Forgotten Islands & Triton Bay Oct 2020 ( Subject to Covid-19 Restrictions)

The Final Frontier Expedtion

This special Ocean Geographic expedition will take you to one of the remotest parts of Indonesia. These "Forgotten Islands"  remain undeveloped and far off the beaten path. A seldom visited region discovered to be a specie factory of marine biodiversity in the heart of the coral triangle. Join award winning Michael AW aboard state of the art liveaboard MV Gaia Love.

15 to 25 Oct 2020

$US 5880 pp ( lowerdeck,twin share) $US 6380 pp ( upperdeck, twin share) Port/park/booking fees $US 380 

Make your reservation now – only 14 spots availble    

Our 2020 final frontier expedition take you to one of the remotest parts of Indonesia – the least explored without the maddening crowd of divers in Raja Ampat and Komodo – coined as the specie factory of marine biodiversity in the heart of the coral triangle, this region is very seldom visited. Indonesia’s “Forgotten Islands” – also known as the Southeast Moluccas (Maluku Tenggara) – are not a single destination, but rather a 1,000 km long chain of archipelagos stretching from Timor to West Papua on the island of New Guinea. Undeveloped, distant from population centres and far off any beaten path, these “Forgotten Islands” have been largely isolated from the rest of Indonesia and the world.

The terrain of these islands varies from forested mountainous peaks in the Inner Banda Arc of islands (Wetar, Roma, Damar, Nila), with peaks as high as 868 m (on Damer) to essentially flat islands of the easternmost Aru and Kei island groups, dominated by savannah, mangroves and broadleaf forests. The Inner Arc islands are volcanic, while the island groups in the Outer Banda Arc (Leti, Luang, Sermata, Babar and Tanimbar islands) are mostly up thrust coralline limestone, often characterized by terracing resulting from periodic uplift and changes in sea level. Together, the islands of Maluku Tenggara make up the eastern end of the bio-geographic province of Wallacea, a transitional region between continental Southeast Asia and Australia-New Guinea, with flora and fauna of the easternmost islands the most similar to New Guinea.

Departing from Saumlaki, in the southern Maluku islands, we aim to make the first stop at the southern tip of Tanimbar for a check out dive. From here we shall explore the stupendous wall of corals and drop-offs with the hope of encounter with passing pelagics aka hammerhead sharks and tunas. On route we will head north to the volcanic island of Manuk, aka “Island of the Snakes” where we can mingle with both sea snakes and sea kraits amongst the schooling fish. Next stop will be the seamount at Watubela islands where we hope to meet up with masses of schooling fishes.  From here we will sail directly to Triton Bay, stopping at the fishing bagans in the hope of seeing the biggest fish of our ocean - whalesharks. Triton Bay is home to our planet’s most colourful coral meadows - a kaleidoscope of soft corals and reef fishes harbouring extraordinary number of endemic species.

More about Forgotten Islands and Triton Bay

The Forgotten Islands is an area of incredibly rich waters and the area is typified by crystal clear water, deep walls and pinnacles, awesome overhangs and swim-throughs, beautiful pristine corals, huge barrel sponges and large schools of fish. Some of the islands in South Maluku, like Nils Desperandum and Terbang are famous for sightings of hammerhead sharks. Others have walls with colourful softcorals like at Dai and still others are current swept and full of reef fish like the channel at Lelar.

Triton Bay is about the colourful reefs in the world which are fed by the nutrient rich waters from the rivers producing huge fields of soft corals, giant sea fans and clouds of planktonic feeding fishes. Its remote location has led to it being described as a ‘species factory’ by leading marine scientists; the region’s dive sites are swarming with fish and almost every nook is occupied by an exotic invertebrate.

Our expedition offers the chance of exploring the whole region including Namatote Island in the north in search of the elusive tiger shrimp on the colonial anemones and the current rich Aiduma Island in the south with its iconic dive sites like the soft coral covered Little Komodo. Whilst Raja Ampat forms part of the same region and much of the topography and many of the species are common to both areas, new species of gobies, wrasses and corals have all been identified in Triton Bay in recent years. Triton Bay is known for displaying a similarly impressive level of soft coral coverage as places like Misool Island. Epaulette sharks can be seen walking over the reefs as giant groupers lurk in sheltered spots, while schools of jacks and fusiliers dart around en masse. Triton Bay is also home to black coral forests, the greatest expanse in the world.  Triton Bay also known to be home to a resident pod of pilot whales, the sight of which will linger long in the memories of those who dive with them.


