Secrets of Melanesia:

Solomon Islands & Vanuatu

Secrets of Melanesia: Solomon Islands & Vanuatu

DAYS 12 / SHIP Spirit of Enderby

DEPARTURES 24 OCT 2019 / 22 OCT 2020

PLACES VISITED Solomon Islands / Vanuatu

PRICES FROM $5,495 USD (More Rates)

Sail into a world that few have ever experienced; idyllic islands and isolated villages where unique time-honoured traditions and elaborately costumed dancers welcome us into their world. Sail from Honiara, the capital of the Solomon Islands, to discover the beauty of the outer Solomon Islands. Relax as our ship glides into secluded bays, and takes us to remote oceanic islands where the art of traditional navigation lives today. On Santa Isabel the rhythms of life continue little changed, with daily life centered on the village and family. Malaita is culturally rich, the traditional currency, Malaitan shell-money, is still made on the island and is used as a dowry, and worn as a status symbol.

Vanuatu has produced a kaleidoscope of cultures and more than 100 indigenous languages. With over 80 habitable islands, islanders have closely guarded their own cultures and languages. Our expedition embraces some of these cultures and languages and offers a window into the happiest country in the world.

Our journey offers some of the greatest underwater experiences in the world, with an abundance of marine life and coral gardens that draws you in to explore a magical underwater world. During frequent snorkel excursions throughout the expedition everybody will have the opportunity to appreciate the beauty beneath the waves.

For birders this itinerary offers once in a lifetime species on remote islands where few have been before, endemic birdlife such as the Solomon Sea Eagle or the Vanikoro White-eye may be seen. The birding potential is exceptional and to allow birders to maximise the opportunities on the expedition there will be an optional specialised birding programme with customised excursions.

A picture postcard paradise awaits us as we uncover the Secrets of Melanesia.

 

Sail into a world that few have ever experienced; idyllic islands and isolated villages where unique time-honoured traditions and elaborately costumed dancers welcome us into their world. Sail from Honiara, the capital of the Solomon Islands, to discover the beauty of the outer Solomon Islands. Relax as our ship glides into secluded bays, and takes us to remote oceanic islands where the art of traditional navigation lives today. On Santa Isabel the rhythms of life continue little changed, with daily life centered on the village and family. Malaita is culturally rich, the traditional currency, Malaitan shell-money, is still made on the island and is used as a dowry, and worn as a status symbol.

Vanuatu has produced a kaleidoscope of cultures and more than 100 indigenous languages. With over 80 habitable islands, islanders have closely guarded their own cultures and languages. Our expedition embraces some of these cultures and languages and offers a window into the happiest country in the world.

Our journey offers some of the greatest underwater experiences in the world, with an abundance of marine life and coral gardens that draws you in to explore a magical underwater world. During frequent snorkel excursions throughout the expedition everybody will have the opportunity to appreciate the beauty beneath the waves.

For birders this itinerary offers once in a lifetime species on remote islands where few have been before, endemic birdlife such as the Solomon Sea Eagle or the Vanikoro White-eye may be seen. The birding potential is exceptional and to allow birders to maximise the opportunities on the expedition there will be an optional specialised birding programme with customised excursions.

A picture postcard paradise awaits us as we uncover the Secrets of Melanesia.

 

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2019 ITINERARY
Secrets of Melanesia: Solomon Islands & Vanuatu
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Day 1: Honiara, Solomon Islands
Arrive in the port town of Honiara and transfer to the Solomon Kitano Mendana Hotel for the first night. This evening meet with your fellow travellers over dinner at the resort.

Day 2: Honiara, Solomon Islands
This morning enjoy a tour of Honiara, visiting historical sites including the iconic Japanese and American war memorials. Birdwatchers will head to Mt Austen in search of some of the Solomon Islands’ most spectacular birds including the Solomon Sea Eagle. Board the Spirit of Enderby this afternoon.

