Raja Ampat, Indonesia, just south of the equator, is a hidden archipelago of some of the most beautiful uninhabited islands in the world. White sand beaches, hidden lagoons, spooky caves, mushroom-shaped islets, and pellucid turquoise waters. It is home to some of world’s most beautiful islands. It is a paradise not found anywhere else on earth.
There are hundred of peaks from to Wayag in the North to Dapunlol in the South, and Paynemo in the central that you can hike to get a bird’s eye view and take pictures. It also offers various types of natural attractions like karsts, flora and fauna. You can experience one or all of them depending the length of your cruise, interest, and comfort.
Most of travelers are not knowledgably having a clear understanding of the size of this special destination. Raja Ampat is remote and vast with an undeveloped infrastructure. Raja Ampat is comprised of 600 islands and additional 900 more shoals and islets contained within an area of 40,000 km2 / 15,444 miles2, which is 7 times the size of the “Island of Gods”, Bali. The most beautiful beaches and most exciting dive sites are only accessible by sea. There is no better way to travel to see them than by sailing on a luxury wooden yacht, Sequoia.
Wayag Island is the icon of Raja Ampat. Indigenous people consider it a sacred place, which limit access to enter wayag. Now, Wayag has opened to the public to visit. With more than 50 islands of Wayag archipelago, which are all uninhabited, one can find and endless number of hidden bays, coves, and lagoons. Wayag is one of Raja Ampat’s 12 Marine Protected areas, and as such is manned by community rangers tasked with patrolling the area to monitor for illegal fishing and visitor behavior. Every man in the villages of Salio and Selpepe serves as a ranger for two weeks each year, a remarkable testament to the incredible community commitment to conserve the stunning natural riches of the area. It is rated as the most beautiful islands in the world by CNN Travel.
One limiting factor in being able to experience this seascape wonderland is travel logistics. Rather than staying one remote resort, which will limit your experience to a small area, your horizon can change each day you wake up as you travel between these pristine islands. Unlike staying in a land-based resort, which most of which located in Waisai. It takes a 10-hour speedboat journey return to and from Wayag. This way, your experience is less and uncomfortable. While on Sequoia, this is how we spend our days in Wayag:
Your Wayag experience begins early in the morning, when we prepare our Boston Whaler to bring you to the shore so you can take a 30-minute hike up at Mount Pindito. The reward for the strenuous climb is a breathtaking 360-degree view of an island-studded sea. Reaching the top of the mountain takes some effort but once on the summit, the refreshing air and stunning views will amaze you. You may even see an eagle cruising high above you. There is no better way to wake up than to have a cup of morning coffee surrounded by the beauty of Wayag Islands.
After you return down on the beach, your butler and chef are ready to serve you a tropical breakfast and a cold-press juice on the beach. We recommend you to swim and or snorkel in one of its blue lagoons to cool down before heading back to Sequoia Yacht for a shower.
After shower and a morning nap if you wish on Sequoia, you can continue for scuba diving or snorkeling. Our oceans are facing a serious treat from increasing population leading to over-fishing as well as increasing CO2 emissions. The resulting acidification of the seawater causes coral bleaching which is devastating much of the earth’s reefs. Fortunately, the reefs in and around Raja Ampat have yet to be affected by these threats. It is considered by many to be the most beautiful reefs on earth.
Raja Ampat was recently awarded the # 1 snorkeling place on earth by CNN Travel. Its remote location means you will most likely have the place to yourself. http://edition.cnn.com/travel/article/best-snorkeling-destinations
Imagine swimming along side of manta rays, sharks, stingless jellyfish, giant bump head fish, colorful soft coral and thousands of reef fish while staying on the surface of the water. The aquatic treasures of Raja Ampat can be enjoyed by virtually any one at any level – the only equipment needed are a mask, snorkel and fins!
