Tahiti to Easter Island aboard the Island Sky

Overview

With its dreamy, postcard-perfect scenery of palm-fringed beaches and azure lagoons, Polynesia is the very definition of paradise. From legendary Tahiti, you’ll head to the Marquesas, with their sky-piercing volcanoes and chiseled bays, and the remote atolls of the Tuamotus, where some of the world’s most dazzling snorkeling can be experienced. Step ashore on seldom-visited Pitcairn, witness the amazing birdlife of uninhabited Henderson and Ducie Islands, and end the journey at exotic Easter Island, with its mysterious moais.

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

Day 1, Oct 10, 2019
Depart USA / Papeete, Tahiti

Board your independent flight to Papeete. Arrive in the late evening and transfer to the group hotel.

Day 2, Oct 11, 2019
Papeete / Embark Island Sky

Relax during a morning at leisure, then join a tour of Papeete, the capital of French Polynesia’s largest island. Pass by orchards of papaya as you drive along the stunning coast. Visit the renowned Gauguin Museum to learn about the life of the artist in the islands and the Museum of Tahiti, which traces the islands’ history. Embark the Island Sky this evening.

Day 3, Oct 12, 2019
Apataki, Tuamotu Islands

Though remote and sparsely populated, the far-flung Tuamotus comprise the world’s largest atoll chain. These venerable coral constructions rise just high enough above the water to be called land, and if it weren’t for their waving coconut palms, they might be entirely invisible from any distance. With few visitors, and little industry, the dazzling lagoon of Apataki offers a pristine underwater landscape for snorkelers and divers to explore.

Day 4, Oct 13, 2019
At Sea

Attend informative lectures today as the Island Sky cruises toward the legendary Marquesas Islands.

Days 5-7, Oct 14-16, 2019
Marquesas Islands

Considered one of the most beautiful island groups in the South Pacific, the Marquesas lie farther from a continental coast than any other islands in the world. Unlike other Polynesian islands, the Marquesas have no surrounding reefs or placid lagoons. Their wide, deep bays are havens for cruise vessels. Spend three days exploring this dazzling collection of islands whose breathtaking vertical peaks reach into the clouds, while carpets of lush tropical vegetation drape cliffs and canyons that descend to sea-sculpted bays. Countless sooty, fairy, and bridled terns circle tiny, rocky pinnacle islets. Zodiacs bring you ashore on a variety of islands, to be greeted by dancers and drummers adorned in leis and tapa cloth. On walks you may see petroglyphs or tiki figures—representing deified ancestors—flanked by banyan trees, fragrant plumeria, blooming orchids, and silvery waterfalls. Open-air craft markets display baskets, shell jewelry, and wooden carvings. Birders search for the endemic Nuku Hiva pigeon and Marquesan swiftlet. Though the islands lack fringing reefs, snorkelers and divers will discover many colorful fish against a backdrop of sheer walls and dramatic arches.

Day 8, Oct 17, 2019
Pukapuka, Tuamotu Islands

Delightful music and dancing welcome you to this idyllic island—the first land sighted in the Pacific by Europeans. Visit the small village whose residents raise taro, bananas, and coconut palms for copra (dried coconut). Birders search for Pacific reef-heron while snorkelers and divers explore the fringing reef.

Day 9, Oct 18, 2019
Pukarua

Coconut palms and breadfruit trees cover the beautiful islets that surround Pukarua’s lagoon. Garland-bedecked dancers greet you in the tiny village whose 150 hospitable inhabitants earn a living selling copra. Witness the process of coconut drying, enjoy a local crafts market, or stroll along the lagoon shores watching crested terns circling overhead.

Day 10, Oct 19, 2019
Expedition Stop

Today, conditions permitting, explore one of the many uninhabited Tuamotu Islands and enjoy swimming, snorkeling, or diving.

Day 11, Oct 20, 2019
At Sea

Spend a day at sea as the ship continues toward the remote Pitcairn Islands. Join naturalists on deck to search for a variety of seabirds and marine mammals.

Day 12, Oct 21, 2019
Pitcairn, Pitcairn Islands

Remote, enchanting, and tiny at six miles around, volcano-crowned Pitcairn was the fabled hideout of the HMS Bounty mutineers in 1790. Step ashore and visit with the 50 hospitable inhabitants of Adamstown, who are the direct descendants of the nine mutineers and 18 Polynesians. The anchor of the Bounty rests beside the courthouse and the ship’s Bible resides in the church.

Day 13, Oct 22, 2019
Henderson

Sheer limestone cliffs surround this elevated coralline island, a World Heritage Site, pockmarked by caves and blowholes. Henderson’s astounding natural selection has produced ten endemic flowering plants and four endemic species of land birds, including the Henderson Island crake and Stephen’s lorikeet. There will also be an opportunity to snorkel or dive in the marinelife-rich waters.

Days 14, Oct 23, 2019
Ducie

This small, uninhabited, and rarely-visited atoll is rimmed in white-sand beaches that in turn surround a crystalline lagoon. As you walk along the shore, witness a vast variety of seabirds—tens of thousands nest here, including Murphy’s and Phoenix petrels, masked boobies, frigatebirds, and red-tailed tropicbirds. Underwater forays bring you face-to-face with legions of rainbow-hued fish in the warm, clear waters.

Days 15-16, Oct 24-25, 2019
At Sea

Relax on deck and enjoy the ongoing lecture series as you cruise toward Easter Island, a World Heritage Site and one of the most mysterious places on earth.

Days 17-18, Oct 26-27, 2019
Easter Island, Chile

Spend two full days exploring Easter Island. View the intriguing stone heads, moai, built on massive stone platforms at Tahai, along with nearly 400 monolithic statues in various states of completion at the spectacular volcanic tuff quarries. Visit the ceremonial center of Ahu Vinapu where the island’s only female moai was found. At Ahu Tongariki visit the largest ceremonial site in Polynesia—a five-year archaeological restoration project was completed in 1996. Drive to the Rano Kau volcano to view the giant caldera, home to a sprawling lake dotted with small floating reed islets, and the ceremonial village of Orongo, dedicated to the fascinating “birdman” cult.

Days 19-20, Oct 28-29, 2019
Easter Island / Disembark / Santiago, Chile / USA

After breakfast disembark the Island Sky and enjoy a short tour before heading to the airport for your afternoon flight to the USA via Santiago, arriving in the USA on October 29.

Highlights

Highlights

Enjoy excellent snorkeling and diving nearly every day to discover healthy reefs teeming with colorful, tropical fish
Photograph the exquisite Marquesas
Meet the residents of tiny Pitcairn Island; most are direct descendants of the HMS Bounty crew
Visit Henderson and Ducie Islands, home to rare and endemic bird species, from Murphy’s and Phoenix petrels to the Henderson Island crake and Stephen’s lorikeet
View Easter Island’s giant volcanic stone statues, or moai—representing deified ancestors

Details

Length: 20 days
Cost From: $20,680  
Arrive: Papeete, Tahiti
Depart: Hanga Roa, Easter Island
Lodging: 17 nights aboard a 100-passenger vessel, 1 night hotel
Meals: All meals included aboard ship and with the group ashore (B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner)
Activity: Small Ship Cruising, Cultural Adventures, Snorkeling, Archaeology
Trip Level:

16-day cruise, cultural explorations and walking tours, snorkeling
Cruise collection 2019 brochure

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