 

Expedition OBJECTIVE - As part of Ocean Geographic’s ongoing photographic project, this expedition  contributes to the photographic index of the marine environment of the Coral Triangle;  this is also part of our ongoing visual assessment for the Elysium climate change photographic index of the region.

Who Should Participate?

Whether you are just a passionate diver or underwater photographer you will have a stupendous time and a great learning experience exploring this final coral frontier; we will show you the best sites and explore some new one as well. As this is a visual assessment expedition, we will dive the best sites and at the best time of the day for optimum enjoyment and photographic opportunities. There will be Impromptu presentations where Michael AW will share with you his work and experience. Of course, if you are photographer or a videographer, Michael will be happy to share with some of his imaging tips and secrets.

The Expedition Platform – MV GAIA LOVE

The GAIA LOVE is a state of the art live-aboard built for comfort, safety and stability. She is a 40m steel hull vessel; cabins are equipped with individual AC, storage place, entertainment system and en suite bathrooms. On the main deck is an oversized air-conditioned saloon with dining area, lounge with 55 inch flat screen TV and dedicated camera room. The dive deck is at the rear of the main deck in a dedicated shaded outdoor area with private camera rinse tanks, camera table and private storage place for each diver.

Food: Indonesian, Chinese and International cuisine; Roast dinner and chocolate desert to die for. Vegetarians are well catered for on request – the chefs are open to requests.

The Day Routine: mostly 4 dives a day. Wake Up / Light Breakfast / Dive 1 / Breakfast / Dive 2 / Lunch follow by siesta / Dive 3 / Snack, evening or Night Dive – dinner and presentation. 

Divers will be split into two/three groups and are taken to dive sites in small tenders; dive procedure is flexible subject to condition and experience. 

Expedition package: Live-aboard 10 nights / 11 day, twin sharing, meals, soft drinks, all dives. Nitrox included. Photographic tips and reefs interpretation included.

Dates: 15-25 Oct 2020

Departure - Saumlaki, end Kaimana.  Fuel surcharge will apply

Prices:  Upperdeck – USD 6380 : Lowerdeck – USD 5880 : Port, Park and booking Fees: USD 380

DEPOSIT – USD $2000

Balance due 30 June 2020

To express interest or if you need further information email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

If you are ready to book please go to booking link

CLICK HERE to book your spot

NB. Booking is not confirmed until deposit is paid. Payment details for payment of deposit will be provided once booking is completed. Booking username and password is not the same as your OG username and password. If you are new trip client you can leave the existing client login blank and complete the booking . If you are an existing trip client please check with us first

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About your Expedition Leader:

Michael AW

 Michael AW is a wildlife photographer, explorer and a conservationist. He has authored 35 books of the ocean. His accolades include winning more than 66 international photographic awards and were named as one of the world’s most influential nature photographers by Outdoor Photography. In 2018, he was awarded the Award of Excellence by Our World Underwater in Chicago.

He is recipient of four awards from the Natural History Museum Wildlife Photographer of the Year Wildlife Competition in 2000, 2010 and in 2006 and 2015 he was the Winner award for the underwater category.  In 2013 he was the first Asian to be awarded a NOGI by the Academy of Underwater Arts and Sciences.

From 2010 to 2018 Michael was the project director for the Elysium Epic expedition to the Antarctic and Arctic with 66 team members comprise the world’s best image makers and scientists, to document the flora and fauna for a movie and climate change index of the Arctic from Svalbard, Greenland to Iceland. In 2018, he lead a team of 60 using three vessels for the 3rd Elsyium Expedition, this time to the Heart of the Coral Triangle in Indonesia

Michael’s mission is to use the power of pictures to inspire love and greater protection for our ocean. He strives to portray his subjects and scenes in their truest forms. “As the seas sustained my livelihood and my family, my stewardship takes on an even greater responsibility” Michael stated.

Michael AW’s essays and pictures have been published in BBC Wildlife, National Geographic, Smithsonian, Nature, Newsweek, Nature Focus, Forbes, Times, and Discovery to name but a few. Michael was also a recipient of the prestigious Peter Benchley’s Shark conservation Award, WYLAND ICON Award for Conservation in 2011, and in 2012 he was presented with the Diver of the Year Award at the Beneath the Sea Festival in New Jersey. Michael is an active member of the International League of Conservation Photographers and an International Fellow of The Explorers Club in New York. Michael is also the founder of Asian Geographic, Scuba Diver Australasia and Ocean Geographic. *Michael has led three flag expeditions for the Explorers Club.

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