The Y-shaped country of Vanuatu has 82 islands, while the Solomon Islands consist of close to 1000 islands (one hundred of them inhabited) –and almost all islands have different cultures. The colourfully mesmerising coral reefs and crystal-clear lagoons filled with tropical fish of Vanuatu and the Solomon Islands are truly a diver’s paradise. The underwater wonders are only one part of this expedition, as it is also a great cultural voyage. From the capitals of the two countries to the lesser-visited and outer islands we will see a great variety of historical sites, cultures, customs and objects.
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• Enjoy the underwater view of indigenous tropical fish, feather stars, nudibranches, vase sponges, Gorgonian fans, octopus, morays and dolphins
• Dive into Marovo Lagoon –on the tentative list for UNESCO World Heritage
• Discover Mbike Island and the surrounding waters
• Marvel at Njari Island’s underwater variety and relax on Champagne Beach
• Birders will be on the lookout for Ospreys, Brahminy Kites and kingfishers
• Watch the mesmerising Rom dance on Ambrym
Embark the Silver Discoverer for this stunning expedition – Treasures of Melanesia. This afternoon, you will be introduced to your Expedition Team and attend a safety briefing. Tonight we invite you to familiarise yourself with your new home away from home, meet some of your fellow travellers and enjoy the first of many memorable meals in The Restaurant.
Marovo Lagoon is one of the world’s largest saltwater lagoons. Described by American author James A. Michener as “one of the seven natural wonders of the world”, Marovo is home to a double barrier reef system, and is one of two sites in the Solomon’s currently under consideration for UNESCO World Heritage Site status.
Though residents of Marovo Lagoon normally do not dance (the Seventh-day Adventist Church had banned it as they believed dancing to be sinful), we hope to see some demonstration of local handicraft, and hear some of their songs.
Diving or snorkelling close to the entrance of the lagoon will expose incredible reef drop-offs that are characterised by gorgonian fan forests, black coral gardens, giant clams, sea turtles, manta rays, eels, barracuda, octopus, morays, grey whaler sharks (also known as grey reef sharks), lionfish and shoals of pelagic fish.
Meanwhile, bird-watchers can look for osprey, Brahminy Kite and kingfisher, in the forests on one of the many surrounding islands.
The Marovo Lagoon residents are quite famous for their woodcarvings and we hope to see some of the intricately carved and adorned artefacts –hoping to be able to buy some as well.
Be out on deck in the early morning as we approach the Sandfly Passage to reach Mbike, a small privately owned island between Mbokonimbeti Island and Nggela Sule (in the Florida Islands).
Once we reach Mbike you will see that huge trees give shade and a picture-perfect little beach will invite you to swim and snorkel, while the extensive coral reef ecosystems, teeming tropical fish and exceptional dive sites beckon our divers as well. The snorkelling might show feather stars and colourful nudibranches, vase sponges and gorgonian fans, lionfish and octopus -all part of this truly remarkable marine environment.
If conditions permit, our Galley Team will want to offer a barbecue ashore.
A Zodiac cruise into nearby Roderick Bay will be offered.
Today Silver Discoverer will enter Port Mary, the bay in front of Ghupuna, Santa Ana’s main village. We will have a short Zodiac ride onto a beautiful white sand beach with huge shade-giving trees. Once ashore you will notice the very tidy village with its houses made of local materials built on stilts.
After a short welcome on the beach we will head to the sports ground where we will be entertained by traditional songs and dances by members of the three different villages on Santa Ana (Owaraha in the local language).
Islanders will have set up several stands with souvenirs, ranging from traditional shell money to fishing floats and different carvings based on local stories and legends.
In the afternoon Silver Discoverer will continue eastward. Let our lecturers introduce you to our next destination.
This morning Silver Discoverer will enter the deep bay on Utupua’s western side. Nembao, one of the main villages on the island, will be our host this day. After a short Zodiac ride we will land on the sandy beach next to the village’s centre.
We will be welcomed and attend a presentation of traditional dances and songs.
A good way to have a look at how these Solomon Islanders live is to walk along the beach and look at the houses, fishing canoes and small plantations. If tide and time permits we might take our Zodiacs to explore the mangrove-lined shores further into the bay looking for birdlife and mudskippers.
During the morning Silver Discoverer will approach Espiritu Santo, Vanuatu’s largest island. The European name goes back to the early 17th century when Pedro de Quiroz believed to have reached the famous “Tierra Australis Incognita”, the unknown southern land, which he called “La Austrialia del Espiritu Santo”.
We will pass Big Bay, where the Spaniards tried to settle, to reach Hog Harbor and Champagne Beach. Once we will have cleared into Vanuatu, you will be able to enjoy one of the finest beaches of Vanuatu. You can relax under huge fish poison trees and Alexandrian laurel giving cooling shade or swim and snorkel in the crystal-clear water.
We hope to see and hear one of the most unusual music groups of Vanuatu –the Water Music Women. Standing in a half-circle in the water, they produce their music using the hands, moving them through the water in different ways.
In the early morning Silver Discoverer will be in front of Ambrym’s west coast. Unlike Espiritu Santo with its raised coral reefs and white sand, Ambrym is a volcanic and active (!) island with dark beaches.
Ambrym is known as the island of magic and of the 113 local language of Vanuatu 5 alone are spoken on Ambrym –apart from Bislama, one of the three official languages of the country.
