Total Solar Eclipse of 2016: From Bali to Borneo
A Voyage on the Caledonian Sky Featuring award-winning Astronomer Dr. Alex Filippenko
Trip Details at-a-Glance
|Arrive:||Benoa, Bali, Indonesia|
|Lodging:||14 nights on board the all-suite Caledonian Sky|
|Meals:||All meals from dinner on March 1 through breakfast on March 15|
|Activity:||Small Ship Cruising, Snorkeling, Wildlife & Natural History, Cultural Adventures|
Optional excursions including snorkeling, nature walks, and cultural exploration
- Dramatic total solar eclipse at sea with more than three minutes of totality!
- The best weather prospects in the Indonesian region, with the reliability, comfort, and maneuverability of the intimate expedition ship Caledonian Sky
- Fascinating presentations, stargazing, and eclipse day commentary from award-winning astronomer Alex Filippenko, PhD
- The best snorkeling in the world in the heart of the "Coral Triangle," plus Komodo dragons, orangutans, and the island culture of Indonesia
Observations along the Indonesian eclipse path show that the best viewing sites are in Sulawesi and the Moluccas. Not only do these easterly locations have 10 to 15 percent less cloud on average than those in the west near Sumatra, but the higher sun at eclipse time also helps to improve viewing chances in the event of broken clouds. Satellite images suggest that cloud systems are smaller and patchier over the Molucca Sea than elsewhere in Indonesia, a characteristic that can be exploited by a ship’s mobility to further increase the chances of a successful expedition.Jay Anderson, NASA Eclipse Meteorologist
Choosing the Right Trip
We work hard to help you choose the right trip for you, paying attention to your individual interests, abilities, and needs. If you have questions about the level of comfort or any of the activities described in this itinerary, please contact us.
We are proud to have an exceptionally high rate of repeat travelers. For more information, we would be happy to put you in touch with a client who has traveled with us.
Once you have signed up on the trip, we send a complete packing list, relevant health information, and required travel documents.
To witness a total solar eclipse is an unforgettable experience—and combined with this unique cruise, it’s a once-in-a-lifetime travel adventure! Our journey offers the best weather prospects on the Indonesian eclipse path and more than three minutes of totality, observed from the safety and comfort of a small expedition ship. The maneuverability of the 114-guest Caledonian Sky further enhances our prospects on Eclipse Day, the centerpiece of our fascinating voyage that brings us from Bali to Borneo. Fantastic experiences along the way include seeing both Komodo dragons and orangutans, snorkeling amid the astounding reefs of the Coral Triangle, and exploring the tropical islands of Sulawesi. Astronomer Alex Filippenko, PhD, one of UC Berkeley’s most popular professors, will join us to share his expert knowledge in a series of presentations and on eclipse day—this is his 11th eclipse with us!
Itinerary at a Glance
For a more complete description, Download Full Detailed Itinerary
Embarkation at Benoa, Bali / Moyo & Satonda Islands / Komodo National Park
Embark on the Caledonian Sky in the late afternoon and depart Bali. The next morning finds us anchored off the lovely island of Moyo, just to the north of Sumbawa. Moyo is a nature reserve with wild oxen, deer, wild boars, and a great variety of bird species. However, its greatest attraction lies below the water, with amazingly beautiful coral reefs inhabited by countless brightly colored fish. If conditions allow there will be the opportunity to snorkel and explore by Zodiac. Later we sail to Satonda Island, the tip of an ancient volcano. Close to the beach is a small mystical crater lake where the trees are decorated with "wishing" stones, shells, and pieces of coral. This is also a snorkeler’s paradise with pristine reefs and abundant fish.
The highlight of our visit to Komodo National Park is the opportunity to see the distant cousins of the dinosaurs, the Komodo dragons. These huge rare lizards grow to twelve feet in length and only became known to the western world in 1910 when a Dutch lieutenant first laid eyes on them. Escorted by the island’s national park wardens, we walk to the dragons' old feeding station, seeing them in the wild, and also hope to see frigate birds, white buffalo, and long-tailed monkeys. Later, we spend some time on Pink Beach relaxing, swimming, or snorkeling.
