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zUnlocking the Mysteries of the Coral Sea 13nt

14 days

14 Day Luxury Pacific Expedition

Small Ship Adventures for our World Travelers

  • A rare opportunity to discover diverse cultures, see varied wildlife, and learn storied histories.
  • Explore a number of World War II wreckages and memorials.
  • See a sundry of terrains—from lagoon to mountainside, and from coral reef to mangrove.
  • Sail alongside dolphins, see near-extinct birds and visit prehistoric reptiles, such as the Crested Gecko Rhacodactylus Ciliatus.
  • Experience each island’s unique customs of craft, song and dance.

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Auckland, New Zealand

Embark the Silver Discoverer for this stunning Silversea Expedition – Unlocking the Mysteries of the Coral Sea. This afternoon, you will be introduced to your Expedition Team and attend a safety briefing, and tonight we invite you to familiarize yourself with your new home away from home, meet some of your fellow travelers and enjoy the first of many memorable meals in The Restaurant. 


Bay of Islands, New Zealand

Famous for spectacular beaches, breathtaking bays and an abundance of water activities, the Bay of Islands, commonly regarded as New Zealand’s “birthplace,” is a dynamic, sub-tropical region that is rich in tourism, fruit growing, dairy, wool-ranching, wine making and crafts. Northland boasts sandy beaches, beautiful bays, crystal-clear waters and an abundance of islands—there are 144 of them in the aptly named Bay of Islands. Meanwhile, harbors cut deep into the coast, which is fringed by bush land and punctuated by the occasional village.

Upon arrival at the Waitangi wharf our Maori Guide will escort us to the historical Waitangi Treaty Grounds where his/ her tribesmen will greet us with a traditional Maori welcome. Our guide will then proceed to take us on an exploration of the area upon which we will learn about New Zealand’s history, discovering the stories, personalities and events that shaped this magnificent and culturally rich country. During this once-in-a-lifetime experience, you will view the world’s largest ceremonial war canoe, stand on the spot where the Waitangi Treaty was signed, visit the historical Treaty House, and learn about the carvings in the carved Meeting House.

Following our guided tour, you can opt to partake in a private workshop, to learn local skills and crafts, such as flax weaving, woodcarving and kapa haka (Māori song and dance, including the famous Haka).

At midday we will be served an authentic hangi feast, which is cooked in an underground pit oven. The Māori guides and performers will join us to share our meal.

Come the afternoon, we will undertake a Waka activity that provides a rare and unique insight into ancient Nga Puhi tribal customs, rituals and traditions. As we paddle a 50 ft. Māori Waka (canoe) on the tidal estuaries of the Waitangi River to the Haruru Falls, your Maori hosts will inform and entertain you with stories of their ancestors’ rich histories. Upon our return to the Waitangi wharf, we will say farewell to the new friends we made during our Bay of Islands Cultural Experience and return to the Silver Discoverer for our last night on board.


At Sea

A leisurely day at sea is yours to enjoy. Begin perhaps with a late breakfast and another cup of coffee or tea during the first of the day’s lectures. Join the lectures and hear fascinating tales of adventure and learn more about the region’s endemic wildlife and remarkable nature. Our knowledgeable Lecture Staff members are experts in a variety of scientific fields. 


Norfolk Island, Norfolk

Today is dedicated to the birdwatchers among us. Norfolk Island, with neighbouring Nepean Island, has been identified by BirdLife International as an Important Bird Area because it supports the entire populations of White-Chested and Slender-Billed Norfolk Parakeets and Norfolk Gerygones, as well as over 1% of the world populations of Wedge-Tailed Shearwaters and Red-Tailed Tropic birds. Norfolk Island also has a botanical garden, which is home to a sizable variety of plant species.


At Sea

As we continue sailing towards our next port of call, enjoy this rare opportunity to truly relax. Alternatively, share memories with fellow guests in the piano bar; review the abundance of photographs you have no doubt taken, and perhaps take a moment to reflect on (what we hope) has been the trip of a lifetime. 


Ile des Pins, New Caledonia

Welcome to Ile des Pins-an island that is teaming with animal life and home to unusual creatures such as the Crested Gecko Rhacodactylus ciliatus and the world's largest gecko Rhacodactylus leachianus. The “Isle of Pines” is nicknamed l'île la plus proche du paradis ("the closest island to Paradise"), and it’s easy to see why. Divers and snorkelers will enjoy touring the lagoon where incredible species of fish and corals can be seen in the transparent water. Meanwhile, our by-foot explorers will enjoy a fascinating journey to penal colony ruins, which feature a water tower that was built by prisoners in 1874/75; renovated in 2005, it is still used by islanders today.


Lifou, New Caledonia

Lifou, a French commune, not only has one of the most diverse landscapes in the Pacific Islands but is also the largest coral atoll in the Loyalty archipelago. As a consequence, our divers will be awestruck by the incredible coral reefs, teeming with brightly colored marine life, that they’ll be able to see. Indeed, Jinek Bay, located just a short stroll from where the ship docks, is considered to be one of the Pacific’s highest quality reefs. Meanwhile, the above-water terrain does not disappoint, either. Here, our land-lovers can explore surrounds that include limestone caves, white-sand beaches and lush, green forests.

Today is not the day to forget your camera as you are bound to be awestruck Lifou’s breathtakingly beautiful views—the northern coast of the island is made up of high, steep cliffs, whilst the southern side boasts pristine beaches that cradle stunning, turquoise waters.

