20% off 7 nights trips for 23-30Jun18, 30Jun-7Jul18 and 9-16Aug18 and 23-30Sep18 now $3,160 down from $3,950 also 20% off 10 night trips 10-20Jun18, 18-28Jul18, 20-30Aug18, 31Aug-10Sep18 and 1-11Oct18 now $4,328 down from $5,410. Specials are only valid if booked before April 30th 2018 and confirmed by May 15th 2018
Book a new reservation for a trip from 9Aug18 - 13Dec18 and SAVE $800 per person !. Special is not retroactive and for new reservations and cannot be combined with other offers. Money saving specials and discounts do not apply.
Save $1500 pp Komodo & Flores Islands: May 23 - June 3, 2018 (11 nights) from $3,670 per person and Save $1700 pp Banda Sea: June 04 - 16, 2018 (12 nights) Also book a new reservation from 5th- 30th April 2018 on the Banda Sea / Raja Ampat 17Jun-28Jun18 trip or the Raja Ampat / Halmahera / Lembeh: 29Jun-11Jul18 trip and SAVE $800 per person on the trip price !
The Katharina is a traditional Indonesian pinisi, built in 1995 in Kalimantan using only the very best grades of ironwood. Her slim hull was originally being planned for commercial sailing carrying freight before we spotted her in the making.
She has been fitted her out as a Snorkelling only cruising vessel, and then again in January 2014, the Katharina was the subject of a major interior refit. Working with the unique heritage this vessel represents, her transformation is a conservation exercise back to authenticity, using only the best traditional materials, shaped by highly skilled Indonesian craftsmen.
Yet, what goes on behind the scenes is the use of the most up-to-date technology and she is now equipped with a super yacht grade AC station and we are optimizing our systems to the latest safety standards.
Not only is the Katharina very elegant on the water, she is also fast becoming a classic yacht, as very few of these original designs remain. Katharina’s overall length is 40 metres, providing comfortable accommodation for up to 14 guests in six cabins located below decks. All cabins offer creature comforts and necessary amenities including double beds or twins, private en-suite bathrooms, natural light, safety boxes, individually controlled air-conditioning and storage space including a safe. Katherina is not a diving boat, only a snorkelling and touring boat.
Led by Captain Iwan, the Katharina is catered to by an all-Indonesian crew of 12, with each member dedicated to making your stay aboard truly memorable.
Life on board our ships is one of relaxation and comfort, good food, top class service, and fine company mixed with plenty of adventure, history and exploration par excellence. To better prepare yourselves for your journey, we have placed various resources at your fingertips to help you get a better grasp of the areas we will visit, the peoples, the flora, the fauna, and the stories behind what lies ahead.
Prices are per person and in USD based on 2 persons sharing a cabin.
Exact pricing is available on the schedule here as prices vary dependant on the time of year, destination and the length of the trip and sometimes special offers are available.
The price includes:
all meals during the cruise, tea, coffee, soft drinks, mineral water,
use of snorkeling gear, stand-up paddles and sea canoes.
European or multilingual tour guide,
Marine park fees
transfer to and from the ship in all harbors
Accompanied daily snorkeling
The price doesn’t include:
fuel surcharge for certain trips
crew gratuities as desired. (we suggest 10 US$ per guest per day or 100 US$ per trip)
Wifi internet access
Everything not described in the “included in the price” section
Terms and conditions:
30% of booking is required within 7 days of booking - non refundable
70 % is due to 90 days prior to departure - non refundable.
Balance due 90 days before your trip departure date - non-refundable.
Individual booking made less than 90 days before the departured ate are payable in full at the time of booking.
Cancellation at any stage involves forfeit of monies already payed.
10% - within 7 days of booking - non-refundable
20% 180 days prior to departure - non-refundable
90 days before departure - non-refundable
Katharina has only six cabins, with a maximum capacity of 12 adults and 2 children, giving you the freedom to do what you want and when you want to do it. Recently redesigned and constructed of natural woods and classic décor, our stylish cabins are bright and inviting with double or twin berths, individually controlled AC, private en suite bathrooms, natural light, storage space including a safe.
