Yacht Charter Itinerary Indonesia Raja Ampat Sorong to Sorong

7-day Charter Sorong to Sorong

Written by Missy Johnston

Raja Ampat Many Islets

Raja Ampat Islets

Board your charter yacht in Sorong, which is less than one degree south of the equator on the west coast of West Papua. Once you’re on board and settled in, the yacht will cruise to the island of Misool, an island of the Four Kingdoms.

This is an area where few venture, and it is not uncommon to enjoy deserted anchorages, where your yacht may be the only yacht around. The water is beautiful and crystal clear, in shades of blue and green, filled with coral gardens and underwater marine life. On the many rock islets, do not be surprised to see various species of orchids growing in the wild.

Raja Ampat On Shore Forest

On Shore Forest

Raja Ampat translates into English as Four Kings. Four Kingdoms, which is derived from local mythology about four kings who occupy the four big islands, consisting of Salawati, Batanta, Waigeo, and Misool. The entire archipelago includes more than 1,500 small islands, with thousands of species of flora and fauna that are epidemic to the region.

Sea Turtle

Sea Turtle

Marine surveys suggest that the marine life diversity in the Raja Ampat area is the highest recorded on Earth. However, this is difficult to state firmly as new species, never seen before, are still being discovered in Raja Ampat. It is the Coral Triangle in which Raja Ampat sits, which is the heart of the world’s coral reef biodiversity.

Underwater life, Misool

Underwater Life

The large island of Misool lies at the point where the Pacific currents meet with the Indian Ocean, creating a nutrient-rich maritime area that supports beautiful and extensive coral gardens and more than 1000 species of fish and 15 species of mammals.

There is truly a wide diversity of hard coral to be discovered by snorkelers and scuba divers alike as three quarters of the world’s various hard corals can be found underwater in this area. You’ll see everything from the pygmy sea horse, to sea turtles, and manta rays with wingspans of more than 6 feet.

Hikers ashore have an excellent chance of spotting the rare birds of paradise and the tree kangaroo.

Limestone Pinnacles Misool

Limestone Pinnacles

Cruise around the island of Misool. The island itself is heavily forested. Surrounding the island are many pinnacles that poke straight up out of the crystal clear water to the skies above.

As the main rock in this area is limestone, the water after millennia has worn away, leaving these pinnacles with troughs at the waterline washed into the underside of islands. This gives some bits of the land an unusual mushroom shape. Also due to the soft limestone, there are many caves and little pockets worn into the cliff sides. Don’t be surprised to see in the little cliff side pockets skeletons that could be centuries old.

Raja-Ampat-Cave-

Cave Entrance

Village Elders Graves Guarding Cave Entrance

Village Elders Graves Guarding Cave Entrance

Misool is home to ancient cultural sites. A number of petroglyphs can be found on walls of caves throughout the island, dating back approximately 5,000 years. Sea kayak through a local cave guarded at the entrance by the graves of two village elders buried centuries ago. Inside the waters and temperature is cool and refreshing.

Wayilbatan Lagoon beautiful beach

Beautiful Beach

Visit Wayilbatan Lagoon, a beautiful sheltered lagoon surrounded by rocky peaks. The few beaches there consist of bright white sand. Given the sheltered water, this is a terrific location to enjoy sea kayaks and standup paddle boards. There are three scuba diving sites in this area: Four Kings, where pelagic marine life might be seen; Wedding Cake, home to pygmy sea horses; and Neptune’s Fansea, featuring fabulous sea fans and coral formations containing schools of glass fish.

Cruise to Balbulol Lagoon, another sheltered location for sea kayaking, standup paddle boarding, and swimming. This is a bird watcher’s paradise. Nearby are three rocky islands named Fiabacet, an excellent scuba diving location at a depth of around 20 meters. There you will see underwater coral walls with butterflyfish, porcupinefish, parrotfish, grouper, boxfish, and sea turtles.

Raja Ampat Green Waters

Sheltered Lagoon

Cruise to the island of Waigeo, also one of the islands of the Four Kingdoms. Heading ashore, hikers will be treated to crimson Birds of Paradise, plumed herons, frilled and giant monitor lizards, and honey eaters. Scuba divers and snorkelers can see blue-striped flagtail pipefish, pygmy seahorses, green sea turtles, giant napoleon Wrasse, sea dragons, and Indian lionfish, along with white-tipped and black-tipped sharks.

Raja Ampat Mushroom Pinacles

Mushroom Pinnacle

Cruise to the island group of Penemu, a cluster of limestone “mushroom” domes, covered with lush green vegetation. Within the island group is a shallow green water bay perfect for water sports, swimming, sea kayaks, and standup paddle boards. On one of the islands there is a 316-step wooden staircase to the top of the peak for hardy hikers. At the top you will be treated to a spectacular view of the surrounding area. Close by for scuba divers and snorkelers are Batu Rufus, My Reef, and Melissa’s Garden.

Raja Ampat Village Signs

Arborek Village Greeting Sign

Raja Ampat Local Village Shell Shop

Village “Pop-Up” Shop

Later in the afternoon head ashore to one of the few villages in Raja Ampat, the village of Arborek. The villagers are very friendly but do have strict rules of dress and behavior that they wish to have observed. These wishes are outlined on homemade signs posted on the village dock. Ashore there may be sudden “pop-up” shops that appear on the front porches of village homes with various shells, and perhaps handicrafts made from pandanus leaves.

Raja Ampat Wild Orchids

Wild Orchids

Cruise back to Sorong to disembark for your flight. There are no quality hotels in Sorong, so either start the international flight home, or fly back to Bali or Jakarta for several more days in a resort.