Day 3-15 Exploring the Archipelago
- 13 Breakfasts, 13 Lunches
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.
Manu’a Islands, American Samoa
The Manu’a Islands of American Samoa are volcanic remnants rising out the sea. The beautiful islands of Ofu and Olosega are connected by a bridge, and the views of the two islands, standing alone in the Pacific, are breathtaking.
A small population of some 1,500 people calls the three islands home. This is an expedition stop, and subject to nature we will snorkel and swim, relax on the smooth expanse of Ofu Beach stargaze, and discover the National Park of Samoa with hikes and nature walks. We may also have the opportunity to enjoy traditional Samoan cuisine cooked in an umu, earth oven.
Pukapuka Atoll, Cook Islands
Naturally beautiful, Pukapuka is one of the most remote atolls in the Cook Islands. On this small island, traditional cultures and language have been preserved. The northern islet, where the residents have their village, is affectionately known as ‘Wale’ or ‘home’. Although the population is only around 500 people, it is the most densely populated island in the Cook Islands.
Communal life is the most important thing on the island, and traditional conservation methods are practiced. The internal crystal clear lagoon teems with life and provides an important food source for the Pukapukan people. Going ashore on this island, we will get a glimpse into the lifestyle of the people as they share their traditions, and we will soak up the peaceful and serene environment.
Manihiki, Cook Islands
Manihiki Atoll, known to many as the most beautiful of the Cook Islands, sits on the top of an underwater mountain which rises 4000 feet from the ocean floor. Forty tiny islets encircle the large lagoon, and here we will snorkel and kayak.
Manihiki is the center of the Cook Island’s pearl industry, and we will learn about the pearl farming industry and see the glorious green, blue, purple, silver and gold hues that make the famous black pearls shine.
We may also visit the islets of Tauhuno and Tukao to see the titaevae and rito hat-making crafts which the locals are very skilled at.
Penrhyn, Cook Islands
At just nine degrees below the equator, Penrhyn Atoll is the most northern of the Cook Islands. The large lagoon is ringed by uninhabited islets, with the inhabitants living in just two villages. Here, everyone grows up fishing, and the lagoon is the source of livelihood.
The lagoon is filled with abundant marine life and is known to have the highest amount of reef sharks in the Cook Islands.
Here we will learn about the local lifestyle, enjoy dancing and singing welcomes, and snorkel among the abundance of harmless black-tip reef sharks in the lagoon. There will also be an opportunity to purchase the exquisite handicrafts that are produced here, including woven hats, fans, and necklaces.
Millennium Atoll, Kiribati
One of the most remote points on the planet, Millennium Atoll is one of the Line Islands of Kiribati. Relatively untouched, it is one of the world’s most pristine islands and has been considered as a World Heritage Site. A large population of coconut crabs thrives here, and it is also a breeding site for seabirds, while giant clams thickly cover the lagoon. Millennium Atoll is the first place on earth to see the sunrise, due to the shift of the International Date Line in 1995, and we will have the opportunity to welcome the new day here, before kayaking over the giant clams in the clear lagoon or birdwatching on the island.
Raiatea, Society Islands
The second largest of the Society Islands, Raiatea means ‘bright sky’ in Tahitian. Regarded as the center of ancient Polynesia, it is likely that the organized migrations to Hawai’i and New Zealand started here. Raiatea is home to rare flora and fauna species such as the Tiare ‘apetahi’ flower, which is found nowhere else in the world.
Here have the privilege of visiting the sacred site of Taputapuatea Marae, a UNESCO World Heritage site, where the world of the living intersected with the world of the gods. Considered the religious and central temple of Eastern Polynesia. The Marae was established over a thousand years ago as a place of learning where knowledge of navigation and the origins of the universe were shared. Human sacrifices were also performed here, and the chiefs of Ra’iatea were invested here.
Explore the site and learn about the ancient knowledge and religious practices of the Tahitian people, and how they voyaged from Raiatea to the far corners of the Polynesian islands.
Huahine, Society Islands
Huahine, one of Tahiti’s best-kept secrets, offers a slower pace of old Polynesia. Only eight villages are scattered across the island, but Huahine was once the home of Tahitian royalty and has the highest density of ancient temples, marae, hidden in the lush forests. Surrounded by a deep and clear lagoon, Huahine also boasts stunning white-sand beaches. Here we will explore the lush shoreline of the lagoon by snorkeling or kayaking, visit the archeological site at Maeva Village with local guides, or take a nature walk into the forest to encounter sacred blue-eyed eels.
Moorea, Society Islands
Moorea, one of the high islands of French Polynesia, is also one of the most scenics. Jagged green pinnacles are bounded by a translucent lagoon and coral reef, and waterfalls flow through forested gorges. Simple villages circle the island, and we will explore to get a taste of the French-influenced lifestyle of Tahiti. Enjoy local cuisine, explore the quiet waters of the lagoon, or watch fishermen on their outrigger canoes. Snorkellers or divers might spot stingrays, sharks, and turtles in the turquoise lagoon. Here the stories of the artists who, over the centuries, have been inspired by the beauty of Moorea, and see the work of contemporary artists who live there today.