Circumnavigation of New Guinea - Voyage II: Raja Ampat & Asmat Villages
This expedition has no scheduled departures at this time.
Below please find the day-by-day itinerary for this expedition. Unless otherwise noted, daily excursion options are included in the cost of the trip. We do our best to adhere to the scheduled itinerary, but in the spirit of our expeditionary style of travel we may deviate slightly to take full advantage of encounters with the destination and its people, culture, and wildlife.
An itinerary from a previous expedition is displayed below.
Day 1-2 USA
Board your independent flight to Australia. Cross the International Date Line, losing a day.
Day 3 Brisbane, Australia / Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea (PNG)
Arrive in Brisbane this morning and connect with your flight to Port Moresby. After lunch at the hotel enjoy an afternoon at leisure. This evening attend a welcome reception and dinner, with overnight at our hotel.
Day 4 Port Moresby / Wewak / Embark Caledonian Sky
Fly to Wewak this morning, and time permitting, tour Wewak, an attractive town surrounded by golden beaches fringed with palm trees. Board the Caledonian Sky in the late afternoon.
Day 5 Jayapura, Papua
Join naturalists and historians this morning for informative lectures and watch for flying fish and sperm whales as you cruise along the coast. After lunch arrive in the capital of Jayapura, formerly known as Hollandia. Drive through lush countryside to the site where General MacArthur established his headquarters in 1944 after sweeping the Japanese from the town.
Day 6 At Sea
Enjoy a day at sea to relax and attend informative lectures.
Day 7 Mapia Atoll
As the ship approaches Mapia Atoll be on deck to search for the dolphins often sighted here. The vertical walls of this atoll rise several thousands of feet from the ocean floor and are covered with brilliant soft corals, gorgonian sea fans, and sponges that provide cover for myriad tropical fish. Divers may encounter larger species such as barracuda, tuna, humphead parrotfish, and curious jacks. Spend the afternoon at sea as we make our way to Raja Ampat.
Day 8 Gam Island, Raja Ampat
More than 1,500 karst limestone islands make up the majestic archipelago of Raja Ampat. The marine environment here, known as the Bird’s Head Seascape, is heralded as the most biodiverse on earth and includes 75 percent of all known coral species and more than 1,220 types of reef fish. Spend the day enjoying this unsurpassed coral wonderland and the abundant marine life that is found here. Birders look for species such as the red bird of paradise, sulphur-crested cockatoo, beach kingfisher, varied honeyeater, spice imperial pigeon, and singing starling in the dense forests.
Day 9 Mommon Peninsula / Expedition Stop
The spectacular Mommon Peninsula is covered in forest often veiled in wisps of cloud. A strong river empties into the sea as a beautiful waterfall and, if tides permit, you may land on a small nearby beach. An afternoon snorkeling and diving excursion reveal huge and colorful soft corals fed by channels teeming with fish.
Day 10 Triton Bay
Exceptionally picturesque, Triton Bay offers outstanding Zodiac cruising. Entering a small channel between Mauwara Island and mainland Papua, cruise through dazzling tropical waters and scenery of spellbinding natural beauty. Wildlife flourishes in this undisturbed habitat, including colorful bird species such as Blyth’s hornbills, black-capped lorikeets, helmeted friarbirds, egrets, and palm cockatoos. During an expedition stop, snorkelers and divers marvel at the world of soft corals and kaleidoscopic reef fish, including dinner-plate-sized angelfish, large striped sweetlips, and lionfish.
Day 11 At Sea
Spend a relaxing day at sea and attend informative lectures on the natural and cultural highlights ahead. This evening, the ship awaits high tide to enter the Flamingo River’s narrow channel off Agats village, to anchor for the night.
Day 12-13 Asmat Villages
Your visit to the Asmat region is an expedition highlight. This remote riverine world—10,000 square miles in its entirety—is revealed as Zodiacs take you along narrow waterways lined with the entwined branches of thick mangrove forests. Watch for Torres Strait imperial pigeons and bright red lorikeets flying overhead. Suddenly, Asmat warriors—whooping and chanting in elaborate gear and war paint—paddle vigorously toward you in dozens of intricately carved canoes. You are escorted to the local village of Agats where enthusiastic welcomes await. A walk along elevated wooden boardwalks leads to the Catholic cathedral with its superb carvings, and the museum, with elaborate displays of ancestor poles, drums, body masks, shields, daggers, and skulls, reminding us that ritual cannibalism was practiced by the ancestors of some villagers. You will also visit Ewer, its 1,000 hospitable residents inviting you ceremoniously to a colorful market, a men’s longhouse, and to view their homes and prolific gardens.
Day 14 Sailing the Arafura Sea
Lecturers recap your experience in Papua and brief you on your upcoming visit to Thursday Island.
Day 15 Thursday Island, Australia
Thursday Island lies in the strategic Torres Strait, which separates New Guinea from Australia. This island was settled in the late 19th century, and its early success rested on pearling by the men who risked their lives on deep dives. This morning, explore the small, sleepy town with its typical veranda-lined “hotel” or pub. Green Hill Fort, high on a hill, offers a splendid 360-degree view of the neighboring islands and strait.
Day 16 Torres Strait / Ashmore Reef
Enjoy your final snorkel and dive excursion of the voyage at spectacular Ashmore Reef. This fully submerged reef extends across the northernmost end of the Great Barrier Reef system like a string of living pearls. Its distance from human habitation has allowed the marine life to flourish and is home to more than 700 fish species. Huge schools of both colorful reef fish and silvery pelagics populate the rich waters, with a backdrop of rainbow-hued corals.
Day 17 Port Moresby, PNG / Disembark / Brisbane, Australia
Disembark this morning in Papua New Guinea’s capital city, Port Moresby, and visit the National Museum and Arts Center. The museum exhibits one of the finest collections of primitive art in the world, including Sepik River carvings, Malagan masks from the New Ireland Island area, and Trobriand Island fishing canoes. Transfer to the airport for your flight to Brisbane where you enjoy dinner and your final overnight.
Day 18 Brisbane / USA
Depart on your independent flight homeward, arriving in the USA on the same day after crossing the International Date Line.