Treasures of Melanesia
8 days with Silversea Rating:
Day 1 — Honiara, Solomon Islands
Day 2 — Lumalihe Island, Marovo Lagoon, Solomon Islands
Though residents of Marovo Lagoon normally do not dance (the Seventh-day Adventist Church had banned it as they believed dancing to be sinful), we hope to see some demonstration of local handicraft, and hear some of their songs.
Diving or snorkelling close to the entrance of the lagoon will expose incredible reef drop-offs that are characterised by gorgonian fan forests, black coral gardens, giant clams, sea turtles, manta rays, eels, barracuda, octopus, morays, grey whaler sharks (also known as grey reef sharks), lionfish and shoals of pelagic fish.
Meanwhile, bird-watchers can look for osprey, Brahminy Kite and kingfisher, in the forests on one of the many surrounding islands.
The Marovo Lagoon residents are quite famous for their woodcarvings and we hope to see some of the intricately carved and adorned artefacts –hoping to be able to buy some as well.
Day 3 — Mbike Island, Solomon Islands
Once we reach Mbike you will see that huge trees give shade and a picture-perfect little beach will invite you to swim and snorkel, while the extensive coral reef ecosystems, teeming tropical fish and exceptional dive sites beckon our divers as well. The snorkelling might show feather stars and colourful nudibranches, vase sponges and gorgonian fans, lionfish and octopus -all part of this truly remarkable marine environment.
If conditions permit, our Galley Team will want to offer a barbecue ashore.
A Zodiac cruise into nearby Roderick Bay will be offered.
Day 4 — Port Mary, Santa Ana, Solomon Islands
After a short welcome on the beach we will head to the sports ground where we will be entertained by traditional songs and dances by members of the three different villages on Santa Ana (Owaraha in the local language).
Islanders will have set up several stands with souvenirs, ranging from traditional shell money to fishing floats and different carvings based on local stories and legends.
In the afternoon Silver Discoverer will continue eastward. Let our lecturers introduce you to our next destination.
Day 5 — Nembao Village, Utupua Island, Solomon Islands
We will be welcomed and attend a presentation of traditional dances and songs.
A good way to have a look at how these Solomon Islanders live is to walk along the beach and look at the houses, fishing canoes and small plantations. If tide and time permits we might take our Zodiacs to explore the mangrove-lined shores further into the bay looking for birdlife and mudskippers.
Day 6 — Champagne Beach, Espiritu Santo, Vanuatu
We will pass Big Bay, where the Spaniards tried to settle, to reach Hog Harbor and Champagne Beach. Once we will have cleared into Vanuatu, you will be able to enjoy one of the finest beaches of Vanuatu. You can relax under huge fish poison trees and Alexandrian laurel giving cooling shade or swim and snorkel in the crystal-clear water.
We hope to see and hear one of the most unusual music groups of Vanuatu –the Water Music Women. Standing in a half-circle in the water, they produce their music using the hands, moving them through the water in different ways.
Day 7 — Ambrym, Vanuatu
Ambrym is known as the island of magic and of the 113 local language of Vanuatu 5 alone are spoken on Ambrym –apart from Bislama, one of the three official languages of the country.
We will go ashore in Ranon to have a look at the local community and see the very special Rom dance. Normally these dances are only shown during grade-taking ceremonies or men’s secret society meetings and on those occasions the participants actually prepare their masks and costumes in secrecy.
Apart from the mesmerising Rom dance we will be entertained by one of the local string bands and hope to see some of Vanuatu’s sand drawings. Although some might simply see them as aesthetically pleasing drawings, UNESCO has recognised them as a local “writing” system and inscribed them on the Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
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.
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 8 — Port Vila, Vanuatu
All This Included
With over 1,000 islands in the Solomon Sea, discover a hypnotic taste of some of the sights, dances and traditions of lesser-known Melanesia. Watch the sunrise over Mbike Island, swim in the clear waters of Vanuatu, stand on the crater of active Mt. Tavivur. Warm local hospitality and thought-provoking cultures complete this wonderful trip.
Cruising: Cabin onboard Silver Discoverer
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