We cruise across the archipelago all the way from Borneo to Papua in the west and east and Sumba and Maluko in the south and north, following the seasons and the winds, and staying one step ahead of the rains so as to provide optimum cruising conditions for our guests.
January to March: Raja Ampat, Sorong, Misool, Ternate, Kendari
April to September: Bali and the Lesser Sunda Islands including the Komodo Archipelago, Alor and Sumba
October to November: The Lesser Sunda Islands, Banda, Ternate and Rajat Ampat
December: Papua including Raja Ampat and Triton Bay
Sample of Jewels of Raja Ampat Itinerary (Snorkeling Cruise)
Your flight will arrive in the West Papuan port town of Sorong, the gateway to Raja Ampat. From the airport we will transfer you to the harbour where the Katharina will be waiting at anchor. Once settled into your cabin, your cruise director will familiarise you with the vessel’s facilities and safety procedures. Ready to start our adventure, we will weigh anchor and set a southerly course for the Misool archipelago, stopping for a refreshing swim along the way. We will then dine alfresco on the main deck while meeting the other passengers and crew and watching the sun set on our first day at sea.
This morning we will wake to see the sun rise over the picturesque chain of islands that makes up the Misool archipelago. The topography is typical of ‘karst dissolution,’ featuring a great number of tiny islets
whose bases have been eroded over time by the relentless motion of the tides. We will spend the day maximising everything that this fascinating area has to offer by marvelling at both the marine wonderland under the water and the magnificent landscape above the surface. We can test out our paddling skills in the sea kayaks, watch for birds perched on the rocks, or just sit back and take in the glorious scenery. After a full day of island hopping through this archipelago, the Ombak Putih will spend a quiet night at anchor in Misool’s Tomolol Bay.
A swim through Tomolol’s mysterious dometopped cave is undoubtedly one of Raja Ampat’s most memorable activities. After an early breakfast, our tenders will take us into the heart of the bay to see this partially submerged cave where it is possible to swim, snorkel or simply float while gazing up at the cavernous grotto adorned with astonishing stalactites. The more adventurous can swim or paddle through the dark waters to the other mouth of the cave. After returning to the ship, we will use 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 ‘petroglyph’ cave paintings, estimated to be anything between 3,000 to 5,000 years old and depicting various human figures and huge human palms, fish, flowers and plants, tools and vessels. Overnight, our boat will cruise north to the island of Batanta.
After our days of marine exploration, the jungle-clad island of Batanta offers us a change of scenery and a chance to stretch our legs on an adventurous trek into the island’s interior. We anchor at the foot of Arefi Village, nestled on the north coast of the island, where we will find local guides to escort us through the mangrove waters to the start point of our trek. A short walk along the riverbed brings us to the first of two jungle waterfalls complete with a refreshing pool for cooling off. The fit and adventurous may choose to continue the uphill climb along the rocks to where a second, larger cascade awaits. After leaving the wilderness behind us, we will find a nearby spot to swim and snorkel before moving north to the island of Waigeo.
We will wake up in the south of Mayalibit Bay – the huge and wild bay at the heart of Waigeo, Raja Ampat’s biggest island. The bay, which almost splits the island in two, is entered via a narrow fjord-like channel that meets the ocean just east of Waisai on Waigeo’s south coast. When the tide is running, the huge volumes of water flowing into or out of Mayalibit make the channel look like a swift and powerful river. After breakfast, we will take the dinghies to Lopintol Village where we will find one of the villagers to guide us on a morning spelunking expedition. We hope to visit two very dramatic and contrasting caves that highlight the fascinating underground formations of the karst landscape. After lunch, we will freshen up with a wellearned swim and snorkel before heading to Sapokren Village on the southwest tip of Waigeo Island to meet with a local NGO leader to discuss illegal logging, community development and (hopefully) details of a new FFI (Flora & Fauna International) project in these areas.
