Cruise a breathtakingly beautiful archipelago consisting of more than 1500 islands, cays and shoals. Dive and snorkel coral-encrusted lava flow and then celebrate with sunset drinks in a Dutch fort built during the 16th century. See the exotic Wilson’s bird of paradise, cross the equator and take part in a mantra ray convention! Snorkel through caves and take guided walks through the jungle! Perhaps it doesn’t get any better than this!
Return charter flights ex Darwin ARE INCLUDED in the cruise tariff.
• Discover the amazing Raja Ampats in extraordinary detail
• Explore the fabled Banda Islands - the evolutionary birthplace of nutmeg and mace
• Refresh under the beautiful Mommon Waterfall – where chilling fresh water thunders down lush jungle slopes into the warm waters of the sea
• Marvel at the huge number of sea fans in the Wayilbatan Channel, the massive schools of fish off “Nudi Rock” and the spectacular underwater scenery including a photogenic swim-through at “Boo Windows”
• Trek through the jungle to see the magnificent red bird of paradise
• Discover one of the world’s most unique snorkeling experiences in the Alfred Russel Wallace Channel
Your adventure begins amidst the tropical charm of Darwin. After collection from your hotel, our attentive crew members will escort you onboard North Star’s chartered aircraft for the short flight to Ambon – gateway to the world’s last frontier, West Papua! Ambon is also where we will welcome you onboard the magnificent True North. Enjoy a welcome aboard cocktail as we cruise to the Banda Islands and then watch the sun set in a different land before indulging in an equally stunning dining experience!
Today we explore the fabled Banda Islands. Steeped in history and the evolutionary birthplace of nutmeg and mace, Banda is at the epicentre of Indonesia’s ‘Spice Islands’ and was a “Holy Grail’ for European, Arab and Chinese spice traders up until the late 1800’s. So valuable in fact were these islands that in 1667, Holland traded New Amsterdam (the quaint island now known as Manhattan) to the British for tiny Run Island – an acquisition that completed their monopoly of Banda nutmeg! Traditional war canoes will lead us into Banda Harbour before we join a guided tour of Banda Neira Island featuring a nutmeg plantation and a fascinating historic museum. Back on-board our guest biologist will introduce the area’s intriguing natural history before you head-off in the expedition boats for a scenic cruise or perhaps this might be your very first opportunity to snorkel and dive on a sunken lava flow. Then join guest and crew alike for sunset drinks in historic Fort Belgica which overlooks Banda Harbour and the still active volcano Gunung Api.
It’s time to explore the intriguing Fakfak Coast. Start with a fishing trip to the Bomberai Peninsula or indulge in a scenic cruise in the expedition boats through the hidden lagoons – with one eye in the water and the other to the sky, lookout for hornbills and other Papuan birdlife. And don’t forget your snorkel and your SCUBA tank – the area is also renowned for its aquarium like qualities. Then refresh under the beautiful Mommon Waterfall – where chilling fresh water thunders down lush jungle slopes into the warm waters of the sea. In the afternoon explore Sebakor Bay and its spectacular system of water-filled caves. More snorkelling and diving is also possible but make sure you’re back in time for the chef’s much-lauded wine and cheese appreciation.
Wake up and revel in the fact that you’re now in Raja Ampat – the “Four Kings” – a global epicentre of marine biodiversity! You’ll want to maximize every possible minute in the water – snorkelling and diving on these breathtaking reefs with their rainbows of soft corals and huge shoals of fish is a testimony to the efforts of those who protect the SE Misool marine park. These dive and snorkelling sites are some of the most iconic in all of Raja Ampat – marvel at the huge number of sea fans in the Wayilbatan Channel, the massive schools of fish off “Nudi Rock” and the spectacular underwater scenery including a photogenic swim-through at “Boo Windows”. In the afternoon we’ll have a chance to visit the Misool Eco Resort before heading over to Kalig Beach for spectacular sunset drinks!
This morning we continue our adventures at Misool Island. The waters surrounding this island teem with fish life, over-sized sea fans and, feature the underwater caverns of Farondi Island. Take a scenic ride around the spectacular Balbulol island formations or enjoy a second dive at “No Contest” (you’ll soon see why it’s so named!) Over lunch we’ll steam into one of the prettiest anchorages in Raja Ampat – the Mesempta Karst Channels. But you’ll have to wait to really soak in the view as we’re off for a unique snorkel/float through the sacred Tomolol cave system – a truly awesome adventure. The Misool Island heli-flight is also not to be missed – you’ll be blown away by the aerial beauty of this region. In the late afternoon join your favourite expedition boat for a ‘drinks and nibbles’ cruise through the beautiful Karst Islands – don’t forget your cameras!!
It’s an early start today as the shore parties’ head into Gam Island and trek through the jungle to see the magnificent red bird of paradise. Then it’s back to the ship for breakfast and a short cruise to Cape Kri and its spectacular reef which holds the world record for fish species recorded during a single dive (374 by renowned Australian ichthyologist Dr. Gerry Allen). More diving and snorkelling in the stunning Dampier Strait is on the agenda after lunch or if you prefer,
take a seat in the expedition boats as we explore the blue water mangroves and enjoy some afternoon bird watching.
