Arrive at Sorong to a warm welcome. Board Aqua Blu and cruise to Gam Island as the sun sets.
Translated to mean “Four Kings”, Raja Ampat captivates with the enigmatic beauty of its limestone karst island clusters, spawned out of legendary myth and continuing to bewilder and enthrall explorers with dramatic landscapes that shelter secret lagoons, bays and beaches. In between excursions to discover the world’s most biodiverse environments, Raja Ampat offers the chance to find that one perfect private hideaway out of thousands. To put it simply, every day is a National Geographic moment right before your eyes.
Raja Ampat’s world-class wildlife excursions are both on the ground and underwater. It is here that famous 19th-century naturalist Alfred Russell Wallace had stumbled upon species of the bird of paradise that exist nowhere else but in this region on Earth. Catching sight of the otherworldly beauty of the Wilson’s bird of paradise and the Red bird of paradise and their mesmerizing behavior is arguably one of life’s most rewarding wildlife experiences. These winged wonders live alongside 350 other bird species, including forest kingfishers and king parrots.
Meanwhile, Raja Ampat’s many beaches are often the nesting ground for turtle species including the Pacific leatherback, the largest of all living turtle species on Earth, while the world’s most extensive network of mangrove forests support populations of dugong and juvenile fish. Raja Ampat is also a designed a Marine Protected Area (MPA) by the Indonesian government.
Raja Ampat: Home to the world’s most diverse underwater habitats
At almost every turn, the mesmerizing turquoise and blue hues of Raja Ampat’s waters constantly jostle for your attention and beckon you to dive down and under. Located at the heart of the Coral Triangle, the region is known to house every kind of underwater habitat imaginable; pristine reef flats, secret bays, swift channels, deep drop-offs, shallow seamounts, mangroves, marine lakes, and protected coral gardens are just a sample of the types of marine habitats that can be found in the roughly 20,000 square mile region.
As a result of the sheer diversity of underwater habitats, Raja Ampat is a thriving subterranean metropolis that houses more than 1,300 species of tropical marine fish (about 50% of all known species) and more than 600 species of coral (nearly 75% of all known species of reef-building corals) in addition to manta rays, rare sea turtle species and schooling hammerheads. Cape Kri in the Dampier Strait notably holds the world record for the most number of species counted in a single dive (374 in total).
Raja Ampat: Witness the cradle of life between two major oceans
Nature’s underwater splendor isn’t defined with sheer numbers alone. Raja Ampat also happens to be in the middle of a major cetacean migration route and aggregation site where various whales and dolphin species have been sighted. Of great significance is also the fact that the region is the meeting point of the Indian and the Pacific Ocean called the Indonesian Throughflow, where a six inch (15cm) average height difference between these two oceans creates an immense exchange of water carrying millions of aquatic eggs and larvae that spawn to life or serve as a vital source of food for marine animals.
At the same time, the cooler water from deep-sea trenches and basins has also played a part in Raja Ampat’s stunning biodiversity. These environments offered marine life shelter from glacial water in the ice ages, and today offers natural protection against rising sea temperatures that have resulted in the bleaching of other relatively unprotected coral habitats including the Great Barrier Reef and the Maldives. Endowed with natural geological defenses, Raja Ampat is truly Mother Nature’s last frontier.
Aqua Expeditions’ Raja Ampat cruise aboard the Aqua Blu cruise ship sails every year from December through to February, the best season to discover the region. The cruise sets sail on 7-night itineraries, departing from the city of Sorong.
Come sail with us on the Aqua Blu and experience one of the world’s most rewarding marine expeditions.
Arrive at Sorong to a warm welcome. Board Aqua Blu and cruise to Gam Island as the sun sets.
Awake to the beauty of Gam Island. Early morning trekking at Gam and Waisai. Tour Kabui and Karst in the afternoon on tenders or visit a local village and bat cave on foot.
Rise in the morning to birdsong and explore the soft sandy coastline of Cape Kri on foot before a short cruise to a dive site that holds the world record for species spotted in a single 90-minute dive. Snorkeling is also highly rewarding. Sail to Arborek Island for dinner.
Watch the magnificence of Pulau Wayag’s limestone islets and lagoons unveil before your eyes as the sun rises. Climb to the top of Mount Pindito for a bird’s eye view of the stunning surroundings and attempt to spot rare birds of paradise before making the lagoons and reefs your home for the day. Arrival at Aljui bay and round off with dinner by the sea.
Visit a pearl farm in Aljui Bay before cruising to Pulau Pef and Yangello for snorkeling and watersports in the afternoon. Explore hidden lagoons and karst limestone islets aboard our tenders or kayaks. Arrive at Dayang Island for dinner.
