Summary : See landscapes as varied as lagoons, coral reefs, forests, swamps, and more. Experience first-class diving and snorkeling to see spectacular marine life. Enjoy discovering local tribes and learning about their local crafts and customs. Discover Aboriginal art. Observe indigenous flora and fauna that includes extraordinary marine life, flying foxes and perhaps the elusive bird of paradise.
Activities : Birding, Culture, Diving, Hiking, Photography, Snorkeling
$999,999,999 to $0
Embark the ship in the evening 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.
Start your day with a visit to Wurrumiyanga (formerly known as Nguiu) on Bathurst Island, one of the two inhabited Tiwi Islands and Australia’s fifth-largest island. This place has an important part in the religious history of not only Bathurst, but the Northern Territory, as it was here that Bishop Francis X. Gsell ‘married’ 150 young women. As paradoxically as it sounds, he freed them this way from their tribal obligations to marry men they did not want. The majority of the Tiwi still speak their own language as the first language and English as their second. There are three indigenous art centers on the island, and you will see some of the local artists and their work. Zodiac onto the beach at the Nguiu and meet your local hosts. The Tiwi Islanders practice one of Australia’s most intact Aboriginal cultures and they will gladly show you their small piece of paradise. Art plays a large part of the Tiwi culture and your senses will be dazzled by the sheer brightness and brilliance as it surrounds you. Your hosts will walk around the small township of Nguiu with you, where the buildings are decorated with stunning murals and explain the meanings behind these extraordinary paintings. Visit the Tiwi Museum to see traditional art and depictions of Tiwi Dreamtime stories and take the opportunity to visit the Early Mission Precinct with its Tiwi-style Catholic church and hear about their stories. Join the local Tiwi ladies and watch them weave pandanus baskets before you join them for a morning tea and a traditional totem dance with time to discuss their culture together.
Better known as Port Essington, Victoria Settlement was a major trading port in the early 19th century. The new settlement was the first white settlement in the Northern Territory. Rangers from the ranger station at Blackpoint will meet you at the settlement to tell you the stories of the garrison and the convicts who lived and worked there and to explain all of the ruins. There is much to see and do. A group of British soldiers arrived with their families in 1838 and spent 11 years establishing the settlement. They built a Governor’s residence, which was one of the first elevated houses ever built, a hospital, and church, as well as military and married quarters with distinctive round Cornish chimneys. The settlement was abandoned in 1849 and all that remains today are the ruins of the settlement. After time spent in the settlement there is the opportunity to talk a walk with the Expedition Team.
Galiwin’ku Island has been inhabited for more than 40,000 years. Elcho Island (today Galiwin’ku) was chosen as the site for a Methodist mission after Galiwin’ku had been established during World War II as a refuge from possible bombing — it still is the only town on the island. The Methodist church started its mission in Galiwin’ku in 1947 and encouraged Aboriginal people to stay on their traditional homelands and use Galiwin’ku as a service center. The community is now the largest Aboriginal community in north-east Arnhem Land. Different projects have been started in Galiwin’ku, but Aboriginal art is one of the most rewarding.
Heading for the Torres Strait, the historian will present the different European seafarers who explored the area, with special attention paid to the Dutch and English, and he might even touch on the subject of the mutiny on the Bounty since Lt. Bligh had navigated these waters in the late 18th century. Other subjects might include Aboriginal Art and natural history.
Silver Discoverer will arrive in the morning to have a look at this former pearling center at the top of Australia. The Kaurareg people are the traditional land owners and today Thursday Island is the administrative and commercial center of the Torres Strait Islands. Just 39 kilometers north of Cape York, Thursday Island has an area of about 3.5 square kilometers. Populated for thousands of years by the Melanesian Torres Strait Islanders, Thursday Island has a population of 2610 today. World War II eventually arrived here. Visit the defence post at Horn Island. Take a private ferry to Horn Island and walk in the forgotten footsteps of the indigenous and non-indigenous soldiers who served in the area to experience an unmatched personal interaction with your specialist guides. On your journey, visit the original gun emplacements, an underground command post, slit trenches, a WWII aircraft wreck with an unbelievable story, WWII airstrip, dispersal bays and taxiways and listen to the eerie sound affects the airstrip provides today. The tour travels on actual WWII roads and tracks laid down by the military. Local artists will discuss their art and stories with you as morning tea is served and you visit the Torres Strait Museum before your ferry returns you to Thursday Island.
Today your lecturers will prepare you for the two upcoming days in the Asmat region. Historical and cultural aspects will be explained and discussed. A talk about the endemic wildlife on New Guinea, and specifically West Papua, should cover not only birds of paradise, but mammals as well. Perhaps a drink at the Pool Bar will while your time away.
