Honiara, Solomon IslandsArrive 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 and the expedition team over dinner at the resort.
Honiara, Solomon IslandsHoniara was founded by the British 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. Alternatively 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. After familiarizing yourself with your cabin and the ship join the captain and expedition team on the bridge.
San Jorge Island and Santa IsabelOne of the largest and highest islands in the Solomon Islands, most of Isabel remains unexplored and undiscovered. Head for the remote southern shores and Thousand Ships Harbor which is nestled between San Jorge Island and the high peaks of southern Santa Isabel. The multitude of inlets, channels and bays provide numerous opportunities for divers to experience the thrill of a ‘first’ dive.
MalaitaMountainous Malaita is home to one-third of the Solomon’s total population, with pristine rivers and unexploited tropical forests. Anchoring in one of the harbors on the western side of the island, spend the day ashore, including a visit to Langa Langa Lagoon, famous for its artificial islands. An excursion into the hills behind Auki provides good chances of sighting birds endemic to Malaita.
Makira and Santa Ana (San Cristobal)Makira is the most easterly of the main islands in the Solomons archipelago. Nearby to the east lies Santa Ana, a small raised coral atoll. Sea caves on the island are believed to be the site of first habitation in the Solomons, dating back to 1280 BC. Spend time with the locals, who share with you their traditional song and dance. Join your naturalists for a walk across the island, looking out for colorful orchids and the elusive Melanesian Megapode.
Nendo - Temotu ProvinceNendö is the largest of the Santa Cruz Islands, which lie to the south-east of the Solomon Islands. The Spanish navigator Álvaro de Mendaña de Neira unsuccessfully tried to establish a colony there in 1595. Biologically these islands share more in common with Vanuatu. This is the home of red feather money, sourced from the Scarlet Honeyeater. Today the islanders will perform the dances of their ancestors with traditional red feather sticks.
Duff IslandsThe Duff Islands are a cluster of 11 small islands. On the tiny island of Taumako in the Solomon Islands' eastern province of Temotu live some 500 Polynesians who may be the only people in the Pacific still capable of building and sailing traditional voyaging canoes in completely traditional ways. Watch out for locals hand-crafting their vessels on the shore with adzes.
VanikoloToday explore the archipelago of Vanikolo, with its five islands encapsulated by a dramatic barrier reef which offers superb diving and snorkelling. French explorer Jean-François de La Pérouse was stranded here after both his vessels, La Boussole and Astrolabe, struck this reef in 1788. On the shore visit a monument to Le Perouse, erected by fellow explorer Dumont Durville in 1827. Join the naturalists on a forest wander in search of two endemic bird species.
Vanua Lava, VanuatuThis morning 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. Vanua Lava with its nearby Motu Lava and Reef Islands offers diverse landscapes, rich culture and a bountiful underwater world. The surrounding waters are home to the recently discovered Vanuatu Petrel which you will be looking for upon your departure.
Espiritu SantoEnjoy a full day ashore on Vanuatu’s largest Island, Santo; location of James Michener's Tales of the South Pacific. Early morning offers a visit to Vatthe Conservation Area for the birders in search of many of Vanuatu’s endemic birds or diver can explore the wreck of SS President Coolidge. Other opportunities include swimming, snorkeling or a visit to Luganville Township.
MalakulaVanuatu’s second largest island,visited by Captain Cook in 1774, Malakula and its coastal islands became known as The Cannibal Islands due to the fierce reputation of the Big Namba and Small Namba tribes. Explore the southern shoreline, home of the Small Nambas tribal group and the least developed and most traditional part of Malakula. The nearby low-lying Maskelyne Islands offer first-class diving and snorkeling opportunities. Be transported back in time as you witness the famed Masked Dances of Malakula.
Port Vila, VanuatuArrive into Port Vila early morning and disembark. Upon disembarking a transfer to your central hotel or the airport will conclude your voyage.