Fiji to Tahiti aboard the Caledonian Sky

Overview

Book-ended by the fables islands Fiji and Tahiti, this South Pacific journey strings together a dazzling array of palm-fanned islands ringed in waters of incredible hues. From the jungle-draped volcanic mountains of Tonga to the tiny, low-lying atolls you’ll explore as part of the Cook Islands tour, this voyage reveals a world of supreme natural beauty and people proud to share their ceremonial traditions of music and dance. Along the way discover seldom-visited Niuatoputapu and search for endemic species in the lush rain forests of Atiu. Snorkel or dive nearly every day of your Fiji to Tahiti adventure travels and soak in iconic scenery that defines the essence of paradise.

Note: This cruise is not exclusive to, nor operated by, Wilderness Travel, who acts solely as agent in booking your reservation with the ship operator. The itinerary, lecturers, and all other arrangements are subject to change at the discretion of the cruise line.

Itinerary

Based on the expeditionary nature of our trips, there may be ongoing enhancements to this itinerary.
Days 1-2
Depart USA / Nadi, Viti Levu, Fiji
Depart the USA on your independent overnight flight to Fiji. Cross the International Date Line en route, losing a day.
Day 3
Nadi / Lautoka / Embark Caledonian Sky
After an early morning arrival, check in to your hotel day-room to enjoy a morning at leisure before lunch. In the afternoon, set out for an island exploration, including a visit to The Garden of the Sleeping Giant, started by the late actor Raymond Burr in 1977 and showcasing more than 2,000 varieties of orchids. Then visit the Vei Sei Sei village, and make a stop for magnificent island views at Vudu Lookout. In the city of Lautoka on the western, or  “sunshine coast,” of Viti Levu, Fiji’s largest island, embark the Caledonian Sky.
Day 4
Taveuni
The Fiji Islands, considered part of Melanesia, cover an area of 386,000 square miles. Of the 325 islands large enough for habitation, only 106 have permanent residents. The third largest, Taveuni, is a dazzling emerald known as “the garden island,” and you have several excursions to choose from here. Hikers enjoy a visit to beautiful waterfalls in Bouma National Park, while birders explore the lush forests, keeping a lookout for collared lories, Fiji orange doves, and blue-crested flycatchers. A cultural tour highlights traditional Fijian village life, a kava ceremony, and demonstrations of cooking, tapa-cloth production, and basket weaving. Snorkelers and divers investigate the submerged wonders of the sea, including Fiji’s famed soft corals and an incredible diversity of fish.
Day 5
Futuna, Territory of Wallis & Futuna
Though linked through French colonialism, the language, customs, culture, and artistic traditions of Wallis and Futuna are distinctly different. While Wallis has ancestral ties with Tonga, Futuna traces its roots to Samoa. Be on deck as the ship approaches Futuna, whose verdant slopes ascend into the clouds. Stunning beaches fringe the east coast and Mt. Puke, the island’s largest volcano, soars to nearly 2,500 feet. In a traditional village, visit the impressive shrine to the South Pacific’s only saint, Pierre Chanel. The interior is covered in elaborately decorated tapa cloth. Birders keep an eye out for red-footed boobies, white-collared kingfishers, and blue-crowned lorikeets. Lunch on board is followed by snorkeling or diving in the clear waters to view longnose filefish, anemonefish, and colorful corals.
Day 6
Wallis
Tour the regional capital, Mata Utu, to visit its distinctive stone cathedral, then drive to one of the island’s beautiful crater lakes. Stroll through the interesting remains of a 14th century fort, and browse local handicrafts.
Day 7
Savaii Island, Samoa
Lovely, lesser-visited Savaii Island is the largest of the Samoa Islands chain. Step ashore to discover palm-fringed beaches backed by lushly forested slopes and plunging waterfalls. On nature walks, search for 82 species of birdlife, including 10 that are endemic to Samoa. Or slip into the warm, inviting waters for a swim, or explore healthy coral reefs during snorkel and dive excursions.
Days 8-9
Tokelau, New Zealand
