TESTIMONIALS of the June-July 2016 expedition

"Experiencing all of the extraordinary wildlife, especially the Trifecta of leatherback turtles, whale sharks and birds-of-paradise was way beyond my expectations for the trip. The climb to the top of the coral island in Wayag was sensational. Two unexpected highlights were my SCUBA dive with the whale sharks and the night visit to the Bagan. Also, I must include both Josephine and Ken as highlights. They were just wonderful. "

John R., Brisbane, Australia

“The guides were attentive, especially their assistance to all when alighting from the tenders to the Putiraja. They ensured our safety at all times, always with beaming smiles.  I always enjoy hearing Geoff’s talks, especially those relating to his times with leatherback hatchlings. Snorkeling with whale sharks and seeing leatherbacks nest were both truly amazing experiences leaving indelible, wonderful memories.

Jennifer R., Brisbane, Australia

“My personal highlight was the nesting leatherback. She touched my soul. Words cannot describe the feeling. I loved the whale sharks too, and the scenery and the islands were just amazing. The fact that we were on our own with no other tourists in sight was very special. The Putiraja is a great way to travel, the staff excellent, the Captain and first mate excellent and informative. Definitely, an adventure of a lifetime; I’m not sure if I will be able to adequately describe this experience!”

Barbara V. S., Capetown, South Africa

“Climbing the hill at Wayag, the bioluminescence at Piai and the forest illuminated by millions of fireflies were my favorites, along with the leatherbacks and the sharks… and so much more! And, of course, I finally got photos of birds-of-paradise! I greatly appreciated the goodwill of the leader and the guides as well my fellow travellers.”

Judith C., Brisbane, Australia

“Guides and chief scientist all gave excellent info. I felt respected and well cared for. Josephine, Ken and all the crew have gone out of their way to make the trip a success. Delightful people.”

Marguerite R., Brisbane, Australia

“I swam with whale sharks: died and gone to heaven… and the leatherbacks… Icing on the cake: the birds-of-paradise!”

Clodagh B., Brisbane, Australia

“Very satisfied! Simply unbelievable! I will absolutely recommend this trip to my friends.”

Jaz S., Sydney, Australia

“This trip was truly wonderful and totally unique. From the wealth of knowledge and passion for the marine environment espoused by Geoff Gearheart to the charm and idiosyncrasies of the Putiraja and her owners, Josephine and Ken, and their hard-working staff to the pristine and truly wild environment of Raja Ampat and West Papua this was a trip to top all others. Truly adventure tourism.  The privilege of seeing the Birds of Paradise, the turtles laying - green, olive ridley and the magnificent leatherbacks - (well tended and protected by the local rangers), the mind-blowing beauty of the reefs in the crystal clear water far from anyone else. Swimming with the whale sharks in Cendrawashi Bay was unbelievable - they are enjoying the Bagan fishing platforms and have no anxiety about the snorkelling spectators. The welcome by the villagers and the joyful smiles of the children were unforgettable. The itinerary varied according to conditions and local knowledge - of which Josephine, Ken and Geoff have plenty - so there were surprises most of which were delightful. Climbing Mount Wayag was challenging but satisfying and well supported by the staff. Our bird guide, Frangki, was particularly helpful. Josephine doubled as chef and we ate very well. This is not a trip for people unwilling to go out of their comfort zone but definitely one that gives you full reward for doing so. My only disappointment was not seeing the Bird Wing Butterflies but you can't have everything!”

Helen R., Perth, Australia

“I did this trip with Geoff Gearheart a couple of years ago, and I am still raving about it to this day. Anyone with a desire to get off the beaten track and learn about conservation at the same time - this is for you. It's a nature lover's paradise venturing into pristine seascapes and jungle to see turtles, birds of paradise and whale sharks.

Geoff takes small groups (10-12) and introduces them to the wonders of Raja Ampat and the people he has worked with there. Nights on the beach meeting a leatherback turtle mum and swimming with whale sharks are just two of the indelible memories I will take to my grave.”

Andrea W. Sydney, Australia