Pearls of the Coral Sea – PORT VILA to CAIRNS

Said to ensure a good yam harvest, gaze in awe as the menfolk of Pentecost Island dive from 30-metre towers in the legendary land diving ceremonies. Enjoy local cuisine, baked in the heat of the earth on the tiny island of Makura, see the uninhabited atols and incredible reef system in the Coral Sea. Ten sensational new destinations make this an adventure to discover together.

 

DATES: June 07, 2018
DURATION: 16 DAYS/15 NIGHTS
EMBARK: Port Vila, Vanuatu  –  DISEMBARK: Cairns, Australia
SHIP: Silver Discoverer

SAVE 10% Early Payment by DEC 28, 2017.
BOOK BY JANURAY 31 – $2,999 BUSINESS CLASS AIR, FREE ECONOMY CLASS AIR ROUNDTRIP, OR $1,000 CREDIT, PLUS PRE/POST HOTEL STAY AND TRANSFERS

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Your expedition will lead to one discovery after another. A complimentary program of unique, small-group shore experiences, led by a team of expert guides and lecturers, allows you to fully experience the lands you’ll visit.

 

ITINERARY

Day 1 — Port Vila, Vanuatu
Embark the Silver Discoverer for this stunning Silversea Expedition – Pearls of the Coral Sea. This afternoon, you will be introduced to your Expedition Team and attend a safety briefing.

 

Day 2 — Pentecost and Ambrym, Vanuatu
Today we visit Pentecost Island, where we will witness one of the most unusual socio-religious events in Vanuatu and the South Pacific. You will be astounded by the daring of the young men of Pentecost as they dive head first from a specially constructed 30 meter tower onto the bare earth at the base. This ceremony takes place only during the months of April to June when the vines to which the men have tied themselves have the right moisture content to be flexible enough to take the impact of the fall. This ceremony welcomes in the yam harvest and is a celebration for the whole village which turns out in traditional costume to dance and chant, whipping the atmosphere into an excited frenzy of dance, activity and noise. During lunch Silver Discoverer sails south to Ambrym, another very special island.

Ambrym is known as the island of magic. We will go ashore near Ranon to visit the local community and see the unique Rom dance. Normally these dances are only shown during special ceremonies or men’s secret society meetings and on those occasions the participants actually prepare their masks and costumes in secrecy.

Day 3 — Makura Island, Vanuatu
Makura is a small island with steep slopes on the east and south side and sandy beaches on the north and northwestern shore, but it is actually the peak of a primeval volcano. The other existing ramparts of the volcanic rim are believed to be the neighboring islands of Emae and Mataso. Roughly 3,000 people call the Shepherds Islands home and Makura Island has a rather small population mainly living on the northwestern side, close to the beach.

Day 4 — Aniwa and Port Resolution, Tanna, Vanuatu
Today we will visit Aniwa Island, a small uplifted coral platform in the southernmost province of Vanuatu. A vivid coral reef has formed here in recent times and grows now where tongues of lava once overran the volcanic slopes and flowed into the ocean. As the corals, sponges and anemones overgrow the dark lava rock, schools of vivid reef fish cruise above. We will enjoy great snorkeling and swimming over this young reef.

During lunch we will continue to sail south to reach Tanna and Port Resolution –named after Captain Cook’s famous ship. Going ashore onto the black sandy beach – an indication of the volcanic activity of the island- we will be welcomed on the beach by the inhabitants of the nearby village. There will be an activity by the John Frum Cargo Cult singers. Later we will embark 4WD vehicles to reach an area close to the summit of Mount Yasur – the most accessible explosive volcano in the world.

 

Day 5 — Aneghowhat, Aneityum Island, and Mystery Island, Vanuatu
Aneityum is a little tropical island paradise and is Vanuatu’s southernmost inhabited island. The interior is mountainous and covered with forest. Along the coast, pine plantations contrast with coconut palms, white sand beaches and coral reefs. Aneghowhat is the main settlement on its southwestern side . Aneityum is a good island for walking with a slightly cooler climate. After a visit to Aneityum we will transfer to Inyeug Island, better known as Mystery Island. We will enjoy the afternoon relaxing on the beach or swimming and snorkeling in the tranquil waters looking for the many tropical fishes hiding between the corals.

 

Day 6 — Noumea, New Caledonia
Noumea started as a penal colony but since the country is very rich in resources, especially Nickel and other minerals, and Noumea has a large natural harbor, the city has attracted many settlers and today has almost two thirds of the country’s population. While New Caledonia has a large percentage of the Kanak –the indigenous inhabitants- living in tribal areas across the country, Noumea is predominantly European (French) influenced.

Day 7 — Île des Pins, New Caledonia
Île des Pins most prominent features are the New Caledonia pines – after which the island was named when seen by Captain Cook. Our ship will anchor in front of Kuto Bay and we will take our Zodiacs to land. The beaches at Kuto and close-by Kanumera are some of the finest beaches in the South Pacific, and while Kuto is for swimming, Kanumera and the giant rock in its bay are for snorkeling. At low tide a sandbar extends to the rock.

