Listen to Whalesong in Tonga | View Itinerary
It’s hard to describe the experience of swimming with a humpback whale. Many of our travelers say it’s the best wildlife encounter they have ever had! Making eye-contact with a one-ton calf as they playfully swim up to you or feeling the underwater vibrations of a male’s hauntingly beautiful song is a life-changing experience.
See Manta Rays in Komodo and Alor Archipelago | View Itinerary
The Komodo region of Indonesia is well-known for its endemic giant lizards (the renowned Komodo dragons), but the underwater environment is also home to one of the most pristine coral reef ecosystems in the world! Manta rays frequent these waters, and we have multiple opportunities to observe them. The manta ray can be more than 20 feet from wing tip to wing tip, and is truly a graceful and majestic creature.
Swim Near Dugongs in Vanuatu | View Itinerary
Dugongs, also known as sea cows, are related to the manatee, and we have a few chances to see them on our Vanuatu Expedition. Unlike manatees that live in both marine and freshwater environments, dugongs only live in saltwater habitats. These unique creatures are protected by many of Vanuatu’s local villages, which may be why dugongs are known to thrive in Vanuatu and be friendlier than in other areas.
Snorkel and Sea Kayak in Palau | View Itinerary
Palau is home to many marine mammals, and often delivers them in high numbers. On our trip’s extension, we search for Palau’s “Big Five,” which includes pilot whales, spinner dolphins, dugongs, sharks, and mantas. One potential explanation for Palau’s amazing diversity of species is the country’s commitment to conservation. Each person traveling to Palau is required to watch a conservation video and sign an eco-pledge in order to enter the country, and the country was the first to ban sunscreens with chemicals known to be harmful to coral reefs. Palau also established the world’s first shark sanctuary in 2009, and continues to be a leader in marine conservation.
Get Up Close With Whale Sharks in Cenderawasih Bay | View Itinerary
Whale sharks are the largest fish in the sea—and also the most gentle and graceful giants you will ever see. Cenderawasih Bay in Indonesia houses a resident population of whale sharks that have a special relationship with the local fishermen, who consider them to be good luck. The fishermen feed them baitfish, which gives us the unique opportunity to observe them in one place. While whale sharks are endangered worldwide according to the IUCN Red List, they are protected in Indonesia and sustainable wildlife tourism helps encourage local populations to value them.
Snorkel in Raja Ampat | View Itinerary
While we see many large marine mammals on this trip including manta rays, sharks, whales, and turtles, the real highlight of Raja Ampat is the coral. Lying in the direct center of the Coral Triangle, the region houses the largest number of coral species in the world. Raja Ampat has not experienced much of the bleaching and destruction seen elsewhere in the world, and the reefs are thriving. Many factors are probably responsible for this, including the remoteness, the small population size in the region, and the large fluctuation in temperature that has caused resilience in the corals.