Day 3: San Jorge Island and Santa Isabel
One of the largest in the Solomon Islands, most of Isabel remains unexplored and undiscovered. We explore the remote southern shores around Thousand Ships Harbour. Beautiful uninhabited islands dot the waters and verdant forest covers slopes which surround the harbour as we are treated to a warm welcome and have the opportunity to explore the forest and coral reefs.

Day 4: Malaita
Mountainous Malaita has pristine rivers and unexploited tropical forests, we enter the seldom visited Kwai Harbour, here the local people choose to live on small artificial islands off the coastline, we are treated to a rapturous welcome on tiny Ngongosila Island where the houses stand shoulder to shoulder. In this one small area several tribal groups overlap and these differences are readily apparent in dance and language. This afternoon the beautiful uninhabited Leli Island is the ideal snorkel site.

Day 5: Makira
Makira is the most easterly of the main islands in the Solomon’s archipelago. This morning we anchor in the calm waters of Star Harbour. Join the naturalists for a Zodiac exploration of the abundant mangrove forests that line the shores and take a short walk to Makira’s south coast where the villagers live much as they have for millennia. We spend time with the locals, who share with us their traditional song and dance. If we are lucky the local boys might be surfing on their hand carved palm wood boards.

Day 6: Nendö – Temotu Province
Nendö is the largest of the Santa Cruz Islands. The Spanish navigator Álvaro de Mendaña de Neira unsuccessfully tried to establish a colony there in 1595. This is the home of red feather money, sourced from the Scarlet Honeyeater. Venturing inland we visit a village where the ancient traditions are still very much alive. Watch the manufacture of red feather money and join the locals in dances which reverberate through the ages.

Day 7: Duff Islands
The Duff Islands are a cluster of 11 small islands on the edge of the vast Pacific Ocean. We navigate the Zodiacs through the shallow passages in the reef to visit the only inhabited island, Taumako. Here we are welcomed by the Polynesian speaking local people, who live on hand crafted artificial islands of coral stone within the lagoon. These islands are exceptionally remote and the people largely cut off from the outside world; learn about their continued use of traditional sailing canoes.

Day 8: Vanikoro
Today we explore the archipelago of Vanikoro, with its five islands encapsulated by a dramatic barrier reef which offers superb snorkelling. French explorer Jean-François de La Pérouse was wrecked here after both his vessels, La Boussole and Astrolabe, struck the reef in 1788. On the shore we visit a monument to Le Perouse, erected by fellow explorer Dumont Durville in 1827. Join the naturalists on a forest walk in search of the endemic White-eye and Monarch or marvel at the delicate Vanikoro Orchid. We also have a good chance to see the recently rediscovered Vanikoro Flying Fox.

Day 9: Vanua Lava
This morning we arrive in Vanuatu at the northern outpost of Vanua Lava, the largest island in the Banks Islands which is crowned by the volcanically active Mt Séré’ama. Visit the administrative centre of Sola or for a more active option, climb through the waterfalls behind the town for some excellent views over the bay. This afternoon we explore the nearby offshore islands for snorkelling and beach combing. The surrounding waters are home to the recently discovered Vanuatu Petrel.

Day 10: Espiritu Santo
Enjoy a full day on Vanuatu’s largest Island, Santo; location of James Michener’s Tales of the South Pacific. Early morning sees the birders ashore in search of many of Vanuatu’s endemic birds. Take the opportunity to swim in the beautiful waters of Champagne Beach. This afternoon we use the Zodiacs to visit the iconic blue holes of Santo. For those with an interest in the history of this island there is a visit to Lugainville and Million Dollar Point.

Day 11: Ambryn
The Spirit of Enderby will visit Ambryn, renowned as the island of volcanoes and magic throughout Vanuatu. We plan to head ashore at Ranon on the northern coast where the traditional Rom dance is still practised and custom carving is alive and well. A short walk through the forest brings us to the ‘arena’ where masked dancers emerge from the forest. The forests of Ambryn offer some excellent walks to go in search of the local birds and plants, accompanied by our naturalists. This afternoon enjoy a final snorkel excursion.

Day 12: Port Vila, Vanuatu
Arrive into Port Vila early morning and disembark. Upon disembarking a transfer to your central hotel or the airport will conclude your voyage. Enquire for a full itinerary.

