Summary : Discover landscapes as varied as lagoons, coral reefs, forests, waterfalls, geysers and more. Experience first-class diving and snorkeling witnessing spectacular marine life, as well as a number of WWII wrecks. Enjoy engaging with local tribes and learning about their local crafts and customs. Observe indigenous flora and fauna that includes extraordinary marine life, flying foxes and the elusive bird of paradise. Capture it all in vivid photos to share when you return home from this trip of a lifetime.
Activities : Birding, Culture, Diving, Hiking, Snorkeling
$999,999,999 to $0
Embark the ship in the afternoon and meet your Expedition Team and attend a safety briefing. Enjoy time to familiarize yourself with your new home away from home, and meet fellow travelers.
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 Solomons currently under consideration for UNESCO World Heritage Site status. Enjoy diving or snorkeling at the site to view incredible reef drop-offs that are characterized by coral 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 kingfishers, while 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.
Arrive in Papua New Guinea’s capital, Rabaul, in the evening, just in time to witness Melanesia magic at its best with a welcome by a traditional Baining fire performance—a nocturnal dance performed around a huge fire in traditional Tuk Tuk masks. The following day, board local buses for a half-day tour of Rabaul and Kokopo. 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 our next port of call. Meet the friendly islanders who practice Malagan, a traditional rite where sacred masks are made and honored. The production of these masks is kept a secret until they’re displayed to the whole community with a celebration of singing and dancing. Divers and snorkelers are sure to enjoy exploring the reef cover around the island, while land-lovers can shop for carved souvenirs and appreciate the islanders’ presentations of dance and song.
Enjoy a day at your leisure exchanging notes with fellow travelers and taking advantage of the luxurious amenities aboard the ship. Spot seabirds flying miles from their nesting grounds. Hear a lecture, relax into an interesting book, or find tranquility in the comfort of your suite and watch a movie.
The Murik Lakes are a cluster of salt and fresh-water lakes in the lower Sepik province of Papua New Guinea. Discover lagoons, mangrove swamps and sandbanks between fresh water and the sea. The islanders chisel carvings and weave Sepik baskets. Experience the Sepik River navigating 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. Your arrival will be heralded with a welcoming performance of song and dance. For the keen birders, a trip by Zodiac into the small canals will offer sights of flood plain birds, parrots and the odd kite.
Madang has one of the South Pacific’s most beautiful harbors, with a backdrop of steep mountains and lush tropical vegetation. The town of Madang was the center of heavy fighting during World War II, and there are 34 sunken ships to explore at Hansa Bay for 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. Visit the Coastwatcher’s Memorial Lighthouse, which was dedicated in 1959 to the Allied Forces and local civilians who served against the Japanese in WWII. Explore Bilbil Village, famous for its pottery, and enjoy a welcome by traditionally clad villagers performing local dances accompanied by drums. As dusk approaches keep an eye out for the plentiful flying foxes that hang from the trees.
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 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 “sing-sing” 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 coral reefs. Natives wear tapa cloth during traditional ceremonies, which is made from the bark of mulberry trees found in the local forest. Dance figures predominantly in the culture, with performers sporting headdresses decked with Bird of Paradise plumes and other colorful feathers. Canoe along the smooth waters of the Kwapurina Fjord with local villagers as oarsmen. Glide under canopies of ancient mangrove forests, which are home to Tufi’s wide range of colorful birds and butterflies. Arrive at a small beach and disembark, proceeding on foot through the rainforest to a small jungle waterfall. Enjoy a refreshing coconut drink before watching a demonstration of traditional canoe making.
Fergusson is one of the three biggest and mountainous islands in the Milne Bay Province. The other two are Normanby and Goodenough Island. Together, they form the D’Entrecasteux Islands, which are famous for the DeiDei geysers—natural hot springs that periodically “erupt” with vapor steam. Proud villagers will welcome us with ancestral tales and legends about this natural display of power. While here, visit Dobu Island, which is one of the smaller islands in D’Entrecasteux archipelagos. Historically, their neighbors feared the Dobu islanders because they were revered sorcerers. Birdwatchers are in for a treat whilst visiting the D’Entrecasteux Islands. Watch for white cockatoos, parrots and eagles. With luck, 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 result, there are several memorials and relics here to commemorate the town’s significance.
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. Hear fascinating tales of adventure and learn more about the region’s endemic wildlife and remarkable nature. Knowledgeable Lecture Staff members are experts in a variety of scientific fields.
Following breakfast, disembark the vessel.
This itinerary is subject to change. ExpeditionTrips is not responsible for itinerary changes.
Diving Program: Dives are dependent upon the conditions and included in the cruise price. Divers must be advanced with full certification which will need to be provided before embarking the vessel. Dive medical travel insurance is required. Divers must bring their own gear such as BCD and regulator. Weight belts and tanks will be provided. Please contact ExpeditionTrips for further details.
Suite accommodations; onboard meals and entertainment; butler service; snorkeling gear; diving; gratuities aboard ship (except spa); complimentary beverages aboard ship (including select wines, champagnes, spirits, soda, water and coffee).
Airfare; transfers and luggage handling; optional shore excursions; park entrance fees; government fees and taxes; passport expenses; some champagne, premium wine and spirit selections, caviar, cigarettes and cigars; laundry or valet services; items of a personal nature such as boutique purchases, medical care, and spa services; fuel surcharge may apply.