Grab your paddle, and set off from the island of Kri, winding through a maze of rainforest-topped islands lined with pristine, white beaches, over glimmering coral reefs and across the open water. Pitch camp on deserted islands and remote beaches in between home-stays with local families from the inhabited part of the archipelago.
This adventure is led by a local conservation group who not only build their own sea kayaks, but welcome visitors to stay in homestays around the islands. This feeds much needed money into their local economy to provide healthcare and better services, and preserve the marine and island life .
- Discover Indonesia’s unadulterated tropical islands in a sea kayak, the best way to navigate the archipelago.
- Experience the ‘crown jewel’ of the Bird’s Nest Peninsula’s coral reefs.
- Look out for birds-of-paradise, turtles, manta rays and tropical fish in their thousands.
- Paddle and snorkel around uninhabited islands.
- Sleep in beach homes and fish for your dinner.
- Stay with local families to support local eco tourism initiatives.
Located in the far Northwest tip off the Bird’s Head Peninsula off West Papua, the Raja Ampat Islands are an adventure to get to just to start the sea kayak trip. There are over 1500 islands within the Indonesian Archipelago and most are uninhabited. Due to how remote it is, there are still very few tourists that visit, and those that do tend to travel on liveaboard ships and stick around diving schools.
Nature’s treasure trove
Surrounded by coral reefs merging into lush mangroves and rich rainforest, the islands are a haven for wildlife and heaven for nature lovers. Raja Ampat reefs include three quarters of all known coral species, which in turn are home to over 1’400 species of fish. This region is also the most valuable leatherback turtle nesting site in the Pacific, a shark sanctuary and its waters are frequented regularly by the gentle winged giants of the deep – manta rays. Above the waterline the enthralling array of wildlife continues with colourful geckos, lizards, snakes and the dandy-ish dances and wild calls of the Birds of Paradise.
Conservation and Community Development
Secret Compass works with a local community development program, with the mission to support the tiny communities in the surrounding villages adjacent to Kri island. By employing local men as guides and working with eight locally-owned guesthouses, income is generated for these families in sustainable way as opposed to destructive practices such as overfishing, shark finning, bird and turtle poaching, or illegal logging.
This local eco-tourism project support the local community 100%. It acts as a bridge between foreign tourists and the native communities in Raja Ampat. By providing marketing, finance, communications, and logistical infrastructure, this program is able to support the nationals by finding clients for the local guesthouse owners and employing a number of local men as guides to share with people the natural environment – their back yard!
This local initiative supports eight families, each owning their own guesthouse, who provide accommodation for sea kayakers. Having educated many locals, they still employ a number of men on the skills of fiberglass work and they are the builders of the boats you’ll use on your adventure. There are a number of people who offer other facilities to visiting guests, such as bird watching trips (Wilson’s and Red Bird-of-Paradise), panoramic viewpoints or simply a nice clean beach with fresh coconuts for sale. All these people now generate an income from the services they provide.