9 days in the Raja Ampat Archipelago on a luxury yacht

Sorong, West Papua

The Raja Ampat archipelago comprises four main islands — Misool to the south, Salawati and Batanta in the middle, and Waigeo to the north – surrounded by more than 1,500 smaller islands and islets. The whole region is almost entirely untouched by human hands. There are no chic resorts or hotels, only a couple of eco-dive resorts on the main islands, and the waters are blissfully traffic-free. With a handful of bucket list dives and and some of the clearest waters in the world you will be pleased to have this paradise to yourself.

There are strict regulations and only a handful of yachts are allowed to charter in Raja Ampat but it is worth the effort for an unforgettable experience.

Day 1 - Sorong, West Papua

Upon arrival in Sorong, transfer to the nearby harbour where your yacht and crew will be waiting to welcome you onboard. Set sail for the Raja Ampat archipelago.

Depending on the winds and the tides, spend the afternoon snorkelling or try a dive with an experienced PADI dive instructor; kayak, water ski, fish from the tenders, visit a village or relax on a pristine white sand beach.

Picture courtesy of Ethan Daniels/Shutterstock.com

Dampier Strait

In the 1700’s William Dampier reached the northwestern tip of Papua and travelled with the rising tide into the great channel that now bears his name. The Dampier Strait conveys massive quantities of seawater, forcing currents to flow parallel to the equator where most currents flow North and South. Dampier’s tidal surges carry planktonic feasts that attract hundreds of manta rays at this time of year near Arborek Island. Spend the morning diving down to the shallow sandy bottom and wait for the giant mantas to pass overhead, or swim with these gentle giants at the surface.

In the late afternoon, trek through the forest of Sawingrai village on Pulau Gam, guided by a local Papuan, to catch a glimpse of the mating rituals of the elusive and ethereal Red Bird of Paradise. The dine under a starry sky, while your yacht sails northwest towards the Wayag archipelago.

Picture courtesy of Jeff Lemelin/Shutterstock.com

Wayag Archipelago

Cruise by tender or kayak silently through the Wayag lagoon and its magical maze of limestone karst ‘gumdrop’ islands adorned with pitcher plants and wild orchids. Climb the Wayag Peak for breathtaking dawn or sunset views or dive with masses of multicoloured fish and corals. The area is so beautiful it is worth spending at least two days here to make the most of it.

Picture courtesy of Mario Susilo/Shutterstock.com

Fam, Penemu and the Yeben Islands

Paddle through the uninhabited islets and turquoise waters surrounding Pulau Fam, stroll on foot or kayak the perfect white sandy circle of tiny Pulau Yeben. Overnight sail to the southern realms of the archipelago.

PIcture courtesy of Andrea Izzotti/Shutterstock.com

Misool and Tomolol Cave

Misool is one of the southern islands that has become a Mecca for divers worldwide. Dip your paddle into yet another “secret bay” rimmed with steep rain forest walls and listen to the echoing birdsong at dawn. Tread lightly over turtle tracks on the powdery white beaches of Misool.

Journey though the ethereal “Gua Sacral” ancestral caves of Tomolol, former burial site of the indigenous Papuans. It is a fitting farewell to the archipelago.

Picture courtesy of  Cdelacy/Shutterstock.com

Return to Sorong

Bid farewell to the crew and your yacht in Sorong and then fly to Denpasar. You may end your trip here or alternatively opt to extend your trip by visiting Bali.

If you are interested in visiting the region then Alila Hotels & Resorts, one of the best hotels with a luxury yacht, offers traditional Phinisi sailing yacht Alila Purnama in the region.

Picture courtesy of Ethan Daniels/Shutterstock.com

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