Our ship: Spirit of Enderby

The Spirit of Enderby (Professor Khromov) 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 May 2019 to provide comfortable accommodation in twin share cabins approximately half of which have private facilities. All cabins have outside windows o...

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Pricing

Secrets of Melanesia - 24 Oct 2019 - Spirit of Enderby

Cabin Category Price USD Description Availablity
Main Deck Triple $5,495 Has one bunk (one upper and one lower) and one lower berth, wardrobe, drawers, a desk and wash basin. The nearby showers and toilets are shared with other Main Deck cabins. Limited
Main Deck $6,495 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. Limited
Superior $7,495 One bunk (one upper and one lower berth), writing desk, wardrobe, and drawers. Private bathroom with shower, toilet and washbasin. These cabins have windows. Waitlisted
Superior Plus $8,100 Two lower berths, writing desk, wardrobe, and drawers. Private bathroom with shower, toilet and washbasin. These cabins have windows. Available
Mini Suite $8,750 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. Waitlisted
Heritage Suite $9,495 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. Available
Additional fees

Discovery Fund (Payable on board): $600.00pp

Includes:

Pre/Post cruise transfers, one night hotel accommodation in a twin share room (incl. dinner/breakfast), all on board ship accommodation with meals and all shore excursions and activities excluding optional specialised birding programme. Programme of lectures by noted naturalists.

Excludes:

All items of a personal nature, laundry, drinks, gratuities. International/domestic flights, visas and travel insurance.

Birding Supplement US$450pp

Secrets of Melanesia - 22 Oct 2020 - Spirit of Enderby

Cabin Category Price USD Description Availablity
Main Deck Triple $5,495 Has one bunk (one upper and one lower) and one lower berth, wardrobe, drawers, a desk and wash basin. The nearby showers and toilets are shared with other Main Deck cabins. Available
Main Deck $6,495 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. Available
Superior $7,495 One bunk (one upper and one lower berth), writing desk, wardrobe, and drawers. Private bathroom with shower, toilet and washbasin. These cabins have windows. Available
Superior Plus $8,100 Two lower berths, writing desk, wardrobe, and drawers. Private bathroom with shower, toilet and washbasin. These cabins have windows. Available
Mini Suite $8,750 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. Waitlisted
Heritage Suite $9,495 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. Available
Additional fees

Discovery Fund (Payable on board): $600.00pp

Includes:

Pre/Post cruise transfers, one night hotel accommodation in a twin share room (incl. dinner/breakfast), all on board ship accommodation with meals and all shore excursions and activities excluding optional specialised birding programme. Programme of lectures by noted naturalists.

Excludes:

All items of a personal nature, laundry, drinks, gratuities. International/domestic flights, visas and travel insurance.

Birding Supplement US$450pp

Trip Reports

Looking for a taste of what you can expect on our expeditions or want to relive your voyage? Our Trip Reports offer a detailed, day-by-day account of all of our previous expeditions tracking the voyage route and highlighting the numerous wildlife and cultural encounters experienced along the way.

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What out travelers are saying:

It is always well worth to see and feel different parts of our blue earth, to meet different people and see another landscape and animals. A worthwhile trip, a lot of people will enjoy this, just like I did. READ MORE
ATIE
I’d go anywhere with you guys and know it would be fascinating, adventurous and that I’d be well taken care of. READ MORE
OLIVIA
It was a privilege to have experienced such a special place. READ MORE
KAYE
07 Nov 2018
The recent 'Secrets of Melanesia' #1858 expedition aboard 'Spirit of Enderby' has concluded. The Species List for this voyage is now available thro...READ MORE
16 Nov 2017
The recent 'Secrets of Melanesia' #1759 expedition aboard 'Spirit of Enderby' has concluded. The Species List for this voyage is now available thro...READ MORE
19 Nov 2016
The recent 'South Pacific: Secrets of Melanesia' #1658 aboard 'Spirit of Enderby' has concluded. The Species List for this voyage is now available ...READ MORE
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