- 13 Breakfasts, 13 Lunches, 13 Dinners
em>Your Captain and Expedition Team may make changes to the daily schedule when necessary to maximise guest experience. Below are the highlight destinations of your voyage.
The Mariana Islands were first settled around 2000 BC by ancient seafaring people who journeyed in outrigger canoes who sailed across the vast expanse of the open Pacific where they settled in The Marianas.
As the southernmost island of the United States Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI), and blessed with picture-perfect palm-fringed beaches and aquamarine waters that invite snorkeling and kayaking, Rota is known as the ‘friendly island’ with its relaxed ambiance. Learn about WWII history at the Old Japanese Cannon which overlooks Mount Tapingot, known as ‘wedding cake mountain’ with its multi-layered topography resembling a wedding cake.
See the prehistoric House of Taga stone pillars on Tinian Island along with the historic WWII site where the Boeing B-29 Superfortress bomber Enola Gay was loaded with its atomic bomb payload to be dropped on Hiroshima.
Saipan and the Mariana Islands were the locations of WWII battles with many Japanese armaments and bunkers now important historic sites with ‘War in the Pacific National Park’s designation. Visit the American Memorial Park along with Laderan Banadero and learn of the thousands of Japanese soldiers and civilians who took their own lives towards the end of WWII, thus avoiding capture by US Forces.
Take a walk to swim hole grottos carved by erosion and enjoy hiking trails to lookout points. Spot endemic bird species like the Marian fruit dove and white-throated ground dove and look for the near-extinct reed warbler. At the marine conservation park of Managaha Island, enjoy snorkeling, diving, and kayaking.
Our introduction to Japan is the volcanic island of Iwo Jima where the WWII Battle of Iwo Jima took place along with the site of AAP photographer Joe Rosental’s famous photo Raising the Flag which was photographed on Mt. Suribachi. Explore the Ogasawara Island Group (sometimes called the Bonin Islands), which are known as the ‘Galapagos of the Orient’ and are listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site for their diversity of natural flora and fauna and diverse ecosystem.
The largest of the Ogasawara Islands, mountainous Chichijima with its subtropical forests is rimmed by steep rocky cliffs that bound pristine white-sand beaches. Populations of humpback and sperm whales frequent the ocean during annual migrations, along with year-round pods of bottlenose and spinner dolphins.
Swimmers, snorkelers and kayakers may have the opportunity to see these graceful creatures up close in the wild, should they choose to interact with human visitors. Nesting turtles and large populations of sea birds may be seen at Minamijima Island, a small uninhabited island with an eroded tunnel carved into a cliff connecting a scenic bay to the ocean beyond the island.
Hahajima is one of only two inhabited islands (Chichijima being the other) in the Ogasawara Island Group. Like Chichijima Island, Hahajima too is home to unique flora and fauna. Walking trails crisscross the long, narrow island offer the opportunity to (potentially) see bird species such as the protected bonin honeyeater and boobies along with Indigenous plants seen nowhere else such as sekimon trees. Limestone karsts and caves with their exposed tree roots overhead can be walked through, while Ross Museum and the history Okimura Cemetery offer insight into the lives of islanders who once lived here.
Muko Jima and Torishima
The uninhabited outcrop of Muko Jima and nearby Torishima is the habitat and an important nesting site for a colony of black-footed albatrosses and Laysan albatrosses. Cruise past the active volcano of Torishima Island which houses a weather station and volcanic research station and is also a bird sanctuary. As well as albatrosses, Tristrams storm petrels, common kestrels and blue rock thrush may be sighted, along with whales and dolphins in the sea.
Cruise past the volcanic deserted island of Sofu Gan, also known as Lot’s Wife, an isolated basalt pillar that rises from the ocean.
On Hachijojima Island visit a secret WWII submarine base, see the landscape changed by volcanic eruptions and enjoy hot springs and waterfalls within moss-draped forests. At the Hattori Residence be immersed in local culture with a Kashitate dance and Hachijo Taiko drum performance, learn about kimono traditions and wander the ancient stone-walled laneways of this historical site.
Mikurajima, Miyake Jima and Toshima
The entire island of Mikurajima is designated as a national park with a lively pod of Indo Pacific Bottlenose dolphins visiting regularly, with a potential opportunity to swim with these wild creatures. On the island, walking trails pass through stands of the forest while a memorial to the shipwrecked crew of the Viking marks the assistance islanders gave during the 1863 tragedy. Ancient shrines pay tribute to the strong spiritual connections of the 300 or so people who live on the island.
Swim with wild Indo Pacific Bottlenoses dolphins at the national park island of Mirkurashima, explore the volcanic hiking trails on Miyake Jima Island and look for birds amongst forests of brightly-colored blossoming camelia trees on Toshima Island.