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Raja Ampat: Marine Biology Tour with Joe Mueller

From £4700 per person

Deposit £150. Deposit balance due after 8 weeks. Trip balance due 12 weeks before departure.
Join marine biologist Joe Mueller as we explore the underworld of Raja Ampat
Clear
Pay a deposit of £150.00 per item
Suited to
Families, Couples, Individuals, Groups
Difficulty
No previous experience required
Nights onboard
9
Vessel type
Traditional Indonesian Pinisi Schooners made from Ironwood
Vessel length
Katharina – 40 metres Ombak Putih – 42 metres
Skipper
Yes
Berth Style
Katharina – 14 guests in 6 cabins Ombak Putih – 24 guests in 12 cabins
Insurance Required
Yes

Explore and learn about the tropical underworld of Indonesia with expert guidance from marine biologist Joe Mueller

9 nights

From $6,490/ £4,700 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.

The Raja Ampat Archipelago straddles the equator off the extreme northwest tip of the Papua province of Indonesia. Otherwise known as the ‘Last Paradise on Earth’, it is home to 70 percent of the known coral species on the planet. Many of the fish, corals and crustaceans that live in these waters are found nowhere else on Earth. Explore the living kaleidoscope below the surface with the guidance and knowledge from Marine Biologist Joe Mueller. Explore with us on board this traditional Ironwood Indonesian Pinisi.

Join: Sorong, West Papuan, Indonesia.

Leave: Sorong, West Papuan, Indonesia.

Day 1

– Upon your morning arrival at Sorong airport you will be greeted by your tour leader to be taken to the boat. After a welcome drink, an introduction to your ecological expert Joe Mueller and a brief safety orientation you can begin to settle into your new home for the next ten days. Once all is squared away we will set a course for the southernmost islands of the Raja Ampat National Park.

–  After an alfresco lunch, and an introductory briefing on the underwater world you are about to enter into, we will stop for our first swim and snorkel of the voyage on one of the many beautiful coral reefs. As we continue south through the night we will have pre-dinner cocktails served on the back deck as the sun goes down followed by dinner, a briefing of the next days activities and socializing.

Day 2

– Today we wake up at the eastern end of the Misool archipelago, a picturesque chain of jungle-covered limestone islets with spectacular coral reefs offering some fantastic snorkelling.

– We will spend the day exploring the many inlets, bays, and beaches with some trekking, swimming, and of course snorkelling. Joe will help you learn about the natural forces that have shaped this amazing place and the types of things to look for in the special environment. We will also break out the kayaks and standup paddleboards for some seaborne adventuring fun.

– After our full day of island and water activities Joe and our tour leader will give you the nightly briefing including a natural world presentation that will focus on the unique environments you will be visiting the next day. We will spend a quiet night at anchor under the stars in position for the next day.

Day 3

– After an early breakfast, our day starts with a swim and a snorkel through a giant dome-roofed sea cave filled with massive stalagmites and stalactites, one of the areas most otherworldly experiences. 

– We will then move on to the mysterious stingless jellyfish lake, one of only 20 in the world, literally a pool of evolution where these amazing creatures exist, We will carefully swim amongst the many beautiful and stingless animals. 

– Using our tenders, we will visit some 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 hands, fish and flowers. 

Day 4

– Today we will try our best to see the Lesser Birds of Paradise in the wild, an unforgettable experience for anyone lucky enough to see them. Joe will explain their seductive dance.  We will rise early and walk through the forest to hopefully see the birds as they dance around in their ‘lekking’ trees performing as their life depends on it 

– In the afternoon, an underwater exploration will take place as we snorkel around one of the best coral reefs you will find anywhere.  Schools of fish hanging out in clear blue water and walls adorned with colourful sea fans.   Test your improving spotting skill by finding surprising creatures in the shallower areas.  Joe will reveal the amazing life stories of many of them.  