We will go ashore in Ranon to have a look at the local community and see the very special Rom dance. Normally these dances are only shown during grade-taking ceremonies or men’s secret society meetings and on those occasions the participants actually prepare their masks and costumes in secrecy.
Apart from the mesmerising Rom dance we will be entertained by one of the local string bands and hope to see some of Vanuatu’s sand drawings. Although some might simply see them as aesthetically pleasing drawings, UNESCO has recognised them as a local “writing” system and inscribed them on the Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
This evening our Captain will invite you to the Captain’s Farewell cocktail, while the Executive Chef and Restaurant Manager will expect you for the Captain’s Farewell dinner.
Our on-board Photographer/Videographer will present his/her Voyage-DVD, permitting you to re-live the many moments of encounters with the local communities, the excursions taken and the animals and plants seen above and below the water.
Following breakfast, disembark Silver Discoverer.
Expedition highlights and wildlife listed here are possible experiences only and cannot be guaranteed. Your Expedition Leader and Captain will work together to ensure opportunities for adventure and exploration are the best possible, taking into account the prevailing weather and wildlife activity. Expedition Team members scheduled for this voyage are subject to change or cancellation.
Overall size of 186 SQ.FT. / 17.3 M2. Enjoy a sitting area to watch brilliant scenery through a view window. With preferred midship location, Deck 4 Explorer Suites accommodate three guests. As on Deck 4, the Explorer Suites on Deck 3 offer an ample view window and relaxing sitting area, with enough room for three guests. An enchanting retreat suitable for three guests, Deck 2 suites exude cozy opulence, with porthole window views and a cushy sitting area. Features: View window or portholes, Sitting area, Twin beds or queen-sized bed, Marbled bathroom, Writing desk, Personal safe, Hair dryer, Flat screen television
Overall size of 181 SQ. FT. / 16.8 M2. Welcoming and comfortable, the View Suite provides a relaxing haven for even the utmost adventure-seeking guests. Complete a day spent exploring onshore with an evening unwinding in the comfort of your sitting area. Capture passing ocean scenes through your view window. Freshen up in your beautiful marbled bathroom before enjoying an elegant onboard dinner. Or cozy up under fine bed linens to watch an on-demand movie on the flat-screen television. Fall asleep easily, dreaming of the incredible experiences that await you the following day. Features: View window, Sitting area, Twin beds or queen-sized bed, Marbled bathroom, Choice of bathroom amenities, Writing desk, Hair dryer, Personal safe, Flat screen television with DVD and satellite reception, Wifi available (fees apply)
Overall size of 269 SQ. FT. / 25 M2. A quiet sanctuary. The suite’s sitting area has plenty of room to relax while on your cruise. Large picture windows frame panoramic ocean views. The perfect backdrop for breakfast in bed. Some Vista Suites accommodate three guests. Features: Large view window(s), Sitting area, Twin beds or queen-sized bed, Marbled bathroom, Choice of bathroom amenities, Personal safe, Hair dryer, Writing desk, Flat screen television with DVD and satellite reception, Wifi available (fees apply)
Overall size of 280 SQ. FT. / 26 M2 (including a private balcony 35.5 SQ. FT. / 3.2 M2 ). Veranda Suites 601, 602, 603 and 604 can accommodate three guests. A Silversea signature, complete with floor-to-ceiling glass doors that open onto a private balcony with patio furniture. Veranda Suites lavishly accommodate three guests. Features: Veranda or balcony with floor-to-ceiling glass doors, Sitting area, Twin beds or queen-sized bed, Marbled bathroom, Personal safe, Hair dryer, Writing desk, Flat screen television
Overall size of 408 SQ. FT. / 38 M2 (including a private balcony 27 SQ. FT. / 2.5 M2). A mark of distinction. Sumptuous. Spacious. Rich textures and panoramic views surround you with distinguished luxury. The perfect summary of The Medallion Suite offered by the world’s best cruise line. Features: Large teak veranda with patio furniture and floor-to-ceiling glass doors, Sitting area, Twin beds or queen-sized bed, Marbled bathroom with shower, Personal safe, Hair dryer,Writing desk, Flat screen television(s) with DVD and satellite reception
Vessel Type: Luxury Expedition
Length: 338 Feet/102.9 Metres
Passenger Capacity: 120 passengers
Her small size and shallow draft allow close-up access to rugged coasts well beyond the reach of ordinary vessels. And she has been newly refurbished to help guests maximize their experience and build a genuine connection with the regions they visit.
Spacious decks and panoramic public rooms mean the drama of the unexpected is never far from view. A fleet of Zodiacs allows exploration from the water or remote landings anywhere nature or curiosity dictate. Since many of our expeditions sail to some of the world's most pristine coral reef systems, there's a glass-bottom boat for underwater viewing along with a full complement of snorkelling equipment and a dive programme for advanced divers.
We've also taken great care to assemble a truly outstanding Expedition Team, composed of experts in the culture, history and wild life of the destinations, to present informal talks, guide Zodiac outings and lead small-group explorations ashore. While back on board, every creature comfort awaits: an ocean-view suite, in-suite bar and the head-to-toe pampering of a butler; elegant lounges and open bar where fellow travellers gather to swap tales about their day's adventures; and cuisine that meets Silversea's standards of culinary excellence — which are lofty, indeed. Imaginative menus in The Restaurant feature both regional offerings and dishes inspired by Relais & Châteaux. Additional amenities include a sun-catching pool deck, an internet cafe, a fitness centre, and a beauty and massage centre — particularly alluring after an adventurous day ashore.