This archipelago, situated at the heart of the Coral Triangle, is home to more than 1300 species of fish, six of the world’s seven species of sea turtles and more than 450 reef-building corals–the perfect place for a snorkeling adventure! At the intersection of the Indian Ocean and Pacific Ocean, its relative isolation has been one of its greatest defenses against overuse and exploitation.
Powerful deep-sea currents funnel nutrients into Raja Ampat’s delicate fringing reefs, blue-water drop-offs, mangrove flats, seagrass beds and massive coral colonies and form the foundation of a food chain that feeds a spectacular diversity of marine life. The first comprehensive scientific survey of the area was only conducted in 2001 and found nearly 1000 tropical fish species, many of which had been previously unknown. Since that time many more have been identified. And that’s only the fish!
Snorkeling in the heart of the Coral Triangle!
Home to more than ten times the number of hard corals found in the Caribbean, the Raja Ampat or “Four Kings” archipelago lies off the northwestern tip of Indonesia’s West Papua Province. Its 9.8 million acres of land and sea includes more than 1500 islands and an unparalleled variety of marine life.
Cruising comfortably aboard the KLM Sea Safari 8, a traditional Indonesian schooner with spacious common areas and en suite cabins, we will have optimal flexibility to explore the miles of hard and soft corals and rich marine life of the archipelago. On our daily snorkeling excursions, we typically view vibrant coral gardens filled with abundant marine life. More than 1300 species of coral reef fish have now been discovered as well as 600 species of hard coral and 700 species of mollusk, including 7 giant clam and 57 mantis shrimp species. In the waters surrounding these islands, we also find five species of rare and endangered sea turtles, including the hawksbill, and 13 marine mammal species, including the dugong.
While Sea for Yourself programs feature snorkeling as the top priority, this particular occasion also provides certified SCUBA divers with excellent diving opportunities. The ship offers a complete complement of tanks, weights, rental gear, and divemaster services.
After our daily snorkeling activities, evenings will be spent enjoying leisurely dinners, marine biology lectures and interpretive sessions.
Snorkeling Adventure in Raja Ampat
Our program begins in the late afternoon when we join our fellow participants in Jakarta for a program orientation at the Sheraton Bandara Hotel in Jakarta followed by a welcome dinner. We recommend that you consider arriving in Jakarta a day early to ensure your participation in the first evening’s activities. After our program orientation we will transfer to the airport late that same evening for our early morning flight to Sorong. At your request we would be happy to assist with making arrangements for early arrival at our hotel.
Early this morning we fly to Sarong, the gateway to the Raja Ampat Archipelago. Raja Ampat, the Four Kings Archipelago lies off the northwest tip of the Bird’s Head Peninsula and is comprised of four major islands surrounded by 1500 small islands and cays. In Sorong, we board the Sea Safari 8, our home for the next 9 nights, and head northwest en route to the limestone islands of Penemu.
Reefs throughout Raja Ampat are among the world’s most pristine. Currents distribute coral larvae across the Pacific Ocean to constantly replenish reef ecosystems. Some areas harbor large schools of fish. Others offer regular sightings of large species such as groupers and harmless sharks. We will snorkel the calm waters between Penemu’s mushroom-shaped rock islands which harbor miles of hard and soft corals. We plan to explore a shallow lake filled with cassiopea jellyfish and juvenile sharks. As throughout the program, the evening will be spent enjoying a leisurely dinner and a lecture or interpretive session led by your Sea for Yourself staff.
Explore the reefs around Waigeo Island, one of the largest in Raja Ampat. When snorkeling, look for Napolean wrasse, cardinalfish, angelfish and butterflyfish swimming among swaying sea anemones and colorful coral heads.
The remote and thinly-populated island of Wayag, just north of the Equator, presents ideal conditions for reefs to flourish undisturbed. In the aquamarine-colored waters surrounding this and nearby rock islands, look for Moorish idols, triggerfish and juvenile wrasses. It is also possible to see an occasional octopus and mantis shrimp here or elsewhere during the tour.
During snorkeling outings in the waters surrounding the vegetation-covered, limestone islands of Uranie and Kawe, keep an eye out for schools of barracuda tagging along with blue tail surgeonfish in the current, silvery trevally glistening from the sun and iridescent parrotfish. Here and throughout the voyage we will also see giant clams anchored on the sea floor.
In the Dampier Strait near Arborek, we plan to snorkel at Manta Point where reef and oceanic manta rays, some with wingspans over 5m, can sometimes be seen waiting above large coral heads to be cleaned by small wrasses. Here you can also see tuna, trevallies, turtles, nudibranchs and a wide variety of colorful reef fish.
