Discover West Papua
If you imagine yourself in one of the most remote, far flung idyllic destinations in the world you would find yourself in bewitching West Papua. Part of the Coral Triangle, this destination offers unparalleled diving and snorkeling opportunities with a staggering 75% of the world’s coral species, over 2000 reef fish species, an abundance of whales, sharks, dugongs, dolphins, turtles and whale sharks reside here. For good reason, many people refer to this area as the ‘Amazon of the Sea.’
If you adore taking an African land based safari then why not experience a safari of the sea? West Papua features pristine lagoons, dramatic karst islands tumbling into the ocean, spirited and ancient Melanesian culture and lush forests, home to some of the most beautiful birds in the world, with over 700 species discovered so far. All this, combined with a dizzying array of other endemic wildlife, you will truly feel you’ve arrived to the land where the wild things are!
Oceania Expeditions offer an extraordinary opportunity to experience this region via private exploration yacht. There is no better way to experience the wonders of this magnificent part of the world. Being so remote and as yet, still relatively undiscovered and unspoiled, we believe that private charter is the most ideal way to travel West Papua. The Sequoia is truly an achievement in design and engineering. You can find more about Sequoia In the meantime, sit back, relax and picture yourself in paradise.
Raja Ampat is arguably the jewel in the crown of West Papua. Hundreds of mushroom-like islands appear to almost bob up and down on the surface of the shimmering waters. This is the stuff travel bucket list dreams are made of! The luxury is in the isolation; you will not need to jostle for space with other tourists here. Below the water is the ultimate dream for scuba divers, renowned by experts as the world’s best. This archipelago consists of over 1500 stunning islands and islets. Have a romantic sunset picnic on your own private beach – it’s easy to find such seclusion here. Raja Ampat translates to ‘Four King’, an ancient myth about four kings who settled across the four largest islands and who would blame them for choosing this utopia as their place to call home?
Northern Raja Ampat – Waigeo
Start your morning exploring on paddle-board or kayak through the hidden coves of Kabuy Bay and end your day with a magical night dive full of seahorses at Saporkren. Blue Magic, one of numerous fantastic dive sites here and life below the surface will create memories to last a lifetime. Surface intervals allow for time to explore the endless islands. Journey out for island visit or hike up the peaks to make your heart pump with the reward of a spectacular view of the turquoise lagoons of Wayag or Paynemo. You can combine this with swimming with baby sharks or learning more about sustainability at the Atlas sea pearl farming centre. Allow a little extra time to explore some of the lesser-known villages such as Selpele to see for yourself how much the locals here depend on sea-life. They practice a sustainable fishing tradition called “sasi”. As a bonus to rare visitors, a celebratory dance welcomes you to their village. If bird watching is your thing, the 3,155-km2 forest of Waigeo is home to more than 299 species of birds; if you are fortunate you may witness the dance of the infamous Birds of Paradise.
Southern Raja Ampat – Misool
One of the four largest islands, Misool is truly breathtaking. Located off the west coast of the main island of Papua, directly bordering the Seram Sea, the waters are a veritable ocean highway for many large sea creatures, including whales. Known for its spectacular soft coral gardens and sheltered lagoons teeming a huge array of tropical rainbow fish, it is an underwater wonderland. Hike through the verdant lush rainforests that carpet the karst islands which appear to tumble spectacularly into the sea. Apart from the abundant marine life, Misool is home to ancient cultures where caves hidden among forests reveal petroglyph figures and designs engraved in rock dating back 5000 years ago. One unique feature at Misool is to swim with harmless golden bobbing jellyfish in one of two jellyfish lakes famous in the area. This is one of only three locations on the planet where this experience can be had.
As far as possible from civilisation, located in Kaimana Marine Protected Area, is Triton Bay. This pristine environment is abundant with stunning soft corals, pygmy seahorses, epaulette sharks, (also known as the ‘walking shark) wobbegongs, remarkable overhangs and caverns to explore, and perhaps most famously, the striking, spotted gentle giant of the sea, the whale shark.
This is one of the few places in the world where diving and snorkelling encounters with these marvellous sea creatures is possible and due to this area being so inaccessible, the opportunity so far is limited to only a handful of people per week, thereby limiting the stress place upon these stunning filter feeders. Serendipitous events create the perfect conditions with whale sharks being drawn to the warm waters of West Papua to breed and hang around the ‘bagans’, or fishermen platforms, opportunistically feeding upon the bait fish and anchovies that get caught in the local fishermen’s nets. The fisherman laughingly refer to these creatures as ‘ ikan bodoh’ or ‘stupid fish’ due to their docile nature. We are confident you will adore this area for its powder white sandy beaches fringed by coconut trees and lush waterfalls cascading into the sea such as those at Mommon Bay.