Snorkeling Ambon and Raja Ampat!

Snorkeling the Reefs of Ambon and Raja Ampat!

route map for Ambon to Raja Ampat snorkeling tourAmbon is part of the Maluku Islands, made famous by nutmeg and mace, highly sought-after spices during the 16th and 17th centuries. Advances in spice cultivation in the latter parts of the 17th century took the spotlight off of the Malukus and they quietly retreated back into obscurity. Though sleepy and off-the-beaten-path, the islands reside squarely within the coral triangle and are now known for their incredible coral reefs. Decades if not centuries of isolation allowed for amazing reef growth and the astonishing number of fishes and invertebrates that comes with it.
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Conversely, Raja Ampat needs no introduction. Known the world over for its incredible marine biodiversity and variety of shallow water habitats, Raja Ampat remains an exceptional destination for snorkelers who want experience what a healthy, robust coral reef looks and feels like. This special departure gives us the chance to combine these two remarkable destinations where we can explore a bit of Ambon before heading to snorkel the amazing reefs of Misool and Dampier Strait in Raja Ampat.
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ITINERARY

Itinerary map for Ambon to Raja Ampat snorkeling tour for Coral triangle adventuresOur snorkeling tour begins and ends in Jakarta, Indonesia. One round trip, internal flight (Jakarta-Ambon; Sorong-Jakarta). Upon our arrival in Ambon, we will board our boat and begin our cruise towards Sorong. Please note that although we visit many of the islands and island groups in the sample itinerary below, each of our departures is unique and that 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 / Bandara International
Meals provided: D
Meet in Jakarta, Indonesia at our group hotel, the Bandara International, 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 Bandara International

Day 2: Ambon / Pindito
Meals provided: B,L,D
Fly to Ambon and transfer to our live-aboard boat, the M/V Pindito. Boat orientation and lunch before we depart for our snorkeling adventure into the islands. While we do not plan to have the chance to snorkel today, if time and weather permits, we will give it our best. Overnight: M/V Pindito

Day 3: Ambon / North Ceram
Meals provided: B,L,D
The coastline of Ambon and the neighboring island of Ceram is rugged with lush jungle coverage right down to the waterline. Secluded coves over us a chance to explore the reefs that grow abundantly in the shallow, clear blue water. Being located close to the absolute center of the coral triangle, we can expect to find a variety of bizarre and amazing critters! Overnight: M/V Pindito

Day 4 – 5 : Misool, Raja Ampat / Pelee / Segaf
Meals provided: B,L,D
The islands of Misool are the remnants of an ancient reef that jutted out Misool into the Arafuru Sea. Plate tectonics caused the uplift and rain, wind, and seawater further eroded the limestone into the network of islands we see today. The reefs in the area are even more spectacular than the limestone islands they grow upon. We’ll spend one day visiting the island of Pelee where steep walls begin in only a few feet of water and the next day snorkeling the reefs of Segaf where colorful table corals overlap each other in a just a few feet of water! Overnight: M/V Pindito

Day 6 – 7: Wagmab / Lenkafal
Meals provided: B,L,D
The limestone islands closer to Misool are a series of small island groups that create maze of hidden lagoons, narrow passes, and marine lakes. We’ll take advantage of these habitats and snorkel a narrow channel that is covered with soft corals and sea fans, and with a bit of patience quite a few species of nudibranchs. We’ll also snorkel a blue-water mangrove stand, inside a marine lake, and an expansive section of reef flats that we may need two sessions to explore completely. We will also use our dinghies to cruise through some of the stunning island groups on the planet. Overnight: M/V Pindito

Day 8: Batanta
Meals provided: B,L,D
Our snorkel sites on Batanta Island is in semi-protected bay / passage that harbors one of the healthiest hard coral gardens in all of Raja Ampat. From massive boulder corals to colorful table corals, just about every shape and color are represented here. The hard corals also attract a huge number and diversity of reef fishes, making this site a real-life aquarium! We may also have the chance to snorkel with manta rays as they often visit the bay during strong tides to feed. Overnight: M/V Pindito

Day 9: Fam Islands / Penemu
Meals provided: B,L,D
A few hours to the north lies the Fam Island group and the largest, most popular of them, Penemu Island. The reefs around Penemu are amazing examples of steep coral-encrusted walls that begin just a few feet from shore. Our first site is exactly this plus larger species of fish such as unicornfishes and snappers are common and if we drift over to the other side of the point, expect to see blacktip sharks! In the afternoon, we visit a secluded lagoon where fields of delicate staghorn corals can be found. The Fam group is made of uplifted high limestone islands and on Penemu we have the chance to walk stairs to the top of one of the islands for magnificent panoramic views. Overnight: M/V Pindito

Day 10: Alyui Bay
Meals provided: B,L,D
We wake up to the exotic sounds and scenery of Alyui Bay. Our sites include a snorkel along a secluded wall where good water movement combined with generally shaded conditions results in the growth of vibrant soft corals, sea fans, tunicates, and sponges. Their presence in shallow water means means we also have a chance to see their colorful and bizarre predators, nudibranchs. We’ll also snorkel over a shallow coral garden with magnificent examples of staghorn and table corals. Overnight: M/V Pindito

Day 11: Yangeffo
Meals provided: B,L,D
Yangeffo is a grouping of mangrove islands located off the tip of western tip of Gam. The waters around mangrove islands are usually turbid and without many corals, but Yangeffo benefits from its proximity to Dampier Strait. Clear, blue seawater circulates around the islands, promoting the growth of coral reefs right up to, and often on top of, mangrove roots that grow along the shoreline. Few other places in the world can offer healthy, robust mangrove stands footed by lush coral reef! Overnight: M/V Pindito

