It’s a particularly fascinating time to visit some of the richest and most pristine uninhabited islands on our planet: Raja Ampat, Indonesia. Though it’s possible to visit on your own, few have the chance to see them like this: alongside leading conservationists on a philanthropic expedition of perspective-shifting proportions.
This is your chance to join Blue Sphere Foundation, the marine-conservation activist nonprofit founded by Shawn Heinrichs who was featured in Discovery Channel’s inspiring documentary Racing Extinction, and MSV Silolona, Southeast Asia’s most prestigious luxury Indonesian yacht, on a ten-day sailing journey March 4–14 only a handful of people will ever experience.
With the health of our oceans changing rapidly, visiting now is more significant than ever. With Shawn Heinrichs and Sarah Lewis as your guides, two passionate and admired marine conservationists, and Patti Seery as your host, the founder and owner of Silolana Sojourns, you’ll discover how what happens below the ocean’s surface matters for us all. During the day, they will bring you to unmapped spots they’ve spent years studying as you navigate one of the world’s most glorious island archipelagos from your base, a 5-star hand-crafted traditional Indonesian wooden sailing vessel. Back on board at night, you’ll learn how your discoveries relate to their behind-the-scenes conservation efforts, and discuss the future of these underwater havens.
You’ll see manta rays dancing beside you, sharks circling in the warmth of shallow pools, and kaleidoscopic schools of fish shapeshifting and zipping through vibrant coral tunnels. You’ll enter secluded coves where whales, dolphins, sharks, turtles, and manta rays seek sanctuary. You’ll explore deserted bays and beaches, thriving coral reefs with 70% of the world’s coral species and 1,200 different types of fish, hidden caves and freshwater rivers. You’ll disembark to kayak, hike, snorkel, and for those who are certified, dive.
By joining this journey you’re helping protect these natural havens at risk for pollution, development, and hunting.
• All ages and all levels of snorkelers and divers welcome.
• Approximately 50% of your trip cost is tax deductible.
• Funds raised will help support Blue Sphere Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit founded by Shawn.
• You don’t need to be dive certified! Many of the most treasured experiences will be from the boat, on kayaks, and snorkeling.
• Shawn Heinrichs, a National Geographic Voices-featured photographer, will capture your experience and his professional photographs will be a keepsake of your trip.
Few people know Raja Ampat’s secrets like Shawn Heinrichs and Sarah Lewis. Even fewer people are as dedicated to preserving and protecting the region. Their insights and stories about exploring below the ocean’s surface, and the magical encounters they have with the creatures who live there, will shift your perspective.
If you saw the Discovery Channel’s Racing Extinction documentary last year, then you know Shawn. The film features his award-winning work centered around marine conservation and prevention of pressing species extinction. This has been his life’s work. He founded Blue Sphere Foundation to further the cause of safeguarding the planet’s oceans. Shawn’s captivating research, cinematography, and photography have been featured by National Geographic, BBC, and The New York Times. The awe-inspiring images from these publications will come to life as you join Shawn on this conservation expedition.
Sarah Lewis pioneered manta research in Raja Ampat. In partnership with a coalition of NGOs, government and local resorts, she has spent countless hours and gathered invaluable local knowledge in an attempt to unravel the mysteries of Raja Ampat’s manta rays since 2011. As the research head for the Lamakera community transition project (featured in Racing Extinction), she uses her findings to transform one of the world’s biggest fishers of manta rays into one of their biggest protectors. You’ll see firsthand exactly what’s at stake and understand what it takes to protect these creatures.
After gliding through the water beside gentle manta rays whose wingspans triple yours, you’ll find yourself impassioned by what their world is like now and in the future. Being there is the most important first step toward protecting them.
Approximately 50% of your trip cost will help fund the Blue Sphere Foundation’s projects to help keep our global marine environment healthy. Being there means you’ll see firsthand the work your support makes possible.
Your base for ten days will be the MSV Silolona, which has the reputation as the best traditional liveaboard yacht in all of Southeast Asia, with a world-class crew to match. The Silolana is a traditional wooden Indonesian sailboat called a phinisi, and the schooner was designed in keeping with an authentic spice island sailing vessel but equipped with all the modern amenities and safety features of a luxury charter yacht. When you’re not exploring off the boat, you’ll enjoy multi-course gourmet meals, spa treatments, massage, yoga, or relax in your tastefully-appointed suite.
About the MSV Silolona
• Sleeps 8 guests: 3 king suites with extra day bed, 1 queen suite
• 16-person professional crew, plus 1 expedition leader
• Fully equipped & licensed PADI Dive Center with 3 full-size tenders & a fully certified PADI Instructor
• Equipped for recreational watersports including kayaking, windsurfing, diving and snorkeling
• Spa treatments available including yoga, hot stone therapy, deep tissue and Shambhala massage.
A chain of islands known for its labyrinth of turquoise lagoons. The lagoons are protected by limestone formations which create the perfect habitat for marine creatures including harmless juvenile reef sharks and baby manta rays. What you’ll experience:
• Snorkel with juvenile reef sharks and baby manta rays.
• Wander the untouched white sand beaches.
• Explore the islands’ subterranean world through caves.
• Go sea kayaking which and have a beach-side lunch in a surprise locale.
The Dampier Strait
A large water passage between the islands of Gam, Waigeo, and Batanta. Tidal currents flush nutrient-rich waters through the passage which support a dazzling array of marine life and some of the world’s best diving reefs. What you’ll experience:
• See manta rays being gleaned by cleaner fish who pluck parasites from their bodies.
• You’ll drop into trains of feeding manta rays.
• Snorkel through blue water mangroves which are used as natural nurseries by marine life.
Shawn was a founding member of the team that spearheaded conservation efforts in the Misool area over a decade ago. Since, Misool has become the largest no-take zone in south Raja Ampat. This area is known as the epicenter of global marine biodiversity. What you’ll experience:
• Dive in some of greatest reef sites including Boo Windows, Fiabacet, and Magic Mountain.
• You’ll see swarming fusiliers that spin audibly above pursued by giant trevallies, packs of Bluefin and Spanish mackerel, hundreds of batfish and bannerfish, grey reef sharks, blacktip and whitetip sharks, and wobbegongs on the ocean floor waiting to ambush smaller fish.
• Go on an island visit to the renowned Misool Eco Resort. This is the center of the area’s conservation efforts. Snorkel with baby black tip reef sharks right off the jetty.
Ready to go?
Charter dates: March 4—14 2017
Who can go: All ages welcome! Buyout only (cabins are not sold on individual basis)
Complete buyout: $300,000 for 8 travelers (4 private suites, double occupancy)
Tax-deductible: Approximately 50% of your trip cost is tax-deductible.
Contact Us: Eliza Quanbeck, 212 627 1950, EQuanbeck@absolutetravel.com
Get in touch and let’s start planning your trip.
212 627 1950