Taka Bonerate National Park / Wakatobi National Park / Padea Besar Island / Togean Islands
Stretching south from the main island of Sulawesi into the Flores Sea is Taka Bonerate National Park. Spread out over 220,000 hectares, this is the largest coral reef in Indonesia and rich in marine life and a variety of bird species. Using our small ship to navigate and our Zodiacs to land, we find a suitable spot among the 21 islands of the park to spend the day. The crystal-clear waters offer snorkelers a chance to explore the reefs, home to 242 species of coral and 295 species of colorful reef fish, as well as dolphins and turtles. Alternatively, we can enjoy a walk in the sand dunes where we find many land, coastal, and sea birds.
Legendary underwater explorer and conservationist Jacques Cousteau is said to have called the Wakatobi Islands—then known as the Tukangbesi Islands—an “Underwater Nirvana." Now a National Marine Park, it comprises a total of 1.4 million hectares, of which 900,000 hectares are decorated with different colorful species of tropical coral reefs. Wakatobi is widely recognized as having the highest number of reef and fish species in the world. The islands are also famed as the largest barrier reef in Indonesia, second only to the Great Barrier Reef in Australia, with atolls and fringing and barrier reefs that are the habitat of large and small fish species and the playground of dolphins, turtles, and even whales. Meanwhile on land, we meet the local Bajo sea nomads, explore mangrove forests, and see the historical ruins, cannons, and fortresses that are spread over the main islands.
As we continue our journey around the island of Sulawesi, we make a call at Kokoila, where we have the chance to talk with the local fishermen or enjoy a snorkel over the soft corals among angelfish, parrotfish, and anemonefish. Continuing our journey north, we arrive in the Togean Islands. This remote and picturesque archipelago of 56 islands is surrounded by an ancient coral reef, while on land the volcanic islands harbor a variety of endangered wildlife. This afternoon you may wish to join a guided walk looking for macaques, babirusa (a wild pig with large, upturned tusks), and parrots, or enjoy a swim over spectacular corals teeming with colorful fish.
At Sea / Eclipse Day!
The excitement builds as we enjoy a day at sea sailing toward our eclipse viewing position, with presentations by our guest astronomer and preparation of our viewing equipment. We position our ship in the early morning at an ideal location in the Molucca Sea, recommended by NASA eclipse meteorologist Jay Anderson as offering the best weather prospects in the Indonesian region. The eclipse begins with first contact at approximately 8:32 am, with totality lasting 3 minutes and 7.4 seconds, from 9:46 to 9:49 am. Our ship's mobility increases our viewing prospects considerably, and Dr. Filippenko's expert knowledge guides us through this spectacular phenomenon. After sharing our experiences, we sail in the afternoon and arrive in Bitung after dinner for an overnight mooring.
Tangkoko Nature Reserve / Bunaken National Park / Toli Toli
From our berth at Bitung, we travel inland for a full day tour to the Tangkoko Nature Reserve. This 8,800-hectare park ranges from the sea to the top of Tangkoko Mountain and is a haven for endemic flora and fauna. On a guided walk we search for black macaque monkey and tarsiers, the smallest primates in the world, for whom the Tangkoko Reserve is their last refuge, while birders seek out hornbills and cuscus. The next day we arrive at Bunaken National Park, a treasure trove of biodiversity situated near the center of the Coral Triangle. The park was established in 1991 as one of the first of Indonesia’s growing system of marine parks. Here we find 300 types of coral and over 3,000 species of fish. We use our Zodiacs to land on a local beach and set up snorkeling platforms to explore the underwater world, or enjoy free time in the local village. Return to the ship for lunch and an afternoon at sea.
Having sailed along the length of the Sulawesi north coast we reach the charming village of Toli Toli. This idyllic, sleepy little town is surrounded by lush green mountains. On arrival we will be welcomed by the locals before visiting their traditional houses and enjoying time in the village. We pass by the tombs of the Toli Toli kings, then proceed to the Old Mosque, Immanuel Church, and a traditional market. We end our excursion at a coastal fishermen's village to learn about the daily life of village folk living on houses built on stilts. Return to the ship for lunch and an afternoon at sea.