When snorkeling Gam Island’s clear waters, keep an eye out for oriental sweetlips, coral trout, glassfish and orange and purple anthias that inhabit its reefs and mangroves. Peering into nooks around sunset may reveal the brilliantly-colored mandarinfish. In this area we will take an exciting drift snorkel, floating with the currents through the Kabui Strait between Waigeo and Gam. The Java cownose ray feeds in this passage. In the evening we cruise to Mansuar Island.
Enjoy snorkeling at Mansaur and Kri Islands. The waters off Kri’s cape are frequented by a huge variety of fish. Look for Queensland grouper as you snorkel along undersea walls. Manta rays congregate at a nearby cleaning station, with escorts of gold-banded fusiliers. You may even spot green or hawksbill sea turtles or a pod of dolphins. In the late evening, we set sail for Sorong.
Disembark in Sorong and transfer to the airport for our return flight to Jakarta. After an afternoon on your own, gather in the evening for our farewell dinner.
After breakfast, transfer to the airport for your flights home.
The itinerary on this expedition-style adventure is flexible and may be subject to change.
This trip is limited to 20 participants, with a minimum of 12. Due to the limited space available for this tour, reservations will be accepted in the order deposits are received. You will be notified when your space is confirmed.
The cost for this program is $8890 per person, based on double occupancy (Lower Deck) and $9290 per person based on double occupancy (Middle Deck). Price includes internal air (estimated at $1000). For those requesting a single room an additional supplement of $850 will be added to the tour cost. Please be advised that single space is limited and subject to availability. If you wish to share a room, we will do our best to find a roommate for you. If, by the time of your final payment, a share cannot be found and space is available, you will be charged a single supplement.
Deposits & payments
A deposit of $1000, plus a signed, completed reservation form confirms your registration for the trip. You will be notified when your space on the program is confirmed. Final payment, plus single supplement, if applicable, is due 150 days prior to departure.
The tour fee includes
Group airport transfers within Indonesia, meals as indicated in the itinerary, accommodations beginning on the first day of the program, internal flights, airport taxes on internal flights, marine park entrance fees, all snorkeling activities, guided cultural excursions, local taxes, group gratuities to KLM Sea Safari 8 staff, services of the trip leader including any needed snorkeling lessons, marine biology lectures and interpretive sessions, and explanations of Raja Ampat’s natural history.
The tour fee does not include
International airfare to and from Indonesia, increases in international airfare rates, international departure taxes, SCUBA activities, rental gear, medical immunizations or prescriptions, passport fees, accident/baggage/cancellation insurance, individual transfers, excess baggage charges, medical expenses, meals not specified in the itinerary, dishes and beverages not part of included meals, laundry, telephone, internet or fax charges, room service, and other items of a purely personal nature.
International and/or domestic airfare
Sea for Yourself does not issue airline tickets. Trip participants are responsible for making their own air travel arrangements. Please do not purchase airline tickets until your reservation for the program has been confirmed and you have reviewed your travel schedule with our office.
This program will be best enjoyed by experienced snorkelers or individuals who are comfortable being in the water. Our tour leader will gladly provide any needed snorkeling instruction, from floating to free diving. Whenever possible, we will seek out protected water for our snorkeling excursions, but at times there might be moderately swift currents or the surface may be a bit choppy due to wind. Any “hiking” will be easy to moderate.
Raja Ampat’s climate is tropical. The temperature ranges from 75- 90°F with high humidity. Water temperatures are usually in the low 80’s. Currents and tides may necessitate deviations from the daily itinerary. And as with any tropical destination, there will always be a chance of rain, mosquitoes when on land, and sand flies. The snorkeling destinations in this itinerary were selected based on professional assessments of the reefs in January 2016. Please be aware that climatic events, such as coral bleaching, may occur at any time and could adversely affect the reefs. We will work with the crew of the KLM Sea Safari 8 to monitor conditions and provide timely updates to participants when relevant. Please remember that some kind of covering (such as a Lycra suit or even pajamas!) when in the water is highly recommended as protection from sun, occasional stinging zooplankton, and to prevent coral abrasions. We strongly recommend that you consider wearing a wet suit.
After you have reserved space on a trip and the program is confirmed, you will receive information to help you prepare for departure, including airline information to arrange for your international and/or domestic flights, optional supplemental travel insurance information, a complete packing and reading list and other useful information about our destination.
Sea for Yourself provides participants who are U.S. or Canadian citizens with limited medical, accident and evacuation coverage under our group travel insurance policy. We highly recommend the purchase of optional baggage and trip cancellation insurance; information will be sent to registrants. Exclusions for pre-existing conditions may be waived with the prompt purchase of travel insurance.