After waking up, before sunrise, we will follow in the footsteps of the famous naturalist Alfred Russel Wallace in a predawn quest to spot the remarkable Red Bird of Paradise, one of the species that Wallace was most anxious to collect. We hope that the efforts of our trek through the forest will pay off, enabling us to catch a rare and privileged sight of the bird’s elaborate courtship dance as the day breaks over the forest canopy. Whether we spot the birds or not, for sure we will experience a wonderful trek. Afterwards, we will turn our attention from the sky to the sea as the Ombak Putih makes its way through the Dampier strait, home to some of Raja Ampat’s premier reefs. With a bit of luck, we hope to snorkel among some of the larger specimens of marine life attracted to the strait’s nutrient-rich currents. We will end our day by mooring off Pulau Arborek in front Arborek Village. Here, we can easily circumnavigate the tiny island by foot and gain a sense of the Asai culture, which is still kept alive by the villagers living in this isolated place.
Another full day of adventure awaits us along the convoluted western coast of Waigeo. We will begin the morning by exploring Wofoh, three island gems linked together by stretches of pristine coral reef. You can use the tenders or kayaks to navigate the islands, or put your newlyacquired fish identification skills to use in exploring this vibrant reef. Or you may prefer to simply just relax on the beach. In the afternoon we will move northwards to Aljui Bay, home to the Cendanda Pearl Farm, one of the larger producers of high quality seawater pearls in the region. Pearling is an important industry throughout Indonesia and a number of farms can be seen in the waters of Raja Ampat, where the farmers may grant us permission to visit their facilities and receive an explanation of the pearling processes that we have seen during our voyage. In the evening we will make our way across the equator to the northern hemisphere on our journey to the islands of Wayag.
Few areas in Indonesia can lay claim to such unsurpassed natural splendour as Raja Ampat’s Wayag islands. The beauty of these picturesque karst spires is perhaps only equalled by the brilliant colours and vibrancy of the reefs and the marine life that flourishes below. Nature has carved these islands into a series of coves and lagoons, narrow channels and inlets, caves, jagged rocks and shaded, sandy beaches. For those who dare, there are some spectacular but nearly vertical climbs that are rewarded with magnificent panoramas. We will spend a quiet night here at anchor.
The Wayag islands are Raja Ampat’s best, and we will make the most of this unique region for one more morning, navigating the maze of mushroom-shaped islands, and stopping for swimming and snorkelling. In the afternoon, we will set our compasses to return to the southern hemisphere on our way back to mainland West Papua. In the evening we will have our farewell dinner with our captain and crew.
After a quick stop for a final swim and refreshments on one of the nearby islands we will make our way back to the harbor of Sorong, arriving around lunch time. Here we will bid farewell to the ship and her crew. Our tenders will take you ashore for your transfer to the airport for your onward travel.
Katharina is fitted with all internationally required safety and communication equipment such as SSB and VHF radios, life jackets, life rafts, and satellite telephone. Apart from that we carry an extensive first aid kit, defibrillator (AED) and emergency oxygen supply.
Experienced navigators consider it an axiom that the seaworthiness of a vessel depends on the seaworthiness of the crew. Our ship has a well-seasoned, all-licensed Indonesian crew of twelve, and each one of them goes through multiple first aid trainings per year, and drills are done on a regular basis according to international Marine Safety Codes.
Katharina Technical Specifications
Construction: Kalimantan Indonesia Registry: Indonesia
Length over Deck: 30,5 metres
Length over all: 40 metres
Beam: 8,60 metres
Draught: 3,50 metres
Engine: 6 cyl. Mitsubishi s6B 280Hp Marine engine
Rig: Gaff rigged ketch – 250sqm sails, 2 mains, two tops, three jibs
Cruising speed: 7-9 Knots
Top speed: 10-12 Knots
Voltage: 220 volts
Tenders: Two: one with 40hp and one with 15hp Yamaha outboards
Decks: One main deck, one sun deck, one cabin deck
Cabins: 6 Capacity: 12 guests (+2 max 14)
Water capacity: 4,000 litres
Fuel Capacity: 9,000 litres
Watermaker: Aqua Whisper, capacity 2,000 litres per day
Auxiliary Power: Two generators, and emergency DC system
Furuno radar with second GPS and chart plotter
MaxSea computer-based navigation system
VHF and SBB radios
EPIRB emergency beacon
Paper charts and manual utilities
Two lifeboats, capacity 25 people each
Life rings with lights
40 lifejackets with lights
Fire alarm system
Emergency mobile fire pump
Extensive first aid kits
Medical oxygen supply.
