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(Southeast Asia Cruise)
Experience intriguing and diverse cultures, amazing wildlife, and an exceptional luxury expedition cruise, all wrapped into one trip. Voyaging to Malaysia's Borneo, you'll have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to come “face to face” with Orangutans. Man's smartest relative is native to Borneo and—other than Sumatra—live nowhere else in the world. As you visit the islands of Indonesia, you'll be able to snorkel, dive or admire the incredible ocean habitats in Raja Ampat, considered to be the heart of the world’s coral reef biodiversity. Enjoy numerous nature walks and Zodiac cruises, which reveal stunning scenery, pristine beaches, and luxuriant tropical landscapes throughout your Southeast Asian island adventure.
Cruise Departure Dates (2014):
Embark the ship and depart on your 17-day Expedition. After settling in and setting sail, you will be introduced to your Expedition Team and participate in a mandatory safety drill. Tonight you are invited to familiarize yourself with your new home away from home, meet some of your fellow travelers and enjoy the first of many memorable meals in The Restaurant.
Silver Discoverer, a luxury expedition ship expertly engineered to explore the most isolated archipelagos of the Pacific. Her small size and shallow draft allow close-up access to rugged coasts well beyond the reach of ordinary vessels. And she has been newly refurbished to help guests maximize their experience and build a genuine connection with the regions they visit. Spacious decks and panoramic public rooms mean the drama of the unexpected is never far from view. A fleet of Zodiacs allows exploration from the water or remote landings anywhere nature or curiosity dictate. Since many of her expeditions sail to some of the world's most pristine coral reef systems, there's a glass-bottom boat for underwater viewing along with a full complement of snorkelling equipment and a dive programme for advanced divers.
Today, you arrive in Pulau Tiga, also known as Survivor Island, having been the location for both the US and UK versions of the popular television programme, Survivor. The small, unpopulated island in Kimanis Bay, off the Western coast of Malaysia, is famous for its active mud “volcanoes” at the highest part of the island. The mineral-rich mud is thought to have therapeutic properties and visitors are encouraged to slather themselves in it before diving into the ocean for a dip. Join your on-board ornithologist for a walk in search of several endangered species of bird, including the shy megapodes, which are chicken-sized birds that lay their eggs in the sand and leave the sun to incubate them.
As you travel north to Simpang Magayau—for the opportunity to stand on the northernmost tip of Borneo, where the South China Sea meets the Sulu Sea—you’ll see coconut plantations that stretch as far as the eye can see. Once there, you will have the unique opportunity to visit with the indigenous Rungus people, who are famous for the longhouses they build and the gongs they craft. The Rungus, a sub-group of the Kadazandusum, are Sabah’s most traditional ethnic group. Many of the Rungus still live in longhouses, which are communal dwellings where each family has their own sleeping and cooking quarters but shares a long veranda. These longhouses have a unique architecture, very different from the better-known longhouses of neighbouring Serawak because they are built quite low to the ground and far away from rivers.
Once a major port of call, Sandakan—the second largest city in Sabah, East Malaysia—played a significant part in Borneo’s history. Here, at this gateway to ecotourism, the city’s haunting past is evoked via religious relics and gorgeous colonial mansions.
Situated on the edge of the Kabili-Sepilok Forest Reserve (one of the few remaining virgin jungles in Sabah), just 26 kilometres outside of Sandakan, is the Sepilok orang-utan Rehabilitation Centre (SORC). The famous orang-utan sanctuary was founded in 1964 to rescue orphaned and injured orang-utans and rehabilitate them for living in the forest. Here, from a rainforest platform, you will have the unique opportunity to witness the feeding of Orang-Utans in their natural habitat.
After an inspirational visit you continue to the Labuk Bay Proboscis Sanctuary, where we will see the endemic Proboscis Monkey. The Proboscis Monkey is best seen during feeding time; at other times they freely roam the 650-hectare area of their habitat. If you are lucky you will get to see other native animals, too, such as Leaf Monkeys, Macaques, and Hornbills. Along the way, witness workers going about their daily task of harvesting and weeding the Palm plantations that now occupy so much of the countryside.
The Tun Sakaran Marine Park (also known as the Semporna Islands Park), just 20 kilometres off the Semporna mainland, is the largest marine park in Sabah and boasts the greatest concentration of coral reefs in Malaysia.
Adding to the uniqueness of this world-famous diving spot are the Bajau Laut (sea gypsies), an indigenous nomadic tribe of boat dwellers.