The Asmat region, an area of lowland swamp and rainforest, has long sheltered the Asmat people from outsiders, andyour visit is an expedition highlight. Zodiacs take you through this remote riverine, cruising along narrow waterways lined with the entwined branches of thick mangrove forests, home to dozens of species of parrots, lorikeets and other birds including the spectacular Bird of Paradise. As you make your way upstream, Asmat villagers — whooping and chanting in elaborate warrior gear and war paint — paddle vigorously in dozens of intricately carved canoes. They will escorted you to the village of Agats, the capital of the Asmat region, where enthusiastic welcomes await. A walk along elevated wooden boardwalks leads to the Catholic cathedral with its superb carvings, and the museum, with elaborate displays of ancestor poles, drums, body masks, shields, daggers, and skulls, reminding you that headhunting and cannibalism were practiced here until the early 1970’s. Visit Ewer, its 1,000 hospitable residents inviting you ceremoniously to a colorful active market, a men’s longhouse, and to view their homes and prolific gardens. Asmat culture is noted for its remarkable ritual objects and the Asmat have one of the most renowned and vibrant woodcarving traditions in the Pacific. The people believe that humanity began with Fumeripitsj the Creator, who carved humanlike figures and brought them to life by beating on a drum. The artistic themes are based on an intriguing interpretation of life and death, and many of the carvings resemble relatives who are recently deceased. Asmat woodcarvings are known for their powerful lines and coarse, expressive motifs, and are widely considered to be among the world’s finest.
Your next stops will be in the Raja Ampat, or nearby. During the morning you can attend a lecture preparing you for the exuberant underwater world the area has to offer, or you can take advantage to be out on deck sunbathing and sampling culinary specialties prepared by the Chef and Galley Team.
Pulau Gorong is to the south-east of Ceram. It is a pristine island with a saltwater lagoon and is seldom visited by tourists. Meeting the inhabitants of the island is sure to be a rewarding and welcoming experience while other opportunities for exploration will include an island hike, snorkeling, diving, or a glass bottom-boat tour.
The afternoon will have something for everyone. The scuba divers might have an adrenaline-filled adventure during their drift-dive. Guided walks will be available, including an enjoyable saunter for the beachcombers, informative forest hike and birding tours, a drift-snorkel from a Zodiac, a rewarding snorkel from the beach and informative glass-bottom boat tours. There are many highlights, the main one being the exceptionally beautiful beaches and coral reefs.
Today continue your journey through Raja Ampat making your way to Alyui Bay for your trip to the local pearl farm. Learn that the Pinctada maxima is the oyster of choice for the pearl farming. See the pearling operation and have an opportunity to purchase some of the beautiful pearl creations that might include bracelets, necklaces and earrings. During lunch Silver Discoverer will re-position to the picture perfect Pulau Wayag. A Zodiac ride into the lagoon will take you past spectacular scenery that is sure to leave an impression. A strenuous hike up the steep coral island will be rewarded with incredible views of the mushroom shaped islands surrounded by white sandy beaches and turquoise colored waters. Swimming and snorkeling can be done from the beach, while divers might take a different approach. Pulau Wayag has a wonderful intact coral reef accessible from the beach where snorkeling will offer underwater scenes of thousands of fish, colorful corals, sea stars and much more.
From Raja Ampat and Indonesia you will be heading to Palau, one of the few Micronesian countries. The historian will talk about the modern history of Micronesia and your anthropologist explains the importance of Palau for Yap’s stone money. Palau has many interesting archaeological sites and has played an important role during World War II. There are several aspects of Palau and Micronesia that will feature in lectures given today. In the evening, attend our Captain’s Farewell Cocktail Party and Dinner!
This morning you can see for yourself how easy or difficult it would be for us to survive on this small outpost, the westernmost Micronesian island in the Pacific. Swimming and snorkeling should be feasible, but after lunch continue on your way to Palau’s main islands. This evening you can enjoy the videographer’s presentation of the voyage on DVD.
After breakfast, disembark Silver Discoverer.
This itinerary is subject to change. ExpeditionTrips is not responsible for itinerary changes.
Together with the professional photographer, you can enjoy onboard lectures, workshops and receive informal tips to help you get the best out of your photography equipment and capture some of nature’s unexpected moments.
The program is complimentary; however, space is limited and thus booking early is recommended. Dives are dependent upon the conditions. Divers must have a current Advanced Open Water Dive License or equivalent from an accredited Certification Agency which will need to be provided before embarking the vessel. Certification must be active and logbooks must show evidence that each guest has been diving within 12 months prior to the voyage. Medical Dive Travel Insurance for evacuation, medical treatment and repatriation is required. Guests must bring their own BCD vests and regulators. Weight belts, tanks, masks and fins will be provided free of charge onboard Silver Discoverer.
Suite accommodations; onboard meals and entertainment; snorkeling gear; diving; butler service; gratuities aboard ship (except spa); complimentary beverages aboard ship (including select wines, champagnes, spirits, soda, water and coffee); 1 hour of internet access per guest/per day for passengers booked in Explorer and View Suites; unlimited internet access for passengers booked in Vista, Veranda, and Medallion Suites. Subject to change without notice.
Airfare; transfers and luggage handling; optional shore excursions; government fees and taxes; passport and visa 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.