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11 Nights | Departing Darwin 13 August 2021 | Arriving Palau 24 August 2021 | Onboard Coral Geographer
Our expedition charts a course northwards from Australia to explore the Spice Islands of the renowned Coral Triangle. A region of striking natural landscapes and seascapes, you will encounter vibrant marine biodiversity ashore along the way. Be touched by genuine and warm welcomes as we share cultural traditions and performances shaped by the rich cultural history of island-dwelling people. Following the spice trail to Banda Neira, which was once the centre of the nutmeg trade, we are greeted by a fleet of Kora Kora canoes paddled by warriors. Wander through local markets and hear stories related to the ancient spice trade while enjoying sunset drinks amongst the ancient remnants of 16th century Fort Belgica. Snorkel and dive amongst Raja Ampat’s vibrant marine biodiversity and cruise or kayak its picturesque lagoons dotted with limestone islets. Look for the colourful Bird of Paradise and swim beneath Mommon waterfall which plunges from the forest into the sea. Isolated Sonsorol Island and neighbouring Pulo Anna is one of the 16 States of Pulau and is home to a population of around 30 Palaun people who are culturally and linguistically related to the Yap and Caroline Islands. Learn about their subsistence lifestyle disconnected from the modern world and dive and snorkel the fringing reef.
|CORAL GEOGRAPHER||TWIN SHARE PER PERSON||SOLE USE*|
|Bridge Deck Balcony Suite||$16,940||n/a|
|Explorer Deck Balcony||$14,190||$21,285|
Prices are per person, listed in Australian Dollars (AUD) and include GST. *Limited sole use occupancy available.
Embark: Board at 7:00 am at Darwin’s Fort Hill Wharf, for an 8:30am departure on 13 August 2021
Disembark: Arrive and disembark at 1:00 pm at Palau, on 24 August 2021
Darwin > Sangliat Dol > Kai Islands > Triton Bay > Sebakor Bay > Misool (Raja Ampat) > Wayag (Raja Ampat) > Waigeo & Sorong (Raja Ampat) > Tobi & Helen Reef > Sonsorol > Palau
Board Coral Geographer at Darwin’s Fort Hill Wharf at 7:00am for an 8:30am departure. Settle into your cabin and relax as we set sail across the Arafura Sea. This evening, join the Captain’s welcome drinks and meet your crew and fellow guests as the sun sets.
These are expedition itineraries covering remote regions. Your Captain and Expedition Team may make changes to the daily schedule when necessary to maximise the guest experience. Below are the highlight destinations of your voyage.
This morning our expedition team share insights into the region before our arrival and clearances into one of the ‘Forgotten Islands’, Pulau Jamdena.
This afternoon we embark on our first expedition to the small village of Sangliat Dol, which is a remarkable place with ancient megalithic sites. A flight of stairs leads up from the beach to reach the ceremonial area where the giant ancient stone boat remains. A ritual ceremony begins our visit, followed by cultural events including traditional dances, demonstrations of local handicrafts and traditional ways of cooking. Browse the village to observe an interesting insight into the daily life of villagers, visit the church, school and ancient stone boat wells, or mingle with the villagers.
Kei islands were visited by early explorers including Tasman in 1644. We start today’s experience with the stunning, soft white sandy beaches of Ngurbloat Beach with a traditional welcome dance by the local villagers from Ngilngof. We are again enthralled by cultural attractions including Kipas-Kipas, Cakalele and Yerik Dances. Witness a demonstration of Enbal processing (a local food staple) and a Sasi, a ritual ceremony known to protect natural resources. Enjoy fresh young coconut or tastings of local food. Gain an interesting insight into the daily lives of fishermen and village folk or stroll the stunning beach. Later, there may be an opportunity snorkel or scuba dive to see rich corals and abundant fish life.
Triton Bay lies within the heart of the Coral Triangle, a global centre of marine biodiversity. We depart for a Xplorer cruise among the islands in the channel between the mainland and Mauwara Island. Exceptionally picturesque, Triton Bay offers outstanding cruising through scenic tropical waters and scenery of spellbinding natural beauty. Mushroom-shaped eroded limestone formations rise from the emerald water, covered with lush pandanus and betel palm vegetation and a profusion of wild orchids. Though the area is uninhabited, a small pile of shells and the occasional fishnet attest to human presence. Wildlife flourishes in this undisturbed habitat, including colourful bird species such as hornbills, rainbow lorikeets, helmeted friarbirds, egrets and black-palm cockatoos.
