Summary : Following in the wake of early Polynesian navigators, this voyage takes you to the farthest reaches of Oceania. From remote and enigmatic Easter Island, to the historically significant Pitcairn Islands through the “low islands” of the Tuamotu Archipelago to Tahiti, you’ll visit islands that are virtually inaccessible and untouched. Dive or snorkel the stunning reefs of Fakarava, part of a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, and the Pitcairn Islands, identified as one of most unspoiled reef systems in the world by National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence Enric Sala. Trace the legend of the ill-fated H.M.S. Bounty from Tahiti to Pitcairn Island, where descendants of its mutineers still live today. Explore the unusual geology and wildlife of Henderson Island, a UNESCO World Heritage site, and look for endemic bird species. Delve into the intriguing lost culture of Easter Island, and examine ancient burial sites and towering moai with an archaeologist.
Activities : Birding, Child-Friendly, Culture, Diving, Hiking, Photography, Snorkeling, Dedicated Solo Cabins
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Depart the U.S. on an overnight flight to Santiago, Chile.
Upon arrival, transfer to your hotel in central Santiago. Then, join your group for an evening welcome reception.
Early the next morning, fly to Easter Island where you will check into the Hanga Roa Eco Village & Spa for two nights. Explore volcanic calderas, jagged lava fields, and sweeping grasslands to discover the colossal moai statues, the astonishing legacy of a long-lost culture. Join archaeologists to examine these statues and discuss their meaning and creation; visit burial sites, quarries, and intricately carved ceremonial altars.
Embark National Geographic Orion on Day 5.
Meals: B, L, D
Set sail from Easter Island on your journey west, listening to talks by your experts as you sail for two days. Begin your exploration in Ducie Atoll and spend time watching for frigatebirds and boobies and snorkeling or diving among spectacular reefs. The next stop is the UNESCO World Heritage site of Henderson Island, an uplifted atoll that is uninhabited and virtually untouched by humans. On hikes and Zodiac excursions, discover the island’s four endemic bird species, rich flora and fauna, and fascinating geology.
Many of the mutineers of the legendary Bounty made their home on Pitcairn Island in the late 18th century, and about 50 of their descendants still live here today. Meet the residents and hear a few words of the unusual Pitkern dialect—a combination of English “sailor speak” and Polynesian phrases. Visit the gravesite of the last surviving Bounty mutineer, John Adams, and see the Bounty’s anchor, which was salvaged in 1957.
Meals: B, L, D
Spend a day at sea scanning the horizon with your naturalists, or relaxing on deck with a good book. Arrive at Mangareva, the largest of the Gambier Islands, and famous for its black pearls. Venture underwater to snorkel or dive, meet islanders to learn about their culture and the missionaries who made their home here, and go on a hike with your naturalists.
Meals: B, L, D
Begin your exploration of the “Dangerous Archipelago” in Pukarua, where you’ll be greeted by traditional dancers. Navigate reefs and islets during a day at sea and then in true expedition mode, explore one of the uninhabited atolls such as Tahanea. After a festive welcome with traditional dancers in Fakarava, one of the largest atolls in French Polynesia and part of a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, learn about the island’s pearl industry, and walk its pristine beaches. Snorkel the protected reefs or ride the current into the lagoon on a world famous drift dive.
Meals: B, L, D
Arrive in Papeete, French Polynesia and take a tour of Tahiti before your overnight flight home.
Meals: B, L
Arrive in the U.S. after an overnight flight from Papeete.
This itinerary is subject to change. ExpeditionTrips.com is not responsible for itinerary changes.
Optional Diving Program:
Each dive will cost $95, charged to the guests’ shipboard account. The following dive gear is provided: 3mm full wetsuit, BCD, regulator, air cylinder, weights, dive computers, masks, snorkels ahd fins. Guests may choose to bring personal gear if they want. ALL guests who wish to dive MUST meet the following requirements (NO EXCEPTIONS): participants MUST have made a dive in the ocean within the 12 months preceding the voyage; PADI Advanced Open Water Diver or equivalent; OR PADI Open Water Diver or equivalent PLUS one of the following: have 25 logged dives including boat and deep diving experience, or hold PADI (or equivalent) Boat Diver & Deep Diver specialty certifications. Each diver must bring a valid diving certification and a dive log, letter of reference from dive buddy/instructor, or scuba refresher certificate. There is no minimum age requirement, but anyone under 18 must have a parent or guardian sign the liability release form provided prior to diving. Additionally, a PADI Scuba Review course (or equivalent refresher course) is highly recommended for those who have rarely dived in the past year or feel that their skills are rusty.
Lindblad-National Geographic Certified Photo Instructor:
On all departures, a certified photo instructor will be at your side and at your service to inspire and assist you. Take advantage of talks, presentations, slideshows and “laptop gallery” sharing events. All skill and interest levels are welcome; the instructors can meet you wherever you are on your journey. All you need to participate is a camera— point-and-shoot, smartphone, DSLR, whatever—and a sense of adventure. And you’re sure to return home with amazing photos.
Accommodations aboard ship; meals aboard ship; most alcoholic and nonalcoholic beverages aboard ship; services of expedition leader, naturalist staff and expert guide; crew gratuities; port charges and service taxes. Subject to change without notice.
Air transportation; diving program; extensions; passport and visa fees; immigration fees; travel protection plan; items of a personal nature including internet, laundry, etc; fuel surcharge may apply.
Photo Credit: © Bennett Goldberg