Scattered across the tropical seas like gems, the islands of eastern Indonesia are the popular notion of paradise—jungle islands with white-sand beaches, karst pinnacles, and some of the most pristine coral reef systems in the world. Explore the region in depth on an expedition though the coral triangle, a stretch of sea home to the world’s richest marine biodiversity. Along the way, meet friendly locals who live close to their ancestral traditions, and learn about the region’s tumultuous history, including exploration by the Dutch East India Company and World War II.
- Glide a Zodiac among the emerald-tufted Rock Islands of Palau, a UNESCO World Heritage site, and kayak beneath the stunning karst formations of Bird’s Head Peninsula.
- Immerse yourself in a dazzling world of coral and tropical fish while snorkeling or diving Raja Ampat, whose rich marine biodiversity is unparalleled.
- Examine ancient rock art and encounter a fascinating patchwork of cultures on these remote islands.
- Explore the turbulent history of the spice trade in the Dutch East Indies, and see vestiges of World War II.
Some of the world’s best snorkeling and undersea biodiversity
Raja Ampat, featured in a National Geographic David Doublet 2007 story, was discovered to be the site of extreme biodiversity only a decade ago. It is the site of more than 450 species of coral—by comparison the entire Caribbean is home to fewer than 70 species. You’ll discover a vibrant galaxy of multi-colored corals in shallow, calm water, and snorkel from white-sand beaches. This is one of the finest undersea sites in the world.
World War II and Dutch East India Company history
You’ll sail through the theater of World War II in the South Pacific and see remnants of the conflict, including planes resting in shallow, clear waters and tanks left to be consumed by the jungle. A karst of Raja Ampat was even reportedly the site of an allied bombing when pilots mistook it for a Japanese ship plowing through the ocean at twilight. And centuries earlier, the Dutch East India Company brought untold strife to these idyllic islands involved in the spice trade, forever changing the fabric of life here. Learn the tumultuous and often tragic histories of the region.
Intriguing indigenous cultures and customs
Encounter fascinating cultures as you hop among the islands, greeted by locals who don’t often receive visitors. Visit schools, see cooking displays, visit homes, and learn the customs. You’ll see symbolic and ancient ceremonies and enjoy traditional dance performances.
Travel in excellent company
Explore under the sure guidance of a veteran expedition leader and a team of five to six naturalists with years of experience in tropical latitudes in fields such as: zoology, biology, ornithology, culture and anthropology, WWII history, and more. Other members of the 12-person team include an undersea specialist, a National Geographic photographer, plus a Lindblad-National Geographic certified naturalist-photo instructor, two dive masters (on select departures where diving is offered), a video chronicler and a wellness specialist.
|Day 1-2||U.S./Fly To Koror, Palau/Overnight Hotel|
|Day 3||Palau, Micronesia/Embark Ship|
|Day 4||Palau’s Rock Islands|
|Day 5||At Sea|
|Day 6-8||Raja Ampat, Indonesia|
|Day 9||Kokas & Arguni, Fak Fak, Indonesia|
|Day 10||Bandanaira, Banda Islands, Moluccas|
|Day 11||Banda Run, Banda Islands, Moluccas|
|Day 12-14||Exploring the Southeast Moluccas|
|Day 15||At Sea|
|Day 16-17||Darwin, Australia/Disembark/U.S.|