SPICE ISLAND EXPEDITION CRUISE
28 September - 11 October 2016
Wednesday 28 September 2016 - Darwin
Arrive in Darwin and enjoy free time exploring the city or relaxing at the hotel.
Accommodation: Darwin Hilton
Thursday 29 September 2016 - Board Coral Discoverer
Morning at leisure. This afternoon board our luxury small ship at Fort Hill wharf. This evening, join your fellow delegates, the Captain and his crew at the Captain’s Welcome Drinks.
Friday 30 September 2016 - Timor Sea
As we cross the Timor Sea towards Banda Neira we will hold conference sessions.
Saturday 1 October 2016 - Banda and Spice Islands
In the middle of the Banda Sea lies an enchanted fragment of history, the centre of the Spice Island trade, originally the world’s sole source of nutmeg and mace. On our approach to Banda Island the outline of Gunung Api volcano, with its thin plume of smoke drifting from the summit, will be clearly visible. Be greeted by Kora Kora canoes. Later in the afternoon explore Fort Belgica, built by the first Governor General of the Dutch East Indies in 1611. Join the locals for a traditional dance and music performance as the sun sets over the fort.
Sunday 2 October 2016 - Spice Islands
This morning enjoy the opportunity to immerse yourself in the colours and aromas of the Spice Islands. Stroll through the wide, tree-lined streets, past the remnants of mansions constructed during Dutch colonialism. See the museum, the former VOC Governor’s Mansion, the old church and explore the spice markets.
Monday 3 October 2016 - Raja Ampat and Wagmab
Today we arrive at magical Raja Ampat, an archipelago of 1,500 small islands, cays, and shoals surrounding the four main islands – the Four Kings. Lushly forested islands rise from pristine blue waters. The islands are host to gorgeous unique bird species which you can discover on a guided nature walk. The waters of Raja Ampat boast one of the highest marine diversity habitats on earth. You will have ample time to explore the coral reefs snorkelling, in glass bottom boat tours, diving or kayaking.
Tuesday 4 October 2016 - Misool Island – Mesemta
Visit the Misool Islands, which boast dramatic scenery, with towering limestone pinnacles jutting out of the water and white sand beaches adorned with palm trees. Travel ashore for exploration and birdwatching. Later there is time for kayaking amongst the karst islands, and snorkelling over some of the finest coral gardens in Raja Ampat.
Wednesday 5 October 2016 - Wayag Island and Raja Ampat
We cross the equator into the northern hemisphere as we make our way towards Wayag Island. Take an optional early morning hike up Pindito Peak, where the reward is breathtaking views over the island and its spectacular lagoon. Then, discover the lagoon’s white sand beaches and a magical maze of limestone karst ‘gumdrop’ islands. The islands are adorned with thousands of pitcher plants and colourful orchids.
Thursday 6 October 2016 - Gam Rainforest Walk and Aljui Bay Pearl Farm
Awaken as we cruise the Dampier Straits, named in honour of famed explorer William Dampier. At Pulau Gam a local Papuan guide will join us on a walk through the shady forests around Sawingrai village. Hopefully you will glimpse of one of nature’s finest creations, the ethereal Red Bird of Paradise. This afternoon visit Aljui Bay South Seas Pearl Farm, our local host taking us through the entire propagation and cultivation process.
Friday 7 October 2016 - Hidden Bay and Gam Island
We enjoy our final morning in Raja Ampat discovering a true gem, Hidden Bay. An extremely scenic and atmospheric place to explore, there will be ample time to kayak, enjoy glass bottom boat tours over the coral reefs, snorkel and dive and take a guided nature walk. In the afternoon we meet the locals of Gam and explore their traditional village.
Afternoon voluntary medical clinic
Saturday 8 October 2016 - Mansinan Island
Just off the island of Mansinan, enjoy the opportunity to snorkel, dive or view through glass bottom boat some World War II wrecks that lie in the shallow waters.
Sunday 9 October 2016 - Cenderawasih Bay
We enter the marine life haven that is Cenderawasih Marine Park and go in search of an encounter with the biggest fish in the sea, the beautiful Whale Shark. We have a chance to swim, snorkel and dive amongst these majestic animals. Keep your eye out for the park’s wide variety of rarely seen wildlife, including dugongs, dolphins, blue whales and four species of turtle, including the endangered Leatherback.
Monday 10 October 2016 - Cenderawasih Bay
Our exploration of Cenderawasih Bay continues today as we view some of the bay’s eighty square kilometres of pristine coral reefs which support over 200 species of tropical fish. Join the Marine Biologist aboard the glass bottom boat, join a kayak tour and snorkel and dive amongst the corals. Later this afternoon we visit a local village to learn about the interesting customs and traditional lifestyles of the West Papuan people.
Afternoon voluntary medical clinic.
This evening join your fellow delegates, the Captain and his staff for Farewell Drinks and Dinner and reminisce over what has been an unforgettable adventure.
Tuesday 11 October 2016 - Biak and Charter Flight to Darwin
Disembark Coral Discoverer and tour Biak before joining our charter flight to Darwin.
End of arrangements
Please note that this itinerary and costs may be subject to change.