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Snorkeling Alyui Bay!

Snorkeling the Kaleidoscopic Reefs of Alyui Bay

The Bird's head Peninsula Seascape, Raja Ampat, resides in the heart of the Coral TriangleAlyui Bay is the legendary, must-see destination that is a small part of our popular Raja Ampat, Indonesia snorkeling tour. Raja Ampat possesses some of the highest levels of marine life on the planet, and after many years and closing in on 75 tours to the area, we believe that Alyui Bay represents a biodiversity hotspot within the Bird’s Head Seascape.

Located in the northwest corner of Waigeo, Alyui Bay has some of the most stunning scenery in the region. Once a massive plateau of vibrant coral reef, plate movements thousands of years ago caused an uplifting event that elevated the ancient reef hundreds of feet above sea level. Sheer vertical limestone cliffs now define the large, deep bay and the limestone that once supported coral, now supports a diverse, tropical jungle whose lush foliage often extends right to the water’s edge, giving the impression of enormous walls of forest that erupt vertically from the water.

Alyui Bay possesses a variety of marine habitats. Large islands at the mouth of the bay have extensive fringing seaward reefs that possess a variety of both hard and soft corals as well as hundreds of species of reef fish. Deeper into the bay, reefs fringing from the islands change in coral composition as the areas themselves become more protected from larger ocean swells. The network of high limestone islands also creates protected, shaded channels where nutrient-rich, fast-moving water flows through to support a huge diversity marine life. The steep walls along the sides block consistent sunlight, promoting a rich marine environment, but not dominated by hard coral. Instead, the walls are covered with colorful sponges, tunicates, soft corals, and hydrozoans. Nudibranchs, always a snorkeler’s favorite, are very common in these types of habitats. At the Pearl Farm, the shallow sand and rubble habitat offer us the chance to see rare and interesting invertebrates and fish. Given the number of habitats, the relative location within the coral triangle and its size, it’s no wonder the marine diversity in Alyui Bay is astounding!

This itinerary was designed to take full advantage of the wealth of snorkeling opportunities in and around Alyui Bay and for the marine enthusiast, this is an opportunity almost too good to miss! Along with our snorkeling adventures, we will also have the chance to see a variety of tropical birds – many that are endemic to the area, visit white-sand beaches, and use dinghies to cruise through narrow passages that lead into hidden bays. Since first visiting this area in the early 2000’s, we have been dreaming of doing this type of snorkeling tour in Raja Ampat and finally, we are!X

ITINERARY

Route map for Alyui Bay snorkeling tour

Our snorkeling tour begins and ends in Jakarta, Indonesia. One round trip, internal flight (Jakarta-Sorong-Jakarta). Upon our arrival in Sorong, we will board our boat and cruise towards our first destination within the Raja Ampat archipelago. Please note that although our plan is to spend the bulk of our time in Alyui Bay, weather, tides, and opportunities to explore all play a role in the decisions about our daily schedule as well as the overall itinerary.

Day 1: Jakarta / FM7 Hotel, Jakarta
Meals provided: D
Meet in Jakarta, Indonesia at our group hotel, the Swiss Belhotel, for the tour orientation and welcome dinner. As is often the case with our internal flight, we will depart for Sorong in the late evening, thus our ‘overnight’ will be in transit to Sorong. Overnight FM7 Hotel, Jakarta.

Day 2: Sorong / Sea Safari 8
Meals provided: B,L,D
Fly to Sorong and transfer to our live-aboard boat, the Sea Safari 8. We’ll have a boat orientation and then lunch before we depart for our snorkeling adventures. While we do not plan to have the chance to snorkel today, if time and weather permits, we will give it our best. Overnight Sea Safari 8.

Day 3: Yangeffo
Meals provided: B,L,D
The tiny mangrove islands of Yangeffo are separated from the main island of Gam by little more than 75m-wide channel. Normally, mangrove islands would be fairly turbid and, as such, lack high coral abundance and diversity. But the channel focuses strong water flow that flushes the area of sediment. This results in clear-water mangroves where a huge number of corals use prop roots of the mangroves as substrate to grow upon. The clash of ‘habitats’ makes for amazing snorkeling opportunities! We will snorkel both sides of the channel, especially to take advantage of the reef that extends from Gam. Overnight Sea Safari 8.

