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Sorong to Ternate 400 miles 11 days
the southern route around Halmahera
Top Indonesia sea voyages are meant as suggestions for the interesting courses that ships may follow through the archipelago. The routes are for planning purposes only and one must keep in mind that the itinerary and program may have to be modified as a result of unfavorable winds or other circumstances. This itinerary from Sorong to Ternate covers about 400 miles and we suggest a duration of about 11 or 12 days but that could of course be amended depending on your personal interests and preferences; naturally this voyage could also be made in reverse.
When you leave Sorong on the first day of the cruise you should go on a Northerly course into the Dampier Strait. Head for Kri, just east of slightly larger Mansuar Island. Here you find white-sand beaches, clear waters, and iridescent reefs with the backdrop of heavy rain forest. Spend the night at anchor.
Go snorkeling during the next morning. It will be a great introduction to the underwater splendor of The Raja Ampat because this very area is considered to have some of the richest reefs in the world. In the afternoon we suggest you proceed to a bay on the coast of the island of Gam.
On the third you should go ashore on a trek inland in an attempt to spot the red Bird of Paradise. Leave again in the evening and go on an overnight passage to Pulau Kofiau.
On the fourth day you will be able to make an early landfall on the North Coast of Kofiau Island and you find a sheltered anchorage off the village of Deer, on a small island separated from Kofiau by a clear channel. Do go ashore and use our dinghy to explore the area. The water around these islands is clear enough to see the bottom everywhere. In the afternoon you should proceed to the Boo Islands. This is a group of small islands with extremely rich vegetation and a true birdwatcher's paradise. We suggest you drop anchor in between the islands and go snorkeling in the lagoon of Boo Kecil. There are no permanent human settlements on these islands. Spend the night at anchor.
We suggest you go underway at sunrise in order to cross the Halmahera Sea. It is a distance of 60 miles and with a favorable wind you should reach your destination, Damar Island well before the sun sets again. Pulau Damar, also known as Pulau Salomakie, is a tree-covered island 5.25 miles SW of Tanjung Libobo, the extreme Southeastern tip of Halmahera. Try to find an anchorage near the islet of Katinai Besar. If there is enough time go ashore to visit Kampung Kukupang, which stands on piles on the NW extremity of the island. It is the only trace of civilization in the area.
On the sixth day you should proceed to the Doworas, a group of islands on the E side of the S entrance of Patientie Strait, about 22 miles NW of Cape Libobo. Stop at Doworalamo Island for a few hours of swimming, snorkeling and beach-combing. Then you should continue to the port of Babang on the east coast of Bacang Island, a good harbor for the night.
If you feel like an early start on the seventh day do make your way across the island to visit the early morning market in the islands capital Labua. You will find a colorful scene of vegetables, fruits and spices - a delight to the photographers. The history of the island is as colorful as the market. Bacan used to be a powerful sultanate dating way back into the 14th century. It was an important producer of clove and frequented by Arab and Persian traders long before the western powers entered the stage. We suggest you visit Fort Barneveld, a stronghold constructed by the Dutch in 1615 to help protect the clove monopoly. It is not far from Labua harbor. When you are back on board in Babang you should continue on your northward course. It is about forty miles to Loid Bay, a large bight in the N coast of Pulau Bacan.
On the eighth day eight you should go ashore for an early morning trek from the village of Geti. Go into the rain-forest where you may spot some of the endemic species of parrots, cockatoos and lorikeets, perhaps even the elusive cuscus or a rare black macaque.
In the course of the morning of the ninth day you will cross the equator and enter the northern hemisphere. You are somewhere off the island of Kayoa and we suggest that you search for a good anchorage nearby to celebrate the event.
On the tenth day you reach Tidore, seat of Ternateís arch-rival since time immemorial, the Sultan of Tidore. We suggest you go ashore to visit the ruins of the Portuguese fortresses. It is equally worthwhile to stop at the local museum in Soa Siu where the Sultanís crown and other royal paraphernalia are on display.
On the eleventh day you reach Ternate where you say goodbye to the captain and crew. Yet, before you travel on we recommend you spend a few more days to experience this historic island. Top Indonesia will assist you with all further travel arrangements.