CENDERAWASIH BAY

Optimal Season: June – October

Activities: Diving with whale sharks, discovering endemic species, WWII wreck dives

The Galapagos of Indonesia

 

Discover an isolated marine ecosystem where whale sharks, dolphins, and even blue whales congregate in shallow waters home to endemic species and vast coral gardens.

Venture into in a forgotten corner of the world, Indonesia’s largest protected area, where underwater, it is a reminder of prehistoric times when giants roamed the oceans.

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Marine Megafauna

 

Cendrawasih developed as a geographically isolated marine system from the rest of the ocean for thousands of years. The lack of outside ocean currents produced endemic species and continues to elicit unusual behavior from larger deep-dwelling species.

In other parts of the world whale sharks can be hard to spot, usually alone as they scour the oceans, mouths agape to feed on plankton. In Cendrawasih, sometimes up to ten whale sharks will simultaneously gather to feed below fishing platforms, providing the ultimate experience of observing and photographing the majestic creatures.

Undiscovered Underwater Worlds

 

Spanning over 1.5 million hectares of protected sea, the country of Belgium could easily fit in Cendrawasih Bay, bordering the West Papuan rainforest coastline. As a relatively new diving destination, countless sites remain to be discovered in such a vast area.

Hundreds of small islands are home to pristine hard coral gardens inhabited by pygmy sea horses, frog fish, mimic octopus and four species of turtles. Dramatic vertical walls provide the backdrop for catching a glimpse of visiting whales, sharks and even dugongs.

Biak island was a Japanese Navy base during WWII, where cargo ships sunk and planes met their fate in the sea. Explore a number of rarely dived wrecks in a region where undoubtedly many more remain to be discovered.

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Bordering the Rainforest

 

The word “cendrawasih” means bird of paradise, an allusion to the captivating forest creatures on shore. For centuries, Papua’s exotic birds have inspired explorers to venture into the impenetrable rainforests. Alfred Wallace himself spent years in pursuit of the mythical creatures on land as did Sir David Attenborough.

The Cenderawasih area is largely unpopulated, ensuring the rainforest and its creatures have remained largely undisturbed and undocumented. One of the rarest birds to observe in the wild is the Victorian crowned pigeon, depicted here. 

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Manokwari

 

Manokwari is the largest city in West Papua, bordering Cenderawasih National Park. It is the gateway to discovering the wonders in the largest protected area in Indonesia.

Charter clients will land in Manokwari before liaising with their yacht in the small port before embarking to explore the park.