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Raja Ampat: Coral Triangle Adventure

A unique liveaboard trip combining full days of snorkeling with expert-assisted whale watching in Raja Ampat, Indonesia. We've teamed up with local experts to bring you this top-notch marine wildlife cruise.

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Overview

  • Enjoy 10 full days of snorkeling in a variety of marine ecosystems, from placid blue-water mangroves, to fish and nudibranch-filled coral walls.
  • Join cetacean expert Dr. Heike Vester using visual surveys and hydrophones to find and possibly snorkel with a variety of whale species.
  • Travel in comfort on the Pindito with one of Raja Ampat's best crews.

Oceanic Society travelers will gain 20+ years of local knowledge as we partner with the experts of the Pindito, one of the original liveaboard ships of Raja Ampat. Our focus will be to snorkel the many wonderful marine habitats that have made Raja Ampat a globally-renowned snorkeling and diving destination. We will also go beyond snorkeling, with daily expert-assisted surveys for whales and dolphins including orcas, pilot whales, sperm whales, Bryde's whales, and more when we are not underwater.

See naturalist Eric Ramos' trip report, photos, and video from our 2016 expedition.

Read a blog by our travel director Wayne Sentman about our 2015 expedition.

The majority of our time each day will be spent snorkeling the outstanding reefs of Raja Ampat, considered the most biodiverse marine habitat on Earth. There will be ample opportunities to explore this colorful underwater world filled with a mind-blowing diversity of soft and hard corals, sponges and tunicates, invertebrates, fish, and more. Snorkeling in Raja Ampat is like nothing else.

Adding to the experience, cetacean expert Dr. Heike Vester will be on board to maximize our chances of encountering as many cetacean species as possible. Using a combination of visual surveys and hydrophones for underwater listening, at times throughout our trip the crew will be organized into "observation teams" to attempt to locate whales and dolphins in known areas of concentration. Heike will also give informational presentations during the cruise to help interpret the behaviors we may observe and to provide background about the ecology of these remarkable creatures. If deemed appropriate, we may also have the opportunity to snorkel with some of the whales—an unforgettable experience. While whale and dolphin sightings cannot ever be guaranteed, this cruise offers a high probability to see several species up close, as our itinerary takes us along the Dampier Strait, an area of known high density for marine mammals (and frequently manta rays as well).

Trip Dates & Cost

2018: To be announced. Please inquire.

* Trip prices do not include international airfare. Click here for our full expedition terms and conditions.

Photos
Naturalist

Dr. Heike Vester is a marine mammal expert specializing in the mechanisms of social intelligence and vocal behavior in cetaceans. Her current research includes studying the behavior and occurrence of whales and dolphin in Raja Ampat, West Papua, Indonesia, and in northern Norway, with a look at interspecies comparisons and human interferences.

Samantha Whitcraft holds a bachelor in Natural Sciences from Harvard University and earned her master of Marine Affairs and Policy at the University of Miami's Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science. As a conservation biologist, she has worked with National Geographic, WildAid and local communities to research and develop sustainable ecotourism and "citizen science." A resident of Florida, her fieldwork has taken her to the Amazon, Kiribati, the Bahamas, Fiji, and the Galapagos.

Itinerary

Day 1: Sorong
Arrive in Sorong, board the Pindito

Days 2-11: Exploring Raja Ampat
After departing from Sorong we travel towards Waigeo and then to Batanta, into the Dampier Strait where cetaceans (and manta rays) are most frequently sighted. Because we are dealing with nature, the sequence of activities and destinations may change in order to maximize your experience. Typically, participants will enjoy snorkeling outings in both the mornings and afternoons, and expert facilitated cetacean observation will take place for a brief period after lunch. With luck there may be opportunities to snorkel with the whales.

Day 12: Sorong
Disembark in Sorong.

Accommodations

The 124-foot MV Pindito is one of the original liveaboards of Raja Ampat. It is a Pinisi motored schooner with 8 double occupancy cabins (6 with double beds, 2 with twin beds), each with individually controlled air-conditioning and complete en suite facilities. The ship's comfortable lounge features panoramic windows, and there is ample deck space for relaxing, bird watching, or looking for marine mammals.

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