The helicopter is away early this morning revealing the spectacular Fam Group of Islands. The expedition boats will offer scenic cruises around beautiful Penemu Island and the Yeben Islands boast even more opportunity for beachcombing, snorkelling and diving. And after lunch it’s time for a cruise highlight. Alfred Russel Wallace was a British naturalist, explorer, geographer, anthropologist and biologist. He is best known for independently conceiving the theory of evolution through natural selection and, he conducted extensive fieldwork on the Malay Archipelago. This afternoon you will slip into the coastal channel that bears his name to discover one of the world’s most unique snorkeling experiences. Surrounding currents converge in the Alfred Russel Wallace Channel to create a ½ mile long ‘drift snorkel’. The current will guide you over stunning orange cup corals, seahorses and clownfish – the vibrant water movement is one of the reasons why the area is so rich in coral and fish life – and all the while you will be surrounded by dense jungle! At the end of the channel the ship’s expedition boats will be waiting – but you may just want to do it all over again! End the day with another thoroughly enjoyable True North “raft up” as the expedition boats cruise through “Hidden Lagoon”.
Wake to the stunning scenery of Wofoh Island – enjoy a breath-taking dive on the black coral forest, snorkel over the lush coral gardens or simply laze on the gorgeous white sand beach (watch out for falling coconuts!). Later in the morning we’ll cruise to the rocky islets of Bougainville Strait and if we’re lucky we can take part in a manta ray convention! Plankton rich currents often attract large numbers of manta rays to Eagle Rock – jump in and have a swim with these gentle giants of the sea! This afternoon we visit the Australian-owned “Atlas South Sea Pearls” pearl farm at Aljui Bay – a chance to learn about the intriguing art of pearl farming and an opportunity to purchase a very authentic reminder of your time in this timeless land! And, we’ll send the fishing parties out in search of the revered mangrove jack – a great fighter and one of the best tasting fish you can catch! For the divers, tonight we’ll offer a night dive on the pearl farm jetty – chock-a-block with all manner of bizarre and beautiful critters ranging from wobbegongs, cockatoo waspfish, hairy ghostpipefish and even Raja Ampat’s endemic walking shark – not to be missed!!
More unique experiences are in store!
You’ll hardly believe your eyes as you emerge from your cabin and gaze upon the mind-blowing “karst beehive” islands of Raja Ampat’s “poster child” – the Wayag Archipelago. Enjoy a snorkel on these gorgeous reefs before we take a cruise on the expedition boats through the lagoon. A helicopter ride over the Wayags is the only way to truly take in the spectacular scenery – you’ll fill your camera’s memory cards within minutes! In the afternoon we’ll take a short steam to the Equator Islands for a unique opportunity to dive, snorkel or swim across the equator! You’ll want to do it in style because King Neptune is watching – and he’ll be sure to recount your glory (or lack thereof!) at tonight’s infamous Equator Party! After the festivities wake and look forward to a second day in the Wayags! Another breathtaking day of snorkelling, diving, helicoptering and sightseeing! Plus we’ve got a new activity in mind today as well – get ready for our already-famous “Wayag Beach Party”. Select your place in the sun (or under a shady palm tree) and let the crew entertain with a sumptuous beach picnic and all manner of aquatic toy! Bizarre island formations, an azure sea and sparkling beaches fringed with palm trees in the foreground of dense Papuan jungle – two days in the stunning Wayag’s is never enough!
You’ll enjoy breakfast on-board before a private car transfer to Sorong Airport and your chartered flight back to Darwin.
This itinerary is provided as example only – prevailing conditions and local arrangements may cause variation.
Located on the lower deck – Ocean Class cabins feature roomy singles and en-suite. Cabin size is approximately 12 square metres.
Other features include 2 portholes, in-cabin entertainment and satellite telephone.
Located on the middle deck – River Class cabins feature a king size double (that can be converted to singles) and en-suite. Cabin size is similar to Explorer Class.
Other features include large panoramic windows, in-cabin entertainment and satellite telephone.
Explorer Class - Stateroom
Located on the upper deck – Explorer Class cabins feature a king size double (that can be converted to singles) and a twin basin en-suite. Cabin size is 15 square metres.
Other features include large panoramic windows, amenities fridge, in-cabin entertainment and satellite telephone.
Vessel Type: Luxury Expedition
Length: 50 metres/ 164 feet
Passenger Capacity: 36
The TRUE NORTH allows discerning adventurers to experience wilderness in surroundings more akin to one of the world’s most exclusive hotels. Guests are able to take advantage of a number of lavish vantage points including a sundeck, a forward observation lounge, a ship’s lounge and an alfresco bar. The ship’s naturalist presents interpretative information on plasma screens and, an internet café enables convenient communication with the outside world.
A popular venue on any North Star cruise, the lower deck dining room offers the ultimate in comfort and uninterrupted vista – large panoramic windows ensure that guests never miss any of the action, even when they are enjoying the ‘finest in fine dining’. All cabins feature stylish décor, en-suite facilities, in-house entertainment and satellite telephones. The Explorer Class staterooms and the River Class cabins offer king size beds that can be converted to singles and the Ocean Class twins feature roomy single beds.
Multiple expedition boats provide guests with greater opportunity to do “what they want, when they want” and, to add yet another dimension to adventure, most cruise options feature an onboard helicopter!The purpose built TRUE NORTH is able to explore the upper reaches of shallow river systems – guests need only step out of their cabins to experience wilderness and, the latest in computer controlled motion stabilizers ensures a comfortable ride.