Remote Islands of Micronesia & the Solomon Sea
15 days with Silversea Rating:
Day 1 — Koror, Palau
Day 2 — Ngulu Atoll, Yap, Federated States of Micronesia
Day 3 — Colonia, Yap Island, Yap, Federated States of Micronesia
Yap is best known for its stone money, known as Rai. These large doughnut-shaped, carved disks vary between 3.5 centimetres (.4 in) and up to 4 m (12 ft.) in diameter. Their value is based on both the stone’s size and its history, due to the difficulty and hazards involved in obtaining them. To quarry the stones, Yapese adventurers had to sail to distant islands and deal with local inhabitants who were sometimes hostile. As no more disks are being produced or imported, this money supply is fixed. The islanders know who owns which piece but do not necessarily move them when ownership changes as their size and weight (the largest ones require 20 adult men to carry) can make them very difficult to move around.
We will explore Yap Island and learn more about the culture and traditions going to different villages and seeing the well-kept remains of men’s houses, pathways across the island, and stone money ‘banks’. That Yap played a part during World War II can be seen through various wrecks and remains of Japanese and American planes.
For those wanting to see mangroves close-up, the option of kayaking along part of the shoreline will be of interest (tide-depending). You can see White Terns sitting on branches as you paddle by and might even sight fruit bats. Hikers will take the option of going into the lush forest or climbing a nearby hill.
The waters around the island are well-known for the manta rays that not only frequent Yap, but live in Yap’s waters year-round. Divers will want to take the opportunity to be around these impressive filter feeders.Yap created the world’s first government-backed manta ray sanctuary. This is believed to be the reason for a booming reef shark population as well.
Days 4 & 5 — At Sea
Be aware that King Neptune might want to pay a visit, as we will cross the Equator on our approach to Papua New Guinea.
Day 6 — Vanimo, Papua New Guinea
We will return around noon and Silver Discoverer will continue along the north coast of Papua New Guinea after lunch. Our lecturers will use the afternoon to give you more insight into this country of more than 800 languages.
Day 7 — Murik Lakes and Kopar Village, Papua New Guinea
Later in the day we will visit Kopar, a small village of not more than 200 people at the mouth of the Sepik River. Depending on the tide and currents Silver Discoverer might enter the Sepik River to anchor in front of this little village. Same as the Murik Lakes people, the people of the Sepik are known for their artefacts and Kopar presents another opportunity for souvenir hunters. For the keen birders, a Zodiac cruise along the shore of the Sepik or into the small canals (or ‘barets’ in pidgin) just upstream from Kopar village can be rewarded with sights of flood plain birds and parrots and the odd kite.
During our visit we will present school supplies to the local community. Your donations will be very welcome -see below under “360 DEGREES OF GIVING”.
Day 8 — Madang, Papua New Guinea
The small town began its “modern life” as a result of the lucrative copra (dried coconut meat) trade. You will smell copra in the harbour, as it still is one of the major export articles.
During today’s tour, we will see the Coastwatcher’s Memorial Lighthouse, which was dedicated in 1959 to the Allied Forces and local civilians who served against the Japanese in WWII. We will also visit Bilbil Village, famous for its pottery, where our welcome by traditionally clad villagers performing local dances accompanied by drums is sure to delight. Keep an eye out for flying foxes that hang in the trees during the day, but fly off to feed in the evenings —there are many of them in town.
Apart from seeing Madang ashore we will also offer a Zodiac cruise along the shores of the different islands in Hansa Bay. Although most of the islands are settled the mangroves here are in excellent conditions. The water, mangroves, beaches and mountains in the background provide one of the best settings for an outstanding Zodiac cruise.
Day 9 — Tami Island, Papua New Guinea
Day 10 — Tufi, Papua New Guinea
Upon arrival, we will canoe along the smooth waters of the Kwapurina Fjord. With local villagers as our oarsmen, we will be guided under canopies of ancient mangrove forests, which are home to Tufi’s wide range of colourful birds and butterflies. Continuing on our journey, we return to the entrance of the fjord and the small settlement where the villagers will welcome us with traditional dance and song. There will also be an opportunity to observe the making of tapa cloth and to make souvenir purchases.
Day 11 — Fergusson Island and Dobu, Papua New Guinea
If conditions permit, we will also visit Dobu Island, which is one of the smaller islands of the D’Entrecasteaux archipelago. Although small in size, the island played and plays an important role in the Kula Ring. If we go ashore, we will hopefully get to see some of the objects used in the Kula trade. Neighbouring islands feared the Dobu Islanders because they were believed to be great sorcerers.
Birdwatchers are in for a treat whilst visiting the D’Entrecasteaux Islands. Look out for Sulphur-crested Cockatoos, parrots and Yellow-billed Kingfisher and—if we are very lucky—we may even spot a bird of paradise (or two!).
Day 12 — Budelun, Laughlan Islands, Papua New Guinea
Going ashore on Budelun (Bodaluna), the only inhabited island of this small group, we will stroll through the village of palm-thatched huts and houses. The Laughlan Islanders are known for their traditional canoes used in trading –both as vehicles to do the trade as well as trading objects themselves.
Apart from meeting the inhabitants of Budelun, and looking for White-breasted Fruit-Doves, Collared Kingfisher, Island Monarchs and Coconut Lorikeets, the beaches, sandbars and reefs invite to be explored.
Day 13 — Njari Island, Solomon Islands
Located just north of Gizo, Njari has one of the highest counts of fish and coral varieties in the Indo-Pacific –and we will snorkel and dive to make the most of this small hidden gem.
This evening our Captain will invite you to the Captain’s Farewell cocktail, while the Executive Chef and Restaurant Manager will expect you for the Captain’s Farewell dinner.
Day 14 — Pavuvu, Russel Islands, Solomon Islands
The islands, of which Pavuvu is the largest, were and are used to produce copra (the dried meat of coconuts) and extensive plantations can be seen.
In the water our snorkelers and divers will look for tropical fish in the reef.
Since there is a community of Tikopians living on Pavuvu we might see both Melanesian and Polynesian artistic expressions while we witness some folkloric activities.
Our on-board Photographer/Videographer will present his/her Voyage-DVD, permitting you to re-live the many moments of encounters with the local communities, the excursions taken and the animals and plants seen above and below the water.
Day 15 — Honiara, Solomon Islands
All This Included
With limpid lagoons filled with tropical fish and shipwrecks from the past, Micronesia and the Solomon Sea are true haven for snorkelers and divers. Be welcomed onto distant islands by friendly local people who rarely see visitors, and learn of their ancient traditions. With days at sea to inform and relax, enjoy exploring this utopian wonderland.
Cruising: Suite onboard Silver Discoverer
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* The prices shown are U.S. dollars per person, based on double occupancy, and subject to availability. Prices quoted for land/cruise arrangements are subject to increase without notice. Once we have received your deposit, land/cruise prices are guaranteed. Air prices quoted via phone or email are subject to increase and are guaranteed only from the time that full payment is received. Also, air prices or air promotions mentioned on this site or on the phone do not include baggage fees imposed by airlines.