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Australia & New Zealand
(Papua New Guinea Cruise)
Embark on a luxurious expedition cruise of the remote cultures of the Coral Sea. See landscapes as varied as lagoons, coral reefs, forests, waterfalls, geysers and more. Experience first-class diving and snorkeling to see spectacular marine life, as well as a number of WWII wrecks. Observe indigenous flora and fauna that includes extraordinary marine life, flying foxes and the elusive bird of paradise, and enjoy discovering local tribes and learning about their local crafts and customs. This is your chance to have the experience you want, and the luxury you deserve.
Cruise Departure Dates (2014):
Embark the ship for your expedition. This afternoon, you will be introduced to your Expedition Team and attend a safety briefing. Tonight you are invited to familiarise yourself with your new home away from home, meet some of your fellow travellers 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.
Marovo Lagoon is the world’s largest saltwater lagoon. Described by American author, James A. Michener, as “one of the seven natural wonders of the world,” Marovo is home to a double barrier reef system, and is one of two sites in the Solomon’s currently under consideration for UNESCO World Heritage Site status. Though you won’t see dancing anywhere near Marovo Lagoon (the Seventh-Day Adventist church has banned it as they believe dancing causes pregnancy), diving or snorkelling at the site will expose incredible reef drop-offs that are characterised by gorgonian fan forests, black coral gardens, giant clams, sea turtles, manta rays, eels, barracuda, octopus, morays, gray whaler sharks, and shoals of lion- and pelagic fish. Meanwhile, bird watchers can look for osprey, Brahmany kite and kingfisher, and hikers can venture into the forests on one of the many surrounding islands.
Kasolo Island is more popularly known as Kennedy Island because it is the historically famous landmark where JFK was marooned during World War II. Amid great publicity, the remains of the sunken PT-109 warship on which he was stationed, were discovered in nearby Blackett Strait. Today, Kennedy Island is a popular dive site for wreck seekers.
Welcome to the land of Mystery, Papua New Guinea, which forms the eastern half of the world’s second largest island. The islands of New Britain (sometimes called the "Island Jewel”) offer some of the world’s most popular diving and snorkelling spots. You arrive in the provincial capital, Rabaul, in the evening, just in time to witness Melanesia magic at its best as we are welcomed by a traditional Baining fire performance—a nocturnal dance performed around a huge fire in traditional Tuk Tuk masks.
On this day, you’ll board local buses for a half-day tour of Rabaul and Kokopo. You’ll travel along a road built by the Singaporean and Burmese POWs under the direction of the Japanese and tour sites including a Japanese submarine base and barge tunnels. You’ll also visit what was once Queen Emma’s estate, of which just the steps remain.
Tatau, in the Tarbar islands, is your next port of call. Here, you’ll meet the friendly islanders who practise Malagan, a traditional rite where sacred masks are made and honoured. The production of these masks is kept a secret until they’re displayed to the whole community with a celebration of singing and dancing.The divers and snorkellers amongst us are sure to enjoy exploring the reef cover around the island, while your land-lovers can shop for carved souvenirs and appreciate the islanders’ presentations of dance and song.
A leisurely day at sea to exchange notes with fellow travellers and take advantage of the luxurious amenities aboard the ship. Help the bird watchers spot some of the seabirds found far away from their nesting grounds, or enjoy a lecture or an interesting book can be good company too. Alternatively, just relax in the comfort of your suite and watch a movie on the in-suite interactive television.
The Murik Lakes are a cluster of salt- and fresh-water lakes in the lower Sepik province of Papua New Guinea (PNG). Here, you’ll find lagoons, mangrove swamps and sandbanks between fresh water and the sea.
During lunch, the ship will reposition to the Sepik River where you will navigate 13 miles upriver for a scenic Zodiac tour that will include a stop at Kopar, a small village at the mouth of the Sepik River, that’s inhabited by no more than 200 people. This being Papua New Guinea your arrival will be heralded with a welcoming performance of song and dance. For the keen birders, a trip by a boat into the small canals (or ‘barets’ as they are known in pidgin) will offer sights of flood plain birds, parrots and the odd kite.
