Secrets of Melanesia Cruise

Sail into a world that few have ever experienced; idyllic islands and isolated villages where unique time-honored 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 around 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 that were isolated from each other by sea or impassable mountains, 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. Your journey offers some of the greatest diving in the world and while everybody will have the opportunity to snorkel and appreciate the beauty beneath the waves, also offer an optional scuba-diving program is available for those wishing to maximize their underwater experiences. This voyage also offers 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 short excursions up small rivers or creeks into tropical jungle, rainforest or mangroves, sometimes beyond the reach of your Zodiacs.

Day 1

    Honiara, Solomon Islands

    Honiara 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.

    Day 2

      San Jorge Island and Santa Isabel

      One 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.

      Day 3

        Malaita

        Mountainous 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.

        Day 4

          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.

          Day 5

            Nendo - Temotu Province

            Nendö 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.

            Day 6

              Duff Islands

              The 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.

              Day 7

                Vanikolo

                Today 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.

                Day 8

                  Vanua Lava, Vanuatu

                  This 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.

                  Day 9

                    Espiritu Santo

                    Enjoy 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.

                    Day 10

                      Malakula

                      Vanuatu’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.

                      Day 11

                        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.
                         Main Deck TripleMain deckSuperiorSuperior PlusMini SuiteHeritage Suite
                        2014-Oct-21$5,995$6,995$7,995$8,600$9,250$9,995
                        Discovery Fund: $500 per person
                        Places
                        South Pacific, Honiara, Santa Ana Island, Luganville, Espiritu Santo, Port Vila, Efate, Nendo Island, Malekula, Santa Isabel Island, San Jorge Island, Malaita, Makira, Duff Islands, Vanikolo, Vanua Lava
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                        What's Your Adventure?
                        - Travel Insurance is mandatory for all passengers aboard the Spirit of Enderby.
                        - Single clients are matched with a sharer of the same sex in a twin-share cabin. Payment of a single supplement guarantees a single cabin. The single supplement is 1.8 times the price of the voyage with the exception of the suites which are double the single rate.
                        - Included in the cruise fare is a pre-departure hotel night, group dinner as well as breakfast the next day prior to embarkation.
                        Additional charges:
                        Discovery Fund $500.00 USD pp

                        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 specialized birding, diving and kayaking programs. Program 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.

                        Deposit & Payment

                        Initial deposit is 30%, and most travelers will call our office and pay the deposit with a credit card. We accept Visa, Mastercard, AmEx, and Discover. Alternatively, you can send a check to our Missoula, Montana, office or register online at: https://www.adventure-life.com/forms/register

                        Final payment is due 100 days prior to departure.

                        Final payment by bank transfer, check or Visa, Mastercard, Discover, or Amex. Credit Card payments subject to 3% convenience fee and maximum $15,000 charge.

                        Booking last minute? No problem! Please contact one of our trip planners, and we can get you on your way if booking less than 100 days prior to departure.

                        Click here to see a copy of our Terms and Conditions.

                        Cancellation Policy

                        Days Prior to departureFee
                        180 Days or more$950 per person
                        179-91 daysDeposit
                        90 days or less100% trip cost