I am currently gearing up for the next big wildlife trip - Indonesia. I am departing from my normal mammal focus and going with an underwater focus. I want to snorkel the world's most pristine coral reef, before it is killed off by rising temperatures and other problems which plague our oceans at the moment. It's not that easy to get to, but the area with even greater bio-diversity than the Great Barrier Reef is called Raja Ampat. We will take a small sailboat around various islands in that region and snorkel the reef. I've never had any luck with underwater photography whatsoever, but I'm going to try and get some pictures if I can - I got a used camera and underwater housing off Ebay that I'm hoping will help capture at least a taste of the experience to savor later. We are traveling with a new company on this tour, Wilderness Travel; here's a look at their trip itinerary.
I was very tempted, being so close to Borneo, to visit it again in search of orangutans and pygmy elephants, but my travel companion wasn't that interested and I hate to go someplace twice when there is still so much to see - so instead I decided to go in search of the rare komodo dragons on Komodo and Rinca islands. I'll also be visiting an orangutan sanctuary that is run by Birute Galdikas, Orangutan Foundation International. I've booked this portion of the trip with a local Indonesia company, Adventure Indonesia. We will visit several small islands and look for a variety of wildlife. I'm sure at a minimum I'll see some primates! And of course, more snorkeling.
Phase three of the trip will be a brief time to recover after three weeks on boats and planes. We are visiting an island east of Bali that I read about in Islands Magazine, Lombok. I found a place there that has a chef who is supposed to be great, Lombok Lodge, so a little downtime to read, relax, recover, and dine seems in order - plus you can snorkel off the beach.
Thanks to pre-planning and saving points and miles, the airfare is free on Alaska and Cathay Pacific. We have an overnight in Hong Kong with a free stay at the Marriott, and we have a couple free nights in Jakarta at the Sheraton and a night in San Francisco on the way home.
Overall, this trip requires more gear that I am used to traveling with, and there's a 30lb weight limit, so I'm still playing with the packing - but I'm very much looking forward to embarking on this next adventure - which is far more water focused than any trip I've done of this length in the past! Here's hoping I can come back with some great photos and stories to share!