY 8
-After our days of marine exploration, the jungle-clad island of Batanta offers us a change of scenery and a chance to stretch our legs on an adventurous trek into the island’s interior. We anchor at the foot of Arefi Village, nestled on the north coast of the island, here we can visit the village and the school, and watch the children’s performance.

-For those who wish, if the tide is right, we will be able to take 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 this, the boat will move to Dayang Island for another great snorkelling opportunity.

DAY 9
-We will wake up in front of the island of Penemu, a dramatic location with a short hilltop climb to take in the amazing views. After some great snorkelling on the island’s reefs, we will set course for the tiny Arborek Island, where the local children will perform their traditional dances for us.

-We can also walk around the village and gain a sense of the Asai culture, which is still kept very much alive by the villagers living in this isolated place. There’s a chance that we may get to see some manta rays as we snorkel, but there are no guarantees.

DAY 10
-Today will present another opportunity for keen naturalists, as we rise early and walk into the forest on a pre-dawn quest to spot the remarkable Red Bird of Paradise, one of the species that Wallace was most anxious to collect. With a little luck and the help of our knowledgeable guides, we will see this rare bird’s elaborate courtship display as dawn breaks over the forest canopy.

-After returning to the ship, we will turn our attention from the sky to the sea as the Ombak Putih makes her way through the Dampier strait, home of some of Raja Ampat’s premier reefs. If the currents are in our favour, we might see some of the area’s larger specimens of marine life, which are attracted to the strait’s nutrient-rich waters.

-We will spend the afternoon in Yenbeser village where Wallace spent some months and (if the tides are right) we’ll visit a faithful replica of Wallace’s small hut, which was built by the villagers using plans from FFI (Fauna & Flora International).

-We will also visit a nearby small island where a local man has set up a coconut crab ‘sanctuary’. The island is home to a small number of these monsters (Birgus latro, the world’s largest terrestrial arthropod), and you can get up close and personal with these magnificent yet docile beasts. Another late afternoon snorkel along a reef with some spectacular giant clams (the world’s largest bivalve) will lead us into dinner at anchor on board, ready for an early morning venture for the Red Bird of Paradise.

DAY 11
-Today we will rise at 4.30am, off Saporkren village. The dinghy will carry us across to the village in the dark and a local guide will take us on a short drive into the forest on a pre-dawn quest to spot the gorgeous Wilson’s Bird of Paradise. We hope that the efforts of our early start will pay off, enabling us to catch a rare and privileged sight of the bird’s elaborate courtship dance as the day breaks over the forest canopy.

-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 we will head to Yenbuba at Mansuar island for some snorkelling before lunch. This place is known as the ‘fishbowl’ because of the chance to see different types of fish around the bay. The boat will then move to Mioskon island for more snorkelling and the opportunity to watch a multitude of bats flying overhead just after sunset. Tonight we will have a farewell party.

DAY 12
-Today is the end of our adventure, but there is still one last chance for a swim and a snorkel at a small offshore island before we cruise into the port. Alternatively, we can explore Doom Island.

-Once at anchor, we will say goodbye to George, our crew and our sea-based home, the Ombak Putih before taking the tenders ashore where you will be transferred to the airport for your onward travel.

 

SORONG – TERNATE

DAY 1
-Your flight will arrive in the West Papuan port town of Sorong, the gateway to Raja Ampat. From the airport, we will transfer you to the harbour where the Ombak Putih will be waiting at anchor. Once settled into your cabin, your cruise director will familiarise you with the vessel’s facilities and safety procedures.

-Ready to start our adventure, we will weigh anchor, leave the harbour behind, and cruise to a small island, where we can enjoy our first snorkel. Upon entering the marine protected area of Raja Ampat, we will head towards Waigeo, Raja Ampat’s biggest island.

DAY 2
-Today we will rise at 4.30am off Saporkren village. The dinghy will carry us across to the village in the dark and a local guide will take us on a 20-40 minute walk into the forest on a pre-dawn quest to spot the gorgeous Wilson’s Bird of Paradise. We hope that the efforts of our early start will pay off, enabling us to catch a rare and privileged sight of the bird’s elaborate courtship dance as the day breaks over the forest canopy.

-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 a nearby island to snorkel. In the afternoon, we should also manage a snorkel on the reefs of Mioskon Island before dinner on board at anchor, ready for an early morning venture for the Red Bird of Paradise.