Raja Ampat (or the Four Kings) is an archipelago consisting of the islands of Misoool, Salawati, Batanta, and Wiageo which are surrounded by over 1,500 small islands and cays. Formerly known as Irian Jaya, this area is now part of the newly named West Papua province of Indonesia and is located on the northwest tip of Bird’s Head Peninsula, on the island of New Guinea.
Put simply, Raja Ampat could quite possibly be the best diving in the world. It certainly is the world’s most bio diverse marine region with more recorded fish, coral and mollusc species than anywhere else on Earth. The variety of marine life can be staggering. Some areas boast enormous schools of fish and regular sightings of sharks, such as wobbegongs. In Mansuar, you may encounter large groups of manta rays and turtles. From the boat and often close to shore you may get the chance to don your snorkelling gear for some unforgettable interaction with resident pods of dolphins or even some passing whales. Other highlights include the innumerable war wrecks, both ships and planes (with new wrecks being discovered constantly).
The reefs of Raja Ampat are just as varied as the marine life. There are vertical walls, reef flats, slopes, sea mounts, mucky mangroves, lagoons and pinnacles. The reefs are in pristine condition with miles of perfect hard corals and many varied colourful species of soft corals. The diving is predominantly drift dives due to the moderate prevalent currents in the area which provide nutrients for the myriad fish and coral. Currents are average to moderate and vary from none to very strong. Visibility is normally very good but can vary and is normally at its best earlier in the day so your pre-breakfast dives are not to be slept through!
This is truly “Frontier Diving”. Topside the beautiful islands stretch as far as you can see and are largely uninhabited. At night the lights of local fishing boats twinkle in the dark along the few inhabited shorelines while in more remote areas you may only see a distant spec of light over the entire horizon.
Not many liveaboards dive the Raja Ampat area, making this adventure even more unique and special.
Raja Ampat has a high season from October to May and weirdly enough it is during their rainy season due to the winds in the dry season making parts of the park inaccessable. The rainy season should not be mis-construed though. It is generally mostly a shower in the late afternoon and evening and most of the time the days are nice, wind is minimal and the skys are generally clear or slightly over cast. The seas are calmer at this time of the year as the oppposite season has winds that kick up waves and make it very difficult to dive the more exposed sites in the Southern part of Raja Ampat. The water temperature stays around the 27-30 degrees celcius mark all year round.
Recently due to the popularity of Raja Ampat a lot of boats have been running trips in the so called low season but this is also the dry season and so promotes nicer weather and better visibility but the trade of is that only the northern more sheltered part of the park is accessable but as the area is so vast and there are so many quality dive sites the reports from these northern trips have been glowing so far.
Komodo snorkelling and diving
Diving in Komodo is not a new idea but recently it’s being recognised as a premier destination due to the awesome variety of diving to be had. Crystal clear water and dive sites where you never see another diver provide a little something for everyone whether it’s macro or massive you love. One day you can be crawling along the bottom looking at pygmy seahorses, frogfish and unusual nudibranch and the next you are in the big blue on an open water pinnacle as the mantas fly by, the sharks circle and the dolphins hunt and the next day diving a live volcano!! For sheer variety there is no better place on earth.
Komodo is one of the few places left in the world where sharks are not rare and down south is one of the places where manta rays have their legendary aggregations, meaning they are here in the area in their hundreds!!!
One of the highlights of these trips is the rare opportunity to walk with the lengendary Komodo dragons. These truly awesome beasts can reach 3 metres plus and can reportedly run at 20km an hour chasing their prey. It’s the icing on the cake, Stunning diving and one of the world’s last surviving dinosaur descendants all one amazing package.
