Sailing in the Footsteps of Alfred Wallace
- Vessel: Katharina
- Where: Sorong, Indonesia
- Duration: 12 days
- Embark: Sorong, West Papau - 7 February 2023, 08:00
- Disembark: Ternate, North Maluku - 18 February 2023, 13:00
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Follow in the footsteps of naturalist Alfred Wallace as you explore the Indonesian archipelago with traditional boat Katharina.
Set the sails with traditional Indonesian boat Katharina as you follow in the footsteps of naturalist Alfred Wallace – known for his theory of evolution by natural selection.
From colourful birds of paradise to inquisitive crabs, playful butterflies, comical bats and astonishing marine life. It’s little wonder why this tropical paradise left its mark on Wallace who discovered the idea of evolution whilst stranded in a hut on Ternate before sharing this with his close friend, Charles Darwin. Today, the area is very similar to the world Wallace would have uncovered and this special venture provides a unique opportunity to truly follow in his footsteps.
- Guided exploration ashore
- Birds of Paradise
- World famous Coral Reefs
- Rainforest trekking
- Private ensuite cabins
A day to day guide
D A Y 1
On arrival into Sorong, the gateway to Raja Ampat, we will transfer you to the harbour where Katharina will be waiting at anchor.
Once settled into your cabin, your cruise tour leaders will familiarise you with the vessel’s facilities and safety procedures before we weigh anchor, set sail and leave the bustling harbour behind. A short cruise and we arrive at a small island where you can enjoy your first snorkel of the trip in warm, turquoise waters.
D A Y 2
Rising early, you will head off in the tenders to a small village where local guides will lead a guided forest walk to spot the gorgeous Wilson’s Bird of Paradise. An extrovert at heart, marvel as this beautiful bird performs its mating dance ritual upon the forest floor whilst absorbing the sounds of the jungle.
Back in the village, take some time to meet with the community and perhaps even visit their school. We will be back on the boat by mid-morning and if time permits we’ll travel over to a nearby island to snorkel. In the afternoon, we will stop for some snorkelling on the beautiful reefs that this area is famed for.
D A Y 3
A second early morning but this time to see the remarkable Red Bird of Paradise, and with a little luck and the help of our knowledgeable guides, we will see this rare bird’s elaborate courtship display as dawn breaks over the forest canopy.
Back on board Katharina, we turn our attention from the sky to the sea as Katharina makes her way through the stunning Dampier Strait, home to some of Raja Ampat’s premier reefs.
There is a small chance of sighting some manta rays as we snorkel, but there as with any wildlife, there are never guarantees! We’ll moor off another tiny island where the local children will perform their traditional dances for us followed by some time spent exploring this charming village.
D A Y 4
Today holds a day of exploration and snorkelling as we spend the day visiting a local village before snorkelling on the many gorgeous reefs in the area.
We will visit a replica of Alfred Russell Wallace’s hut that was built by SeaTrek and call in on an island where a local man has set up a coconut crab ‘sanctuary’ for what is the world’s largest terrestrial arthropod! Late afternoon sees another snorkel along a reef with some spectacular giant clams (the world’s largest marine arthropod and mollusc) before dining at anchor on board.
D A Y 5
Another day of out of this world snorkelling lies ahead for us with some Wallace tracking as well as uncovering of some of Raja Ampat’s most beautiful limestone karst islands.
Waking up in front of the island of Penemu, sleepy eyes can take in the dramatic location with the option to make the short hilltop climb where those who make the effort will be rewarded with panoramic ocean views. We then continue our island hopping northwards to an isle where at dusk, tens of thousands of fruit bats fly out to feed. It’s a truly incredible sight.
Tonight we dine ashore, seeking out a remote beach where we will have a beach BBQ and party.
D A Y 6
Watch the sunrise over the picturesque chain of islands that makes up the eastern part of the Misool archipelago before joining our tenders to a large cave. Here it is possible to swim, snorkel or simply float in warm waters while gazing up at the cavernous grotto adorned with stalactites.
