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Snorkeling Misool, Raja Ampat!

Snorkeling the Reefs of Misool, Raja Ampat!

The Bird's head Peninsula Seascape, Raja Ampat, resides in the heart of the Coral TriangleMisool is the second largest island in the Raja Ampat archipelago, and easily possesses some of the most stunning tropical scenery, both above and below the waterline, in the world. Hundreds of rugged, jungle-clad limestone islands string from the southeastern region of Misool, remnants of an ancient reef that has since been uplifted, to create a network of shallow bays, intimate island passes, and secluded lagoons.
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As part of the Raja Ampat Bird’s Head Seascape, the turquoise-blue waters around Misool teem with life. Nearly 500 species of corals and over 1500 species of tropical marine fishes can be found in Misool and multiple habitats around each of the picturesque island groups promote the growth of shallow, vibrant, and diverse coral reef communities.
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Our itinerary takes us to the best reefs and scenery that we have found in our nearly 20 years of combined experience snorkeling in the Raja Ampat. Whether we float idyllically above colorful coral gardens or along steep island drop-offs, each day our snorkeling adventures will be set amongst the magnificent backdrop of limestone islands that makes Misool such a special destination to snorkel.
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ITINERARY

Raja Ampat route. Tour begins and ends in Jakarta. One internal flight to Sorong, West Papua.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 Misool. 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 / FM7 Hotel Jakarta
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 FM7 Hotel, Jakarta.

Day 2: Sorong / Gaia Love
Meals provided: B,L,D
Fly to Sorong and transfer to our live-aboard boat, the Gaia Love. 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: Gaia Love

Day 3 – 5: Pelee / Wayil / Olobie groups
Meals provided: B,L,D
The rugged limestone island groups to the southwest offer us the chance for big wall snorkeling as the reefs around many of these islands plunge hundreds of feet just a few fin kicks from shore. Colorful sea fans and soft corals adorn the walls while lush, healthy hard coral gardens pack the shallows. In the Olbie groups, snorkeling through huge schools of silversides that hide in the afternoon shade can be a surreal and thrilling experience! Overnight: Gaia Love

Day 6: Boo / Yilliet
Meals provided: B,L,D
Yilliet and Boo give us the chance for some drift snorkeling where we get to see large schools of snapper, barracuda, and travally as well as schooling planktivores such as fusiliers and pyramid butterflyfishes. Turtles and sharks are common and the healthy reef near shore is a virtual aquarium of tropical marine fishes. Overnight Gaia Love

Day 7 – 10: Wagmab / Lenkafal 
Meals provided: B,L,D
The northernmost string of limestone islands create network of quiet bay and narrow island passes that make perfect settings for our snorkeling activities. We’ll spend one day snorkeling a narrow channel where on one side we find a colorful wall of soft corals, tunicates, and variety of nudibranchs, and hard coral garden with mangroves on the other side. This area also boasts extensive shallow reefs, a marine lake, incredible fringing reefs systems around remote islets and the chance to explore a huge cave system by dinghy. Overnight Gaia Love

Day 11: Balbulol
Meals provided: B,L,D
Our last day couldn’t be spent in a more scenic area. Limestone islands erupt from the water with angles twisted by several uplifting events that happened over time. Our snorkeling sites are located nearby in a series of protected bays connected by a shallow channel or a tunnel through the island. The protected bay promote the growth of delicate table corals that grow so large they hang over the sheer vertical walls that define the bay. In the late afternoon, we depart for Sorong. Overnight Gaia Love

Day 12: Sorong / Jakarta / FM7 Hotel, 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 FM7 Hotel, Jakarta.

Day 13: International flights or extensions
Meals provided: B

DEPARTURES

Mar 05 – Feb 17, 2024 ←Click to request a booking
Accommodations: Gaia Love
Guides: TBD
Length: 13 days

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

Reservation deposit: $500 USD
July 1, 2021: $TBD USD
Oct 1, 2021: $TBD USD

Back-to-back combination with: Raja Ampat, Feb 22 – Mar 05, 2024

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

For our 2021 season, we use three of the finest live-aboard boats in Indonesia to host us on our snorkeling activities in Raja Ampat, Gaia Love, Mermaid I, and M/V Pindito. In Jakarta, we stay at the Bandara International near the airport.

gaia love - coral triangle adventuresThe Gaia Love is a modern 40 meters steel hull vessel build from the ground up in Batam, Indonesia. It is purpose built to sail and explore the far reach regions of Indonesia and complies with class requirements of BKI (Biro Klasifikasi Indonesia). Designed with a modern contemporary look with an emphasis for diving in comfort, she accommodates up to 20 guest in 10 spacious ensuite rooms; six on the upper deck and five on the lower deck. Each room averages in size of approximately 20 square meters, individual air-conditioning and ensuite bathrooms with hot water. Upper deck rooms will feature an additional private outdoor balcony. Gaia Love has a total of 4 decks (lower, main, upper and top/sundeck). A lounge, restaurant and camera room is located on the main deck. In the lounge is an entertainment center, pantry and all the facilities and little creature comforts to make your stay most comfortable. At the rear is a large dive deck that can accommodate up to 28 divers, so there is lots of space for guest to move around. On the dive deck is also eleven large rinse tanks of various sizes, for camera setups of all sorts. A boat deck is slightly aft of the dive deck where two 5.5 meters diving skiffs will always be ready and easy for divers to board. The sundeck features a bar for evening gatherings and relaxation under the stars. If you prefer to dine outdoors, this will be the perfect area to enjoy your meal. Sufficient shelter is available here as well as unshaded areas for those who wish to soak up some sun. Safety is top priority for us, hence, Gaia Love has a very well equipped wheelhouse from up-to-date navigation equipment to advance communication systems, life rafts, life vests, EPRIB, fire protection and fire fighting systems. An additional back up RIB is stored on the top deck, easily and swiftly deployable by a one ton crane, should it be needed. For more info about the Gaia Love click here.


 

 

When you are looking for comfortable and convenient accommodations in Jakarta, make FM7 Resort Hotel Bandara Jakarta Airport your home away from home. 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

Mar 05 – Feb 17, 2024 ←Click to request a booking
Accommodations: Gaia Love
Guides: TBD
Length: 13 days

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

Reservation deposit: $500 USD
July 1, 2021: $TBD USD
Oct 1, 2021: $TBD USD

Back-to-back combination with: Raja Ampat, Feb 22 – Mar 05, 2024

 

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

Misool sits at about 2 degrees 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  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 Misool are generally light but may be strong at specific sites. 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.

Most of the islands are steep and rugged with small pocket beaches. While we won’t have many opportunities to walk on the islands, there may be chances for a beach walk or two. We will have several scenic dinghy tours scheduled during our time in Misool.

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

Mar 05 – Feb 17, 2024 ←Click to request a booking
Accommodations: Gaia Love
Guides: TBD
Length: 13 days

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

Reservation deposit: $500 USD
July 1, 2021: $TBD USD
Oct 1, 2021: $TBD USD

Back-to-back combination with: Raja Ampat, Feb 22 – Mar 05, 2024

 

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

Departures

 

 

2022

gaia love - coral triangle adventures

Mar 05 – Feb 17, 2024 ←Click to request a booking
Accommodations: Gaia Love
Guides: TBD
Length: 13 days

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

Reservation deposit: $500 USD
July 1, 2021: $TBD USD
Oct 1, 2021: $TBD USD

Back-to-back combination with: Raja Ampat, Feb 22 – Mar 05, 2024

 

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. 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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