Day 4 – 10: Waigeo / Alyui Bay
Meals provided: B,L,D
Alyui Bay resides along the northwestern tip of Waigeo and is home to some of the most amazing marine habitats in the world. We often come here for a few days on our regular Raja Ampat tour and leave with everyone wishing for more! Many of the shallow habitats are dominated by colorful sponges, tunicates, and soft corals, sometimes growing so abundant that it looks like a kaleidoscope exploded onto the walls of the island. Dozens of species of nudibranchs are usually recorded on each snorkel session and in places like the Pearl Farm where we will have the chance to snorkel over mixed sand and rubble habitats, rare creatures like seahorses, flamboyant cuttlefishes, cockatoo wasp fishes, and tasseled wobbegong sharks are the norm. Alyui Bay also has extensive coral gardens, some that will take several sessions to full explore as well as dramatic walls where we may see pewter angelfish or the CTA logo, the humphead grouper (barramundi cod). We will spend seven days snorkeling the many habitats of Alyui, and with our extended time, have the chance to explore some of the other nooks and crannies of the bay where we might find a wealth of even crazier marine critters! We aren’t limited to snorkeling, though it will definitely rule the day :-). The Pearl Farm is an active pearl-harvesting and breeding station and we will have the chance to visit the facilities to learn about the process of pearl-farming. Alyui Bay is also a haven for bird watchers, and we will absolutely jump in the dinghies to explore many of the intimate passages and private bays that can be found throughout the maze of limestone islands. Overnight Sea Safari 8.

Day 11: Dampier Strait / Mansuar
Meals provided: B,L,D
The island of Mansuar sits along the northern edges of Dampier Strait and acts as an waypoint for all types of marine life that cruise through the area. The incredibly rich coral gardens are home to resident herds of bumphead parrotfish, and schools of barracuda, unicornfishes, and fusiliers. Greens and hawksbill turtles, and black and white-tip sharks are regularly sighted along the reef margins and strong currents along the pier support a forest of red and yellow sea fans. We’ll spend the day exploring a variety of seaward-facing habitats where the big fish roam! Overnight Sea Safari 8.

Day 12: Sorong / Jakarta / FM7 Hotel
Meals provided: B,L,D
Disembark for our connection to Jakarta. Check in to our group hotel, the FM7 Hotel. Farewell dinner at the hotel. Overnight FM7 Hotel, Jakarta.

Day 13: International flights or extensions
Meals provided: B

DEPARTURES

Oct 07  – 19, 2023 ←Click to request a booking
Accommodations: Sea Safari 8
Guides: TBD
Length: 13 days

Prices and Payment schedule:
$6600 USD per person, double occupancy
$8600 USD per person, single occupancy

Reservation deposit: $500 USD
April 07, 2023: $3000 USD
July 07, 2023: $3100 USD / $5100 USD single occ.

Tour cost includes:

  • Accommodations throughout tour dates
  • All meals on days 2 through 12 (dinner on day 1 – breakfast on day 13)
  • All internal transfers including international arrival and departure transfers
  • Non-alcoholic beverages
  • All snorkeling and park fees
  • All gratuities

Tour cost does not include:

  • Round-trip international airfare (Please contact us with recommendations for routes or referrals to any of the several travel agents we currently work with)
  • Additional hotel accommodations and meals as a result of travel outside of the program dates
  • Visa requirements including payments
  • Alcoholic beverages
  • International departure taxes
  • Extra / overweight baggage fees
  • Trip insurance (recommended; (we recommend Travel GuardWorld Nomads, or Travel Insure)
  • DAN insurance (required unless personal insurance program has worldwide emergency evacuation services)
  • Additional accommodations while on tour in the event of flight schedule changes or events of force majeure
  • Any required COVID-19 tests
  • Any required quarantine or flight changes due to a positive COVID-19 result

Cancellation policy:
91 – 150 days prior to departure: 50% of trip cost
90 days or less prior to departure: 100% of tour cost

Please see our Terms and Conditions for more information


Accommodations

 

The sea safari 8 is the boat we use for our trips to Raja Ampat, IndonesiaSea Safari 8 is a traditional, double-masted, phinisi-buginese schooner built in 2003 specifically for divers and snorkelers. The boat has full navigation systems including radar and GPS, and is safety rated, carrying 4 life rafts, water-activated EPURBS, satellite phones, and complete fire extinguishing systems, based on European standards. It has 12 guest cabins, each with a private bathroom, air-conditioner, TV, hot and cold water, and plenty of storage space. The spacious, air-conditioned saloon serves plated and buffet meals and the lounge includes comfortable couches, a library, and a large flat screen TV. There are two outdoor decks, one that is covered and the other, perfect for sunbathing. For more info about the Sea Safari 8 click here.