Our next stop of the day will be the mysterious jellyfish lake where there will be the chance to swim amongst thousands of these amazing stingless animals: undoubtedly one of Raja Ampat’s most memorable activities.
In the afternoon, set off in our tenders to explore more of this impressive maze of karst islands, both above and below the surface, complete with mysterious skull cairns in sea-cave cemeteries, and prehistoric cave paintings, estimated to be anything between 3,000 to 5,000 years old.
D A Y 7
This morning is an early one once again as we go ashore, where local guides will be waiting for us to take us through the forest in the hope of seeing the Lesser Bird of Paradise as they dance around in their ‘lekking’ trees.
On our return there will be time for a stroll around the village and possibly a visit to the school. Here you can learn how the Nature Conservancy is working with the village to empower local women with a fishing practice called ‘sasi’.
D A Y 8
Today we will find ourselves off the extreme southern tip of Halmahera Island, where we will spend much of the day snorkelling and visiting a local Bajau sea gypsy village, learning about their unique way of life.
D A Y 9
Morning sees us wake up off the western coast of Bacan where we will go ashore to explore the forested slopes in search of Wallace’s Giant Bee and the huge and magnificent Golden Birdwing Butterfly.
During this eye-opening trip it is possible to see other endemic animals including parrots, cockatoos, lorikeets, hornbills, the elusive cuscus and the endangered Black-crested Macaque.
D A Y 1 0
Today we will visit the Guarici Archipelago, a chain of islands with white sandy beaches, vibrant coral reefs and some lovely local villages. We will spend a full day here snorkelling, swimming, kayaking and paddle boarding before paying a visit to one of the villages to meet the local people.
These wondrous islands are part of a government-controlled conservation area, designed to protect the reefs and the many beautiful marine species that live there.
D A Y 1 1
Today we will wake up off the coast of Halmahera and we will head to the village of Dodinga: the very place where AR Wallace was living when he discovered the mechanism which drives evolutionary change – natural selection. His Letter to Charles Darwin was the catalyst that prompted Darwin to publish his book Origin of Species in 1859, which explained the theory in greater detail.
Dodinga itself is a pretty riverside village with friendly people, colourful houses and the ruins of an old Portuguese fort, its importance in the history of science cannot be understated. After spending some time with the villagers, sharing some fresh coconuts and enjoying their hospitality,
D A Y 1 2
Our last day allows time for a tour of the city, which has retained its commercial and political importance as the administrative and trading centre of North Maluku. We will visit a couple of old Portuguese and Dutch forts and pay a visit to the Sultan’s Palace with its rich collection of heirlooms.
After, we will say farewell to our crew and tour leaders and transfer you to the airport for your onward journeys.
All voyages for Katharina
Guest berths: 14 Rig: Gaff Ketch
Built in 1995 on the Indonesian portion on the island of Borneo, Katharina was originally planned for use a commercial freighter but caught the eye of her current owner with her elegant sailing lines and sleek hull shape.
They saw her transformation into a charter vessel as an exercise to conserve her Indonesian authenticity and in 2014, employed local craftsmen to complete a beautiful interior refit. Working alongside her sister ship Ombak Putih, (larger but equally as beautiful!), they are both fine examples of some of the few original boats that still sail these waters.
Now led by Captain Ferdi, Katharina takes guests on skippered sailing holidays to explore the cultural heritage, natural wonders and wildlife of the Indonesian islands.
The top deck is a raised sun-lounging area sitting on the roof of the saloon and bar, giving guests secluded relaxation and stunning views. On the main deck, Katharina is rigged traditionally to make best use of the wind as the weather permits. A generous and comfortable saloon and bar sit to the stern of the boat while a large dining table sits under a canopy at the bows, perfect for alfresco dining under the stars.
Below decks, her interior refit has been to a high standard with spacious cabins and campion-ways. Hand-crafted beds using local timber and locally made soft furnishings give the boat an authentic Indonesian feel. There are six private ensuite cabins for guests in a combination of double beds, twin bunks and three berth cabins.
The galley sits to the stern and is really where this boat comes to life. With 12 crew on hand, you won’t have to a lift a finger with freshly-prepared meals showcasing the very best of Indonesian cuisine and hospitality.