– Late in the afternoon, we will be watching the sunset while sailing our way north to Batanta island.

Day 5

– Today the island of Batanta, depending on the tides and luck, a potential chance to see mantas as well as a chance to see new types of scenery. We will enjoy a chance to stretch our legs with an adventurous jungle trek where Joe will tell you lots about the many birds, butterflies and special insects found here.

– We start the day with a slow cruise through a dense mangroves ecosystem followed by a short walk through the forest to the first of two waterfalls, where we can swim and cool off. The more energetic of the group can keep heading upriver where a second, larger cascade awaits.

– After getting back to the boat and having lunch, we will go snorkelling and get the paddleboards and kayaks in the water for some water fun, before heading north later in the afternoon.

Day 6

– In the morning, we will visit a pearl farm tucked away in a protected, deep water cove and tour the facilities to learn how this precious commodity is produced and harvested. Pearling is an important industry and provides employment for many people in the area.

– We will spend the afternoon snorkelling and kayaking amongst three small islands linked together by some pristine coral reefs, or you can simply choose to relax on the beach.

Day 7

– This morning will explore a small group of limestone islands filled with coves and beautiful reefs.  After breakfast, we will go ashore for a short climb to a vantage point where we can survey our beautiful surroundings, before heading out to snorkel on the beautiful reefs.

– During lunch we will head to a small island located in between Gam and Mansuar where the currents bring rich nutrients to the coral reefs. The three famous jetties offer so much underwater life scenery – schools of fish, the shy black tip reef sharks, the elegant spadefish and the magnificent giant clams.

Day 8

– Central Raja Ampat stores many magical underwater gems. Today, we will be exploring some of them.

– Starting with a visit to a local village in the central of Mansuar island which promotes sustainability through their education center, solar-powered street lights, and sustainable fishing practice through local community effort. Its house reef offers an abundance of marine life which is why we will spend the rest of our morning snorkeling here and if we’re lucky, maybe a sight of a wobbegong shark.

– Another underwater adventure awaits in the afternoon as we make our way to the eastern point of Mansuar. Famous for its school of big fish, you can see humphead wrasse and school of giant trevalley swimming next to each other, maybe greeted by the resident hawksbill turtle. You should be able to keep Joe very busy with questions after being in this amazing pool of life.

– Tonight, we will have a beach BBQ and party with the crew under the stars.

Day 9

– Today sees a super early start as we head off into the forest in search of the incredible Red Bird of Paradise. The walk takes about 40 minutes, and as we arrive at the bird site at dawn, if we are lucky, we will see the incredible mating displays of these birds in the canopy of the rainforest. This is a David Attenborough moment if ever there was one.

– We will then walk through a colourful local village and meet the people who call this wonderful corner of paradise home and see how they live their daily lives.

– Back on the boat, we will head off for some more great snorkelling and the chance to visit a small local island which has been set up as a sanctuary for giant coconut crabs by a local man, who wants to protect these increasingly endangered animals.

Day 10

– We will wake up anchored in Sorong and have one last hearty breakfast on board of the Ombak Putih before venturing on our very last adventure in Doom Island with traditional transportation called Becak. During the First World War, the island served as an administrative center of Dutch Empire administration in West Papua and continued to become the core of Sorong for some time before the city grew in mainland Papua. During the Second World War, Japanese forces occupied and fortified the island, building a network of tunnels and bunkers. The island was attacked by American and Australian aircraft throughout the war. Following the war, a fishing station was briefly established on the island before it was moved to Manokwari.  

– After our little adventure, we will bid farewell to the ship and her crew. Our tenders will take you ashore for your transfer to the airport for your onward travel. 

Who is Joe Mueller?