Triton Bay is one of the three regions that together with Raja Ampat and Cenderawasih Bay comprise the Bird’s Head shape of West Papua. This still relatively unknown destination is full of beautiful corals, massive schools of fish and migrating whale sharks, where you are certain to enjoy a very private, privileged experience in one of the most remote and beautiful parts of the Coral Triangle.
This morning, we discover the beautiful remote coast of Sebakor Bay. The aquarium-like waters are home to exceptional marine life and coral reefs, and snorkellers and divers will have the opportunity to explore. There will be time to kayak, or simply relax and look for Papuan bird life along the shoreline. Later, enjoy the chance to swim under the Mommon Waterfall, where cool freshwater flows out of the lush jungle and falls into the ocean.
Our introduction to the beautiful natural playground of Raja Ampat is at Misool, one of the four largest islands. Raja Ampat means the ‘Four Kings’ which refers to four main islands: Waigeo, Batanta, Salawati, and Misool, in an archipelago comprising over 1,500 smaller islands.
More than 1,000 prehistoric petroglyphs estimated up to 5,000 years old have been discovered at Misool. These ochre rock paintings depict human figures, canoes, sharks and dolphins as well as abstract images thought to symbolise fertility.
At Misool we visit Balbulol Lagoon, an almost landlocked inlet populated with conical-shaped islets undercut at sea level that rise from turquoise waters like Christmas Trees. There is time to swim and kayak amongst the islands in this beautiful lagoon.
We visit another similarly spectacular waterway at Yapap, considered one of the best natural pools in the world. This vast primordial pool is dotted with dramatic limestone formations which look more like chess pieces than rocks. The turquoise Yapap sea has such clarity that grains of sand and coral reefs on the seabed are visible from the surface. We also visit heart-shaped Dafalen Love Lake which can be viewed from up high with a climb to the summit of nearby cliffs. Swimming and diving in these pristine waters is an undisputed highlight of our Raja Ampat adventures.
More Raja Ampat treasures await today as we explore the magnificent waterways and lagoons of the scattered karst ‘beehives’ of the Wayag Islands by Xplorer and Zodiacs. Swim in the crystal-clear waters and walk upon white-sand beaches amongst the many islands. The coral reefs here provide exceptional diving and snorkelling, with many vibrant corals and tropical fish species to discover. Alternatively, enjoy guided glass-bottom boat tours to enjoy views of the underwater world without getting wet. Later, there is an opportunity for an energetic hike up to famed Pindito Peak, with hikers rewarded by panoramic views over the island and its spectacular lagoon.
We enjoy a visit to Yenwaupnor village and hope to see the majestic Bird-of Paradise. Later, there is time to swim, snorkel and kayak on the coral reef.
Today, we enjoy an unusual expedition stop at the small island of Tobi, home to around 30 people who live a traditional lifestyle. Meet the local people, who speak their own language of Tobian, and enjoy snorkelling and swimming from the beach.
One of the 16 states of Palau, the culture and language of Sonsorol is unique from the main Palau archipelago and instead is similar to that of the neighbouring State of Hatohobei as well as the islands of Yap and Chuuk. The people of Sonsorol were also exposed to Japanese culture for the first time during WWII, and the introduction of different language, leadership styles and foods has had an effect on the culture. Here, enjoy meeting the local people and learning the history of the island, before visiting excellent diving locations.
Our voyage ends in Palau where we bid farewell to new-found friends, the Master and crew.
This itinerary is an indication of the destinations we visit and activities on offer. Throughout the expedition, we may make changes to the itinerary as necessary to maximise your expeditionary experience. Allowances may be made for seasonal variations, weather, tidal conditions and any other event that may affect the operation of the vessel. The itinerary includes the possibility of interaction with wild animals and this interaction is subject to the presence of this wildlife on the day.
|Departure||Departure||Arrival||Arrival||Cost Per Person||Cost PP||Ship||Availability|
|13 August 2021||13 Aug 2021||24 August 2021||24 Aug 2021||$8,690 to $16,940||$8,690 to $16,940||Coral Geographer||Available||Book|
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