Scientific research that has been conducted by The Nature Conservancy (TNC) and Conservation International (CI) has shown that Raja Ampat is home to 533 coral species “75% of world coral species”, 1,437 reef fish species, 700 species of mollusk including 7 species of giant clam. You can do one of multiple dives here: Cathedral Rock, Y-Reef, Pelagic Rock or Edi’s Cave. Whichever you choose, schools of fish and colorful hard and soft corals will surround you. If you are lucky, you can see Wobbegong shark, an endemic walking shark that you can only find in West Papua.
A light freshly made lunch is ready upon your arrival back on Sequoia. You can do a coconut spa on the beach, which we can end this day activity with a kayak, stand-up paddle boarding navigating a turquois lagoons of Wayag. It will allow you to explore a chain of small islands. As you paddle, you will to hear the gentle sounds of nature from bird singing to dancing fish. You can also observe birds and wild plants such as pitcher plants and orchids
We will take you to lagoon near the park ranger station so you can experience swimming with friendly baby sharks. You will start understand that reef sharks are shy and do not harm human. They are an important part of marine ecosystem that we need to protect. If you travel with kids, this is a perfect destination to teach kids on relationship between ocean and human.
Nowhere on earth compares to the equatorial Sunrise and Sunset. The combination of deep blue oceans, tropical islands, complex cloud formations, varying weather, all contribute to the depth and variety of both the Sun's rise in the East and set in the West. You will view in awe and splendor the kaleidoscope of mixed colors within the swirls of clouds as a background of wooden ships in the background. Everyday a new canvas will appear on the horizon dramatically different from any one from yesterday or tomorrow. Your sunset tea or cocktail with little delicacy are served for you to enjoy the beauty of this magical sunset.
Continue with Dinner under the stars on the beach listening to the nature. Sequoia crew will turn your favorite island with a candlelight dinner and bon-fire. Chef will prepare food and drink of your choice. Our recommendation will be Jakarta wedding salad, grilled seafood, scalloped potatoes or blue-pea rice with various sambal condiments. Wine pairing is the best part. The coconut dessert will close your dinner. Enjoy a romantic dinner and start planning your next adventure with Coral Triangle Safaris. End your night with a romantic "under the sky" movie cinema up in our sky deck. Do sleep under the milky way and thousand of stars which seems very close to your eyes due to its clear sky of Wayag, where your butler will set your crisp linen bedding in our sky deck.
Your Wayag experience does not end yet. It depends how long do you want to stay in this special archipelago. We recommend to stay at minimum 2 full days on Wayag, so we can combined relaxing and adventurous activities. The powerful 225 hp Boston Whaler Dauntless is set up for water skiing with either one or two skis depending on your skill level. Alternatively, you can choose to be towed by our 2-person tube. This is a popular activity for kids to enjoy together as they glide back and forth along the waters of calm bays. A relatively new activity that is gaining popularity is standup paddle boarding. It allows you to enjoy your surroundings without the sound of any machines or engines while viewing the world around you.
If you feel in a lazy mood doing anything but relaxing, you can choose your own white sandy beach and set a picnic. All you need is a good book, which you can get on Sequoia from our book collection, and coconut water. Our recommendation while in Wayag is just walk on the beach and reconnect with yourself and nature where you will most likely having Wayag to yourself due to its remote location. It is a rare moment being away from the crowd as well as doing a digital detox in such a busy world. It is priceless.
Another activity that we can do is witnessing something truly majestic. Witnessing baby turtle fist time going to the sea at nearby island, Dayang. There is so much to learn from our nature. You and your family can also be trained together with our own private instructors. From the shallow Sandy beaches you can learn how to breath underwater, clear you mask, give proper hand signals and other skills to allow you to dive safely. With our PADI-certified dive instructor and 5 stars dive center, your underwater adventure will be safe and unforgettable.
Sequoia, with 10 professional crewmembers including a cruise director, all your needs will be taken care of in private and intimate settings. It is truly a lifetime experience. Start planning your safari with Coral Triangle Safaris. See you on board Sequoia Yacht!
Begin your own journey!
Wonderhatch, Wet Traveler, and Coral Triangle Safaris take images. Films are by Wonderhatch.