Snorkel With Whale Sharks and Explore Raja Ampat, From Two Remote Resorts
Join This 13 Day Group Snorkeling Adventure to the Abundant Coral Triangle
December 2022 and 2023
This small group trip combines snorkeling with Whale Sharks from the Triton Bay Resort in West Papua, Indonesia, with snorkeling the reefs of Raja Ampat from the Papua Explorers Resort, which is located in one of the most bio-diverse marine environments in the world. You will get your fill of snorkeling extremely diverse and healthy coral reefs, with unprecedented numbers and varieties of fish and other wonderful sea creatures. This should be an incredible guided snorkeling trip that 12 lucky snorkelers can join!
This trip is being run by our partner and friend Ben and his team. Based in the U.K., they are experts in the Coral Triangle, run amazing excursions, and have a great appreciation for the underwater world.
This group tour is exclusively for snorkelers. Ben has run trips to both locations before, and it sounds like a simply stunning experience, above and under the water.
Where Are Triton Bay and Papua Explorers Resorts?
Both resorts are located in Indonesia. First you fly into Jakarta and spend the first night in the Jakarta Airport Hotel. Then you will fly as a group the next morning to Kaimana Airport in West Papua. From there you will travel by boat to the Triton Bay Resort, which is located on Aiduma Island. After your four night stay at Triton Bay, you will fly to Sorong, and transfer by boat to the Papua Explorers Resort, where you will spend the next seven nights. You will then be transferred back to Sorong for your final flight back to Jakarta.
Both Triton Bay and Raja Ampat are part of a broader marine area known as the Bird’s Head Seascape, which is considered the epicenter of the Coral Triangle, the most bio-diverse marine environment on earth.
Triton Bay and Aiduma Island are part of Indonesia’s West Papua Province (Kaimana Regency).
Raja Ampat is a regency of over 1,500 stunning islands, the primary islands being Salawati, Batanta, Waigeo, and Misool, and it includes Cenderawasih Bay, the largest marine national park in Indonesia. Raja Ampat translates as Four Kings in English, referring to the four largest islands.
What Will Whale Shark Snorkeling Be Like?
While it is not guaranteed, December is the best month for being able to snorkel with whale sharks in the Triton Bay area of Indonesia. They are attracted to local fishing platforms where they feed on small bait fish. During two days of your stay you will venture from the Triton Bay Resort, early in the morning by boat, to visit the whale sharks. After refreshments on a beach, you will snorkel a close by reef, full of sea life. You will also go out a third day by boat to snorkel more reefs in the area.
What Is Triton Bay Resort Like?
Located in a beautiful bay, on a sandy palm tree adorned beach, your bungalow has an amazing view. Each of the six bungalows have an ensuite bathroom, bed mosquito nets, and 24 hour power.
When you are not out snorkeling with the group it is a relaxing place to take in the beauty.
Note that there is no air-conditioning in these rooms, but there are ceiling fans. Ben has run tours to this resort for years. Some guests find the lack of A/C a little uncomfortable initially, but normally they become acclimated to the temperatures.
There is an open air restaurant where the group will be served their delicious meals, and it makes a nice place to relax and socialize in the evenings.
And yes, there is snorkeling available on the excellent house reef for your afternoons and evenings. It is also a good spot to do some night snorkeling. One guided night snorkel is included, and it is a great place to see the rare Epaulette Walking Sharks.
What Is Raja Ampat and the Snorkeling Like?
You may have heard of the incredible underwater biodiversity of the Coral Triangle area of Indonesia. Well, Raja Ampat is known to have the most species of marine life in all of the Coral Triangle. There are nearly 1,500 species of reef fish, 600 species of hard corals, seven giant clams species, seven species of sea turtles, and 57 species of mantis shrimp. And pelagic life is abundant in the area.
On both the house reef, and the many other reefs close by that you will visit by boat, you can expect to see healthy coral gardens dense with hard and soft corals in perfect snorkeling depths. In fact Raja Ampat is known for excellent snorkeling in particular because of the amount of life on the shallow reefs. You will find large volumes and varieties of fish schools, and will have good chances seeing bigger fish such as manta rays, reef sharks, and schools of barracuda and jacks.
Why is there so much life around the Papua Explorers Resort? The resort is located on the edge of the Dampier Strait, in the central region of a marine protected area. The strait pumps nutrient rich waters through the area which supports an abundance of marine life, large and small.
You will experience a great variety of underwater ecosystems, all close to the resort, from shallow fringing reefs to sea mounts, walls, and manta cleaning stations.
Beneath the surface swarms of small fish such as damsels, fusiliers, and anthias mill about on the reef flats, while not too far away large schools of tuna, trevally and mackerel congregate. Spadefish, surgeonfish, and barracuda gather under docks and around reef points, while angelfish and butterflyfish decorate both the reef flats and jagged coral towers. Expect fields of soft corals like you’ve never seen them before, and hard coral reefs are healthy and abundant as well.
There are strong currents in the area, but the guides are experts at picking snorkeling spots at the right time, and there are a myriad of snorkeling spots that are protected in almost all weather conditions. So, although you should have a good level of fitness, you should not expect to have to swim against a current for any length of time, and instead will float with the currents.
Above the water the scenery is just stunning, both at the resort, and through the islands you will be going by and stopping at on the boats.
There will a full day tour to a popular snorkel site known as The Passage, which is situated in extremely picturesque islands. The Passage is between islands that are very close together with swift flowing currents and uniquely colored soft corals.
