South Pacific Melanesia Discoverer

  1. 2019
    Saturday, October 12, 2019 to Friday, October 25, 2019
    Tour Duration: 
    14 days
    Tour Price:
     $6,995 USD
    Tour Starts/Ends: 
    Madang, Papua New Guinea/ Honiara, Solomon Islands
Highlights

• Sail through the turquoise waters of the Solomon Islands
• Exceptional birding with many highlights including the Manus Friarbird, Mussau Monarch and the Paradise Drango
• Optional specialized birding programme with customised excursions
• Incredible marine diversity with opportunities to snorkel and/or kayak 

Overview

Uncover the hidden gems of Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands. From the culturally rich arterial of the Sepik River we sail north across the Bismarck Sea to the remote shores of Manus and Mussau Islands. Manus has the lowest density of people in all New Guinea with its people still living a very traditional lifestyle. Next delve into the history, culture and wildlife of New Ireland and New Britain.

We cross the Buka Channel and at Nissan Island can view reminders of the brief but intensive World War II activities during which the islands were recaptured by Kiwi and British forces from the Japanese occupiers. Then enter a long isolated world as we are amongst the first travellers to return to Bougainville in over two decades. Sailing through the turquoise waters of the Solomon Islands, new vistas and unexpected encounters await.

For birders this itinerary offers once in a lifetime species on remote islands where few have been before. The birding potential is exceptional with many highlights including the Manus Friarbird, Mussau Monarch and the Paradise Drango. Endemic to the Solomon Islands we will be on the lookout for the Roviana Rail and Solomon Sea Eagle. Allowing birders to maximise the opportunities available to them there will be an optional specialised birding programme with customised excursions.

These waters also offer some of the greatest marine diversity in the world and everybody will have the opportunity to snorkel and appreciate the beauty beneath the waves. Whether you are snorkelling or kayaking this ocean aquarium is waiting to be discovered. Kayaking provides the perfect way to explore the islands of Melanesia, discover the marine life that swims below and meet the locals. The kayaks are a source of endless fascination for the local children who will often come out to join us in their dugout canoes. Travel at your own pace, with plenty of opportunities for landings, village visits and snorkelling, all while accompanied by our experienced kayaking guide.

 

Itinerary Hide Full Itinerary

Day 1: Madang, Papua New Guinea
Arrive in the port town of Madang and transfer to the Madang Resort for the first night. This evening meet with your fellow travellers and the expedition team over dinner at the resort.

Day 2: Madang
Madang is a thriving community renowned for its traditional artists, world class diving opportunities and the richness of its surrounding forests. This morning visit the Lababia Wildlife Management Area with its tall forest and rich diversity of wildlife, before returning to Madang to explore the markets with your Guides. Optional excursions this morning for bird enthusiasts. This afternoon board the Spirit of Enderby, settle into your cabin and join the captain and your expedition team on the bridge as we set sail.
Days 3: Sepik River
Sure to be one of the highlights of our expedition. The Sepik River is the longest river in Papua New Guinea, it is a rich arterial that has fostered great traditional artists. We plan to explore the river by Zodiac following tributaries and channels in search of local wildlife. We also meet with the villagers and marvel at their artistry.
Day 4 to 5: Manus Province
Seldom visited and little known, Manus Island is considered a jewel in the crown of Papua New Guinea. Biologically isolated, the islands are home to a high proportion of endemic species including the Superb Pitta which is likely to be one of the birding highlights of the expedition. The waters around Manus offer some of the most spectacular and rich reefs in the region, seldom explored waters promising a myriad of opportunities.
Day 6: Mussa Island
Mussa Island represents one of the western-most extensions of the Lapita culture. Spend time with the local people to learn about their special culture and life on this remote outpost in the Pacific.
Day 7: Kavieng, New Ireland
Historic Kavieng has significant evidence from the large Japanese occupation. Birders will leave early for the highlands while the rest of the group will spend the morning exploring the town of Kavieng and its history. Later snorkel in the clear waters of the local reefs.
Day 8: Rabaul, New Britain
Six beautifully cone-shaped volcanoes ring Rabaul’s dramatic flooded- caldera harbour. Visit the bubbling hot springs and take in magnificent views of the harbour and volcanoes from Observatory Ridge.
Day 9: Nissan Island
A tropical atoll bathed in rich tropical currents Nissan Island’s waters abound in marine life. Seldom has anybody had the opportunity to discover this world which promises abundant pelagic fish life and pristine coral reefs. Ashore there are still reminders of the brief but intensive World War II activities on this island, meet with the friendly locals and search the dense woods for some of the elusive birds that occur here.
Day 10: Bougainville Island
We plan to be amongst the first expeditioners to re-discover the treasures of Bougainville, long isolated and in a strange way protected by the conflict which swirled around its shores. A pristine island paradise it is home to some of the greatest biodiversity in the region both above and below the waters. We plan to explore the area around Arawa which offers great opportunities to access the island’s interior and reefs.
Day 11: Choiseul Island
Today we arrive in the Solomon Islands on the remote northern coast of Choiseul Island. This was once the home of the Choiseul Crested Pigeon and while it no longer walks the forest floor many other species still enliven the forest. We Zodiac cruise deep into the mangrove forest towards the Sui River Falls searching for Dugong and crocodiles.
Day 12: New Georgia Islands
The volcanic New Georgia Islands are found in the Western Province of the Solomon Islands. Birding enthusiasts will relish landing on Kolombangara Island, where we hope to see the rare Roviana Rail along with other endemic bird species.
Day 13: Santa Isabel Island
The Arnavon Islands are north-west of Santa Isabel, an area rich in marine biodiversity and one of the most important rookeries in the western Pacific for the endangered Hawksbill Turtle. The islands also support a high diversity of terrestrial fauna, with 41 species of birds, six species of bats, and at least seven species of terrestrial reptiles. Sensational snorkelling can be experienced around the islands.
Day 14: Honiara, Solomon Islands
Honiara was founded as a military base during World War II and was witness to the Naval Battle of Guadalcanal. Tour Honiara, visiting historical sites including Henderson Airfield, war memorials and the open-air war museum while the birders head to the rain-forested slopes of Mount Austen in search of some of the Solomon Islands’ most spectacular birds including the Solomon Sea Eagle.