Life on Lifou offers visitors a glimpse of island charm—time seems to be measured by the positions of the sun and the tide, while residents preserve their traditional Kanak culture, which encompasses a tight, clan structure that have a close affinity for the land they have inhabited for thousands of years.


Tanna, Vanuatu

With 20,000 inhabitants, Tanna is one of the more populous islands of Vanuatu, yet it is also one of the most traditional. Several kastom villages are found on Tanna, but the most famous is the Jon Frum cult, which completely rejected western objects and material wealth…until World War II. Learn more about this fascinating “cargo cult” and how its members believe that by building mock landing strips, as the early followers had observed during the war, they will attract planes that will bring them their rightful goods.

In the morning we will see the John Frum Singers, be entertained by traditional dances, and perhaps have the opportunity for swimming or a visit to the island’s hot mud pools. In the afternoon, we will visit Mount Yasur – the island’s active volcano. Following our local guide, we will travel along a bumpy road that encircles the volcano, passing several small villages, before arriving at a trail that leads to the rim of the caldera. The volcano continuously rumbles and we will determine whether to go to the caldera’s edge depending on the level of volcanic activity on the day of our visit. 


Ambrym, Vanuatu

Ambrym, one of the larger islands in Vanuatu, is well known for its highly active volcanoes and their dominantly wide caldera. Indeed, upon arrival you will no doubt notice how the black shores stand out against Ambrym’s lush vegetation.
The highlight of any visit to Ambrym is the Rom dance, which is usually only performed during grade-taking ceremonies or men’s secret society meetings. It involves near-naked musicians and dancers clad in banana leaves and wooden masks, dancing in a mesmerizing fashion. If it has not rained, the performance takes on a mythical air, as dancers ostensibly “disappear” into the clouds of dust raised by their stomping feet. For those who are interested, a full day trek to the volcano will be offered though at the cost of witnessing the alluring Rom dance.


Luganville and Champagne Beach, Vanuatu

Luganville (called "Santo" by people from Vanuatu's northern islands and "Kanal" by rural residents of the large island of Espiritu Santo) is the second largest city in the archipelago of Vanuatu (formerly known as New Hebrides). Here you will see, firsthand, the South Pacific’s rich island heritage, which spans over 3,000 years of Pacific region immigration. On Luganville's main street, (which is unusually wide, thanks to a WWII general's insistence that it should accommodate four trucks abreast), visitors will find interesting general stores, commercial shops and tourist boutiques. You may want to join a highlights tour of Luganville, to take in the city’s main sites and visit with the island women for a display of their unique water music rhythms. Alternatively, divers are invited to explore the WWII wrecks that lie at the ocean’s floor.

In the afternoon you will have the opportunity to go to Champagne Beach, so-named for the freshwater springs that bubble up through the white sand to create a variety of dancing, colored lights (an all-natural consequence of the varying densities of salt- and fresh-water). This is undoubtedly a unique place to swim, cool off and watch the bright spectrum of fish that dart over the sand and among the rocks. We also hope to see the unique Water Music Women who stand waist-deep in the water in a half-moon pattern and use their hands to produce a wide range of musical sounds with the water. The crescent formation reflects the way the women have worked for thousands of years, standing in a semi-circle at the water’s edge, washing, bathing and collecting shellfish.


Matautu Village, Tikopia Islands, Solomon

Life is but a dream in the remote island of Tikopia, located to the southeast of the Solomon Islands. A remnant of an extinct volcano, this small and high island covers an area only 5 km² (2 sq. mi.).

Here it is very common to share one’s dreams, and considerable attention is paid to them, as they are believed to be designed from a supernatural force, and considered indicators of events to come in waking life.

Besides the retelling of dreams, today we will be treated to some of the best dance performances on the entire trip. The locals are so friendly, that you will leave this place with many new friends. Another custom on Tiokopia is that you exit a house backwards on your hands and knees, as it is very rude to show your backside to your host when leaving his house. Just something to keep in mind when the locals invite you over. Not to worry, the huts have their doors very low to the ground. Become friends with some of the islanders and you may just get this very personal opportunity. 


Nembao Village, Utupua Island, Solomon Islands

Nembao, one of the main villages of Utupua Island, is our host for the day. Utupua is a high island surrounded by a coral reef with a land surface of 69.0 km², and its highest point located at 380 m.

This is a day of pure tradition as we are welcomed by young local warriors and treated to a dance performance. We will have the opportunity to walk around the village and explore, to discover how the people of Utupua live.

Hoping to see mud skippers and bird life, we will board our zodiacs for a tour through the mangroves.


Port Mary, Santa Ana, Solomon Islands

Today, Port Mary, the small bay in front of the main village of Ghupuna, welcomes us with beautiful white-sand beaches, large, lush trees, and traditional houses built of local timber and leaf. Santa Ana’s leaf houses were built flush to the ground until the 1970s but are now mostly built on stilts. Dozens of curious children will greet us, and we hope to arrange a local reception with dances by the island’s local students. If you’re on the lookout for a truly unique souvenir, Santa Ana is renowned for its small, ornately crafted ceremonial food bowls, dance sticks and fishing floats.


Honiara, Solomon Islands

Following breakfast, disembark Silver Discoverer.

Prices are per person, double occupancy, cruise only.