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Treasures of Melanesia

8 days with Silversea   Rating: Deluxe

Itinerary
Click for Dates and Prices

Day 1 — Honiara, Solomon Islands
Embark the Silver Discoverer for this stunning Silversea Expedition – Treasures of Melanesia. This afternoon, you will be introduced to your Expedition Team and attend a safety briefing. Tonight we invite you to familiarise yourself with your new home away from home, meet some of your fellow travellers and enjoy the first of many memorable meals in The Restaurant.

Day 2 — Lumalihe Island, Marovo Lagoon, Solomon Islands
Marovo Lagoon is one of the world’s largest saltwater lagoons. Described by American author James A. Michener as “one of the seven natural wonders of the world”, Marovo is home to a double barrier reef system, and is one of two sites in the Solomon’s currently under consideration for UNESCO World Heritage Site status.

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
Be out on deck in the early morning as we approach the Sandfly Passage to reach Mbike, a small privately owned island between Mbokonimbeti Island and Nggela Sule (in the Florida 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
Today Silver Discoverer will enter Port Mary, the bay in front of Ghupuna, Santa Ana’s main village. We will have a short Zodiac ride onto a beautiful white sand beach with huge shade-giving trees. Once ashore you will notice the very tidy village with its houses made of local materials built on stilts.

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
This morning Silver Discoverer will enter the deep bay on Utupua’s western side. Nembao, one of the main villages on the island, will be our host this day. After a short Zodiac ride we will land on the sandy beach next to the village’s centre.

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
During the morning Silver Discoverer will approach Espiritu Santo, Vanuatu’s largest island. The European name goes back to the early 17th century when Pedro de Quiroz believed to have reached the famous “Tierra Australis Incognita”, the unknown southern land, which he called “La Austrialia del Espiritu Santo”.

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
In the early morning Silver Discoverer will be in front of Ambrym’s west coast. Unlike Espiritu Santo with its raised coral reefs and white sand, Ambrym is a volcanic and active (!) island with dark beaches.

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              
Following breakfast, disembark Silver Discoverer.

Map
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.
  • Highly qualified expedition team with experts in their field (marine biologists, ornithologists, historians and more)
  • Excursions and activities, including explorations by Zodiac®
  • Complimentary expedition gear: backpack and water bottle on every voyage, Haglöfs parka for polar expeditions
  • Personalised service with a butler for all suites and the highest crew to guest ratio in the industry
  • Fine dining even in the most remote places of the planet
  •  Comfortable amenities with the largest expedition suites at sea
  • Inclusive room-service, select wines, spirits and soft drinks throughout the ship
  • Free WIFI throughout the ship
  • Onboard Gratuities
  • Exclusive partnership with The Royal Geographical Society

Highlights
  • Enjoy the underwater view of indigenous tropical fish, feather stars, nudibranches, vase sponges, Gorgonian fans, octopus, morays and dolphins
  • Dive into Marovo Lagoon –on the tentative list for UNESCO World Heritage
  • Discover Mbike Island and the surrounding waters
  • Marvel at Njari Island’s underwater variety and relax on Champagne Beach
  • Birders will be on the lookout for Ospreys, Brahminy Kites and kingfishers
  • Watch the mesmerising Rom dance on Ambrym

Accommodations
Cruising: Cabin onboard Silver Discoverer
Notes
  • Cabin upgrades are available.
  • Expedition highlights and wildlife listed here are possible experiences only and cannot be guaranteed. Your Expedition Leader and Captain will work together to ensure opportunities for adventure and exploration are the best possible, taking into account the prevailing weather, wildlife activity and sea conditions. Expedition Team members scheduled for this voyage are subject to change or cancellation.
  • Please ask your Vacations To Go travel counselor for more information.
Terms and Conditions
For Silversea terms and conditions, please click here.

* 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.