Cruise the Raja Ampat Islands, Indonesia
Description of Cruise the Raja Ampat Islands, Indonesia
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PlanetThe cruise operator takes the preservation of the pristine environment of the Raja Ampat Islands very seriously and have numerous measures in place to help in this aim. On board the crew use paper straws instead of plastic straws and in Yensawai, Batanta guests usually drink coconut water and historically plastic straws were used but now they have changed to paper straws. Mesh bags are now used by the kitchen crew to use for shopping instead of plastic bags. Guests are provided with aluminium water bottles so they don't have to use plastic bottles. Child guests are given educational books about the preservation of the ocean to children.
The cruise operator only anchors at places deeper than 30 metres and they always use mooring buoys when available. This is to protect the important reef-building corals mostly found in the shallower waters where the sunlight can penetrate the water. Instead of doing dance performances in Arborek which is already popular with visiting tourists, our operator chooses to help out the guys at Yensawai village instead. Now Oscar, a local villager, has built a nice little art center by the beach for the younger children to use for creative purposes. At our operators office they separate rubbish and recyclables through ecoBali and they also do beach and ocean clean up. They participate with Trash Hero, an NGO which one of their tour leaders (Dani) is a part of and which focuses on cleaning up non-organic waste as well as trying to educate locals. They have what they call “chapters” which is divided by geographical area and they have weekly clean ups and meetings/events to raise awareness.
Our operator operates a coral restoration propagation scheme with Ocean Gardener and they also work with the LINI Foundation which works on creating sustainable fisheries by involving the village community. One of the important work that they’re doing in Banggai is to protect the “Banggai Cardinalfish” which is endemic to the area. They are being harvested from the wild due to popular demand for aquariums (they’re very pretty indeed). To avoid extinction of the species, LINI trained villagers to breed them in captivity and sell these instead of taking wild ones. Some of the captive bred ones are also released into the wild to help bolster the population. LINI also works on coral restoration projects.
PeopleThe crew encourage guests who wish to provide gifts for locals that they should bring something that has educational value instead of chocolates or sweets. The operator always uses the service of local guides for birding and village walks as they have a more intimate knowledge of the area and they always first ask permission before entering a village and make a financial donation to the village chief.
The ground operator purchases and donates Nazava water filters to many areas of Indonesia and in Bali they collaborate with Sri Soaps which was founded by a local Balinese lady named Widya, a single mother of one who left her abusive ex-husband). Widya created Sri Soaps using natural ingredients and she employs older ladies from her village to weave baskets for the packaging (making it from either recyclable or organic material). The operator also supports cleft palate awareness through the Smile Foundation which offers free surgeries and the operator also runs a scheme called Peak Under The Surface (PUTS) which gives free swimming goggles to children. In an area where blast fishing is still very common due to high levels of poverty, the aim is to allow village children, the next generation of parents in these communities, to understand the importance of the coral reefs they live near to try and save them for future generations.