We are very excited to be able to announce this amazing snorkeling trip opportunity to Misool Eco Resort in Raja Ampat, and to be going on the trip with you! Learn all about this trip below, and how to join us.
Raja Ampat is within the famed Coral Triangle, in Indonesia, home of the most diverse and healthy reefs in the world. And the crown jewel of the area is the Misool Eco Resort. This private reserve is focused on conservation and sits in the middle of a 500 square mile Marine Protected Area and No Take Zone.
We asked our friends Burt & Maurine of Secret Sea Visions to put together and lead a snorkeling trip to Raja Ampat. They have over 40 years of experience leading diving and snorkeling adventures around the world, and literally wrote the book for diving Raja Ampat. Keeping in mind the need for shallow protected reefs for snorkelers, they considered all the Raja Ampat resorts and liveaboard boats available and they selected Misool Eco Resort as the best place for an amazing snorkeling experience. And Misool was very excited to host a group of snorkelers, and has worked with Burt & Maurine to create this special adventure.
Burt & Maurine said "... because of Misool’s extremely prolific reefs, snorkelers often see fish schools and species normally observed only by divers. At times the water boils with action as schools of trevally and Bumphead parrotfish meet at the dock. Green turtles, anemonefish, and even walking sharks endemic to Raja Ampat also can be seen just off the pier...Raja Ampat is one of the few places on the planet where marine biodiversity is improving."
“There is greater biodiversity — that is to say, a larger number and greater diversity of fish, coral, and mollusks on these reefs than anywhere on earth. A single football field-sized patch of Misool’s reefs has nearly five times the number of coral species as the entire Caribbean Sea.” - Marine biologist Dr Mark Erdmann
This adventure will not lack for snorkeling variety, or time in the water!
Unlimited Beach Snorkeling
Because we are staying at Misool Eco Resort we have the opportunity to snorkel right from the beaches, to our heart's content. As you can see in the picture below there is a north and a south lagoon to snorkel.
Two Snorkel Boat Trips Each Day
Each day there will also be two boat trip adventures taking our snorkeling only groups out to a variety of neighboring shallow reefs and walls that are as spectacular as the house reef. Although we expect to book the majority of the resort with snorkelers, the snorkel boats are not huge, so you will not have long waits to get in or out of the water, and you will get the opportunity to snorkel with many different new friends throughout the 9 or 12 days, including Galen, Nicole, Burt, and Maurine (Galen and Nicole only on later dates).
We will also have the opportunity to do some night snorkeling at the resort.
Two Special Excursions
In addition to all of the above snorkeling opportunities, we will also have two off resort snorkeling excursions (to be selected at a later date), such as a trip to deserted beach and mangrove forest for remote snorkeling or snorkeling through a labyrinthian limestone cave.
In a world of declining reef health, Raja Ampat is proving resilient and lush with life. We will be snorkeling in the epicenter of marine life, in numbers and varieties that are astounding. By the way, many of the pictures on this page were taken by Burt, who is an accomplished underwater photographer. Both he and Galen will be giving photography tips during the trip to help you get the best snorkeling pictures you can.
The resort was built entirely with reclaimed wood using their own saw mills on site. There are eight luxurious Water Cottages on stilts in the North Lagoon, and four slightly larger Villas in the same area. And just over a short but steep walk there are seven South Beach Villas on a powder-white beach. You will have a great view no matter what room you get.
All rooms have air conditioning, open air private bathrooms with hot water, and a veranda with lounges or hammocks. Some have steps into the sea and some are steps from the beach.
All food is included, and served at the beach-front restaurant. You can expect Asian and Western cuisine, with an emphasis on fresh, local, organic produce and fish line-caught outside their no-take zone. They can accommodate dietary needs and restrictions with advance notice. There are four meals served a day (second breakfast anyone?), plus snacks, and afternoon tea. Alcohol is an extra cost item, and pork is not served.
The resort also has a dive center that offers wet and dry areas. The wet area has rinse tanks and space for cameras. The dry area is wonderful for presentations and discussions.
You may also choose to partake in the resort's wellness spa treatments at The Lookout or in your own room. They offer massage and beauty treatments that feature their signature products, created every morning in their kitchen.
The more we learn about Misool and their mission to protect the reefs and the communities in the area, the more impressed and happy we are to support their efforts.