Covering the best of both worlds, from up close and personal with aggragating mantas to shy pygmy seahorses and rare nudibranches Komodo diving has it all.
The beauty of Komodo liveaboard diving is in the balance between the large and small animals. One day you will be in the blue swimming with mantas and sharks and the next swimming along a bubbling volcanic reef covered with venting submerged fumeroles blowing bubbles into the water and hiding one of the worlds best kept secret macro dive sites.
These are some of the top sites that most liveaboards visit.
Angel reef, Moyo, Sumbawa diving
We start our Komodo liveaboard with the first dive of the trip and the check out dive. This dive site doesn’t disappoint. A beautiful wall stretching down to 50 metres covered in hard and soft corals very reminiscent of Bunaken in North Sulawesi. Schools of bannerfish and trevally patrol the walls with the occasional reef sharks making an appearance. Ribbon eels hide in crevices and many different nudibranchs crawl over the vast elephant ear sponges that hang from the beautiful soft coral infested wall.
Satonda island bay
A protected bay on Satonda island north of Sumbawa hosts a treasure trove of macro critters, the more we dive here the more we find. The rare Denise pygmy seahorse lives in fans here, frogfish hang out in big barrel sponges and ghost pipefish hide amongst the featherstars that cover the reef slope. In the sandy bottom you can find jawfish with their mouths full of eggs, myriads of anemonefish, mushroom coral pipefish and spearer mantis shrimps.
Sangeang island diving
Sangieng island is a perfectly round volcanic island jutting up from the sea bed. Still active and last blowing in 1996 this well kept secret is one of the world’s finest macro dive areas. With diving available all around the island there is not one specific spot but always new ones to be discovered. Bubbles of volcanic gas seep through the sand creating a surreal atmosphere and a warm black sand bottom hosting rare and unusual nudibranch. Pygmy seahorses, frogfish, Pegasus sea moths and carnivorous shells and all common here, this is my personal favourite dive site as every time we dive here there is a surprise in store of something new that is often not in the books - this site is why you go Komodo liveaboard diving.
Gps point - Gili Banta diving
Gps point is an open sea mount prone to strong currents at certain times of the day. This provides prolific hard and soft coral growth that is home to hundreds of different types of reef fish. Loved by sharks, white tip sharks cruise around the whole dive in amongst the hunting giant trevallies and schooling jacks and surgeon fish, an exciting dive.
Takat Toko, Gili Lawalaut diving
This is one of my favourite sites on the Komodo liveaboard itinerary and is very similar to Gps point this site takes it to the next level. Grey reef shark, white tip sharks, occassional dolphins and a literal fish soup created by jacks, surgeonfish, giant trevallies and bannerfish surround this large sea mount as you hang on to the reef edge and watch the action. Again this site is prone to strong currents but we time our dives to hit around slack tide and a little current brings in the big fish. Great pelagic action, my favourite blue water dive.
Lighthouse reef, Gili Lawalaut diving
An adrenalin pounding drift dive along the wall and around the corner under the lighthouse. Sharks, mantas, dolphins are all frequent visitors on the dive with some of the best coral reef top in the area around the corner out of the current at the end of the dive you can hunt for porcelain crabs, cuttlefish and unusual seahorses whilst waiting for the adrenalin to funnel out of your system and your heart rate to return to normal-this is what Komodo liveaboard diving is all about!.
Crystal rock, Gili Lawalaut diving
A stunning soft coral and sea fan covered pinnacle with crystal water clarity this is a great site for those magazine cover wide angle shots. With at least 5 different types of angelfish, 4 types of trigger and butterflyfish everywhere it is a excellent reef fish dive with frequent visits from eagle and manta rays and the resident sleepy hawksbill turtle.