Pulau Mataking / Sandakan / Disembark and Depart
Today we leave the islands of Indonesia and arrive in the Malaysian state of Sabah. At Pulau Mataking, we find two islands connected by a sand bar, the surrounding waters an undersea paradise. We have time to snorkel among the stunningly beautiful reefs and stroll along the white powdery sand.
The next morning we learn about the rehabilitation of orangutans at the Sepilok Orangutan Sanctuary and hear about the threats to their survival. We visit the Sepilok Forest Reserve feeding platform and see orangutans in the third stage of the rehabilitation program, where the orphaned and injured orangutans are brought to Sepilok to be rehabituated to forest life. Sepilok is a primary lowland forest, one of the few remaining rainforests in Sabah, and is the nearest place to visit a virgin jungle of Borneo. Here we can observe the fascinating diversity of plants, trees, and wildlife as Sepilok is known to have more 450 species of trees and more than 250 species of birds. We also have a good chance of sighting macaques, leaf monkeys, and other mammals.
After lunch on the ship, the afternoon is free to relax on board and prepare for departure, or join a city tour of Sandakan. This town was built in 1879 as a water village on stilts reachable by plank walkways. We visit the lively and active Sandakan Market and the old-fashioned stone building of St. Michael Church, one of the few surviving pre-war stone buildings, built in 1893. We also see the site where POWs spent the night after arriving from Singapore, and the Newlands, home to Agnes Newton Keith, an American author best known for her three autobiographical accounts of life in North Borneo before, during, and after World War II. We enjoy refreshments at the colonial English tea house before returning to the ship. Disembark the morning of March 15 and begin our journeys home.
|1 Tues, Mar 1, 2016||BENOA, BALI||18:00|
|2 Wed, Mar 2, 2016||MOYO ISLAND||07:00||12:00|
|2 Wed, Mar 2, 2016||SATONDA ISLAND||14:30||19:00|
|3 Thurs, Mar 3, 2016||RINCA ISLAND, KOMODO NATIONAL PARK||08:00||18:00|
|4 Fri, Mar 4, 2016||KAUNA ISLAND, TAKA BONARATE NATIONAL PARK||07:30||14:00|
|5 Sat, Mar 5, 2016||COWO COWO ISLAND, WAKATOBI NATIONAL PARK||08:00||18:00|
|6 Sun, Mar 6, 2016||KOKOILA, PADEA BESAR ISLAND||07:30||13:00|
|7 Mon, Mar 7, 2016||BOLILANGGA ISLAND, TOGEAN ISLANDS||13:30||23:59|
|8 Tues, Mar 8, 2016||AT SEA|
|9 Wed, Mar 9, 2016||ECLIPSE VIEWING POSITION||05:00||12:00|
|9 Wed, Mar 9, 2016||BITUNG||22:00||overnight|
|10 Thurs, Mar 10, 2016||BITUNG||overnight||22:00|
|11 Fri, Mar 11, 2016||BUNAKEN NATIONAL PARK||05:00||12:30|
|12 Sat, Mar 12, 2016||TOLI TOLI||09:30||17:00|
|13 Sun, Mar 13, 2016||PULAU MATAKING||12:30||18:00|
|14 Mon, Mar 14, 2016||SANDAKAN||07:00||overnight|
|15 Tues, Mar 15, 2016||SANDAKAN||09:00|
*Sailing schedule is subject to change
For a more complete description, Download Full Detailed Itinerary
Prices are for 2016
Cruise Rates by Cabin Category
Per person, double occupancy
|Standard Suites (Forward)||$10,495|
|Deluxe Balcony Suites||$13,875|
|Premium Balcony Suites||$14,775|
|Owners Corner Suites||$15,775|
- Rates are per person based on double occupancy, in US dollars. See below for rates for single, triples and shared cabins
- Shore excursions are included, with the exception of scuba diving and certain other optional activities.