Join the expert cruise with Marine Biologist Joe Mueller to learn all about it and more! As a professor of Marine Biology for 30 years, Joe’s been teaching a range of courses from Marine Invertebrate Zoology to Ornithology and Ecology. Come discover the wonders of the Sea, from plankton and coral reefs, and Land ecology and forest ecosystems, to Sky, learning the most bizarre and wonderful facts about birds during your adventure. Joe’s passion for nature is infectious and is an inspiration to people of all ages. Joe can’t wait to share his encyclopaedic knowledge during his daily talks on board as well as during the many nature outings along the way. But what’s super fascinating – is his knowledge of how it all fits together and how the interrelationships between ecological systems make up the basis for the essential nature of life.

  • Professional cruise directors
  • Professional marine biologist
  • 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 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
  • Open to beginner sailors.
  • Open to families.
  • Open to solo travellers.

Guests will meet the vessel in Sorong, West Papua, Indonesia. As we would like to make a punctual start, we recommend that you to fly to Makassar (Sulawesi) one day in advance of the start date, then take an early morning flight from Makassar to Sorong.

Fly back from Sorong to Makassar for your onward travels.

Join: Sorong, West Papuan, Indonesia.

Leave: Sorong, West Papuan, Indonesia.

Day 1

– Upon your morning arrival at Sorong airport you will be greeted by your tour leader to be taken to the boat. After a welcome drink, an introduction to your ecological expert Joe Mueller and a brief safety orientation you can begin to settle into your new home for the next ten days. Once all is squared away we will set a course for the southernmost islands of the Raja Ampat National Park.

–  After an alfresco lunch, and an introductory briefing on the underwater world you are about to enter into, we will stop for our first swim and snorkel of the voyage on one of the many beautiful coral reefs. As we continue south through the night we will have pre-dinner cocktails served on the back deck as the sun goes down followed by dinner, a briefing of the next days activities and socializing.

Day 2

– Today we wake up at the eastern end of the Misool archipelago, a picturesque chain of jungle-covered limestone islets with spectacular coral reefs offering some fantastic snorkelling.

– We will spend the day exploring the many inlets, bays, and beaches with some trekking, swimming, and of course snorkelling. Joe will help you learn about the natural forces that have shaped this amazing place and the types of things to look for in the special environment. We will also break out the kayaks and standup paddleboards for some seaborne adventuring fun.

– After our full day of island and water activities Joe and our tour leader will give you the nightly briefing including a natural world presentation that will focus on the unique environments you will be visiting the next day. We will spend a quiet night at anchor under the stars in position for the next day.

Day 3

– After an early breakfast, our day starts with a swim and a snorkel through a giant dome-roofed sea cave filled with massive stalagmites and stalactites, one of the areas most otherworldly experiences. 

– We will then move on to the mysterious stingless jellyfish lake, one of only 20 in the world, literally a pool of evolution where these amazing creatures exist, We will carefully swim amongst the many beautiful and stingless animals. 

– Using our tenders, we will visit some 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 hands, fish and flowers. 

Day 4

– Today we will try our best to see the Lesser Birds of Paradise in the wild, an unforgettable experience for anyone lucky enough to see them. Joe will explain their seductive dance.  We will rise early and walk through the forest to hopefully see the birds as they dance around in their ‘lekking’ trees performing as their life depends on it 

– In the afternoon, an underwater exploration will take place as we snorkel around one of the best coral reefs you will find anywhere.  Schools of fish hanging out in clear blue water and walls adorned with colourful sea fans.   Test your improving spotting skill by finding surprising creatures in the shallower areas.  Joe will reveal the amazing life stories of many of them.  

– Late in the afternoon, we will be watching the sunset while sailing our way north to Batanta island.

Day 5

– Today the island of Batanta, depending on the tides and luck, a potential chance to see mantas as well as a chance to see new types of scenery. We will enjoy a chance to stretch our legs with an adventurous jungle trek where Joe will tell you lots about the many birds, butterflies and special insects found here.

– We start the day with a slow cruise through a dense mangroves ecosystem followed by a short walk through the forest to the first of two waterfalls, where we can swim and cool off. The more energetic of the group can keep heading upriver where a second, larger cascade awaits.