 

FM7 Hotel was established in 2006 as a new luxury hotel in Soekarno-Hatta Jakarta International Airport area. Each spacious room is designed with a modern taste and include many amenities, such as hairdryers, bathrobes, and toiletries. Laundry service is available and there is an onsite convenience store for small travel items. FM7 Hotel offers delectable fine dining, whether you’re looking for a business lunch or a weekend brunch with the family. The restaurants include the finest cuisines featuring Malay, Chinese, Indonesian, Korean, Thailand, Western, or indulge in an extravagant buffet and enjoy a variety of international flavors. The hotel offers a sanctuary spa that inspires effortless relaxation. This luxury haven has a complete spectrum of wellness services, including sauna & steam, hot and cold whirlpool and a fully equipped fitness center with an indoor swimming pool, hair salon, karaoke, sport bar and many more. Front desk services including concierge service, luggage storage and safety deposit boxes. The hotel’s ticket service and tours can even help you book tickets and reservations for entertainment and explorations. Pre-arrange arrival and departure, airport transfer services can be booked before you even check in. Free WIFI available.


DEPARTURES

Oct 07  – 19, 2023 ←Click to request a booking
Accommodations: Sea Safari 8
Guides: TBD
Length: 13 days

Prices and Payment schedule:
$6600 USD per person, double occupancy
$8600 USD per person, single occupancy

Reservation deposit: $500 USD
April 07, 2023: $3000 USD
July 07, 2023: $3100 USD / $5100 USD single occ.

Tour cost includes:

  • Accommodations throughout tour dates
  • All meals on days 2 through 13 (dinner on day 1 – breakfast on day 13)
  • All internal transfers including international arrival and departure transfers
  • Non-alcoholic beverages
  • All snorkeling and park fees
  • All gratuities

Tour cost does not include:

  • Round-trip international airfare (Please contact us with recommendations for routes or referrals to any of the several travel agents we currently work with)
  • Additional hotel accommodations and meals as a result of travel outside of the program dates
  • Visa requirements including payments
  • Alcoholic beverages
  • International departure taxes
  • Extra / overweight baggage fees
  • Trip insurance (recommended; (we recommend Travel GuardWorld Nomads, or Travel Insure)
  • DAN insurance (required unless personal insurance program has worldwide emergency evacuation services)
  • Additional accommodations while on tour in the event of flight schedule changes or events of force majeure
  • Any required COVID-19 tests
  • Any required quarantine or flight changes due to a positive COVID-19 result

Cancellation policy:
91 – 150 days prior to departure: 50% of trip cost
90 days or less prior to departure: 100% of tour cost

Please see our Terms and Conditions for more information


What to Expect and Bring

WHAT TO EXPECT

Our main moorage in Aljui Bay lies at less than one degree south of the Equator. As an equatorial island archipelago, weather year round is hot and humid, with nearly daily rain showers occurring in the early morning or late afternoon. Daytime temperatures hover around 86º F (30º C) and are not much different in the evening. Water temperatures average around 82º F (28º C), though cooler temperatures may occur if steady rains cause a thin layer of cool freshwater on the surface. Water movements around the islands of Raja Ampat may be strong. While we plan our snorkel session around the slack tides, we also have several sites where having water movement is an advantage. These drift snorkels allow us to cover large areas of reef without having to swim too hard. Our snorkel sessions are 100% boat supported and two dinghies will be there at all times to assist anyone for whatever reason.

There will be opportunities to visit the Pearl Farm and beaches for nature walks or to just chill in the shade during the warm afternoon. Beach walks only require loose fitting clothes and foot protection that can get wet (e.g., sandals or neoprene booties).

Please read more about our daily schedule here.

WHAT TO BRING

The following list is a suggestion of things to bring and applies to almost all of our trips (specific items on a particular departure will be noted on the departure information).

-A good fitting mask, snorkel, and set of fins. If your equipment is brand new, please try it out in the pool. Determining the fit and function of your equipment in the pool includes doing several laps with all of your equipment on. Doing several snorkel dives is also very beneficial. It is also important to clean your new equipment, especially your mask. Cleaning procedures for your mask include light scrubbing with toothpaste or dishwasher soap to remove the light layer of silicon that is used to preserve the mask during shipping and storage. All areas of the mask, both inside and out, need to be addressed. Doing this greatly reduces the chances of having your mask fog. Not doing this, even when using mask de-fogger, usually results in a fogged mask.

-A wetsuit, rash guard, diveskin, or any type of clothing that can be used for thermal and/or protection form the sun. We suggest bringing a full 3mm wetsuit and some type of core insulation like a vest or shirt made of 1 – 2 mm neoprene (e.g., Lavacore or Sharkskin shirts or vests). These items will not only provide thermal protection but protection from the sun as well. For those who feel that a 3mm suit may be too warm, please consider a full body skin or rash guard to ensure protection from the strong sun. With regards to thermal protection, remember the saying: it is better to have and not need, than to need and not have. One that note…

-Head protection in the form of a wetsuit hood, a cap, or even a bandana. Anything that can keep the sun off of your head is extremely important. It is the most exposed part of our bodies when we are floating on the surface.

