Summary : Magnetic, enigmatic, fantastic. It is one of the most magical and isolated islands in the world. A tiny speck of land in the South Pacific, the monolithic statues of Easter Island remain a mystery. With a visit to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Henderson Island, Pitcairn Group and the added bonus of Rapa Iti, this journey is a must for lovers of legend and lore.
Activities : Birding, Culture, Hiking, Snorkeling, Triple/Quad Cabins
$7,950 to $22,350
Papeete will be your gateway to the tropical paradise of French Polynesia, where islands fringed with gorgeous beaches and turquoise ocean await to soothe the soul. This spirited city is the capital of French Polynesia, and serves as a superb base for onward exploration of Tahiti – an island of breathtaking landscapes and oceanic vistas.
Embark the vessel and settle in to life on board.
Part of the Austral Islands in French Polynesia, Raivavae has been described as a small and laid-back version of Bora Bora, with fewer tourists. This is the typical South Sea paradise one expects: crystal-clear waters that range in color from aquamarine to dark blue, white sandy beaches, pandanus and coconut palm trees, with reef fish for snorkelers to enjoy and tropicbirds, reef herons, noddies and the occasional shorebird for birders. The region is also known for local musicians and magnificent sunsets.
The island of Rapa (or Rapa Iti) is the southernmost inhabited island of French Polynesia. It has a protected central bay and is surrounded by a ring of mountains; the island appears to be a sinking volcano with the bay as the caldera. There are two villages located on the island: the main village of Ahurei and the smaller village of ‘Area. Within Ahurei there are 28 ridgetop fortresses, the best example of which is the fortress of Morunga Uta. Excavated in 1956 by William Mulloy from Wyoming and local helpers, this fort -as all the others too- would indicate local warfare by the 16th to 17th century.
Southeast of Rapa are the four uninhabited rocks that make up the Bass Group, known as Marotiri to the Polynesians. According to stories from Rapa, these rocks were used on occasions to exile unwanted Rapans. The rocks are an important breeding site for seabirds and fish are abundant. Pending permission by the French Polynesian, Zodiac cruise around the four rocks and look for the seabird colonies on French Polynesia’s most remote possession.
Named after whaling ship Eno, Oeno Island is a small coral atoll and the westernmost of the Pitcairn Islands. This beautiful island is low-lying and rarely visited, with the exception of nearby Pitcairners arriving on their annual holidays. The little island is surrounded by white sandy beaches inside a stunning blue lagoon studded with vegetation. A sand bar, which is constantly undergoing change, is currently unattached to the island. Oeno has been designated as an Important Bird Area by Birdlife International, as it is home to a number of seabirds such as Murphy's Petrels (with one of the largest colonies of this bird in the world), Sooty Terns and Brown Noddies.
With a total of 56 residents on the island, Adamstown is the capital of the Pitcairn Islands and the only populated settlement, as all of the other Pitcairn Islands are uninhabited (although were populated by Polynesians in the 11th through 15th centuries). Halfway between Peru and New Zealand, Pitcairn was the perfect hiding spot for the famed HMS Bounty mutineers and their Tahitian wives. Not only had the island been misplaced on early maps of the region, but it can also be very difficult to come ashore as large breakers tend to build up just in front of the small harbor of Bounty Bay.
On this remote and uninhabited piece of land – a raised coral island virtually untouched by man – you will get a true sense of how the landscape has appeared for endless years, while gaining an understanding of how natural selection has resulted in Henderson’s primary attraction: four endemic land birds. To protect the rare, natural state of Henderson Island, UNESCO designated it as a World Heritage Site in 1988.
Discovered in 1606 by a Portuguese explorer, Ducie is a small isolated atoll and is the easternmost of the Pitcairn Islands. The island’s most prominent bit of history is the 1881 wreckage of the mail ship Acadia, which ran aground on the island when the lookout mistook the island for a cloud due to its white beaches. Ducie is a mere speck in the surrounding expanse of ocean, uninhabited except for the estimated 500,000 nesting seabirds that reside among the two plant species (Beach Heliotrope and at least one specimen of Pemphis) that grow over seventy percent of the island. Bird species that visitors may be able to see include Murphy's Petrels, White Terns, Great Frigate birds and Masked Boobies.
Discovered (by the Western world) on Easter Sunday, 1722, Easter Island is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the most isolated places on the face of the Earth, some 2,300 miles from the Chilean mainland. Although more Polynesian than South American in character, the 64-square mile island was annexed by Chile in 1888, and is now famous as the world’s largest ‘open air museum’ on account of the Moai, or human-like stone statues, that can be found on the island. The Moai remain very much a mystery, which archaeologists are still trying to unlock by interpreting an ancient language of the Rapa Nui, which is the key to understanding this culture, and is written on the so called ‘rongo rongo tablets’.
Read this itinerary as a guide only; the exact route and program varies according to weather conditions - and the wildlife you encounter. Flexibility is the key to the success of this expedition.
Ship accommodation; Wi-Fi aboard ship; all onboard meals and entertainment; butler service; complimentary beverages (select wines, champagne, spirits, bottled water, specialty coffees, juices and soft drinks); onboard gratuities (except spa and salon); Silver, Medallion, Grand and Owner's Suite guests receive laundry service and dinner at Officer's table. Subject to change without notice.
Airfare; government fees and taxes; transfers and luggage handling; passport and visa expenses; travel insurance; items of a personal nature; Wifi; fuel surcharge may apply.
Photo Credit: © Creative Services at Silversea Cruises