– After getting back to the boat and having lunch, we will go snorkelling and get the paddleboards and kayaks in the water for some water fun, before heading north later in the afternoon.

Day 6

– In the morning, we will visit a pearl farm tucked away in a protected, deep water cove and tour the facilities to learn how this precious commodity is produced and harvested. Pearling is an important industry and provides employment for many people in the area.

– We will spend the afternoon snorkelling and kayaking amongst three small islands linked together by some pristine coral reefs, or you can simply choose to relax on the beach.

Day 7

– This morning will explore a small group of limestone islands filled with coves and beautiful reefs.  After breakfast, we will go ashore for a short climb to a vantage point where we can survey our beautiful surroundings, before heading out to snorkel on the beautiful reefs.

– During lunch we will head to a small island located in between Gam and Mansuar where the currents bring rich nutrients to the coral reefs. The three famous jetties offer so much underwater life scenery – schools of fish, the shy black tip reef sharks, the elegant spadefish and the magnificent giant clams.

Day 8

– Central Raja Ampat stores many magical underwater gems. Today, we will be exploring some of them.

– Starting with a visit to a local village in the central of Mansuar island which promotes sustainability through their education center, solar-powered street lights, and sustainable fishing practice through local community effort. Its house reef offers an abundance of marine life which is why we will spend the rest of our morning snorkeling here and if we’re lucky, maybe a sight of a wobbegong shark.

– Another underwater adventure awaits in the afternoon as we make our way to the eastern point of Mansuar. Famous for its school of big fish, you can see humphead wrasse and school of giant trevalley swimming next to each other, maybe greeted by the resident hawksbill turtle. You should be able to keep Joe very busy with questions after being in this amazing pool of life.

– Tonight, we will have a beach BBQ and party with the crew under the stars.

Day 9

– Today sees a super early start as we head off into the forest in search of the incredible Red Bird of Paradise. The walk takes about 40 minutes, and as we arrive at the bird site at dawn, if we are lucky, we will see the incredible mating displays of these birds in the canopy of the rainforest. This is a David Attenborough moment if ever there was one.

– We will then walk through a colourful local village and meet the people who call this wonderful corner of paradise home and see how they live their daily lives.

– Back on the boat, we will head off for some more great snorkelling and the chance to visit a small local island which has been set up as a sanctuary for giant coconut crabs by a local man, who wants to protect these increasingly endangered animals.

Day 10

– We will wake up anchored in Sorong and have one last hearty breakfast on board of the Ombak Putih before venturing on our very last adventure in Doom Island with traditional transportation called Becak. During the First World War, the island served as an administrative center of Dutch Empire administration in West Papua and continued to become the core of Sorong for some time before the city grew in mainland Papua. During the Second World War, Japanese forces occupied and fortified the island, building a network of tunnels and bunkers. The island was attacked by American and Australian aircraft throughout the war. Following the war, a fishing station was briefly established on the island before it was moved to Manokwari.  

– After our little adventure, we will bid farewell to the ship and her crew. Our tenders will take you ashore for your transfer to the airport for your onward travel. 

Who is Joe Mueller?

Join the expert cruise with Marine Biologist Joe Mueller to learn all about it and more! As a professor of Marine Biology for 30 years, Joe’s been teaching a range of courses from Marine Invertebrate Zoology to Ornithology and Ecology. Come discover the wonders of the Sea, from plankton and coral reefs, and Land ecology and forest ecosystems, to Sky, learning the most bizarre and wonderful facts about birds during your adventure. Joe’s passion for nature is infectious and is an inspiration to people of all ages. Joe can’t wait to share his encyclopaedic knowledge during his daily talks on board as well as during the many nature outings along the way. But what’s super fascinating – is his knowledge of how it all fits together and how the interrelationships between ecological systems make up the basis for the essential nature of life.

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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