In remote Papua New Guinea, you’ll snorkel in some of the world’s best coral reefs systems, walk through untouched rainforests, and gain cultural insights through interactions with the locals. From the volcanic region of Rabaul, visit the Trobriand Islands, called the “Islands of Love,” explore pristine Louisiade Archipelago and unspoiled D’Entrecasteaux Islands, with countless species of marine and bird life. Cap off the voyage in the picturesque town of Madang, a diver’s haven.
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.
Day 1 , Apr 17, 2017
Kokopo / Rabaul
Arrive at Tokua Airport, Kokopo, New Britain, the capital of East New Britain Province and transfer to your hotel for the first night. Meet your fellow travelers and the expedition team over dinner this evening.
Day 2 , Apr 18, 2017
Kokopo / Rabaul
Join the expedition team as you explore Rabaul, which is surrounded by six beautiful cone-shaped volcanoes. Visit parts of old Rabaul, which was covered by ash from the eruption of Mt. Tavurvur in 1994. You will visit local markets and travel along roads built by Singaporean and Burmese prisoners of war under the direction of the Japanese during WWII and tour sites including a Japanese submarine base and barge tunnels. Board the Spirit of Enderby in the afternoon and settle into your cabin. Join the captain and your expedition team on the bridge as we set sail.
Day 3 , Apr 19, 2017
You are sure to see some amazing creatures and wildlife while sailing through the rich nutrients upwelling from the New Britain Trench, which lies just off the southeast coast of New Britain. Experience your first sing-sing (welcome) Papua New Guinea style, and explore the war wrecks still in the region.
Day 4, Apr 20, 2017
Trobriand Islands / Kitava / Narutu
Positioned in the Solomon Sea and historically known as the "Islands of Love," the Trobriands offer a glimpse of traditional culture largely unspoiled by outside influence. Meet the Trobriand islanders of Kitava and view energetic, time-honored dances that celebrate fishing and the seasonal yam harvest. Learn about the history of the "Kula Ring," a circular pattern of ceremonial trade relationships that binds the islands of Milne Bay and eastern Papua New Guinea together in a long-established network of friendship. These islanders are also renowned for the exquisite ebony wood-carvings, often decorated with mother-of-pearl shell inlays. Take to the water around Narutu Island and snorkel amid kaleidoscopic coral reefs populated by parrotfish, neon damsels, and other brilliantly-hued species. Those who prefer viewing birds and plant life can join the expedition team on a walk around the island in search of flying foxes (fruit bats), sulphur-crested cockatoos, and helmeted friarbirds.
Days 5-6 , Apr 21-22, 2017
Louisiade Archipelago / Misima Island / Deboyne Islands / Tagula Island
The Louisiade Archipelago, which stretches some 250 miles along the northern rim of the Coral Sea, is one of the great island arcs of the South Pacific. Rarely visited by outsiders, this area is a wonderland of hundreds of islands, lagoons, extensive barrier reefs, and home to the seafaring Dobu people. Snorkel around the old Japanese base and discover a Zero fighter plane in shallow waters. The largest island in the archipelago is Tagula Island, which endured a gold rush that peaked in 1889 and is dominated by 2,600-foot-high Mt. Riu (Mt. Rattlesnake). Explore the tropical, moist broadleaf forest. Endemic birds here include the Tagula honeyeater, white-chinned myzomelo, Tagula butcherbird, and white-throated white-eye. Also keep an eye out for the five endemic frogs and two endemic lizard species.
Days 7-8, Apr 23-24, 2017
D’Entrecasteaux Islands / Normanby / Dobu and Fergusson Islands
Awake this morning in the D’Entrecasteaux Islands. You have two full days here to explore this unique island group, from the highlands of Mt. Lamanai to the protected harbor at Sewa Bay. One highlight will be the geothermal area with hot springs and bubbling mud pools surrounded by lush vegetation. You'll visit the small village with less than 1,000 inhabitants on Dobu Island.
Day 9, Apr 25, 2017
Today you discover the scenic beauty of the rarely-visited Tufi Fjords. Featuring 25 individual canyons with sheer basalt cliffs, these are the only fjords in Papua New Guinea. Take in the spectacular views as you cruise close to the towering cliffs before boarding the Zodiacs that take you ashore to meet the locals. Due to the protection of the fiords, the coral reefs are very rich in color and variety, and the waters offer remarkable visibility. We will find a suitable spot to snorkel among the gobie, mandarin fish, pigmy seahorses, and sponge and shelf corals. Later, take a walk in the surrounding rainforest to look for the world’s largest butterfly, the Queen Alexandra bird wing.
Day 10 , Apr 26, 2017
Kamiali Wildlife Management Area / Fly Islands
Travel ashore to the picturesque village of Lababia, gateway to one of the most important conservation areas in Papua New Guinea, the Kamiali Wildlife Management Area. Local guides will accompany you as you explore the area and walk the David Suzuki Trail through the prehistoric rainforest. Keep an eye out for native birdlife including hornbills, palm cockatoos, parrots, and the iconic Raggiana bird-of-paradise.
Day 11, Apr 27, 2017
New Britain (Wako) / Arawe Islands
This morning, cruise past the White Limestone Cliff as you take the Zodiacs up the Pulie River toward the small local villages. In the afternoon, explore a World War II battleground where between December 15, 1943, and February 24, 1944, more than 400 soldiers lost their lives during the conflict between the Japanese and the Allied forces in and around this maze of small islands.
Day 12, Apr 28, 2017
Vitiaz Strait / Tuam and Umboi Islands
The Siassi Islands lie in the Vitiaz Strait, between the Huon Peninsula on the island of New Guinea and the western end of the island of New Britain. Visit Tuam and Umboi, which offer a mix of both mainland and Bismarck Archipelago cultures. Watch the locals perform their traditional welcome dances and savor the warm village hospitality before joining your expedition team for a nature walk and some snorkeling at Umboi Island.
Day 13, Apr 29, 2017
Madang sits on a peninsula within one of the South Pacific’s most beautiful harbors. With a backdrop of steep mountains and lush tropical vegetation, the harbor shelters a number of picturesque islands. Madang’s thriving community is renowned for its traditional artists, world-class diving opportunities, and the richness of its surrounding forests. This morning, take a tour to explore the amazing diversity of wildlife in the surrounding area before returning to Madang to visit the markets. Upon disembarkation, your expedition concludes with a complimentary transfer to your hotel or the airport.