Raja Ampat is also a birder’s paradise. You can expect to see many eagles overhead when snorkeling, and a huge variety of parrots in the trees. Also included will be a day trip to Yenwapnor Village nearby where you can see the stunning Red Bird of Paradise. And you can also opt to visit another island to see the Wilson’s Bird of Paradise.
What Is the Papua Explorers Resort Like?
Papua Explorers is a highly regarded destination, and your group of snorkelers will essentially be filling the resort.
Papua Explorers Resort is very eco-friendly, both in how it was created and how it is run. They also created the Raja Ampat SEA Center, which is an NGO dedicated to conserving Raja Ampat’s marine life through Science, Education, and Awareness.
They won the 2019 Sustainability Award first place prize from the ADTO (Association of Dive Tour Operators). They are a good place to support.
Your overwater bungalow is built in traditional Papuan style with local materials, but with modern comforts. All bungalows are equipped with a bathroom, including a shower with hot water, a ceiling fan, a mosquito net, a working desk, and a comfortable seating area.
The rooms do not have air-conditioning, but with the rooms being over the water and with the ceiling fans, they are cool. Enjoy sunsets and sunrises on your spacious veranda, with a hammock and comfortable lounge chairs. You also have your own stairs down into the sea. There is satellite based WiFi internet available in the common areas.
The resort restaurant also sits over the water, and is an excellent place to view the stunning surroundings. You will be served traditional Indonesian cuisine as well as international comfort foods and snacks between snorkels. The resort can accommodate most special diets such as vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, and so on. But, it is a remote destination and specific food items may not be available.
In addition to your spacious rooms and the restaurant there are also some common areas that are great for chatting with new friends and for relaxing.
There is even an open air spa where you can get a massage to relax those snorkeling legs!
Seaworthy and efficient Panga style boats will be used for the short trips out to each snorkel site daily, and each have two motors for redundancy. Each boat has shade. There will be a snorkel guide and captain on each boat.
You will drop into the water from the side of the boat, after the guide checks the conditions and currents. Re-boarding the boat is via a wooden ladder that is lowered over the side. So some strength is required for getting back in the boat, although you will be assisted as needed.
Larger cabin boats are used for the transfer between Sorong and the resort.
Trip Details and How to Sign Up
We expect this trip to fill quickly. Your spot is reserved with your deposit. Contact Ben below for deposit instructions.
December 2-14 – Trip full, request to be waitlisted below.
December 1-13 – Trip full, request to be waitlisted below.
2022 Trip Price:
$6690 US per person (Twin/Double Share)
2023 Trip Price:
$6890 US per person (Twin/Double Share)
The initial deposit for this trip is $800 US per person. At six months before departure there is a $1000 US per person interim deposit. The final balance will be due three months before departure. A few payment options are available including debit and credit cards.
Individual travelers – Ben will happily find someone of the same sex for you to share a room with. If he cannot find you someone, no single supplement surcharge will apply.
- 1 night accommodation at Jakarta Airport Hotel with breakfast
- Round trip domestic flights, transfers, and connections (Jakarta – Kaimana – Sorong- Jakarta) with 20 kg/44 lbs checked baggage
- 4 nights accommodation and full board (all meals) at Triton Bay Resort (Twin/Double Share)
- 3 boat snorkeling sessions at Triton Bay – 2 sites visited each session
- Unlimited house reef snorkeling and night snorkeling at Triton Bay
- 7 nights accommodation and full board (all meals) at Papua Explorers Resort (Twin/Double Share)
- 3 boat snorkeling sessions per day at Papua Explorers for 6 days, including the full day trip to ‘The Passage’
- Unlimited house reef snorkeling at Papua Explorers
- Birds of Paradise land tour
- Guide from Ben’s team
- Marine Park Fees
- Snacks, tea, coffee, refill water, and WiFi internet
- International flights (booking available on request)
- Snorkeling equipment rental
- Travel and health insurance
- Soft drinks and alcoholic drinks, general sundries
Ben and his U.K. based team are the organizers of this trip (more about them below). Galen & Nicole from TropicalSnorkeling.com are promoting this trip, but all sign ups, trip organization and payments are made to and managed by Ben’s team. TropicalSnorkeling.com does receive a referral fee in exchange for promoting the trip, at no extra cost to attendees.
How to Sign Up or Learn More?
Use the contact form below to contact Ben and his team to request more information about them and express your interest in signing up. They will get back to you shortly with full details.
More About Ben and Our Partnership
Ben (pictured with Nicole) is our friend and snorkeling trips partner. He and his team are based in the U.K. and have over 20 years of experience guiding in Asia and beyond. He has been running his own business since 2010 and is primarily offering guided snorkeling trips, but he started with diving. He began offering snorkeling specific trips because he was aware that snorkelers often get the short end of the stick when thrown in with divers. He and his team love the freedom and low stress of snorkeling, and are very aware of the different needs of snorkelers versus divers, in terms of the reef depth, and calm surface conditions needed.
From our experience going on one of his snorkeling trips we found it very well organized, the guides were fantastic and very helpful, and the underwater experiences were exceptional. Snorkeling groups really get the benefit of all of Ben and his guides’ years of experience in the water, and with different resorts and liveaboards.
All of his trips are small groups of 12-18 guests, or with a similar ratio of snorkelers to guides. And for where they visit, and how packed they are with experiences, they are affordable.
His company is licensed and insured. Barring extreme circumstances they do not cancel trips, and all funds are held in a trust until the trip is completed giving you 100% financial security if they or any of their suppliers go out of business before the trip happens.
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