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Battlefields & Beaches: Honiara - Port Vila

Example 14 Day Cruise aboard Coral Geographer
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This 14-day voyage aboard the Coral Geographer reveals the remote coral atolls and beaches of the idyllic Melanesia region, with time to explore the wrecks and remnants of the war in the Pacific theatre, and expert guides on hand to discuss the various battle sites, historical significance, and strategies. Many significant battles took place in the South Western Pacific countries of Solomon Islands and Vanuatu and this expedition visits battle sites where relics remain either on land or below the sea.
Relax on the beaches of the South PacificTraditional houses and buildings of Tanna IslandSnorklingBeach villa on pristine waterA tribal man pushing two canoesRelax on the beaches of the South PacificSnorkel with incredible sea turtlesEnjoy a tropical escape
Highlights
  • Journey up the slopes of Mt Yasur on Tanna Island
  • Visit historic WWII wrecks and significant battle sites
  • Cruise Iron Bottom Sound
  • Sail into Ureparapara‚Äôs spectacular volcanic cone
Places Visited
  • South Pacific
  • Arnavon Islands
  • Ghizo Island
  • Honiara
  • Luganville, Espiritu Santo
  • Mangalonga Island
  • Marovo Lagoon
  • Melanesia
  • Nendo Island
  • Oceania
  • Port Vila, Efate
  • Solomon Islands
  • Tanna Island
  • Tulagi
  • Ureparapara Island
  • Vanuatu
Trip Type:
  • Small Ship
Activity Level: Relaxed
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Full Itinerary

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Day 1: Honiara, Solomon Islands | Embark

Board Coral Geographer at 4:00pm for a 5:00pm departure. Cruise past Tassafaronga Point, where US Forces intercepted eight Japanese destroyers, before arriving at the overnight anchorage in the Florida Group of Islands.

Day 2: Mangalonga | Iron Bottom Sound, Solomon Islands

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
At Mangalonga Island, go ashore for an early morning birdwatching excursion with the chance to spot some of the many colourful species here, including claret-breasted fruit doves. You will also dive and snorkel nearby Popondaka Reef – the fishlife here is prolific and it also common to see feather stars and colourful anthias.  Later this afternoon you will cruise Iron Bottom Sound, so named for the 32 allied ships that were sunk here during WWII.  After cruising by Savo Island, site of the key Battle of Savo Island, you will pause over the wreck of the HMAS Canberra and pay tribute to the 94 men who lost their lives as result of the attack: it remains the largest Australian warship ever lost in battle.

Day 3: Marovo Lagoon, Solomon Islands

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
One of the world’s natural wonders, this vast double barrier lagoon has been proposed for World Heritage listing. It was also a key supply base of the Japanese War machine during WWII, and therefore the target of relentless Allied plane attacks. Here you will snorkel and dive waters teeming with tropical fish, and meet the expert Marovo carvers who are famous for the intricate pieces they create from ebony, rosewood and mother-of-pearl.

Day 4: Ghizo | Kennedy Island, Solomon Islands

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
This morning, go ashore in the provincial town of Gizo to wander through the vibrant open-air markets. Divers may wish to dive the wreck of the Toa Maru with a local operator. Later, cruise by Kennedy Island, where John F. Kennedy and his crew came ashore after their patrol boat was sunk. This afternoon, snorkel or dive at Njari Reef – a marvelous underwater world considered to be the best snorkelling location in the Solomons.

Day 5: Arnavon Islands | Kia, Solomon Islands

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
This marine reserve is home to the largest rookery of endangered Hawksbill Turtles in the South Pacific, and supports some of the healthiest coral reefs. Protected by the unique Arnavon Community Marine Conservation Area, many of the rangers are from surrounding islands. Go ashore at Kerehikapa Island with the chance to see turtle hatchlings emerging from their nests. Later, cruise into Dart Sound and meet the locals at the village of Kia – where many of the committee members and rangers live.

Day 6: Tulagi | Mboli, Solomon Islands

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
The old capital of the Solomons, Tulagi is filled with wartime history. Be welcomed by a traditional Solomon Islands warrior welcome, followed by music and dance performances. A guided walking tour of Tulagi reveals its history. This afternoon cruise the Mboli passage: this narrow waterway is the location of a station where Allied warships replenished water supplies, and the final resting point for WWII wrecks.

Day 7: Marau Sound, Solomon Islands

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Located at the Eastern tip of Guadalcanal Island, this area of verdant tropical islands is a geographical crossroad, separating Guadalcanal’s calm northern waters from its Tasi Mauri or ‘weather coast’. Five marine protected reserves have been established here to protect the special environment. Here you will visit the local village with an opportunity to purchase handmade local craft, before spending the afternoon snorkelling, diving and kayaking the lagoon.

