Day 2-15 West Pacific Passage
- 14 Breakfasts, 14 Lunches, 14 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.
Located in the eastern tip of Guadalcanal, this is an area of turquoise water and verdant tropical islands. It is also a geographical crossroad, separating Guadalcanal’s calm northern waters from its Tasi Mauri or ‘weather coast’. Most of the Marau people depend on their natural environment, practicing subsistent farming and fishing.
Five marine protected reserves have been established in Marau Sound. Here, we will hear the panpipes played and watch the women perform water music.
Star Harbour, San Cristobal
The locals of Star Harbour, a small village in the southeast of San Cristobal, welcome us ashore this morning. We enjoy a colorful cultural performance before exploring the village. Meet the children at the local school and learn about the harbor’s WWII history as a US base. Then, enjoy a scenic zodiac ride through surrounding mangrove-lined creeks, whilst the more energetic may wish to join a longer hike around the harbor to birdwatch and admire the view. Later in the afternoon, enjoy snorkeling and birdwatching at the nearby Frigate Islands.
Our last stop in the Solomon Islands, Nendo Island is an excellent location to view and purchase quality artifacts such as authentic hand-crafted tapa cloth paintings, shell necklaces and wood carvings. At Luowa Village, enjoy a cultural performance, and in particular, look out for head-dresses of red feather money and the nasal piercings of carved shell and mother of pearl. Later, enjoy an opportunity to snorkel from the beach.
The impressive island of Vanikoro rises to a towering peak, which dominates the landscape. Surrounding by a barrier reef, the island was the site of the double shipwreck of French explorer Jean-Francois de La Perouse in 1788. Both his ships, La Boussole and Astrolabe, struck the reef and stranded the explorer and his men on the island. Sadly, the men either died on the island or were never seen again after escaping in a smaller vessel.
The island is a beautiful stop – there is the opportunity for birdwatchers to search for endemic species such as the White-eye and the monarch flycatchers. The local villagers will welcome us and share their knowledge of the arts of traditional fire lighting, bow and arrow making, and breadfruit recipes, as well as the traditional mask dance of Vanikoro.
The volcanic island of Tikopia, existing for the most part independently of the outside world, is one of the outlying islands of the Solomon Islands. Its civilization has evolved almost without any external influences. The island is very small, and the people have a special relationship with the land, which is considered alive.
There is a crater lake at Tikopia’s center and a walk there may reveal beautiful rainforest and endemic bird species. Later, snorkel over the grottos of the surrounding coral reefs.
Spend two days exploring the archipelago of Tuvalu. A group of nine tiny islands, Tuvalu won independence from the United Kingdom in 1978. The low-lying group of islands, five of which are coral atolls, are considered to be at risk to rising sea levels. Life on the islands is simple and often difficult – with no freshwater rivers, residents must collect rainwater. Coconut palms cover the island and copra is the only export. The least-visited country in the world, Tuvalu is a quiet and peaceful paradise of palm-fringed beaches, strong local culture, and vibrant marine life. Here we will discover the local culture and explore the Funafuti Conservation Area, where some of the best reefs and gorgeous lagoon are located.
Wallis & Futuna
Wallis and Futuna, officially the Territory of the Wallis and Futuna Islands, is a French overseas collectivity made up of three volcanic islands and a number of tiny islets. Throughout history, the islands have served as a stopping point between Fiji and Samoa. During Tongan invasions of the 15th century, Wallis experienced fundamental changes in society, language, and culture, while Futuna traces its roots to Samoa. The islands have some significant archaeological sites.
Wallis and Futuna are authentically Polynesian – in fact, they have been able to maintain customs that have almost disappeared from other Polynesian islands due to outside influence. Local chiefdoms are recognized, and celebrations such as Christmas and even Bastille Day are included in the calendar. The islands’ traditional music, dances, and handicrafts hold deep roots in Polynesian identity.