The Pacific Ocean is the largest body of water on the planet. It stretches from Asia in the west to the Americas in the east and from Antarctica to the Arctic. The Western Pacific contains islands as geologically and biologically diverse as any in the world. Some are remnants of 220 million-year-old Gondwana, while others have recently risen up from the depths as a result of volcanic activity. Others, the coral atolls, were built by living organisms.
These islands’ first inhabitants are the Polynesians, Micronesians and Melanesians – many of them still living much as their seafaring ancestors did. People have also flocked there from all around the globe: French, Australian, American and Japanese have come to call these islands home through conquest, occupation or simply by choice. The islands have seen brutal fighting – many were strategic strongholds during the Second World War – but more recently they have seen little but peace.
Because many of the islands of the Western Pacific are geographically isolated and due to their proximity to different landmasses, they are as different from one another as it is possible to be. One feature that all the islands share is that they are home to many indigenous species and a huge variety of seabirds – among them some of the rarest in the world. All of the Western Pacific islands are relatively easy to visit individually, but it is a rare opportunity to be able to cruise through this western sector, stopping at the more remote islands and appreciating the differences in landscape, culture, history and nature.
Our 'Western Pacific Odyssey' is a journey from New Zealand to Papua New Guinea, transiting thousands of kilometres of ocean and visiting numerous island groups. It is an unprecedented cruise, one that few people have ever made. It provides a unique opportunity to see and photograph a large variety of birds and cetaceans, some of which are barely known to science.
For shorter voyages exploring Melanesia click on the Melanesia Voyages tab above.