Day 12: Friwinbonda
Meals provided: B,L,D
The island of Friwinbonda is nearly encircled by an enormous reef with steep walls on one side of the island and a shallow, exposed reef flat on the other.  The steep walls are adorned with red, orange, and yellow sea fans and the deep indentation along the island allows us to explore the sub-tidal zone where we can see nudibranchs and snails. The reef flats are a popular spot for cuttlefish and we’ll look for the Raja epaulette shark under the enormous sheets of encrusting soft corals! Overnight: M/V Pindito

Day 13: Sorong / Jakarta
Meals provided: B,L,D
Disembark for our connection to Jakarta. Check in to our group hotel, the Bandara International. Farewell dinner at the hotel. Overnight Bandara International

Day 14: International flights or extensions
Meals provided: B

DEPARTURES

Nov. 7 – 20, 2021 ←Click to request a booking
Accommodations: Pindito
Guides: Brian Magnier, TBD
Length: 14 days

Prices and Payment schedule:
$7600 USD per person, double occupancy
$10,000 USD per person, single occupancy

Reservation deposit: $500 USD
March 31, 2021: $3500 USD / $4500 single
June 1, 2021: $3600 USD / $5000 single

Tour cost includes:

  • Accommodations throughout tour dates
  • All meals on days 2 through 13 (dinner on day 1 – breakfast on day 14)
  • 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

MV Pindito a vessel chartered by Coral Triangle AdventuresThe M/V Pindito is a traditional Indonesian, wooden motor sailing vessel, (referred to as a Pinisi), that measures 124 feet long and has a beam of 29 feet. She was built in 1992 by Edi Frommenwiler and completely refitted in 2006 with a new camera room, sun deck, and upgrades to the cabins and salon. She has eight cabins (two designed for twin share accommodations), each with their own shower, sink, toilet, and individually controlled air conditions. All cabins have continuous power (220 volts). Meals are prepared by expert chefs and are a fusion of western, asian, and Indonesian dishes. A large flatscreen TV and a complete library of marine life books, music CD’s and DvD’s round out the list of amenities on board. The boat is equipped with three active (and one standby) zodiac tenders, each with their own ladder for easy entry back into the boat. As a bonus, Balinese-style or aroma-therapy massage services are available throughout the trip. For more information about the M/V Pindito click here.


 

Bandara International Hotel is the only 5-star hotel located close to the Jakarta Soekarno-Hatta International Airport. The hotel offers 208 spacious rooms and suites with a tropical resort ambiance. For the dining experience, the hotel has two restaurants offering some of the finest Indonesian and International cuisine, one lounge for drinks and casual dining, and a pool bar. The hotel also has ten function rooms to host meeting events. For wellness activities, Club Bandara includes a newly equipped gym, sauna, steam, hot and cold Jacuzzi, four swimming pools include private ladies pool and jogging track, and Spa Bandara offers 5-star massage and relaxation services.

Located only 3 km and from Soekarno Hatta International Airport, the hotel provides 24-hours complimentary airport shuttle service at 30-minute intervals. The Bandara International Hotel is within 15 minutes of the Soewarna Business Park and Golf and the nearest shopping center.


DEPARTURES

Nov. 7 – 20, 2021 ←Click to request a booking
Accommodations: Pindito
Guides: Brian Magnier, TBD
Length: 14 days

Prices and Payment schedule:
$7600 USD per person, double occupancy
$10,000 USD per person, single occupancy

Reservation deposit: $500 USD
March 31, 2021: $3500 USD / $4500 single
June 1, 2021: $3600 USD / $5000 single

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


What to Expect and Bring

WHAT TO EXPECT

Ambon and Raja Ampat are located south of the Equator. 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  do not fall much at night. Water temperatures average around 82º F (28º C), though cooler temperatures may occur if persistent rains cause a thin layer of cool freshwater on the surface. Currents around the islands of Raja Ampat may be strong at times. 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 tracks 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.

We will have the chance to climb staircases for panoramic views on Penemu. For this, all that is needed is loose fitting clothes and foot protection that can get wet (e.g., sandals or neoprene booties). Our summit walk is simply climbing a series of sturdy wooden stairs.

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

Nov. 7 – 20, 2021 ←Click to request a booking
Accommodations: Pindito
Guides: Brian Magnier, TBD
Length: 14 days

Prices and Payment schedule:
$7600 USD per person, double occupancy
$10,000 USD per person, single occupancy

Reservation deposit: $500 USD
March 31, 2021: $3500 USD / $4500 single
June 1, 2021: $3600 USD / $5000 single

Tour cost includes:

  • Accommodations throughout tour dates
  • All meals on days 2 through 13 (dinner on day 1 – breakfast on day 14)
  • 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

MV Pindito a vessel chartered by Coral Triangle AdventuresNov. 7 – 20, 2021 ←Click to request a booking
Accommodations: Pindito
Guides: Brian Magnier, TBD
Length: 14 days

Prices and Payment schedule:
$7600 USD per person, double occupancy
$10,000 USD per person, single occupancy

Reservation deposit: $500 USD
March 31, 2021: $3500 USD / $4500 single
June 1, 2021: $3600 USD / $5000 single

Tour cost includes:

  • Accommodations throughout tour dates
  • All meals on days 2 through 13 (dinner on day 1 – breakfast on day 14)
  • 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

Trip Reports


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