Melanesia cruise, history and wildlife cruise
Description of Melanesia cruise, history and wildlife cruise
Uncover the wildlife treasures of Papua New Guinea on this two-week wildlife cruise. We set sail from the culturally rich artery of the Sepik River, the longest on the island, and heading north we cross the Bismarck Sea, arriving at the remote islands of Manus and Mussau. Manus Island is the least densely populated region in the whole of Papua New Guinea, and the communities here still lead very traditional lives. From here, we turn east – to the larger islands of New Ireland and New Britain, where we will experience tribal life. In Rabaul, dancers in beautifully carved masks perform a centuries old ritual; skipping over red hot coals to honour the spirits.
Some 200km to the east, we encounter Nissan Island, which was occupied by the Japanese during WW2, before being recaptured by New Zealand and British forces. We’ll see evidence here of these brief but intense battles. Our next landing is one of the most thrilling moments of the cruise as we reach Bougainville. The island was off limits for over two decades – and we will be amongst the first travelers to visit it again, exploring the incredible diversity which was able to thrive as a result of this isolation. This Melanesia cruise then continues south through the brilliant turquoise waters of the Solomon Islands.
This itinerary is birding bliss – reaching extraordinarily remote islands where we may have the opportunity to observe species such as the superb pitta, recognised by its striking colouring: black with a scarlet belly and turquoise wings. Endemic species in the Solomon Islands include the Solomon sea eagle and the Roviana rail. Keen birders can join our specialised birding programme, where we increase the chances of sightings with customised excursions around these archipelagos.
As well as the many treats on land and in the air, passengers can explore what lies beneath the surface of the South Pacific by snorkelling at selected spots in these warm waters. Many battles were fought during WW2, and the wrecked ships have now become stunning reefs, attracting a wealth of rainbow-coloured coral and lively shoals of fish.
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PlanetDuring our long involvement in visiting remote islands (over 35 years) we have been instrumental in developing responsible visitor guidelines, and we are aware of the need to travel with minimal impact on the natural environment, and educate and support our passengers to follow our lead, and respect the needs of different ecosystems.
Many issues confront animals and their habitats, the world's oceans and isolated ethnic groups. We share unique, pristine, and wild place with you, as well as taking action. We aim to provide eco-education for our passengers whilst onboard through on-board lectures and information throughout voyages.
All waste generated on our expeditions is disposed of in a responsible manner. The vessel complies with MARPOL where possible and allowable we practice recycling, otherwise all non-recyclable waste is brought back for disposal at approved sites.
Our goal in managing our vessel is to minimise fuel consumption and emissions with regular servicing and a proactive maintenance programme. We annually clean and antifoul our vessel's hull to reduce the risk of biofouling. When selecting our specialist expedition equipment, we research this carefully to ensure that they are the most suitable and environmentally responsible. Group sizes are kept small to minimize impact and enhance visitor experience.
PeopleDuring our Pacific voyages we visit local Wildlife Management Areas, and use local guides, such as wildlife and dive guides, wherever possible to support the local knowledge-base and economy.
Allowing time for passengers to explore the local markets, waterfront stores and open-air markets ensures local shopkeepers and craftspeople are encouraged to sustain their craft and traditions, as well as create a money flow into the local communities of the islands. We provide opportunities for passengers to meet with villagers and learn about their unique culture and life in remote areas, and encourage respect of local customs and traditions. Where required and able we aim to use local resources and services.
In March 2016, we operated a conservation voyage in partnership with Forest & Bird to the Kermadec Islands where a portion of the voyage's profits go towards Forest & Bird's valuable conservation work. We have also operated a "Cruise for Conservation" to the New Zealand Subantarctic Islands and 5% of the fare is given to a specific conservation cause. The following agencies have benefited: Save the Albatross, Yellow-eyed Penguin Trust and Marine Mammal Research Trust. We have also raised money for the Last Ocean Charitable Trust.
Money is raised from the sale of photographs, books and DVD’s onboard to support the reforestation of an area of native New Zealand forest purchased by the company. The company employs a part-time Conservation Officer.
We partner with Enderby Trust to provide Scholarships for young people, who could not otherwise afford to travel, to join expeditions. We also have active membership in a number of conservation and travel organizations.
We have taken a proactive role in research, funding and publishing books on isolated islands. To date the company has published two books, “Straight through from London” a history of the Bounty and Antipodes Islands; and the “Galapagos of the Antarctic – Wild Islands south of New Zealand”.
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