DAY 3
-Today will present another opportunity for keen naturalists, as we rise early and walk into the forest on a pre-dawn quest to spot the remarkable Red Bird of Paradise, one of the species that Wallace was most anxious to collect. With a little luck and the help of our knowledgeable guides, we will see this rare bird’s elaborate courtship display as dawn breaks over the forest canopy.

-After returning to the ship, we will turn our attention from the sky to the sea as the Ombak Putih makes her way through the Dampier strait, home of some of Raja Ampat’s premier reefs. If the currents are in our favour, we might see some of the area’s larger specimens of marine life, which are attracted to the strait’s nutrient-rich waters. There’s a chance that we may get to see some manta rays as we snorkel, but there are no guarantees.

-We will end the day by mooring off the tiny Arborek Island, where the local children will perform their traditional dances for us. We can also walk around the village and gain a sense of the Asai culture, which is still kept very much alive by the villagers living in this isolated place.

DAY 4
-When we emerge from our cabins we will be in the southwest corner of Kabui Bay next to ‘Wallace’s Channel’ where Wallace emerged after his very challenging sail from Seram. After breakfast, we will take dinghies through the narrow channel, examine the vegetation clinging to the limestone cliffs, and snorkel at a few contrasting sites. We will then return to the ship and head out of the bay; with luck, we might see some dolphins.

-We will spend the afternoon in Yenbeser village where Wallace spent some months and (if the tides are right) we’ll visit a faithful replica of Wallace’s small hut, which was built by the villagers using plans from FFI (Fauna & Flora International). We will also visit a nearby small island where a local man has set up a coconut crab ‘sanctuary’. The island is home to a small number of these monsters (Birgus latro, the world’s largest terrestrial arthropod), and you can get up close and personal with these magnificent yet docile beasts.

-Another late afternoon snorkel along a reef with some spectacular giant clams (the world’s largest bivalve) will lead us into dinner at anchor on board.

DAY 5
-Today is a day or snorkelling, Wallace tracking, and exploring some of Raja Ampat’s most beautiful limestone karst islands.

-We will wake up in front of the island of Penemu, a dramatic location with a short hilltop climb to take in the amazing views. After some great snorkelling on the island’s reefs, we will set course for Klaarbeck, where Wallace landed after his difficult journey from Seram after a combination of unpredictable winds, fierce currents, difficult anchorages and lack of water sources ended with him being unable to retrieve two crewmen who were stranded to the south on the small island of Kommerrust. Hopefully, we will be able to land on Klaarbeck and climb the hill that Wallace climbed in the vain hope of signalling to his stranded men.

-Afterwards, we hope to reach nearby Yar Island at dusk to witness thousands of flying foxes emerging and flying off to feed. This night we will find a remote beach where we will have a beach BBQ and party.

DAY 6
-This morning we will wake to see the sunrise over the picturesque chain of islands that makes up the eastern part of the Misool archipelago. The topography is typical of ‘karst dissolution,’ featuring a great number of tiny islets whose bases have been eroded over time by the relentless motion of the tides.

-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. We will then move on to a mysterious jellyfish lake and swim amongst the many thousands of stingless animals: undoubtedly one of Raja Ampat’s most memorable activities.

-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 between 3,000 to 5,000 years old and depicting various human figures and huge human palms, fish, and plants, tools and vessels.

DAY 7
-Today we will try our best to see the Lesser Birds of Paradise displaying in the wild, an unforgettable experience for anyone lucky enough to see them. We will rise around 4am and have a quick breakfast and go ashore at Kapatcol, where local guides will be waiting for us to take us through the forest to hopefully see the birds as they dance around in their ‘lekking’ (courtship display) 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 Conservancy is working with the village to empower with local women with a fishing practice called ‘sasi’.

DAY 8
-When we wake up today we will find ourselves off the extreme southern tip of Halmahera near the islands of Djoronga and Damar, where we will go snorkelling and visit a local village before heading off later in the day for Bacan.