We highly recommend you watch this video for a better sense of the great work Misool is doing.
Burt & Maurine have seen Misool do amazing things over the years. "We first saw the resort back in 2005, when it
was just a heap of scavenged lumber piled on the beach. The lagoon was
basically a lifeless expanse of water. When we returned in late 2008 to
research our Raja Ampat diving guide we were delighted to discover that
Misool Eco Resort had transformed into a drop dead gorgeous facility,
with excellent food, service, and a strong commitment to marine
conservation. In just three years, the marine biomass had blossomed and
now fish swarmed guests as soon as they finned away from the beach or
dived off the dock." They have returned as recently as 2017, and report flourishing sea life thanks to the protection Misool offers.
Note: Due to the overwhelming interest in this trip a second trip was created, which is at a slightly earlier date, Jan 31 - Feb 12, and is for 12+1 nights. Galen & Nicole will not be on this earlier trip.
February 12-21, 2020 Trip full, but you can be on a waiting list.
Jan 31 - Feb 12, 2020 - Some availability - south & north villas only
Price For February 12-21, 2020:
$5095/person sharing either a lagoon water cottage or a south beach villa *
$5850/person in a north beach villa *
Price For January 31 to February 12, 2020:
either a lagoon water cottage or a south beach villa *
$7275/person in a north beach villa *
* Guests should note that the south beach villas are accessed by a short but steep path. Those who do not wish to climb to the south villas should request either a water cottage or upgrade to a north beach villa. People in good condition for snorkeling should have no issues accessing the south villas.
Inclusions: Accommodations for 9 or 12 nights at Misool Eco Resort, 1 night in Sorong on the return before flying home, all meals while at the resort, snacks, drinks (excluding alcoholic beverages), two guided boat snorkeling departures daily, unlimited snorkeling in the lagoon, house reef or south beach blue hole, RT transfers between Sorong, the resort, airport, hotel, all taxes, and two off resort snorkeling excursions TBD.
Exclusions: Including but not limited to international and domestic airfare (Secret Sea Visions can book the domestic airfare and are happy to make suggestions on the international part), spa services, alcoholic beverages, gratuities (recommended 8-10% of the trip cost), rental equipment, any extra services such as VIP immigration or transit hotels, personal purchases such as T-shirts, etc.
Burt & Maurine from Secret Sea Visions are the organizers and leaders of this trip (more about them below). Galen & Nicole from Tropicalsnorkeling.com contributed to the creation of this trip, but all signups, trip organization and payments are made to and managed by Secret Sea Visions. TropicalSnorkeling.com does receive a referral fee in exchange for promoting the trip, at no extra cost to attendees.
How To Sign Up?
Email Burt & Maurine to request more information and express your interest in signing up. They will get back to you shortly with full details.
You can also use the contact form below which will be sent to Burt & Maurine.
We have been actively looking for new companies who were creating and leading snorkeling trips for awhile, to bring snorkelers the travel opportunities that divers have. We even went to DEMA, the largest diving/snorkeling trade show in the world in Las Vegas, for that purpose.
Then one day we received our Costco magazine, and on the cover was Burt with a turtle, and a story about Burt & Maurine's business of underwater photography, dive trips, and marine conservation work. They are Raja Ampat experts, and by chance they live just a thirty minute drive from our home, in Washington State.
We immediately emailed them, hoping with all of their experience that they could recommend someone who was interested in running snorkeling trips. We had no idea they would be interested themselves, because of all the diving they do. But to our surprise they were very interested in creating a snorkeling trip. They love snorkeling themselves and were very excited to go with a group of enthusiastic snorkelers!
So we met with them, had a meal, talked shop, and tried to get a good sense if we would work well together. The answer was yes. They are lovely down to earth people who seemed to share similar values, and have built their business by providing great service.
We have since read many glowing testimonials from travelers who are very pleased with the quality of their service and attention to detail. And so far, we find all that to be true.
They are also highly involved in conservation efforts, and are administrators of the Bird's Head Seascape website, that was "established as a multi-partner conservation initiative in 2004, the Bird’s Head Seascape initiative's aim is to secure the long-term effective management of the rich marine resources of the BHS in a manner that ensures food security and sustainable economic benefits for its citizens while also preserving its globally significant biodiversity."