Day 1 Madang | Embark
Arrive in Madang on an optional pre-cruise charter flight and enjoy a tour of Bil Bil village to admire the local pottery industry. There will also be time to visit the local markets before boarding Coral Geographer at 4:00pm for an 5:00pm departure. This evening, join the Captain’s welcome drinks and meet your crew and fellow guests as the sun sets.
Day 2-12 Melanesian Discovery
- 11 Breakfasts, 11 Lunches, 11 Dinners
em>These are expedition itineraries covering remote regions. The Captain and Expedition Team may make changes to the daily schedule when necessary to maximize the guest experience. Below are the highlight destinations of your voyage.
Cruise past the magnificent active Kadovar Volcano for spectacular views from the deck. We continue to cruise into Papua New Guinea’s largest river, the mighty Sepik. We head ashore to Bien village, home to some of Papua New Guinea’s most skilled woodcarvers whose works are found in curated collections globally.
Alim Islands, Manus Province
Seldom visited Manus Province is a jewel of Papua New Guinea. It is a birding highlight, home to many endemic species such as the superb pitta and red-footed booby. The snorkeling and diving is also spectacular – rarely explored waters provide a kaleidoscope of opportunities, from magnificent walls to encounters with sea turtles and tropical fish.
Tingwon Island, completely surrounded by a coral reef and home to unique birdlife flourishing in virgin rainforest, is a charming and rarely visited stop. Go ashore to meet the small population of this island and enjoy their company as they introduce you to their culture with traditional dances and local delicacies. The island’s surrounding reef provides a chance to snorkel and dive in the afternoon.
Lavongai might well be the best-kept secret of eastern Papua New Guinea. The raw paradise of this island is seen in the dense rainforest cloaking volcanic mountains, where rivers cascade into tumbling waterfalls. The intensely blue waters are crossed by outrigger canoes and the local villages are warm and welcoming. Get to know the local culture and enjoying snorkeling and nature walks.
Arrive into Rabaul, the waterside town on the edge of a magnificent harbor, overlooked by six cone-shaped volcanoes. Once a thriving base for military and naval activity, the town was smothered by ash in 1994, causing 80% of the buildings to collapse. Here, learn of the World War II history of the area, visit the Volcano Observatory and the Kokopo Museum.
Bougainville – Buka, Kieta, & Arawa
Spend two days in the rarely visited Autonomous Region of Bougainville. Cruise the Buka Passage and visit lagoons and islands near Arawa and Kieta.
Gizo & Njari Reef
This morning we enter the Solomon Islands at the town of Gizo. Wander through the open-air markets which showcase a bounty of tropical fruits and fresh fish, as well as crafts by the legendary wood and stone carvers of the region. You may choose to scuba dive over Japanese shipwrecks as an optional extra instead of exploring the town of Gizo.
In the afternoon, we cruise past Kennedy Island before enjoying water activities at Njari Reef. Njari Reef is a merge point for oceanic currents and is said to have one of the highest fish counts in the world.
Arnavon Islands & Dart Sound
Today, we visit the marine reserve of the Arnavon Islands, home to the largest rookery of endangered Hawksbill Turtles in the South Pacific Region and supporting some of the healthiest and most diverse coral reefs in the world. In 1995 the US-based Nature Conservancy helped three local communities come together to create the Arnavon Community Marine Conservation area – it was the first protected area to be established within the Solomons and covers over 40,000 acres of land and sea. Go ashore at Kerihikapa Island with the chance to see turtle hatchlings emerging from their nests.
Later, cruise up picturesque Dart Sound to the remote village of Kia, and be welcomed with traditional dance and singing. Many of the rangers that work in the Arnavons are from this area.
Marovo Lagoon has been described as one of the world’s natural wonders. One of the world’s largest double barrier enclosed lagoons, this isolated spot in the Western Province of the Solomon Islands has been proposed for World Heritage listing.
Marovo’s is world-famous for its intensive coral reef ecosystems, the waters teem with tropical fish and boast exceptional dive and snorkelling sites. You may sit down with the locals and learn about village life. Expert Marovo carvers are justifiably famous for the intricate pieces they create from king ebony with inlays of rosewood and mother-of-pearl.
Mangalonga & Tulagi
This morning, we visit Mangalonga Island to snorkel and dive on the reef. Mangalonga Reef has amazing fish life and it is common to see feather stars and colourful anthias. We may also enjoy a birdwatching walk on the island – some of the often-sighted birds include claret-breasted fruit doves.
This afternoon, we visit the old capital of the Solomon Islands, Tulagi. Tulagi was extensively damaged during WWII and has much war history. We go ashore at Vanita Jetty where we are welcomed with a traditional Solomon Islander warrior welcome followed by music and dance performances. We take a guided walking tour around Tulagi township and visit the cut through the hill, the cricket pitch, former Commissioners Residence and the Tulagi Market. We explore the harbour by Xplorer tender vessels visiting Tanambogho and Ghavutu. There may be an opportunity to dive or snorkel the waters around Tulagi which are well-known for magnificent wreck diving.