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zUnlocking the Mysteries of the Coral Sea

19 days

19 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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Cairns, Australia

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. 


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.


Alotau, Papua New Guinea

Alotau, a sleepy town in the southeast of Papua New Guinea, is nestled in the hillsides of the northern shore of Milne Bay. In 1968 it became the province’s capital when administrators were moved from overcrowded Samarai Island.

Alotau played a pivotal role in the WWII Battle of Milne Bay—it was here that the Japanese suffered their first defeat. As a consequence, there are several memorials and relics here to commemorate the town’s significance, and you are invited to take a half-day tour to explore them. 


Punawan Island, Papua New Guinea

Punawan is an uninhabited island, used by residents of neighboring islands for its bountiful fishing opportunities. White sandy beaches and warm coastal waters will welcome you to this island paradise, which is a haven for divers and snorkelers alike.


Kitava and Nuratu Island, Papua New Guinea

A lot has been written about the Trobriand Islanders—a proud and fascinating group of people who live in traditional settlements that honor ancestral customs and traditions, which include a matrimonial line of descent alongside show-stopping dances and chants, which are primarily performed to attract and lure the opposite sex. Indeed, the Trobriand people have what we would consider a liberal attitude to sexual relations, hence their land space’s nickname—The Islands of Love—which are part of the Kula Ring.

Once we've anchored offshore, we will make our landing by Zodiac to this uplifted coral island where the island’s students will entertain and welcome us with a colorful presentation of local songs and dances. Souvenirs you may want to pick up here include intricately carved canes, boats and bowls, as well as some of the costumes used during the dances. For the keen walkers, hiking to Kitava’s primary school is a great way to see more of the island, including traditional houses and the all-important yam gardens.

During the afternoon we will be able to relax on the beach of Nuratu, and swim or snorkel in the warm water, enjoying our last stop in Papua New Guinea.


Iwa Island, Papua New Guinea

The islands in the Trobriands and Woodlark are mostly rocky and secluded, and Iwa is no exception. Villagers build food-garden lined stone paths and carve out steps from the beach to their homes on the higher part of the island. Seldom visited by outsiders (tourists), the native tribes still like to do their best to welcome visitors with a unique display of tradition songs and dance.


Kennedy Island, Solomon Islands

Kasolo Island is more popularly known as Kennedy Island because it is the historically famous landmark where JFK was marooned during World War II. Amid great publicity, the remains of the sunken PT-109 warship on which he was stationed, were discovered in nearby Blackett Strait. Today, Kennedy Island is a popular dive site for wreck seekers. 


Tulagi, Solomon Islands

At just 3.5 miles long by only 0.6 miles wide, Tulagi is one of the smallest of the 992 Solomon Islands. Meanwhile, nearby Gavutu Island was converted into a protected dolphin training ground from which the dolphins were freed in 2010 to now roam the waters in the wild. So, as we sail into dock, be on the lookout for both spinner and Indo-Pacific bottle nose dolphins.

Conditions permitting, today we will offer a Zodiac® cruise near Taroaniara to observe the local huts along the mangrove shores. Alternatively, we will cruise aboard Silver Discoverer into the channel that divides the Nggela Sule and Nggela Pile islands, where we will enjoy an afternoon of water sports at the mostly abandoned Roderick Bay Yacht Club.


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.


At Sea

A leisurely day at sea to exchange notes with fellow travelers and take advantage of the luxurious amenities aboard Silver Discoverer. Help our birders spot some of the seabirds found far away from their nesting grounds. Enjoy a lecture or an interesting book can be good company too. Or just relax in the comfort of your suite and watch a movie on the in-­‐suite interactive television.


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.


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.


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.


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.


At Sea

Enjoy a day aboard Silver Discoverer. Partake in authority-led lectures, martini tastings, cooking demonstrations or photography tutorials for lasting lessons to take home. Alternatively, relax, and enjoy Silversea’s signature luxury amenities including your in-suite bar that we've stocked to your preference, and gourmet dining selections by Relais & Chateaux. 


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 Tropicbirds. 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 passengers 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. 


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.


Auckland, New Zealand

Following breakfast, disembark Silver Discoverer.

Prices are per person, double occupancy, cruise only.