- Fuel and other maritime surcharges may apply.
more on pricing
Terms & Conditions
Reservation and Cancellation Policy
To reserve your place, please complete and mail a Wilderness Travel trip application along with a deposit of $1500 per person. For immediate confirmation, call us at 1-800-368-2794 and charge the deposit to your Visa, MasterCard, or American Express credit card.
At time of reservation: $1500
Due 9 months prior to departure (Jun 1, 2015): 50% of trip cost
Due 4 months prior to departure (Nov 1, 2015): Balance
Minimum cancellation fee: $750
From 12 months prior to departure (Mar 1, 2015): $1500 non-refundable
From 9 months prior to departure (Jun 1, 2015): All payments to date non-refundable
From 4 months prior to departure (Nov 1, 2015): 100% of payments non-refundable
If we are able to resell your cancelled cabin by four months prior to departure (Nov 1, 2015), your deposits will be refunded less the minimum cancellation fee of $750 per person. Cancellations must be in writing by email, fax, or mail. We reserve the right to treat the reservation as cancelled if payments are not received when due.
Note: Payment Schedule, Cancellation Policy, and Single Supplement Policy for this program differs from the policy for regular trips stated in our annual catalog and on this web site.
Notes on Pricing
Singles/Triples: A very limited number of guaranteed single cabins are available in Standard and Superior Suites at 150% of the double occupancy rate. Singles in all other categories are 200% of the double occupancy rate. Please note that the Caledonian Sky does not have sofa beds and triple or quad occupancy is therefore not available. Call for availability and specific pricing.
Shared Cabins: Participants traveling by themselves and wishing to share a cabin at double occupancy rates may request a roommate. We will do our best to match you with another single traveler. If this is not possible a single supplement rate of 150% of the per person rate for that cabin category will apply. Single travelers matched up by Wilderness Travel may be assigned to a Standard or Superior Suite, and before confirming a reservation such travelers must understand that they will have to pay 150% of the per person rate for their cabin category, in the event we cannot match them with a roommate.
Air Travel and Extensions
International air travel is not included in this program. Information about booking your flights will be provided approximately one year before departure.
Due to the remoteness of many of the locations visited on this trip, participants are required to purchase full medical, emergency evacuation, and repatriation insurance that covers you for at least $50,000. We also strongly recommend that you have coverage for Trip Cancellation, but this is not required. Due to limited medical facilities, you may need to be evacuated to a larger Asian city or even back to the US in case of serious illness or injury. Evacuation by air may or may not be possible, depending on the location. If you require evacuation from a trip, you are responsible for payment of all evacuation costs. You must pay evacuation costs directly to the evacuation service prior to the evacuation. Acceptable forms of payment are typically cash or travelers checks. Credit cards may or may not be accepted. If you are able to use your credit card, be aware that a service charge will be assessed in addition to the actual cost of the evacuation. You must bring one of these forms of payment with you in case of emergency. You will need to contact your insurance company for procedures and reimbursement policy.
Trip cancellation insurance reimburses you for non-refundable payments should you need to cancel your trip due to a covered sickness or injury to yourself, a traveling companion, or family member, or for certain other unforeseen circumstances. For details, see the Description of Coverage brochure and enrollment forms included with your confirmation packet. Travel insurance must be paid for before final payment for the trip. If you purchase your own insurance elsewhere, you must provide us with proof of coverage, policy number, and the contact phone number for your insurance carrier.
Wilderness Travel and Noble Caledonia have signed an agreement for the charter of the Caledonian Sky. In the unlikely event that this program cannot be operated for any reason, the refund of all payments received shall release Wilderness Travel, Inc. from any liability.
All astronomers and other guest experts named in this brochure are confirmed at the time of publication. If any speaker must cancel, Wilderness Travel will attempt to provide, but cannot guarantee, a suitable replacement.