Pink beach, Komodo diving
Colder water and lower vis here due to the huge amounts of organic matter in the water due to the southern currents but this is more than made up for by the astounding life available to see here due to this phenomenon. Normally done as a night dive it also makes a good day dive with everything from white tip sharks to pygmy seahorses; zebra crabs, Coleman shrimp, many coloured frogfish, xeno crabs, Spanish dancers, and unusual nudibranchs are hidden amongst the dense coral growth.
Cannibal rock, Rinca island diving
Colder water than the north but touted by many as one of the worlds best 10 sites, yes I know there seems to be way more than 10 “top 10 sites” but this one really is one if you like macro. Everything is here even the rarest of the rare, the Rhinopias scorpionfish. It’s nudi heaven with only the special and the rare getting to appear here, more species than I care to mention along with large and different frogfish mixed in with schools of fish and the resident dopy turtle we do 2 dives here and it’s still not enough!! You will love it, I personally adore this dive site.
Torpedo alley, Rinca island diving
Just next to cannibal rock and where the boat moors is a beach that has wild pigs, monkeys and Komodo dragons in the daytime and hosts a myriad of critters in the waters in front if it at night. Named for the large amount of torpedo rays found here, a member of the electric ray family- no touching! They cover the sandy bottom along with loads of nudis obvious on the black sand bottom along with bizarre crabs and octopus.
Manta alley, Komodo diving
In the cooler waters in the south of Komodo there is a bay in which there are a series of pinnacles that seem to be a magnet for aggregating mantas. They are here in their tens, often we come up having seen over 20 different individuals. Often a little shy, their evasive spins and pirouettes makes the watching of them that much more enjoyable.
Takat Makassar, Komodo diving
This is our other manta site. A little bit more of a risk to see them as it is a huge area and we drift along the bottom in about 10 metres but along the way we always run into loads of turtles, napoleon and humphead wrasse, white tip sharks and very very occasionally you will be incredibly lucky and run into the resident dugong that inhabits this area along with scores of mantas as they migrate north.
3 sisters, Padar island diving
A series of underwater pinnacles reaching nearly to the the surface off the coast of Padar island next to Komodo this site constantly springs surprises on you from silvertip sharks and mobular ray schools to marbled rays and rare nudibranchs.
How to get to Raja Ampat
Sorong is the harbour town in West Papua and the normal departure point to dive Raja Ampat. If you are unsure of how to get to Sorong to start your trip it will depend on where your international flight into Indonesia is landing. We recommend Jakarta or Bali to make your entry point into Indonesia amnd each has it’s pros and cons.
From Jakarta to Sorong most flights route through Makassar (UPG) in South Sulawesi and are over night flights arriving in the morning perfect for a pick up by your liveaboard crew at the airport. The downside of this is that you may be awake most of the night before your board the liveaboard but most boats cruise only on the first day so you can catch up on your sleep during the day.
Flights from Bali are not quite so simple and cannot be done in one day, you will need to fly from Bali to UPG the day before your liveaboard and over night in Makassar and the continue on with the UPG to Sorong flight the following morning, the day of your liveaboard departure, and this ends up being perfect tining to be picked up on your arrival in Sorong at the airport to then be taken to the boat. This takes longer but you will arrive more refreshed than the Jakarta rooute and of course you could always factor in a stay in Bali before or after your trip.
In the past it has not been possible for someone outside of Indonesia to purchase domestic flights in Indonesia so these can be purchased for you by us, if you would like, and added to your invoice. It will be about $650 return dependant on exchange rates, availability and where your entry airport is in Indonesia. The cost of the domestic flights are not included in the trip price.
Recently Garuda, our recommended airline, has made it possible to purchase their tickets online and we recommend you take this approach as it is often cheaper than the set price we have to charge. Other airlines are cheaper but are not so trustworthy or have such good luggage allowances. Again, we highly recommend trip as well as diving insurance just in case something were to go wrong with your flights.
Premier liveaboard diving and its local flight agent can purchase the tickets on your behalf, however, in doing so, Premier liveaboard diving is only acting as an agent for the airline and is not responsible for, and can accept no responsibility for, cancellations, delays, schedule changes, or problems caused by the air carrier. We highly recommend trip interruption and cancellation insurance.
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