Madang has one of the South Pacific’s most beautiful harbours, with a backdrop of steep mountains and lush tropical vegetation. The town of Madang was the centre of heavy fighting during World War II, and there are 34 sunken ships to explore at Hansa Bay for our divers to explore. The small town began its “modern life” as a result of the lucrative copra (coconut) trade. However most people will know Madang for its deep relevance in Japanese history —the town was occupied by the Japanese in January 1943, and was a hub of activity during World War II.
During today’s tour, you will see the Coastwatcher’s Memorial Lighthouse, which was dedicated in 1959 to the Allied Forces and local civilians who served against the Japanese in WWII. You will also visit Bilbil Village, famous for its pottery, where you will be welcome by traditionally clad villagers performing local dances accompanied by drums is sure to delight. As dusk approaches keep an eye out for flying foxes that hang in the trees—there are many of them on the island.
The Tami Islands are a small archipelago (just four islands) located South of Finschhafen in the Huon Gulf. Collectively, they are part of today's Morobe Province. The main island is eponymously named and is one of just two islands in the enclave to be inhabited. The people here are known for their elaborately carved, oblong-shaped “Tami bowls.” The small communities of islanders live basically—Tami has just a single primary school and a small medical aid post. The “singsing” here is loud and punctuated by the beating of ‘kundus’ (hand-held hollowed wooden drums with monitor lizard skin at one end).
Tufi, located on the southeastern peninsula of Cape Nelson, in Oro Province, is situated on a tropical fjord (the work of ancient volcanic activities) and surrounded by uncharted coral reefs. Natives wear tapa cloth during traditional ceremonies, which is made from the bark of mulberry trees found in the local forest. Of course, dance figures predominantly in the culture, with performers sporting headdresses decked with Bird of Paradise plumes and other colourful feathers. Upon arrival, you will canoe along the smooth waters of the Kwapurina Fjord. With local villagers as our oarsmen, you will be guided under canopies of ancient mangrove forests, which are home to Tufi’s wide range of colourful birds and butterflies. Your destination is a small beach where you will disembark and proceed on foot through the rainforest to a small jungle waterfall where you will be offered a refreshing coconut drink before watching a demonstration of traditional canoe making. Continuing on our journey, you return to the island where the villagers will traditionally welcome you with dance and song. There will also be an opportunity to observe the making of Tapa cloth and make souvenir purchases.
Fergusson is one of the three biggest and mountainous islands in the Milne Bay Province. The other two are Normanby and Goodenough islands. Together, they form the D’Entrecasteux islands, which are famous for the DeiDei geysers—natural hot springe that periodically “erupt” with vapour steam. The proud villagers will welcome you with ancestral tales and legends about this natural display of power.
After Fergusson Island, Papua New Guinea, you will also visit Dobu Island, which is one of the smaller islands D’Entrecasteux archipelagos. Historically, their neighbours feared the Dobu islanders because they were revered sorcerers, which is—incidentally—how the Dobu language became the common lingo throughout these islands, even though they are a small community of less than 1,000 inhabitants. Birdwatchers are in for a treat whilst visiting the D’Entrecasteux islands. Look out for white cockatoos, parrots and eagles and—if you are very lucky—you may even spot a bird of paradise (or two!).
Alotau, a sleepy town in the southeast of Papua New Guinea, is nestled in the hillsides of the northern shore of Milne Bay. In 1968 it became the province’s capital when administrators were moved from overcrowded Samarai Island. Alotau played a pivotal role in the WWII Battle of Milne Bay—it was here that the Japanese suffered their first defeat. As a consequence, there are several memorials and relics here to commemorate the town’s significance, and you are invited to take a half-day tour to explore them.
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.
Following breakfast, disembark the ship.
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