For those disembarking a transfer to your hotel or the airport will conclude your voyage.

On this voyage we offer a unique kayaking experience. There is no better way to fit in with the locals, often paddling in their own dugouts, and to experience the stunning coral reefs. These self propelled craft allow you to enjoy exploratory excursions through a tropical paradise, interact with the locals and discover at a different pace, sometimes beyond the reach of our Zodiacs.

 

Map
Featured Wildlife
Vessel
Ship Info

The Spirit of Enderby

The Spirit of Enderby is a fully ice-strengthened expedition vessel, built in 1984 for polar and oceanographic research and is perfect for Expedition Travel.

She carries just 50 passengers and was refurbished in November 2009 to provide comfortable accommodation in twin share cabins approximately half of which have private facilities. All cabins have outside windows or portholes and ample storage space.

On board there is a combined bar/library lounge area and a dedicated lecture room. The cuisine is excellent and is prepared by top NZ and Australian chefs.

The ship is crewed by a very enthusiastic and most experienced Russian Captain and crew.

The name Spirit of Enderby honours the work and the vision of the Enderby Brothers of London. The Enderby Captains were at the forefront of Antarctic exploration for almost 40 years in the early 1800’s. It also celebrates Enderby Island, arguably the greatest Subantarctic Island in the world.

Technical description:

Classification: Russian register KM ice class
Year built: 1984
Accommodation: 50 berths expedition
Shipyard: Finland
Main engines: power 2x1560 bhp (2x 1147 Kw)
Register: Russia
Maximum speed: 12 knots (2 engines),
Cruising speed: 10 knots(one engine)
Bunker capacity: 320 tons

 

Deck Plan

Cabin details:

Heritage Suite: Large lounge area, separate bedroom with double bed, single bed in the lounge, writing desk, wardrobe, drawers, and fridge. There is a private bathroom with shower, toilet and washbasin. Large forward and side facing windows with great views.

Mini Suites: Separate bedroom with a double bed and a single bed or sofa in the lounge, writing desk, wardrobe and drawers. Private bathroom with shower, toilet and washbasin. Mini Suites have windows.

Superior Plus cabins: Two lower berths, writing desk, wardrobe, and drawers. Private bathroom with shower, toilet and washbasin. These cabins have windows.

Superior cabins: One bunk (one upper and one lower berth), writing desk, wardrobe, and drawers. Private bathroom with shower, toilet and washbasin. These cabins have windows.

Main deck cabins: Two lower berths, writing desk, wardrobe, and drawers. Private washbasin. Shared shower and toilet facilities nearby with other Main Deck cabins. These cabins have a porthole.

Main deck triple: One bunk (one upper and one lower) and one additional lower berth, writing desk, wardrobe, and drawers. Private washbasin. Shared shower and toilet facilities nearby with other Main Deck cabins. These cabins have a porthole.

 

Pricing

Main Deck Triple $6,995 USD
Main Deck $7,995 USD
Superior $8,995 USD
Superior Plus $9,700 USD
Mini Suite $10,700 USD 
Heritage Suite $11,500 USD

Additional charges:
Discovery Fund (payable on board) $600.00 USD 

This trip includes:

All meals and 24 hour tea and coffee station aboard the ship. Use of snorkel equipment where available. All shore excursions and activities throughout the voyage by Zodiac excluding optional specialised birding and kayaking programmes. Programme of lectures by noted naturalists. All onshore tips, service taxes and port charges. Comprehensive pre-departure material. Airport transfers at the beginning and end of your voyage.

This trip does not include:

Extensions, passport, visa, immigration fees, baggage/accident/travel protection plan, items of a personal nature such as bar, email, and laundry. Gratuities to ship's crew at your discretion. Airfares are an additional cost.

Kayaking available at $995 per person

Birding Supplement available at $500 per person