Noumea and Casey IslandBoarding commences at 9:00am for a 10:00am departure. Meet your fellow travelers and enjoy lunch as you cruise towards your first stop, New Caledonia’s Casey Island. Travel ashore and relax on the spectacular beach, or venture into the shallows just meters from the beach for your first Melanesian snorkeling experience. Tonight, join the Captain and his crew for the Captain’s Welcome Aboard Cocktails.
Lifou Island TourLifou Island’s impressive beaches are amongst the best in the world, backed by sparkling lagoons and pine tree covered landscapes. Join the Expedition Leader on a walk across the island, stopping to take in the views of beautiful bays and old churches. Returning to the beach enjoy time to relax, Lifou offers sensational snorkeling with a panorama of sealife unsullied by man.
Vanuatu and Tanna IslandCrossing into Vanuatu approach Tanna Island and see your first signs of volcanic activity, hot springs bubbling beneath the surface. Today you are in for a real once-in-a-lifetime experience as you board Xplorer and travel ashore to land on Tanna Island’s black volcanic beach. After landing at Port Resolution be met by the villagers, who drive you, local style in the back of their trucks, up through the forest of the lower reaches of Mt Yasur’s active volcano. Continuing on foot, your Expedition Leader guides us to the rim of the caldera, where you can peer into the heart of the volcano and its lava pools, which regularly spew ash and rocks. Upon returning to the village spend time with the locals and learn about their interesting customs, including their worship of Prince Phillip, the Duke of Edinburgh, who they believe is a divine spirit.
Pentacost Islands RitualsWitness the famous land diving ceremony on Pentecost Island, the traditional forerunner to the modern day ‘bungy jump’ which local people believe will ensure a bountiful yam harvest the following year. Boys as young as four take part in the ceremony, moving higher up the tower as each year passes until they reach adulthood. After viewing this thrilling ritual we may have the opportunity to view sand drawings, a traditional form of art on the island.
Champagne Beach and RainforestThe jewel of Vanuatu, enjoy the splendor of magnificent Champagne Beach with a day full of fantastic swimming, snorkeling and glass bottom boat tours. The adventurous may wish to join your Dive Instructor for a dive over the corals. You may also wish to participate in a guided walk with local guides through the rainforest to the popular swimming spot ‘Blue Hole’.
Ureparapara Island & Kastom DancingImagine cruising into the cone of a volcano surrounded on three sides by 300 meter cliffs, Ureparapara is one of the most spectacular islands in the South Pacific. The only way to experience this island is by sea, and visits from cruise ships are rare. After traveling ashore to the village we will be entertained by the local people with dancing, before joining a guided walk to the top of the caldera for fantastic views across the island and great photography opportunities.
Solomon Islands and Nendo IslandWelcoming you to the Solomon Islands, Nendo Island is an excellent location to view and purchase quality handmade artifacts. Enjoy a cultural show prepared for your arrival at this very remote and untouched island and an opportunity to snorkel from the beach.
Santa AnaThe locals of Santa Ana, a small island southeast of San Cristobal, welcome you ashore with village warriors bearing swords and blowing on conch shell horns. Santa Ana is known for its bone fishhooks and imaginative fishing floats. Join the naturalist for a guided walk across the island, through shady forests where a myriad of colorful orchids grow.
Mangalonga Island and ResortThis morning anchor off picturesque Mangalonga Island and savor a full day of in-water activities. Join a snorkel, SCUBA diving or glass bottom boat tour before traveling ashore to Maravagi Resort where there is time to explore on a guided nature walk.
Arnavon Islands and Dart SoundThe Arnavon Islands are the only marine reserve in the Solomon Islands where, except for subsistence gathering, all marine life is protected and fishing is banned. The islands are home to endangered wildlife including the beautiful Hawksbill Turtle. Travel ashore to see how the conservation efforts are helping rejuvenate the island before enjoying snorkeling and glass bottom boat tours. This afternoon board Xplorer for a cruise up Dart Sound to the remote village of Kia.
Ghizo and Kennedy IslandDiscover tiny Kennedy Island, named in honor of John F. Kennedy who swam ashore with his crew after PT-109 was sunk by a Japanese destroyer during World War II. Explore the sandy beaches and snorkel or dive over the coral reef. In the afternoon visit the small provincial capital on Ghizo Island. Wander through the open air markets, showcasing crafts by the legendary Solomon Island woodcarvers.
Papua New Guinea and Laughlan IslandsLaughlan Islanders specialize in canoe building and in this very remote corner of eastern PNG find seagoing canoes under construction. The friendly villagers of Bodaluna welcome you as the Guest Lecturers and naturalists explain the islander’s subsistence gardening, fishing and participation in the Kula Ring of trading. Enjoy an afternoon snorkel or an adventurous dive on the outer reef, where you may see turtles, wrasses and spinner dolphins in the warm, clear waters.
Egum Atoll and Yanaba IslandPrepare for an unforgettable experience as you board the Xplorer with your Guest Lecturers and guides and travel ashore to Yanaba Island. There is ample time for snorkeling, diving and glass bottom boat tours over the stunning coral reef system.
AlotauArrive this morning in historic Alotau and farewell new-found friends before disembarking at approximately 9:00am.