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Raja Ampat: Coral Triangle Adventure

Enjoy some of the world’s best snorkeling and watch for whales with expert assistance while cruising aboard the luxurious liveaboard, El Aleph.

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Overview

  • Enjoy daily snorkeling or diving in the wonderland of Raja Ampat while traveling aboard the ultra luxurious pinisi schooner, El Aleph.
  • Cetacean expert Benjamin Kahn will lead us in spotting marine mammals including Bryde’s and sperm whales, and much more.
  • Your participation supports data collection on cetacean habit use data that can drive MPA expansion and further protection of deep water habitats and associated shallow water ecosystems of the Coral Triangle.

Escape for a 12-day adventure to Raja Ampat aboard the luxury ship, El Aleph, and enjoy daily snorkeling or diving in the most biodiverse coral reef ecosystem in the world. Multiple hours will be spent each day immersed in Raja Ampat’s famous and beautiful reefs where cetaceans, manta rays, turtles, and large schools of fish are all frequently sighted. Time will also be devoted in the afternoons to surveying for marine mammals, plus optional morning outings to go birding.

This program is co-led by Benjamin Kahn, a cetacean biologist specializing in the Coral Triangle. From experience, we know that most whales are sighted in the Dampier Strait. Our itinerary aims to maximize marine mammal encounters, and you will get to participate in visual whale surveys, use hydrophones to listen to their unique sounds and, on rare occasions, observe them while snorkeling. All whale survey activity is carried out in a manner designed to ensure that the species and habitat are not disturbed.

Trip Dates & Cost

2019: Feb 19 - Mar 2 SOLD OUT. $9,695 / person + park fees.* Group limit 10 only. Note: We are also offering departures aboard El Aleph in 2018 and 2019 in the nearby Banda Sea.

2020: Dates and details to be announced. Contact us to inquire.

* A deluxe master cabin is available at an additional cost. Trip prices do not include international airfare, or in-country airfare from to/from Sorong. Click here for our full expedition terms and conditions.

Photos
Naturalist

Benjamin Kahn is a cetacean researcher and director of the Coral Triangle Oceanic Cetacean Program for APEX Environmental. He is an Adjunct Research Fellow in the Centre of Marine Science and Technology at Curtin University in Perth, Western Australia. Benjamin first worked with Oceanic Society in 2015 aboard our Raja Ampat: Snorkeling and Whale Watching expedition.

Wayne Sentman is our director of conservation travel programs and an Oceanic Society naturalist since 1998. He is an experienced guide with a diverse background in marine mammal, seabird, and marine debris research. Wayne also co-teaches undergraduate field programs in Kenya on human-wildlife conflict and on the use of social media and art to raise public participation in conservation. He recently received a Master's in Environmental Management from Harvard University.

Pete Oxford works in some of the world’s most pristine and remote wildlife and cultural destinations as a full-time professional photographer. His images have appeared in major magazines including National Geographic, Time, Outdoor Photographer, and Smithsonian, and have been featured ten times in the BBC Wildlife Photographer of the Year Awards. Pete and his wife Reneé also lead expeditions to some of the world’s richest cultures and most biodiverse areas of our planet.

Itinerary

Guests will need to arrive to Jakarta at least one day prior to the start of the expedition. In-country flights to and from Sorong, where our expedition begins and ends, are not included in the trip price, but will be arranged by Oceanic Society. The following itinerary is an example only, and is subject to change based on weather and other external factors during our voyage.

Day 1: Sorong
Arrive in Sorong (from Jakarta), board El Aleph.

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, transfer to airport to catch flights to Jakarta (or Bali).

Accommodations

Our expedition takes place aboard El Aleph, a 40-meter luxury ship purpose-built for exploring the remote and legendary Raja Ampat. From the polished wood finish – more reminiscent of a fine guitar than a phinisi schooner – to the-state-of-the-art electronics and navigation suites, no expense has been spared in providing the ultimate in relaxed, luxury charter. El Aleph features just 5 cabins accommodating a maximum of 10 guests (4 double cabins, 1 master suite), each with en suite facilities, and is staffed by 12 crew members. Multiple decks and a large lounge area offer ample space to spread out and relax, or to dine al fresco as you take in the surrounding views.

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