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West Papua – The Whale Sharks of Cenderawasih Bay

South Pacific Cruise

Summary : Visit Cenderawasih Bay and snorkel among whale sharks for a once in a lifetime opportunity. Revel in a cornucopia of diverse environments including nesting sites of leatherback turtles, ancient terrestrial caves and thermal springs, as well as some of the healthiest coral reefs and atolls in the world. Snorkel and dive some of the richest waters around from a well-appointed ship with optional helicopter excursions.

Activities : Birding, Culture, Diving, Hiking, Snorkeling


Prices from
$999,999,999 to $0

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Day 1
Darwin, Australia / Sorong, West Papua

Your adventure begins amidst the tropical charm of Darwin. Transfer to your chartered aircraft for your flight to Sorong. Be welcomed aboard the expedition ship and enjoy a welcome aboard cocktail as you begin to cruise through the heart of the 'Coral Triangle'.

Day 2
Mapia Atoll

Mapia Atoll is a very remote, exquisite atoll offering perhaps the ‘holy grail of fishing’. Mapia is actually located north of the equator and has a classic atoll structure. It’s a day to enjoy the clarity and splendor of this beautifully remote location. The vertical walls of Mapia Atoll rise several thousand feet from the ocean floor and come alive with brilliant soft corals, gorgonian sea fans, sponges and a myriad of tropical fish. Snorkel, dive and fish to your heart’s content in this natural playground!

Day 3
Pulau Num / Pulau Swande

These highly picturesque islands offer another day of spectacular snorkelling, diving, beach-combing and fishing. Take an expedition boat ride through the bays of Pulau Num where locals live in huts stilted over the water and soak-up the stunning tropical scenery at Palau Swande. After lunch your guides will give an informative presentation on what makes Cenderawasih Bay so biologically and culturally unique. At the end of the day stroll along your very own beach, indulge in a refreshing beverage and watch the sun set in paradise!

Day 4
Auri Islands

The Auri Islands offer the most beautiful clear-water snorkeling and diving in Cenderawasih Bay, as well as some of the most beautiful (and uninhabited!) white sand beaches in West Papua. Revel in Tridacna Atoll (named for the plethora of giant clams on the reef) and again at Wild Fish Reef. After lunch, listen to an informative presentation on what to expect when you encounter tomorrow’s giants and then everyone will be given the opportunity to enjoy a mid-afternoon heli ride (optional) over Auri’s spectacular Karst islands. Later in the day, snorkel over a trio of American WWII fighter jets mysteriously sunk in formation in only a few meters of water. End the day with beach drinks on a pristine sand spit with the setting sun.

Day 5 – 6
Cenderawasih Marine Park

Whale sharks linger close to the surface for extended periods and the reason for this unusual behavior is not difficult to appreciate – they have long become accustomed to taking advantage of small fish that spill from the nets of local fishermen. This behavior provides even the most inexperienced snorkeler with a unique opportunity to truly interact with these mammoth fish.

Two days will afford ample opportunity to explore further afield. The Cenderawasih Marine Park features relatively undisturbed marine and coastal habitat and the extensive coral reefs rank amongst the finest in the world. Cenderawasih is renowned for its diversity of coral reef fish species. Over 1,040 species inhabit the park including numerous species of colorful butterfly fish, angelfish, damselfish, parrotfish, rabbitfish and anemone fish. Species of mollusc are also particularly diverse and four species of turtle are often seen – the hawksbill turtle, the green turtle, the Pacific ridley turtle, and the leatherback turtle. Dugong, coconut crab, dolphin and various shark species are often seen too.

Day 7
Roon Island

Roon Island is known for its excellent and varied dive sites, beautiful shallow snorkeling reefs, friendly villagers and stunning aerial scenery. Begin the day with either an energizing snorkel on the lovely reefs of the Numamuran Strait or a dive at the southern end of Roon – where a Zero fighter lies on a hard coral slope in just 12 meters of water and green turtle, barracuda and surgeonfish are known to swim alongside equally curios divers. After morning tea, have another go at snorkeling or diving on the unique underwater geological formations or take a heli flight (optional) and enjoy the view from above. In the afternoon, join a walk around the village at Yende and discover the local culture.

Day 8
Biak / Darwin, Australia

Enjoy breakfast on-board before a private car transfer to Biak Airport and your chartered flight back to Darwin.


This itinerary is subject to change due to prevailing conditions and local arrangements. ExpeditionTrips is not responsible for itinerary changes.

Optional Helicopter Excursions:
Scenic helicopter flights can be purchased as a package or individually. Please contact ExpeditionTrips for details.

Optional Diving:
Divers must provide proof of certification onboard. Divers are provided with cylinders, weight belts, weights, mask, snorkel and fins. Divers must arrange their own personal dive equipment including regulators, BCD and wetsuit. It is highly recommended that divers bring their own dive computer. the sharing of dive computers is not permitted. Divers must dive with a safety sausage. If you do not bring your own you will be required to purchase one onboard. Night dives may be offered. If you intend to night dive, you must bring your own primary light source. A secondary or back up light source is also recommended.

'No shoes onboard' policy:
This policy assists with safety and promoting a casual atmosphere onboard. However if a medical condition necessitates, footwear may be worn. All passengers will need appropriate footwear for shore excursions.

Accommodations as booked; meals aboard the vessel; non-alcoholic beverages; excursions in the expedition vessels; snorkel gear; divers are provided with cylinders, weight belts, weights, mask, snorkel and fins; transfer from Darwin city center to airport for charter flight to Sorong; charter flight from Darwin to Sorong; transfers between ship and charter flights; charter flight from Biak to Darwin; port charges and taxes; fishing gear (except lures). Subject to change without notice.

Not Included:
Airfare other than mentioned as included; passport and visa fees; scenic helicopter flights; alcoholic beverages; diving regulators, BCD and wetsuit, safety sausage, dive computer and dive light (must bring your own of these items); items of a personal nature including but not limited to travel and medical insurance, onboard shopping, valet and laundry service; satellite phones and Internet Cafe charges; fishing lures (available to purchase onboard); fuel surcharge may apply.

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