To fully immerse yourself in the landscapes and culture, sometimes you need to extend your stay at a destination, and that’s exactly what 10-time WT adventurer Maggi Grall did when she combined our Komodo Dragons and Coral Reefs with our Snorkeling Expedition to Cenderawasih Bay. The group had amazing encounters with whale sharks and other marine life, and enjoyed learning about the local cultures in Indonesia.

Our Indonesian adventure continued in Cenderawasih Bay, a remote, tranquil, and sparsely populated area.  As if the fabulous snorkeling and seeing Komodo dragons weren’t enough, now we were going to swim with whale sharks!  Our Trip Leader Bob met us at our hotel in Nabire then we headed out and boarded the Shakti.  And the adventure began…

Our days were filled with out-of-this-world snorkeling in warm water.  There were WWII plane wrecks, gorgeous coral of every description, unbelievable fish and other sea creatures, and even some caves that had bats roosting in them.

After the ranger obtained permission from the council, we visited a village and were part of a welcome ceremony that included putting our right foot in a bowl on the ground while beads were put around our necks.  The boys and girls did a traditional dance and the boys showed us their spear-throwing skills.  We did a challenging hike through the jungle to a beautiful waterfall.

One evening we went in search of hornbills going to roost for the night; we saw hundreds of them in the sky.  This guy was hanging around the village.

A hornbill bird in a tree in indonesia

After more snorkeling, paddling, and deserted beaches, it was time to swim with whale sharks!  Our trip leader Bob switched it up and wisely left them till last.  We arrived in the area where the bagans or fishing platforms were and Bob negotiated the day’s catch from the fishermen, ensuring we had plenty of time with the whale sharks. During our first time in the water, there were five of these enormous fish.  And we were so close to them!  They really do look like giant sock puppets when seen from above.

Then it was time to reluctantly say goodbye and begin our long journey home.  All I can say is what a trip to a beautiful exotic land! 

—Text and photos by 10-time WT Adventurer Maggie Grall, Snorkeling Expedition to Cenderawasih Bay. (Last photo by Trip Leader Bob Brunskill). Be sure to read her other blog post about her experience in Komodo.

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