Consisting of three tiny coral atolls, Tokelau’s combined land area consists of a mere four square miles. Go ashore on the “Chiefly Island” of Fakaofo to view the traditional village hall and meet with welcoming locals. With no industry and few motorized boats, the clear waters of Tokelau support a variety of healthy corals teeming with brilliant tropical fish.
Day 10
At Sea / Cross the International Date Line
Cross the International Date Line and regain a day. Spend the day at sea attending
lectures on Polynesia’s fascinating natural history, geology, and cultures.
Day 11
Pukapuka, Cook Islands
A warm welcome awaits on Pukapuka, where friendly locals share their unique customs and
give you a glimpse of daily life on this most remote of the Cook Islands. In the afternoon,
slip into the inviting, crystal-clear waters to swim, snorkel, or dive.
Day 12
Suwarrow Atoll
Join naturalists on deck to witness clouds of seabirds—red-tailed tropicbirds, sooty terns, and frigatebirds to name a few. In 1978, this pristine island was set aside as a National Park of the Cook Islands due to the plentiful marine and bird life it supports. Permission pending, go ashore to meet the caretaker and learn about important ongoing environmental conservation efforts. The large lagoon offers excellent snorkeling while divers explore the outer reef.
Day 13
At Sea
Spend your day relaxing on deck and attending informative lectures.
Day 14
Aitutaki
Like a miniature Bora Bora, Aitutaki’s central peak rises above a reef-encircled lagoon, and we are welcomed by villagers performing some of the Pacific’s finest dances. Local guides accompany us on an island tour highlighting the natural and cultural attributes of the island. After lunch on the ship, enjoy snorkeling or diving off a remote motu in the crystal clear waters dotted with coral heads.
Day 15
At Sea
Attend lectures today and join naturalists on deck to search for seabirds and marine life.
Day 16
Bora Bora, Society Islands, French Polynesia
Be sure to be on deck early this morning as the ship enters the dazzling sapphire-hued lagoon of Bora Bora, surrounded by soaring cloud-wreathed peaks. Tour this lush island, driving along roads lined with fragrant frangipani. Then venture to the large lagoon to snorkel or dive, watching for graceful stingrays and colorful fish such as fairy basslets and teardrop butterflyfish. Birders seek out chattering kingfishers and gray-green fruit doves. Be sure to be on deck early this morning as the ship enters the dazzling sapphire-hued lagoon of Bora Bora, surrounded by soaring cloud-wreathed peaks. Tour this lush island, driving along roads lined with fragrant frangipani. Then venture to the large lagoon to snorkel or dive, watching for graceful stingrays and colorful fish such as fairy basslets and teardrop butterflyfish. Birders seek out chattering kingfishers and gray-green fruit doves.
Day 17
Papeete, Tahiti / Disembark / USA
After breakfast, disembark the Caledonian Sky and set out to explore this beautiful island. Visit the superb Museum of Tahiti and Her Islands, dedicated to the history and culture of the people of Polynesia, and drive along the stunning coast. After a stop at the Gauguin Museum, the former home of the artist from 1891–1893, continue to the InterContinental Resort Tahiti to check in to dayrooms. The afternoon is at leisure to enjoy the hotel and to rest before your late evening flight homeward.
Day 18
USA
Arrive in the USA and connect with homeward flights.

Highlights

Highlights

Enjoy exuberant welcomes from traditionally clad dancers and experience warm hospitality as you are invited to join kava rituals and sample local delicacies
Search for a bevy of rare and endemic birds, including Fiji orange doves, chattering kingfishers, and Cook Island fruit doves
Snorkel or dive nearly every day to discover dazzling coral reefs and healthy populations of tropical fish
Photograph lush, emerald islands rising from turquoise lagoons, white-sand beaches framed by lanky palms, and lovely dancers adorned in flower leis and tapa cloth

Details

Length: 17 days
Cost From: $14,980  
Arrive: Lautoka. Fiji
Depart: Papeete, Tahiti
Lodging: 14 nights aboard 100-passenger expedition vessel
Meals: All meals included aboard ship and with the group ashore
Activity: Small Ship Cruising, Wildlife & Natural History
Trip Level:

15-day cruise, cultural explorations and walking tours, snorkeling