In these uncertain times, it is difficult to predict fuel and other maritime costs over the long term, and more specifically, at the time of the voyage. Our prices are based upon the prevailing fuel and maritime rates at the time of the brochure printing, which is well in advance of departure. While we will do everything possible to maintain our prices, if fuel and maritime prices increase significantly prior to the time of the voyage, it may be necessary to institute a surcharge.
- Standard Suites on Castle Deck with four portholes, en suite bathroom with shower. 244 sq. ft. Suites 254-262. Standard Suites (Forward) 250, 252 have two portholes.
- Superior Suites on Caledonian Deck with large window, en suite bathroom with bathtub and shower (except for suites 329-331 that feature only a shower). 233 sq. ft. Suites 329-348.
- Premium Suites on Promenade Decks with large window, en suite bathroom with bathtub and shower (suites 431 and 432 feature a bathtub). 217 sq. ft. Suites 431-434.
- Deluxe Balcony Suites on Bridge Deck with walk-in wardrobe, en suite bathroom with bathtub and shower, and a private balcony measuring 45 sq. ft. 215 sq. ft. Suites 505-512.
- Premium Balcony Suites on Promenade Deck with walk-in wardrobe, en suite bathroom with shower, and a private balcony measuring 60 sq. ft. 217 sq. ft. Suites 416-428.
- Owner’s Corner Suites on Promenade Deck with walk-in wardrobe, en suite bathroom with shower, two forward-facing portholes, and a private balcony measuring 60 sq. ft. 243 sq. ft. Suites 414-415.
Trip Cost Includes:
- 14 nights accommodations aboard the Caledonian Sky
- All meals from dinner on March 1 through breakfast on March 15
- House wine, beer, or soft drinks with lunch and dinner
- Enrichment program of lectures by Guest Astronomer Alex Filippenko and other experts
- Group shore excursions
- Onboard gratuities
- Port taxes and government fees
Trip Cost Does Not Include:Air travel to Bali, Indonesia, and return from Sandakan, Malaysia; departure taxes; pre- and post-cruise arrangements including additional hotel nights made necessary by airline schedule changes and other factors; diving or certain other optional shore excursions; beverages aboard ship not specified above; airport transfers and luggage handling; expenses of a personal nature, such as passports and visa fees, medical immunizations, laundry services, etc; and trip cancellation/medical insurance (highly recommended).
Built in 1991 as a private yacht, the MS Caledonian Sky has been completely refurbished to become an elegant expedition vessel providing 5-star comfort in a casual and relaxed atmosphere. Each of the 57 spacious suites offers ocean views, sitting area (some also offer a private balcony), well-appointed bathroom, flat-screen TV, telephone, personal safe, individually controlled air-conditioning and heating, hairdryer, and mini-fridge. The MS Caledonia Sky also features a dining room, two bars (one has a 24-hour tea and coffee station), library, lounge with panoramic floor-to-ceiling windows, medical clinic and doctor, small gym and salon, ample outdoor decks, and an elevator that serves all decks. The vessel is equipped with the latest safety, navigation, and communications equipment, along with roll stabilizers to minimize the ship’s motion. The Captain and officers operate an open-bridge policy that allows passengers onto the bridge at most times. A fleet of Zodiacs are available for landing at remote locations.
Note: Listed above are our signature accommodations for this trip. Although it is highly unlikely, we may make substitutions when necessary.
Our Trip Leaders
Here are the Trip Leaders scheduled for this journey (please note that leader assignments are subject to change).
Alex Filippenko, PhD, is the Richard and Rhoda Goldman Distinguished Professor in the Physical Sciences at the University of California, Berkeley. He is a leading authority on exploding stars, active galaxies, black holes, gamma-ray bursts, and the expansion of the Universe. Recently elected to ...
Click here for a full bio and list of all upcoming trips
As Wilderness Travel’s Special Projects Manager, Ray plans and manages our educational Special Events, which have taken him from the Mayan countries to the Andes, Greece, and Egypt for archaeology programs; from Kenya, the Serengeti, and Botswana to the Bering Sea and Sea of Cortez, and to ...
Click here for a full bio and list of all upcoming trips