Deck planMore about Katharina
Life on board
Indulge in a world of adventure as you discover the natural beauty of the Indonesian archipelago from the water. Walk barefoot along sandy shores, enjoy delicious local cuisine and wonder at the endemic wildlife species across the islands.
Life on-board Katharina is one of traditional Indonesian culture, from the welcoming local crew to the fresh local delicacies, fascinating endemic species and breath-taking Indonesian landscapes. The local people are at the heart of everything that Katharina does. From employing local people to sail her to the traditional craftsmen that built her, the networks and connections that have been nurtured by the crew are heart-warming. Visit remote villages where you’re greeted by running children, laughing and joking, sharing their local crafts. Dance around the fire, play music, exchange gifts and wonder their fascinating corner of paradise.
Sleeping and Relaxation
With six private, air-conditioned en-suite cabins full of traditional Indonesian charm, spacious communal area, alfresco dining areas and sun-lounge deck, Katharina offers plenty of seclusion and relaxation. There are kayaks, snorkel gear and SUP’s for guests to use and the crew can arrange extra activities ashore from kite-surfing to cookery classes.
There are a total of 12 crew on Katharina so you really won’t have to lift a finger. From home-made cocktails, freshly prepared Indonesian cuisine, there is even a host to take care of any extra excursion planning.
- Full board including all meals, soft drinks, tea, coffee and snacks. (Starting and ending with lunch on first and last days)
- All Indonesian tour leaders
- All park fees, cultural performances, local guides and off-boat activities.
- Welcome drink, cold towel upon boarding and each time guests return from off-boat excursions.
- Daily room cleaning
- Two pieces of laundry each day
- Towels and linens
- Complimentary cotton backpack, luggage tag, fan and stainless steel water (which guests are encouraged to take home)
- First aid kit containing all major medicines
- Sunscreen lotion
- Soaps, shampoo and conditioner
- Beach BBQ
- Free wine, beer and selected cocktails at the beach BBQ
- Selected wines with special farewell dinner
- All port fee
- Use of on-board TV and multimedia facilities
- Library of books, kids games and TV documentaries
- Use of all facilities on board including snorkelling gear, paddle boards, kayaks, board games
- Use of sleeping bags for sleeping on deck
- All transfer to and fro the boats
WHAT’S NOT INCLUDED
- Domestic flights
- Transit hotels
- Alcoholic drinks outside of specials dinners and beach BBQ
- Crew and tour leader tips
- Incidental expenses on land (souvenirs, private purchases etc)
Travel insurance notes
As this is an active adventure holiday, we advise that everyone has the appropriate personal accident travel insurance whilst onboard in addition to standard travel insurance which would cover you in the time between making your booking and departing for your adventure. These policies can sometimes be combined so please check with your travel insurance provider.
This voyage will likely be more than 12miles offshore.
Package Travel Regulations
This trip is covered by our Package Travel Regulations (PTR) Insurance. Please click here to view the Terms & Conditions.
Are all meals included?
Yes - all meals are included in the price (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Hot Drinks)
Are there any added extra's?
No, unless you go ashore. Excursions are not included.
Can you cater for dietary needs?
Vegetarian, halal, kosher, children’s fare, low fat dishes, allergies, etc. However, we must be notified in advance of any special needs so we can make arrangements.
What language is spoken onboard?
What are the sleeping arrangements?
(All cabins are ensuites) 2 x double cabins, 2 x triple cabins (one double bed & one upper single bunk), 2 x twin bunk cabins.
How many toilet/showers does she have?
There are six ensuites with each cabin.
Is there WIFI?
No! Time to disconnect from the modern conforms and reconnect with nature!
Can I charge my phone/Camera?
Are there life jackets provided?
Are Waterproofs provided?
Do I need sailing experience?
No, absolutely not! Just a need for adventure.
Will I be sea sick?
Everyone reacts differently but we recommend if you are at all worried to take some medication 24 hours before departure. Ginger tea and biscuits also help with sea sickness.
Is bedding included?
All bedding and shower towels are included. Please bring your own swimming towels.