Day 8: Star Harbour, Solomon Islands

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Be welcomed by the locals of Star Harbour this morning. Enjoy a colourful cultural performance before exploring the village, meet the children at the local school and learn about the harbour’s WWII history.

Day 9: Nendo, Solomon Islands

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
The last stop in the Solomon Islands, Nendo Island is an excellent location to view and purchase quality artefacts. Enjoy a cultural performance and an opportunity to snorkel from the beach.

Day 10: Ureparapara, Vanuatu

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
One of the most spectacular islands in the South Pacific, Ureparapara is an extinct volcano rising 764m above sea level. Cruising into the cone of the volcano, surrounded on three sides by towering ridges, is an unforgettable experience. Be welcomed by cultural performances, including ‘water music’ a percussive, hypnotic music created by slapping and moving the water, accompanied by the women’s vocal harmonies. Meet the friendly locals and explore the village.

Day 11: Million Dollar Point, Vanuatu

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Luganville, the site of a WWII Allied base, is surrounded by extraordinary dive sites.

One of these is Million Dollar Point, named for the thousands of tons of war machinery that were dumped here. SS President Coolidge, is also a significant shipwreck here. Sailing into a minefield, she ran aground on the beach before capsizing. A very special shipwreck, it is considered by many to be the best wreck dive in the world.

Day 12: Nguna, Vanuatu

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Nguna Island has white sand beaches and the surrounding waters are marked as the Nguna-Pele Marine Protected area – home to numerous reefs, sea grass beds, mangrove forests and intertidal lagoons. The island’s coral gardens provide a stunning environment for snorkelling and diving. The Island also contains two extinct volcano craters, Mount Tapuora and Mount Marow. Excursion options include volcano treks, snorkelling & diving, and village explorations.

Day 13: Tanna Island, Vanuatu

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
This morning, approach Tanna Island and see your first signs of volcanic activity, hot springs bubbling beneath the surface. You are in for a real once-in-a-lifetime experience. You are met by the villagers, who will drive you local style in the back of their trucks up through the forest of the lower reaches of Mt Yasur’s active volcano. Continue on foot to the rim of the caldera, and peer into the heart of the volcano and its lava pools. Return to the village to spend time with the locals and learn about their interesting customs.

Day 14: Port Vila, Vanuatu | Disembark

  • 1 Breakfast
This morning, arrive in Port Vila and disembark at 8:00 am. Post-cruise transfers can be arranged onboard (additional cost).

Ship/Hotel

Coral Geographer

Coral Geographer
Coral Geographer Deck

Dates & Prices

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Per person starting at
$8,545
Coral Deck Stateroom
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Coral Deck Stateroom
Located on the Coral Deck, these 17 Sq m staterooms are furnished with a junior King size bed which can be separated into two singles. A wardrobe, desk and armchair are included. A compact en-suite bathroom has a toilet, shower and ample storage. Twin porthole windows give you views of the world outside.
Promenade Deck Stateroom
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Promenade Deck Stateroom
Located on the Promenade Deck, these 17 Sq m staterooms are furnished with a junior King size bed which can be separated into two singles. A wardrobe, desk and armchair are included. A compact en-suite bathroom has a toilet, shower and ample storage. A large picture window gives you wide views of the world outside.
Coral Geographer
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Explorer Deck Balcony Stateroom
These 21.4 Sq m staterooms are comfortably furnished with a junior King size bed which can be separated into two singles. A wardrobe, desk and armchair are included. A compact en-suite bathroom has a toilet, shower and ample storage. Your private balcony has seating for two from which to view the passing coastal vistas. These staterooms are located on the Explorer deck.
Bridge Deck Balcony Suite
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Bridge Deck Balcony Suite
Bridge Deck Balcony Suites are equipped with a lounge area, minibar and personal coffee machine. Along with special King sized beds which can be separated into two singles. An 3.5 sq m private balcony has an outdoor daybed and lounge chair for two.

Notes

This Cruise Price Includes:
  • Daily guided excursions on the Zodiac tender vessels, and kayaks where conditions allow
  • All meals, chef-prepared on board
  • Showcase wines, selected beers and soft drinks with lunch and dinner service
  • 24 hour coffee and selection of teas
  • Captain’s Welcome and Farewell Events, and Open Bridge Access with the Captain
  • Comprehensive and fully guided sightseeing in each destination
  • All entrance fees to National Parks and Ports
This Cruise Price Excludes:
  • Travel insurance
  • Australian entry visas or travel permits
  • Items of a personal nature including but not limited to phone and internet communications and bar charges (outside of the included drinks package as highlighted) laundry charges and souvenir purchases

Please Note:
These are expedition itineraries covering remote regions. Your Captain and Expedition Team will make changes to the daily
schedule when necessary to maximize guest experience given the weather, local environment and safety considerations.

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