Darwin to Japan
• Raja Ampat's reefs and islands • Working pearl farm • Experience the culture of the Toraja • Marvel at the beauty of Palau's Rock Islands • Pacific Ring of Fire • Circumnavigate Torishima • Visit the "Galapagos of the Orient" the Ogasawara Islands • Palau's Jellyfish Lake • Visit historic WWII sites in the Marianas • Venture into Maug's caldera
This extraordinary Silversea Expedition cruise takes you from Darwin through the tropical islands of Indonesia, the lesser visited archipelagos of Micronesia, on to the wildlife rich islands of Japan. Highlights include the incredible sea-life of Raja Ampat's reefs, the volcanoes of the Pacific Ring of Fire and the 'Galapagos of the Orient' - the Ogasawara Islands. Aboard your luxurious expedition ship, the 120-guest Silver Discoverer offers fine dining, butler service, all excursions and tipping included. Ask us about adding on touring in Japan after your cruise.
Silver Discoverer Silversea's loyal following of adventure travellers can now explore the remote archipelagos of the vast Pacific aboard the sleek, 120-guest Silver Discoverer cruise ship. She's the perfect platform for viewing these untamed landscapes, with all ocean-view suites and plenty of deck space so that a breaching whale or a pod of dolphins is always within sight. Silver Discoverer's shallow draft allows her to navigate closer to shore, and with a fleet of 12 Zodiacs, guests can land on isolated shores and explore wetlands and submerged ecosystems, up-close and in-depth.
Day 1: Darwin, Australia Embark Silver Discoverer and enjoy a sail-away cocktail on deck.
Day 2: Cruising the Timor Sea Hear from the on-board experts about the wildlife and handcrafts of Indonesia. In the evening the Captain will invite you to the Captain's Welcome cocktail party.
Day 3: Kalabahi, Indonesia Approaching Alor Island you will see that every island of the Sundas has a least one volcano. On landing we will drive to the small village of Takpala located in the rugged interior for a glimpse of traditional village life, and a taste of local cuisine and coffee.
Day 4: Lamalera Village, Lomblem Island, & Lomblem Reef, Indonesia Lamalera is one of the last two traditional whaling villages in Eastern Indonesia, with whaling boats made entirely of wood with wooden pegs (not a nail to be found!) and sails made of palm leaves. We will be welcomed by the villagers on the beach, head up into the village and see traditional activities and dances. During lunch Silver Discoverer will re position to Lomblem Reef for an afternoon of diving, swimming and snorkeling.
Day 5: Bau Bau, Buton Island, Sulawesi, Indonesia Buton Island features lowlands of uplifted karst and limestone formations, tropical lowland forest and mangroves. We may be welcomed with a welcome 'mangaru' dance. Overlooking Bau Bau is Benteng Keraton Buton, the impressive fort built by a local sultan with coral blocks, then we take a jungle walk in the Sambusango Forest Reserve, home to the anoa (a wild small water buffalo), phalanger possums and tarsiers and over 80 bird species. For those wanting to relax, Nirwana Beach with its white sand south of Bau Bau is the perfect choice, and the diving is great!
Days 6: Palopo, Sulawesi, Indonesia We head north to Palopo Harbour, then drive into the interior of Sulawesi to explore the area around Rantepao, the capital of Tana Toraja, overnighting in a local hotel.
Day 7: Palopo, Sulawesi, Indonesia Today visit Palawa, an ancient village inhabited by residents who adorn their homes with the horns of buffalo killed in funeral ceremonies. Continue to Bori Parinding - the "Stonehenge of Indonesia", to see an ancient rante (the field of the funeral ceremony). At Lemo and Londa we see burial caves high in the cliffs and in natural caves at the base. In the village of Kete Kesu we can see traditional Tongkonan houses and granaries. Lastly we visit Nanggala to see original rice barns that belonged to the royal family. In the afternoon we will drive south to Palopo to re-join Silver Discoverer.
Day 8: Cruising the Gulf of Boni and the Banda Sea Heading south we reach the Wakatobi Marine Park. Enjoy lectures, a food or wine tasting, relax on the Pool Deck or help our Naturalists look for birds and marine mammals.
Day 9: Pulau Anano, Indonesia Anano has one of the highest counts of reefs and fishes in the world, the reef walls adorned with huge gorgonian fans and large sponges. Snorkel or dive excursions reveal an incredible array of marine reef inhabitants.
Day 10: Pulau Kokoila, Indonesia Pulau Kokoila and the surrounding islands have dozens of reefs and atolls. We will look for dive and snorkelling sites and hopefully find a nice beach for our swimmers. Most of the surrounding islands are uninhabited, but if the opportunity arises we might go ashore to visit a local village.
Day 11: Cruising the Banda Sea & Ceram Sea On our way east we will enjoy a day at sea and will use it to enjoy in-depth talks on Indonesia's most famous diving area: Raja Ampat.
Day 12: Alyui Bay and Wayag, Raja Ampat, Indonesia Remote Alyui Bay in Rajah Ampat National Park offers sheltered and pristine waters perfect for the farming of oysters. The three major pearl growing sites here are set in the most stunning scenery. We can take a Zodiac cruise along the shores of Alyui Bay, looking for birdlife and perhaps dugong. Slightly north is Wayag with its many secluded beaches and colourful underwater life; a wonderful coral reef is accessible by snorkelling from the beach, or you may prefer to explore the area by Zodiac.
