Red Birds-of-Paradise – Leatherback Sea Turtles – Wayag Islands – Wilson’s Birds-of-Paradise – Whale Sharks – Pacific Manta Rays – Green Sea Turtles – Rainforest Treks – Vogelkop Peninsula – Richest Coral Reefs on Earth – Cendrawasih Bay – Coastal Villages


An expedition like no other, join scientist Geoffrey Gearheart for a “naturalist’s expedition”, to one of the most remote and exciting corners of our planet.

The focus is not only on seeing and experiencing, but also on understanding the complex natural interactions at play, and the challenges of preserving unique ecosystems.

Because of the positive impact conservation tourism can have in developing countries, part of Geoffrey’s proceeds are used to directly support conservation projects that you visit during the trip, building a relationship between travellers and local conservation heroes that will last for years to come.

Dates: 13 May 2019 and 2 June 2019 (reverse itinerary)
Length:  20 days / 19 nights
Tour route: Raja Ampat, Vogelkop & Cendrawasih Bay Expedition
Costs:  EARLY BIRD SPECIAL: $9,500 AUD triple share / $12,000 AUD twin share (Normally $11,500 AUD triple share/ $14,000 AUD twin share)
Group number: Minimum 8, maximum 12


All aboard the ‘Putiraja’

For this expedition, we are teaming up with the crew of the ‘Putiraja’, a 34m traditional Phinisi schooner. This beautifully crafted wooden ship has five air-conditioned cabins with bathrooms – four of which are equipped with a double and a single bunk, while the fifth cabin in the bow has two single bunks. We limit the number of passengers to 11, with a maximum of three per cabin. The Putiraja is manned by a crew of eight, including Ken and Josephine who co-own the ship and are among Indonesia’s finest Captains. The cook prepares delicious dishes from fresh seafood and produce she sources in the different locations the Putiraja visits. She will also prepare individual meals for those on special diets (vegetarian, gluten free, etc).

Are you ready to join us on the trip of a lifetime?

Your host:

Geoffrey Gearheart is a marine biologist and oceanographer who has worked in research and conservation in West Papua for over a decade.

From 2005 to 2008, Geoff worked as a biologist for Conservation International, spearheading their Raja Ampat sea turtle conservation program. Over the years, he has developed a keen understanding of Papua’s “big picture”: the interactions between terrestrial and marine ecosystems and the challenges of preserving this unique corner of our planet.

Geoff is drawn to the last virtually unexplored places of our planet and travels to New Guinea and Antarctica to study how powerful processes, such as ocean currents and climate change, influence the ecology of sea turtles and emperor penguins. His passion for these animals has pulled him into the realm of conservation, fully aware that here lies one of the biggest challenges of our generation – how do we reconcile the needs of humans with those of our fragile marine ecosystems?

Itinerary for 13 May 2019 (please note our 2 June 2019 trip is the reverse itinerary)