Join your marine biologist for an underwater excursion while snorkelling from the boats. Alternatively, experience this unique world from the glass bottom boat. The scuba divers amongst you will have the opportunity to dive on unspoilt reefs.
On a sprawling 438 square kilometre undisturbed land, 70 kilometres (44 miles) west of Lahad Datu, lies one of nature’s jewels: the Danum Valley Conservation Area. Here, in this lush preserved space, you will see over 200 species of tree and a vast range of Sabah’s lowland fauna. Recognized as one of the world’s most complex ecosystem, this forest serves as a natural home for endangered wildlife species including Sumatran rhinos, bantengs (Bali cattle), Asian elephants, clouded leopards, orang-utans, and proboscis monkeys.
A leisurely day at sea is yours to enjoy. Begin perhaps with a late breakfast and another cup of coffee or tea during the first of the day’s lectures. Join the lectures and hear fascinating tales of adventure and learn more about the region’s endemic wildlife and remarkable nature. Your knowledgeable Lecture Staff members are experts in a variety of fields.
The volcanic island, Ternate, is steeped in history. Here, Alfred Russel Wallace wrote his pioneering account of evolution by natural selection, known as the “Ternate Essay,” which he famously sent to Charles Darwin, who published the essay alongside his own account of the theory. Once disembarked, you will jump on jeepneys for a sightseeing tour that will take you on an exploration of Benteng Oranye, the remains of a massive 1607 Dutch fortress, and Keraton, the Sultan's mosque and Palace, which still serves as a family home today.
Raja Ampat, or the Four Kings, is located on the northwest tip of Birds Head Peninsula, between the Indian and Pacific Oceans. The archipelago of over 1500 small islands, cays and shoals is an ideal destination for water sports and beachcombing.
Kokas, West Papua, IndonesiaEarly this morning, join the on-board expedition team for a Zodiac exploration in the MacCLuer Gulf. You’re sure to be amazed by its breath-taking coastline of natural bays, tiny islets, pristine rain forest, and soaring mountains. Here, you’ll go in search of New Guinea’s finest examples of ancient Papuan rock art, which was first discovered by European adventurers in 1678. Some of the designs, which were stencilled by hand, feature hands, birds, angled boomerang-like objects and, presumably mythical, part human, part animal figures. Come afternoon, you will set off to explore the charming port of Kokas a prosperous fishing community that’s home to about 4000 residents. Here, the majority of villagers are Muslim Papuans and belong to the Fak Fak Regency. They will welcome you with a presentation of their unique cultural heritage, which includes harmonic songs, rhythmic drumming, and the traditional Gabagaba, or stick dance.
Expedition Day. Located in the Ceram Sea, West Papua, Misool, is one of the four major islands in the Rajah Ampat National Park. This celebrated snorkelling and diving hotspot is surrounded by a 1220 square kilometre/300,000 acre No-Take Zone, and inside the Raja Ampat Shark and Manta Sanctuary.
Your morning snorkel, dive and glass bottom boat destination is Kri Island, located west of the Bird’s Head Peninsula (Doberai) and one of the four Raja Ampat Islands. The Raja Ampat, or “Four Kings “ archipelago lies in the Coral Triangle. This is the heart of the world’s coral reef biodiversity—the seas around Raja Ampat possibly hold the richest variety of species in the world. For those that prefer to stay dry, the on-board expedition team will lead various walks at Gam Island and the village of Yenwaupnor, where, after a welcome sing-song, you might opt to join in the “hunt” for the “Lost Orchid” that’s endemic to the island.
A leisurely day at sea is yours to enjoy. Begin perhaps with a late breakfast and another cup of coffee or tea during the first of the day’s lectures. Join the lectures and hear fascinating tales of adventure and learn more about the region’s endemic wildlife and remarkable nature. Your knowledgeable Lecture Staff members are experts in a variety of scientific fields.
Palau (sometimes called Belau or Pelew) is a Micronesian island country in the western Pacific Ocean. The archipelago is comprised of 250 islands, which are home to approximately 21,000 people whose culture is a rich hybrid of their varied history and storied occupations. Today, however, Palau is most celebrated for being one of the world’s most spectacular diving and snorkelling hotspots. Get underwater and you will see coral reefs, blue holes, wartime wrecks, hidden caves and tunnels, and an astonishing spectrum of coral, fish, and rare sea creatures. However, unlike many of the other islands, Palau has plenty to offer those who prefer to keep their two feet on dry land. Explore the islands to experience exotic birds, preying crocodiles that inhabit the mangrove swamps, and covetable orchids, which sprout like wildflowers.
Following breakfast, disembark the ship.
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