Day 13: At Sea Enjoy a relaxing day at sea.
Day 14: Sonsorol, Palau On this small outpost of Palau you can imagine how difficult it would be for us to survive on a small island in the Pacific. Just a handful of residents are here as guardians of the island.
Day 15: Koror, Palau Spend the day in Koror, Palau's largest city with a population of 10,000.
Day 16: Ngekerbesang, Palau Ngekerbesang is just west of Koror and connected to it by a causeway. You can head into town and visit the National Museum or the private Etpison Museum with its outstanding exhibition on "traditional money", visit the Aquarium, or take to the water and see the marine life close-up for yourself. Or head out to see the famous "Rock Islands" - a UNESCO World Heritage Site with 445 uninhabited limestone islands with a complex reef system and a large diversity of plant, bird and marine life including dugong and at least thirteen shark species. The so-called Jellyfish Lake, is sure to be a highlight for any snorkeler, as you can swim among thousands of harmless jellyfish.
Day 17: Colonia, Yap This morning we approach the island of Yap, the westernmost state of the Federated States of Micronesia. Colonia is the Capital of Yap, a blend of old and new. Outside of Colonia we can find fascinating traditional houses and meeting houses, and learn about the famous stone money 'rai'. Enjoy cultural performances and see the narrow channel built during the German administration, still used by divers to relocate from one coast to the other. Many blacktip, whitetip and grey sharks, manta rays are Yap's main underwater attraction.
Day 18: Cruising the Philippine Sea The on-board Geologist introduces you to the upcoming islands of the Mariana Arch and the Pacific Rim of Fire. Other lectures will let you gain insight into the varied culture and history of the Marianas, with their history of Spanish, German, Japanese and American administration.
Day 19: Saipan, Northern Mariana Islands Saipan is the largest of the Northern Mariana Islands, about 193km north of Guam. Learn about Saipan's importance during World War II, as well as the importance of its flora and fauna. Opt to visit World War II sites including the Last Command Post, Banzai Cliff and Suicide Cliff with its beautiful view and grim history. In walking distance of the harbour is the American Memorial Park. Or you may opt to spend the afternoon exploring the "town" or taking a local ferry to Managaha Island for snorkelling and birding.
Day 20: Pagan, Northern Mariana Islands Pagan Island consists of two strato-volcanoes joined by a strip of land that is less than 2,000 feet wide at its narrowest point. The island was completely evacuated in 1981 when a large eruption forced the small Micronesian community to relocate to Saipan. The northern volcano is still active, and today we plan to observe one of the more recent lava-flows. To get there, we will follow an old runway used by the Japanese during the 1940s, where the remains of several bunkers, pillboxes and planes can still be seen.
Day 21: Maug, Northern Mariana Islands Maug volcano is made up of three small-elongated islands around the rim of a submerged caldera. Be on deck to spot dolphins as we enter the caldera early morning. Pending permission we might snorkel inside the caldera next to West Island and will explore by Zodiac. In the afternoon we will leave Maug behind and head for the Ogasawara Islands.
Day 22: At Sea Head out on deck to watch for seabirds and attend lectures on the Japanese ports-of-call to come. Expedition Staff will use the time to talk about the "Galapagos of the Orient", the Ogasawara Islands.
Day 23: Chichijima, Japan The remote UNESCO World Heritage listed Ogasawara Islands are renowned for their uniquely evolved plant and animal species. We explore the "father island", yet another fantastic avian destination. Weather permitting there will also be opportunities for swimming, snorkelling and sunbathing on one of the island's pristine beaches. We hope to visit Minamijima to see its natural stone arch reflected in the small turquoise blue. Look out for sperm whales, green turtles, spinner dolphins, and dogtooth tuna. Shima sushi (served with mustard) and Akaba miso soup are some of the island's special dishes, as is a delicious passionfruit liqueur.
Day 24: Torishima, Japan Cruising north, we arrive at the uninhabited volcanic island of Torishima early afternoon. A Bird Sanctuary, Natural Monument and National Wildlife Protection Area, Torishima is home to about 1500 mature Short-tailed Albatrosses. We will circumnavigate the island's coastline while our expert Ornithologist describes all about the endangered Short-tailed Albatross and their conservation. Birders will surely spend every moment out on deck trying to photograph this beautiful species with its lovely yellow head and neck.
Day 25: Hachijojima, Japan Further south Hachijojima is a volcanic island with two mountains. Visit Hachijo Botanical Garden in the natural forests of a lava field, to see a dance and drum performance, and Nambara-Senjoiwa Beach. The more active can opt to join members of the Expedition Team for a nature trek at Mt. Hachijo-Fuji. This afternoon we head north along Japan's east coast, and in the evening enjoy the Captain's Farewell cocktail party, another gastronomic highlight.
Day 26: At Sea Relax on your final day at sea, heading for Hakodate, one of the first Japanese ports to be opened for foreign trade in 1859.
Day 27: Hakodate, Japan After breakfast, disembark Silver Discoverer.
• Highly qualified expedition team with experts in their field (marine biologists, ornithologists, historians and more) • Excursions and activities, including explorations by Zodiac • Expedition gear: backpack and water bottle on every voyage • 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 • On-board gratuities • Exclusive partnership with The Royal Geographical Society
Pricing (per person) $NZD
Departs 26 May 2017
26 May 2017