As we follow in the footsteps of the great explorers though regions seldom visited, join us as we reconnoitre remote atolls, walk distant shores and snorkel coral reefs which have never been fully explored in Papua New Guinea. Small local communities are keen to share their rich culture, fascinating history and the rich biodiversity which supports their traditional way of life, be it plants, birdlife or beneath the sea. Papua New Guinea is a revelation of exquisite wild beauty and exotic cultural wealth. The incomparable biodiversity in both sea and land makes this one of the most mysterious places on earth, as rugged mountains give way to picture perfect white sand beaches. In this region which is home to more than 800 distinct languages and cultures we are sure to experience some remarkable interactions with the locals.
This is a land of new discoveries, each year new species are revealed in these remote and fragile environments. The incredible statistics speak for themselves: 69% of the 284 known mammal species in Papua New Guinea are endemic, as are half of the 578 species of breeding birds.
From the volcanic region of Rabaul we head southwards through the nutrient rich waters of the New Britain Trench, which offers wonderful wildlife viewing opportunities. Our expedition begins with a visit to Jacquinot Bay which features a spectacular waterfall and small villages hugging the coastline. Next we delve into the culturally rich Trobraind Islands, sometimes called the ‘Islands of Love’. The inhabitants have worked hard to keep the indigenous culture alive and today still live in the way they have for countless generations. We will then explore the coral fringed islands of the Louisiade Archipelago.
The D’Entrecasteaux Islands were named after the French Explorer Antoine d’Entrecasteaux who discovered them whilst looking for La Perouse. The sheer mist-covered peaks, wild untamed rivers, vast swaths of rainforest untouched by modern civilization, hot springs, bubbling mud pools and spouting geysers all attest to the geothermal activity.
As we head north-west along the main island of Papua New Guinea, we explore fiords, sandy beaches, jungles, remote islands and untamed coral reefs, before arriving in the port town of Madang.
This expedition offers a range of experiences to stimulate the senses. We explore remote regions of Papua New Guinea, snorkel some of the world’s best coral reefs systems, walk through untouched rainforest and gain cultural insights through interactions with the locals. An optional programme for those wishing to kayak in the excellent conditions of this unique part of the Pacific is also available.
Arrive at Tokua Airport, Kokopo, New Britain, the capital of East New Britain Province and transfer to your hotel for the first night. Meet your fellow travellers and the expedition team over dinner this evening.
Join the expedition team as we explore Rabaul which is surrounded by six beautiful cone-shaped volcanoes. Visit parts of old Rabaul which was covered by ash from the eruption of Mt Tavurvur in 1994. We will visit local markets and travel along roads built by Singaporean and Burmese prisoners of war under the direction of the Japanese during WW2 and tour sites including a Japanese submarine base and barge tunnels. Board the Spirit of Enderby in the afternoon and settle into your cabin. Join the captain and your expedition team on the bridge as we set sail.
We are sure to see some amazing creatures and wildlife as we sail through the rich nutrients upwelling from the New Britain Trench which lies just off the south-east coast of New Britain. Experience your first sing-sing (welcome) Papua New Guinea style and explore the war wrecks still in the region.
Positioned in the Solomon Sea and historically known as the ‘Islands of Love’, the Trobriands offer a glimpse of traditional culture largely unspoilt by outside influence. Meet the Trobriand islanders of Kitava and view energetic, time-honoured dances that celebrate fishing and the seasonal yam harvest. Learn about the history of the ‘Kula Ring’, a circular pattern of ceremonial trade relationships that binds the islands of Milne Bay and eastern Papua New Guinea together in a long-established network of friendship. These islanders are also renowned for the exquisite quality of their ebony wood-carvings, often decorated with mother-of-pearl shell inlays. We take to the water around Narutu Island and snorkel among kaleidoscopic coral reefs populated by Parrotfish, Neon Damsels and other brilliantly-hued species. Those who prefer viewing birds and plant-life can join the expedition team on a walk around the island in search of Flying Foxes (fruit bats), Sulphur-crested Cockatoos and Helmeted Friarbirds.
The Louisiade Archipelago which stretches some 400km along the northern rim of the Coral Sea is one of the great island arcs of the South Pacific. Rarely visited by outsiders, this area is a wonderland of literally hundreds of islands, lagoons and extensive barrier reefs and home to the seafaring Dobu people. Snorkel around the old Japanese base and discover a ‘Zero’ fighter plane in shallow waters.
The largest island in the archipelago is Tagula Island, which endured a gold rush that peaked in 1889 and is dominated by 806m Mt Riu (Mt Rattlesnake). We will go ashore here to investigate the tropical moist broadleaf forest. Endemic birds we hope to see are the Tagula Honeyeater, White-chinned Myzomelo, Tagula Butcherbird and White-throated White-eye. Whilst exploring we will also keep a look-out for the five endemic frogs and two endemic lizard species.