Day 1 International travel. Arrival Jakarta*. Transfer to Santika Premiere hotel. Dinner at hotel or in the city (optional). Night at Hotel. Official start of the trip. AIR/LAND
Day 2 Morning briefing at 09:00 after breakfast. Sightseeing/shopping. 21:30: transfer to airport. 23:55: Jakarta-Sorong flight. LAND/AIR
Day 3 Arrival in Sorong at 06:30. Transfer to Putiraja. Safety briefing, lunch and departure for Gam Island. Beginning of cruise. Late afternoon: arrival at Saporkren, Gam Isl. Village visit. AIR/LAND/SEA
Day 4 0500: Saporkren forest trek to see Red Bird-of-Paradise. Return to ship at 10:00. Sail to Alyui Bay. Late afternoon/evening: arrival at Alyui Bay. Night snorkeling at Cendana pier. SEA
Day 5 09:00: snorkeling/SCUBA at Alyui Bay. Cendana pearl farm visit. 14:00: sail to Piai Island. Presentation by Geoff on Piai conservation program Night: green sea turtle patrol at Piai Island. SEA
Day 6 05:30: Dawn trek around Piai Island. Snorkeling on Piai’s reef. Night: green sea turtle patrol at Piai. Sail to Wayag Sea SEA
Day 7 06:00: Sunrise hill climb (optional: organized by Sartika Cruises*). 09:00: breakfast then exploration of Wayag aboard the speedboats. Afternoon: snorkeling. SEA
Day 8 08:00: breakfast then exploration of Wayag aboard the speedboats. After lunch: snorkeling. 17:00: sunset hill climb (optional: organized by Sartika Cruises). Dinner and departure for Vogelkop Peninsula. SEA
Day 9 Transit to Vogelkop (Bird’s Head) Peninsula. Presentation by Geoff on leatherbacks. SEA
Day 10 Mid-morning: arrival at Jamursba Medi. Batu Rumah camp visit and birdwing butterflies. Forest walk with Yan Yessa. Late lunch and rest. 16:00: trek from Batu Rumah to Warmamedi Beach (numerous species of endemic birds). Night patrol to see nesting leatherbacks. SEA
Day 11 09:00: late breakfast. Trek along river at Batu Rumah. Lunch and rest. 16:00: trek from Batu Rumah to Warmamedi Beach (numerous species of endemic birds). Night patrol to see nesting leatherbacks. Transit to Weyos Bay. SEA
Day 12 Mid-morning: arrival at Weyos Bay. Landing on Weyos Bay beach (swim from speedboat) and hike up the mountain stream. Picnic en route. Lesser Birds-of-Paradise and many other New Guinea endemic birds, barking deer, pademelon, etc.). Return to ship at 17:00. Sail to Manokwari. SEA
Day 13 Manokwari. After breakfast: visit of Mansinam Island or snorkeling. Leave for Kwatisore before noon. Rest of the day and night: sailing to Kwatisore. SEA
Day 14 Sailing to Kwatisore. Early to late afternoon: arrival at the bagans. A few hours swimming with whale sharks. Barbecue at the dive resort. Night visit of a bagan to witness lifting of the net. SEA
Day 15 05:00: forest trek to see Lesser Birds-of-Paradise. Late breakfast at around 08:30 and swim with whale sharks. Lunch and more whale sharks. Visit of the village of Kwatisore. Night visit of a bagan to witness lifting of the net. SEA
Day 16 05:00: forest trek to see Lesser Birds-of-Paradise. Late breakfast at around 08:30 and swim with whale sharks. Lunch and more whale sharks. Visit of the village of Kwatisore. Dinner and departure for Mangguar Peninsula. SEA
Day 17 08:00: quick breakfast and snorkeling around the islets off the Mangguar Peninsula. 10:30: brunch and departure for Roon Island. Mid-late afternoon: arrival at Menarbu Village. Village visit. Departure for Mattas Island after dinner. SEA
Day 18 08:00 breakfast and snorkeling around Matas Island. Departure for Manokwari at around 10:00. Arrival in Manokwari in early evening. Last dinner aboard the Putiraja. SEA
Day 19 04:30: transfer from ship to land. Taxi to Manokwari airport. 07:40: flight to Jakarta. Arrival in Jakarta at 10:30. Transfer to Santika Premiere hotel in Jakarta. Night at hotel. LAND/AIR
Day 20 Breakfast at hotel. End of the trip. International flights in late afternoon, earliest* LAND/AIR

*It is strongly recommended to have an extra 1-day ‘buffer’ at the beginning and (especially) at the end of the trip, due to possible delays (ship, domestic flights, etc.) For instance: arrival in Jakarta one day before Day 1 and departure on Day 21.

Watch the video of Geoff’s amazing adventures below and call Clare at Back Track Adventures to be part of this life-changing experience.

Hungry Whale Sharks of Cendrawasih Bay (West Papua, Indonesia)

Wayag – Raja Ampat: Morning of the Earth

*Photos by: Christine Bull, Caught in Colour /  Videography: tellus4d.com