DAY 9
-We will wake up off the western coast of Bacan, another of Indonesia’s historic spice sultanates. We go ashore to explore the forested slopes where Wallace made some of his greatest zoological discoveries, including the Moluccan Cuscus, the Standardwing Bird of Paradise, the world’s largest bee Megachile pluto, and the huge and magnificent Golden Birdwing Butterfly. Wallace described the latter species as the “finest butterfly in the world”. When he caught the first male in 1859 he wrote: “When I took it out of my net and opened its gorgeous wings, I was nearer fainting with delight and excitement than I have ever been in my life; my heart beat violently, and the blood rushed to my head, leaving a headache for the rest of the day.” Very few Westerners have ever seen this species alive and no groups of tourists have ever been taken to see it before. Of course, there is no guarantee we will see it – but we will try very hard and will be employing as our guide the one person on Bacan who knows exactly where it can be found.

-We will also keep a close watch for these and a host of other animals, some of them endemic to these islands, including parrots, cockatoos, lorikeets, hornbills, the elusive cuscus and the endangered black macaque – the only monkey in Maluku. It’s the wrong side of the Wallace Line for monkeys; these ones were introduced hundreds of years ago from North Sulawesi.

DAY 10
-We will rise at 3.00am, have coffee and snacks, and transfer to cars at Bastiong Village, Halmahera, which will drive us over the dividing range towards Weda Reef & Rainforest Resort. Together with the local community, the owners of the resort manage a foundation for education and conservation of the primary forest and its wildlife. They are proud to be able to protect 700 hectares of primary rainforest, home of Wallace’s Standardwing Bird of Paradise, plus many other species of birds and other wildlife.

-We will start our walk into the forest so that by 6am we will be quietly below the trees used by males of Wallace’s Standardwing for their communal courtship display. The polygamous males gather and perform a spectacular aerial show, each ‘parachuting’ with its wings and its vivid-green breast shield spread, and their feather ‘standards’ fluttering above its back. We’ll walk back to the road where we will have breakfast at a shelter before heading out for a morning of bird watching (hornbills, giant cuckoos, parrots, and possibly the Paradise-crow, another species of Bird of Paradise).

-There might be a chance for a snorkel in Weda Bay before having lunch at the resort. After lunch, there may just be time to explore behind the resort for Wallace’s Golden Birdwing butterfly, before driving back to the boat at Bastiong.

DAY 11
-Today we will wake up off the coast of Halmahera, just across from Ternate, with the mighty peaks of Ternate and Tidore as our dawn backdrop.

-After breakfast, we will head to the village of Dodinga: the very place where Wallace was living when, in a fit of malarial delirium, he discovered the mechanism which drives evolutionary change – natural selection. Once he had recovered, he promptly wrote a detailed essay explaining his theory, which he posted to Charles Darwin as soon as he returned to his base on Ternate. His essay, which was published together with Darwin’s thoughts on the subject in August 1858, prompted Darwin to publish his book Origin of Species in 1859, which explained the theory in greater detail. Dodinga is a pretty little riverside village with friendly people, colourful houses and the ruins of an old Portuguese fort, and its importance in the history of science cannot be understated.

-After spending some time with the villagers, sharing some fresh coconuts and enjoying their hospitality, we will head back to the boat for lunch and then go off for an afternoon of snorkelling and relaxation. Tonight we will have a final farewell party.

DAY 12
-Today marks the end of our adventure, but first, we will head into the city, which has retained its commercial and political importance as the administrative and trading centre of North Maluku. Of the four historically powerful spice sultanates, Ternate is the only one where the sultanate has survived uninterrupted. We will visit Fort Toluko built by the Portuguese and the ‘Kedaton’, the palace of the Sultan, with its rich collection of heirlooms.

-We will also see the impressive Fort Oranje built by the VOC (Dutch East India Company) and the probable site of the house where Wallace lived when he posted his essay on natural selection to Charles Darwin in 1858. After our tour, we will move back to the boat and say goodbye to our crew and our sea-based home, Ombak putih, before transferring to the airport for our onward travel.

Temperature in this sailing area varies little (27° to 33° Celsius year-round) with mostly blue skies and light winds. We suggest you bring the following:

Light cotton/ linen clothes, including a pair of long trousers for visits in the villages

Water shoes (boots or plastic shoes)

Hiking shoes

Camera

A plastic / waterproof bag for your camera when disembarking

High protection suntan lotion

A hat

Insect repellent

Dive/ snorkelling equipment if you have your own (there is plenty on board)

A sweater for cool evenings

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