Awake this morning in the D’Entrecasteaux Islands. We have two full days to explore this unique island group, from the highs of Mt Lamanai to the protected harbour at Sewa Bay. One highlight will be the geothermal area with hot springs and bubbling mud pools surrounded by lush vegetation. We will visit the small village with less than 1,000 inhabitants on Dobu Island.
Today we discover the scenic beauty of the rarely visited Tufi Fjords. Featuring 25 individual canyons with sheer basalt cliffs, these are the only fjords in Papua New Guinea. Take in the spectacular views as we cruise close to the towering cliffs before boarding the Zodiacs which will take us ashore for a closer look and to meet the locals. Due to the protection of the fiords, the coral reefs are very rich in colour and variety and the waters offer remarkable visibility. We will find a suitable spot to snorkel amongst the Gobie, Mandarin Fish, Pigmy Seahorses and sponge and shelf corals. Later we will take a walk in the surrounding rainforest to look for the world’s largest butterfly, the Queen Alexandra Bird Wing.
Travel ashore to the picturesque village of Lababia, gateway to one of the most important conservation areas in Papua New Guinea – the Kamiali Wildlife Management Area. Local guides will accompany us as we explore the area and walk the David Suzuki Trail through the prehistoric rainforest. We hope to attract a wide array of native birdlife including Hornbills, Palm Cockatoos, Parrots and the iconic Raggiana Bird-of-paradise.
This morning we view the White Limestone Cliff as we take the Zodiacs up the Pulie River towards the small local villages. In the afternoon we explore a World War II battle ground where between 15 December 1943 and 24 February 1944 over 400 soldiers lost their lives during the conflict between the Japanese and the Allied forces in and around this maze of small islands.
The Siassi Islands lie in the Vitiaz Straits, between the Huon Peninsula on the island of New Guinea and the western end of the island of New Britain. We plan to visit Tuam and Umboi which offer a mix of both mainland and Bismarck Archipelago cultures. Watch the locals perform their traditional welcome dances and savour the warm village hospitality before joining your expedition team for a nature walk and some snorkelling at Umboi Island.
Madang sits on a peninsula within one of the South Pacific’s most beautiful harbours. With a backdrop of steep mountains and lush tropical vegetation, the harbour shelters a number of picturesque islands. Madang’s thriving community is renowned for its traditional artists, world class diving opportunities and the richness of its surrounding forests. This morning we will take a tour to explore the amazing diversity of wildlife in the surrounding area, before returning to Madang to visit the markets. Upon disembarkation our expedition concludes with a complimentary transfer to your hotel or the airport.
One bunk (one upper and one lower) and one additional lower berth, writing desk, wardrobe, and drawers. Private washbasin. Shared shower and toilet facilities nearby with other Main Deck cabins. These cabins have a porthole.
Two lower berths, writing desk, wardrobe, and drawers. Private washbasin. Shared shower and toilet facilities nearby with other Main Deck cabins. These cabins have a porthole.
One bunk (one upper and one lower berth), writing desk, wardrobe, and drawers. Private bathroom with shower, toilet and washbasin. These cabins have windows.
Two lower berths, writing desk, wardrobe, and drawers. Private bathroom with shower, toilet and washbasin. These cabins have windows.
Separate bedroom with a double bed and a single bed or sofa in the lounge, writing desk, wardrobe and drawers. Private bathroom with shower, toilet and washbasin. Mini Suites have windows.
Large lounge area, separate bedroom with double bed, single bed in the lounge, writing desk, wardrobe, drawers, and fridge. There is a private bathroom with shower, toilet and washbasin. Large forward and side facing windows with great views.
Discovery Fund: 500 USD pp
Spirit of Enderby/Shokalskiy
Vessel Type: Expedition
Length: 72 metres
Passenger Capacity: 50
Built / refurbished: 1984 / 2004
The Spirit of Enderby is a fully ice-strengthened expedition vessel, built in 1984 for polar and oceanographic research and is perfect for Expedition Travel.
She carries just 50 passengers and was refurbished in November 2004 to provide comfortable accommodation in twin share cabins approximately half of which have private facilities. All cabins have outside windows or portholes and ample storage space.
On board there is a combined bar/library lounge area and a dedicated lecture room. The cuisine is excellent and is prepared by top NZ and Australian chefs.
The real focus and emphasis of every expedition is getting you ashore as often as possible for as long as possible with maximum safety and comfort. Our Expeditions are accompanied by some of the most experienced naturalists and guides, who have devoted a lifetime to field research in the areas that we visit. The ship is crewed by a very enthusiastic and most experienced Russian Captain and crew.
The name Spirit of Enderby honours the work and the vision of the Enderby Brothers of London. The Enderby Captains were at the forefront of Antarctic exploration for almost 40 years in the early 1800’s. It also celebrates Enderby Island, arguably the greatest Subantarctic Island in the world.
a) our fleet of RIB’s, (rigid inflatable boats) sometimes referred to as zodiacs. These extremely safe and stable craft will land you at some of the most amazing places.
Some departures are on the SHOKALSKIY - the sister ship to the SPIRIT OF ENDERBY