This expedition incorporates many of the key birding areas in the South West Pacific, cruising from New Zealand and following the path of the voyage traditionally know in birding circles as ‘Western Pacific Odyssey or WPO', this itinerary ends in Papua New Guinea. The Western Pacific Odyssey was first offered in 2007 and is now considered one of the ‘must do' expeditions for any birder because of opportunities to see some of the rarest pelagic seabirds in the world plus many island endemics. In addition the cetacean list is outstanding and there will be numerous snorkelling, swimming and relaxing opportunities.
After departing the Port of Tauranga, in New Zealand we sail for the rich waters of the Hauraki Gulf where there are numerous endemic species, including the recently discovered New Zealand Storm-Petrel. From there it's northward to Norfolk Island for a day. Next stop is New Caledonia where we search for the amazing Kagu and other endemics in the Rivière Bleue National Park.
We then spend four exciting days in the Solomon Islands birding on Rennell, Makira, Guadalcanal (Mt Austin) and on Kolombangara, before cruising across the Britain Trench, an area known to be extremely rich in cetaceans. As we sail along the coasts of Bougainville and New Ireland, we will look for two extremely poorly known seabirds, Heinroth's Shearwater and the recently rediscovered Beck's Petrel, both of which we have seen on all previous expeditions in this region. Our final port on this South West Pacific voyage is the township of Kokopo in East New Britain, PNG. Alternatively, stay on board and travel with us throughout Papua New Guinea.
This expedition is accompanied by some of the best pelagic birding guides in the world who have extensive experience of the seabirds of the West Pacific and have visited the islands we will be landing on multiple times before. Birding starts at dawn and finishes at sundown. Our guides are there throughout the day to assist you and the ‘reading of the bird list' each evening is legendary for its detail and discussion. This is one expedition you can't afford to miss.
Arrive in Tauranga and transfer to the Spirit of Enderby. Settle into your cabin and join your expedition team and captain for a welcome on board.
In the outer Hauraki Gulf, we should obtain some good sightings of the Grey Ternlet. Other birds could include the Little Blue Penguin, Buller’s Shearwaters, Grey-faced Petrel, Little Shearwaters and Black Petrels, Fluttering Shearwaters and hopefully the New Zealand Storm-Petrels.
En route to Norfolk Island, we have a good chance of spotting Gould’s Petrel, Black-winged Petrel, Kermadec Petrel, White-naped Petrel, Grey-faced Petrel, Wedge-tailed and Short-tailed Shearwaters and Black Petrels.
After clearing Australian Customs, we spend most of the day at Norfolk Island’s remnant forest, home to the three endemics – the Norfolk Island Parakeet, Norfolk Gerygone and the Slender-billed White-eye.
At sea on a northward course, we cross a large underwater seamount, a productive area for seabirds including Tahiti, Kermadec, Collared and White-necked Petrels.
Approaching New Caledonia we will try to locate the ‘New Caledonian Storm-Petrel’ which is considered an undescribed species. Other species including Short-tailed and Wedge-tailed Shearwaters, as well as Tahiti, Gould’s and Collared Petrels could be attracted to our oiling. Later today we arrive in Noumea.
Today we journey to the Parc de la Rivière Bleue National Park to look for Kagu and Crow Honey-eater. Other birds to be on the lookout for include the Crested Parakeet, Cloven-feathered Dove, Yellow-bellied Robin, New Caledonian (Goliath) Imperial Pigeon and many more.
Enjoy leisurely days at sea and a chance to relax, catch up on notes, reading and sleep. Birding can also be good including Polynesian Storm-Petrel.
This morning we will go ashore at Rennell Island where we hope to see the Rennell Starling, Rennell Shrikebill, Bare-eyed White-eye, Rennell Fantail and Rennell White-eye. Other species we may come across include the Imperial Pigeon, Silver-capped Fruit Dove, Singing Parrot, Melanesian Flycatcher, Cardinal Myzomela, Finsch’s Pygmy Parrot and Island Thrush.
Makira Island holds its own treasures, including the endemic Sooty Myzomela, San Cristobal Melidectes, White-collared Monarch, Mottled Flowerpeckers, White-headed Fruit Dove and Rufous Fantail. Other species could include Rainbow Lorikeets, Red-knobbed and Imperial Pigeon, San Cristobal Singing and Metallic Starling, Pied Goshawk, Pacific Baza, and Cardinal Myzomela. We will also enjoy the hospitality of the people in nearby Anuta Village
We will anchor off Honiara and depart in the early morning for nearby Mt Austin. The birding here is quite exceptional and there is the potential for a good list of endemics and localised specialities including Yellow-eyed, White-bellied and Solomon’s Cuckoo-shrikes, Cicadabird, Brown-winged and Singing Starlings, Yellow-faced Myna, Chestnut-bellied and Black-and-white Monarchs and also the Steely Blue Fly-catcher.
At Kolombangara Island this afternoon we hope to see White-capped Monarch, Solomon White-eye, Yellow-vented Myzomela and hopefully, the Roviana Rail. Other species could include Blyths Hornbill, Superb Fruit Dove, Red-knobbed Imperial-Pigeon, Steely Blue Fly-catcher, Melanesian and Yellow-eyed Cuckoo-shrikes, Metallic and Singing Starlings and the Solomon Sea-Eagle.
Today we are at sea near the Bougainville and the New Britain Trench, experience tells us that it is a very productive area and we hope to see Heinroth’s Shearwater, it is also great for cetaceans.
Today we cruise along the coast of New Ireland, where our target of the day is the recently rediscovered Beck’s Petrel. Also there is another chance for Heinroth’s Shearwater. This is another area where a number of different species of cetaceans have been seen including Melon-headed Whale.
After breakfast and completing arrival formalities you disembark the Spirit of Enderby. We bid farewell to our fellow voyagers and board a complimentary transfer to a centrally located hotel or the airport which will conclude your voyage.
Cabin with Shared Facilities
Cabin with Private Facilities
Landing Fees/Local Payment: 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