-Biodegradable sunscreen lotion. Okay, this is a tricky suggestion. Even many biodegradable sunscreen lotions have been shown to harm and even kill tiny larvae (baby marine life ranging from fish to all types of invertebrates especially coral). It is fine to wear on land, but we highly discourage the use of sunscreen lotions in the water. Having a full wetsuit or skin will do the job of protection from the sun much better than lotions and the suits also help with thermal protection. It is truly a win-win for everyone and the marine environment.

-Casual, lightweight, tropical clothing
-Sunglasses (and a spare in case you lose your main pair)
-Comfortable footwear such as active sandals (Teva, Keen, Merrell, etc.)
-Hats. We cannot stress the importance of a hat in the tropics!
-All of our boats provide items like shampoo, soap, towels, etc. We bring this up because these items represent added weight and if they leak, less-than-fun times during the unpacking stage of the trip.

Other items that may be considered:
-Lightweight rainwear to protect from the occasional afternoon shower
-Binoculars

DEPARTURES

Oct 07  – 19, 2023 ←Click to request a booking
Accommodations: Sea Safari 8
Guides: TBD
Length: 13 days

Prices and Payment schedule:
$6600 USD per person, double occupancy
$8600 USD per person, single occupancy

Reservation deposit: $500 USD
April 07, 2023: $3000 USD
July 07, 2023: $3100 USD / $5100 USD single occ.

Tour cost includes:

  • Accommodations throughout tour dates
  • All meals on days 2 through 13 (dinner on day 1 – breakfast on day 13)
  • All internal transfers including international arrival and departure transfers
  • Non-alcoholic beverages
  • All snorkeling and park fees
  • All gratuities

Tour cost does not include:

  • Round-trip international airfare (Please contact us with recommendations for routes or referrals to any of the several travel agents we currently work with)
  • Additional hotel accommodations and meals as a result of travel outside of the program dates
  • Visa requirements including payments
  • Alcoholic beverages
  • International departure taxes
  • Extra / overweight baggage fees
  • Trip insurance (recommended; (we recommend Travel GuardWorld Nomads, or Travel Insure)
  • DAN insurance (required unless personal insurance program has worldwide emergency evacuation services)
  • Additional accommodations while on tour in the event of flight schedule changes or events of force majeure
  • Any required COVID-19 tests
  • Any required quarantine or flight changes due to a positive COVID-19 result

Cancellation policy:
91 – 150 days prior to departure: 50% of trip cost
90 days or less prior to departure: 100% of tour cost

Please see our Terms and Conditions for more information

Departures

The sea safari 8 is the boat we use for our trips to Raja Ampat, Indonesia

Oct 07  – 19, 2023 ←Click to request a booking
Accommodations: Sea Safari 8
Guides: TBD
Length: 13 days

Prices and Payment schedule:
$6600 USD per person, double occupancy
$8600 USD per person, single occupancy

Reservation deposit: $500 USD
April 07, 2023: $3000 USD
July 07, 2023: $3100 USD / $5100 USD single occ.

Tour cost includes:

  • Accommodations throughout tour dates
  • All meals on days 2 through 13 (dinner on day 1 – breakfast on day 13)
  • All internal transfers including international arrival and departure transfers
  • Non-alcoholic beverages
  • All snorkeling and park fees
  • All gratuities

Tour cost does not include:

  • Round-trip international airfare (Please contact us with recommendations for routes or referrals to any of the several travel agents we currently work with)
  • Additional hotel accommodations and meals as a result of travel outside of the program dates
  • Visa requirements including payments
  • Alcoholic beverages
  • International departure taxes
  • Extra / overweight baggage fees
  • Trip insurance (recommended; (we recommend Travel GuardWorld Nomads, or Travel Insure)
  • DAN insurance (required unless personal insurance program has worldwide emergency evacuation services)
  • Additional accommodations while on tour in the event of flight schedule changes or events of force majeure
  • Any required COVID-19 tests
  • Any required quarantine or flight changes due to a positive COVID-19 result

Cancellation policy:
91 – 150 days prior to departure: 50% of trip cost; 90 days or less prior to departure: 100% of tour cost. In any event of cancellation we will endeavor to find a replacements. In the case we find replacement guests we may be able to offer a partial refund or may transfer some or all payments to another departure.

Please see our Terms and Conditions for more information

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