Embark on a morning trek with our guides to look for birds of paradise in the lush forest. Dayang island is known for plenty of marine life, especially manta rays. Snorkeling is excellent at Wai along the bordering reef systems. For adventurous divers, explore the sunken wreckage of a WW2 P47D fighter plane and the beautiful reefs and sea-mounts of Tapok.
Arrival in Birie, a group of islands, bays and lagoons that lie just off the coast of north Batanta. Discover mangrove-fringed bays and plenty of wildlife en route to the spectacular waterfall in Batanta mainland is a must. Ship will cruise eastwards towards Sorong during dinner.
Enjoy a sumptuous breakfast onboard in Sorong before your outbound flight.
Visit a Papuan village and get up-close with manta rays.
Home to a friendly and welcoming community of Papuan descent, the tiny Arborek Island (it takes just 10 minutes to walk around it) is also home to a significant manta ray reef complex. At low tide, a lot of the reef is exposed and it is in these shallow channels that the manta rays like to feed and get cleaned. All around Arborek Island are excellent snorkeling, kayaking and paddleboarding spots.
A rewarding and one-of-a-kind inner coastal waterway journey.
In this leg of the cruise, Aqua Blu charts a picturesque passage between the major island of Bantata and smaller clusters of islands between Dayang & Birie, stopping for a whole gamut of activities in the nature-rich area. Discover birds of paradise on inland forest walks, or dive to explore mangroves and a wreckage of World War II P47D fighter plane near Wai.
An expansive inland sea with unique sights and experiences.
Sailing into Kabui Bay, explorers have the oppotunity to discover remote local villages that are adorned spectacular caves. Some of these caves are full of bats, others have been used for burials in ancient times, and some may feature ancient rock art.
A marine sweet spot with impressive biodiversity in the nutrient-rich Dampier Strait.
Incredibly nutrient-rich because of the currents it receives from the Indonesian Thoroughflow, Cape Kri in the Dampier Strait supports an amazing number of reef fish that form part of a massive marine food chain in full display. You may well witness nature in full motion in a single dive or snorkel, with pelagic species such as whales trying to feed on smaller fish.
Cape Kri is also known for its manta ray cleaning stations, where these massive creatures queue up to get their skin, gills and teeth cleaned by parasitic copepods and a variety of small cleaner wrasse species — an amazing sight to behold.
The most iconic of the Raja Ampat islands with its surreal karst landscapes and atolls.
As you pull into Wayag, deep blue waters turn to turquoise and mushroom-shaped islets appear before your eyes. This is a protected cluster of islands on the edge of the Pacific where the mostly shallow waters are miraculously calm, as if Mother Nature has sculpted an elaborate landscape for creatures needing a respite from the harsh wilderness.
Presenting a brand-new cruise experience in the pristine East Indonesian Archipelago, Aqua Blu is a long-range explorer yacht sailing the region’s most prized destinations, including Komodo National Park, Spice Islands and Raja Ampat on unforgettable 7- and 12-night itineraries.
Where modern luxury meets naval heritage
With a grand legacy as the former British Naval Explorer HMS Beagle and later as the private yacht of a European aristocratic family, Aqua Blu is a compelling maritime statement. A 2019 refurbishment overseen by Dutch yacht design maestro Cor D. Rover brings the vessel to world-class cruising specifications. Guests can expect to embrace an distinguished sense of history and seafaring evolution when they set foot on this one-of-a-kind cruise ship.
Inside the four-deck, 15-suite Aqua Blu, Cor has tastefully paired with a brass-and-ivory interior theme with generous and inviting indoor and outdoor social spaces, including a sun deck.
Unlocking access to the Earth’s most intriguing destinations
Faster, further, greater safety and comfort — Aqua Blu’s naval pedigree makes it the perfect vessel to navigate East Indonesia’s vast seas. Having attained the highest international classifications (RINA, SOLAS, ISM) in safety, the vessel is additionally equipped with Quantum Zero Speed stabilizers for optimal comfort at rest or while sailing.
Aqua Blu’s range stands heads and shoulders above that of its peers in East Indonesia. Able to cover vast distances in a short span of time — and in any sea condition — the vessel enables explorers on board to experience the most varied, enjoyable and rewarding coastal cruise itineraries in this wild and stunningly beautiful region of the world.
Join Aqua Blu and be among the first to cruise East Indonesia like no ship has ever done before.
|Luxury star rating:||5|
|Elec Outlets:||2 Flat & 2 Round|