The island was used in the 19th century as a prison for political exiles from France and remains can still be seen at Kuto, near the landing site and at nearby Ouro.

Days 8-9 — Days at Sea, crossing the Coral Sea

Day 10 — Bundaberg, Australia
Today we will enter Australia. Bundaberg is the provincial hub of a vibrant, unique region, and is centerd on the picturesque Burnett River at the southern tip of the Great Barrier Reef. Bundaberg has the most significant mainland turtle-nesting beach at Mon repos, and can count many heritage-listed buildings.

Day 11 — Fraser Island, Australia
Discover the beauty of World Heritage Listed Fraser Island aboard a purpose built, air-conditioned 4WD coach. Learn about the natural and cultural history of Fraser Island, at 1840 square kilometers the largest sand island in the world. You will visit and swim the crystal clear waters of the islands most famous and most spectacular lake, Lake McKenzie. At the historic central station in the heart of the island you can walk along the banks of the Wanggoolba Creek and immerse yourself in the peacefulness of the rainforest.

The Butchulla people are the traditional owners of K’gari (Fraser Island). They lived in harmony with the seasons, the land and sea whilst maintaining a perfect balance between spiritual, social and family connections. Today the Butchulla people continue to walk the cultural pathway of their ancestors. You can discover how the Butchulla people survived and thrived on the island during an interesting and informative walking tour. Learn which bush foods are in season and how to use snake vine for a headache and the tea tree for a cold. You will uncover all sorts of native bush tucker in the natural environment and discover how to heal yourself in the bush on this guided stroll.

 

Day 12 — Great Keppel Island, Australia
Great Keppel Island was seen and named by Captain Cook in 1770. The island is a sanctuary to extensive native flora and fauna. Seventeen white sand beaches ring the island, inviting swimming and snorkeling. Dolphins can be seen close to the main beaches, while humpback whale visits to Keppel Bay have increased in the last couple of years. We will enjoy the island’s crystal clear waters and the island itself for a full day.

Day 13 — Wistari Reef, Australia
Next to Heron Island, Wistari Reef is a special place: a natural coral reef some 60 kms off the coast of Queensland on the Great Barrier Reef. This is one of the best places to experience the underwater wonder of the world. The reef, with a myriad of colorful coral and reef fish, is at your fingertips. Heron Island has a resident population of around 4,000 turtles. Since they live around Wistari Reef and Heron Reef all year, one can expect to see turtles in the water anytime. Heron Island is also a breeding and nesting sanctuary for a huge variety of birds. We will make the most of bird-watching, swimming, and snorkeling.

Day 14 — Hardy Reef, Australia
Today we will visit Hardy Reef –part of the Great Barrier Reef, off the Whitsundays coast of Australia. Hardy Reef is one of the many thousand small reefs that make up the Great Barrier Reef. Its coral wall is home to an ecosystem of magnificent corals and marine life. Hundreds of fish species at Hardy will surprise and delight. The reef has been chosen to place pontoons so that visitors have specific protected areas where they can swim and snorkel and marvel at the many underwater wonders, amongst them the giant groupers. There are many other reef options in the area and we will choose our swimming and snorkeling spots based on sea conditions.

Day 15 — Townsville, Australia
Enjoy en encounter with locals, hear about the regions history. You will have opportunities for many activities such as tea at Mrs. Smith’s Parlour, a historic venue that is only opened for special occasions, visit the Cape Cleveland Lighthouse across Cleveland Bay by local boat, visit the Museum of Tropical Queensland which has an exhibition about HMS Pandora, Captain Edward Edwards’ ship sent to find the Bounty mutineers and eventually wrecked on the Great Barrier Reef and more.

Day 16 — Cairns, Australia
Following breakfast, disembark Silver Discoverer.

 

PORT VILA TO CAIRNS - JUNE 07, 2018

Suite CategoryRegular Rate Early Booking Rate
Save 10%*
EXPLORER SUITE$13,500$ 12,150
VIEW SUITE$ 15,100$ 13,590
VISTA SUITE$ 19,900$ 17,910
VERANDA SUITE$ 22,200$ 19,980
MEDALLION SUITE

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Rates are per person, double occupancy. Single rates 125%.
*SAVE 10% Early Payment by DEC 28, 2017.
BOOK BY JANURAY 31 - $2,999 BUSINESS CLASS AIR, FREE ECONOMY CLASS AIR ROUNDTRIP, OR $1,000 CREDIT, PLUS PRE/POST HOTEL STAY AND TRANSFERS
Rates include:
Personalized service – the best crew-to-guest ratio in expedition cruising
Butler service in every suite and stateroom – all guests are pampered equally
Open-seating dining options – dine when and with whomever you please
Beverages in-suite and throughout the ship – select wines, premium spirits, specialty coffees and soft drinks, plus your own tailored mini-bar
In-suite dining and room service – available from 06:00 to 23:00 aboard Silver Discoverer
Enrichment lectures by a highly qualified Expeditions Team
Guided Zodiac, land and sea tours, and shoreside activities led by the Expeditions Team
Gratuities always included in your fare
One hour free Wifi per day for all guests. Unlimited free Wifi for guests sailing on select suite categories
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