Be the envy of your peers as you recount stories of early morning canoe trips through fiords and forests. Tell the tales of dragon dances. Of how you snorkelled from isolated beaches and Zodiac® platforms and saw and schools of colourful reef fish. Or how you saw the increasingly rare Dusky Cuckoo Dove. Live the stories you’d love to tell on this varied voyage.
• Enjoy special songs and traditional dances of Papua New Guinea
• Relax on the white sandy beaches, swim and snorkel, or look for bird life
• Visit The Cenderawasih Marine Park and spot numerous species of butterfly fish, angelfish, damselfish, parrotfish, rabbitfish and anemone fish
• Explore The Raja Ampat region of West Papua, with its multiple islands and intricate system of reefs
Embark the Silver Discoverer for this stunning Expedition – Mysteries of New Guinea. This afternoon, you will meet your Expedition Team and attend a safety briefing. Tonight we invite you to meet some of your fellow travellers and enjoy the first of many memorable meals in The Restaurant.
While Silver Discoverer sails across the Coral Sea, get acquainted with the amenities on your home away from home for the next 17 days. Enjoy a leisurely breakfast and perhaps attend a workshop or lecture that will prepare you for the experiences of Papua New Guinea.
Alotau is the provincial capital of the Milne Bay Province and our port of entry into Papua New Guinea. The town and surrounding area has been an important staging ground during World War II and we will see remains and memorials dating back or referring to the war. On our tour of the town we will reach viewpoints of the bay and get to see the markets, which are frequented not only by locals, but also by islanders selling their products or looking for produce to take back into Milne Bay. Alotau is an important port facility for the islands and attracts many vendors of handicrafts from different islands.
Kafure, located on the south-eastern peninsula of Cape Nelson in Oro Province, is situated next to a tropical fjord (the work of ancient volcanic activities) and is fringed by uncharted coral reefs. We will take our Zodiacs ashore at a small village to be welcomed with songs and dances. Later, climb into a local canoe to explore the smooth waters of the Kwapurina Fjord. With villagers as our oarsmen, we will be guided under canopies of ancient mangrove forests acting as home to a wide range of colorful birds and butterflies. Continuing on our journey, we return to the entrance of the fjord and the small settlement where villagers will demonstrate the making of tapa cloth and offer interesting souvenirs.
Banana-shaped Tuam is an uplifted coral atoll covered in palm trees. The only village is located on the lower eastern side of the island. Highly exposed to the trade winds, the islanders have set up protective walls made out of palm-branches giving the village the look of a fortified castle from a distance. A trail marked by white sand leads from the landing site to the settlement area of neatly organized wooden huts and houses with pandanus-thatched roofs. In the village, several dance groups will wait for us at different locations and will perform their special songs and dances.
A walk in the forest permits you to see the different gardens set up in the “higher” regions of the island. The island has a spectacular reef and snorkelling next to the drop-off will reveal a myriad of reef fish.
During the afternoon, Silver Discoverer will approach the Sepik River for a visit to Kopar, a small village of not more than 200 people at the river’s mouth. Depending on the tide and currents, Silver Discoverer might enter the Sepik River to anchor in front of this little village. The people of the Sepik are known for their artefacts and Kopar presents another opportunity for souvenir hunters. For the keen birders, a Zodiac cruise along the shore of the Sepik or into the small canals just upstream from Kopar village can be rewarded with sights of flood plain birds and parrots and the odd kite. During our visit we will present school supplies to the local community. Your donations will be very welcome.
Vanimo will be our clearance port out of Papua New Guinea. Since visitors are quite rare in this part of the country, we will likely be the main attraction in town. After being greeted ashore we will drive to a local venue for traditional dancing and to see the handicrafts produced in Sandaun Province. Afterwards, we will drive to a local beach for a refreshing swim, or perhaps a walk along the beach to the next little village. To reach the village a stream might have to be crossed and at high tide this involves balancing across a tree trunk bridge.
Everyone will return to our little expedition ship around sunset. During the evening hours Silver Discoverer will be cleared out of the country to carry on along the north coast of New Guinea towards the Indonesian half of this large island.
At Jayapura – locally known as Port Numbay – we will receive our official clearance into Indonesia. A welcome at the ship will illustrate some of the traditional dances from West Papua. Inland from the town is Lake Sentani, famed for the distinctive art, traditional motifs, sago bowls and bark paintings of the people who live on and around the lake.
We will take local buses to reach the shore of the lake and will then continue on native longboats to reach one of the islands. Here we will see a local dance presentation, walk around the island, perhaps climb up to the church for nice views of the lake, and will have the opportunity to see the famous lake artifacts including bark paintings and bride money.
Return to Silver Discoverer shortly after noon for lunch aboard and to get underway for our next stop.
During the morning, Silver Discoverer will continue sailing westward to reach a small group of islands east of Biak. Although Biak played an important part during World War II and still has a large military presence, Pudaidori and the other small islands east of Biak bring promise of a tranquil tropical setting and a snorkeler’s delight. You may want to take the afternoon to relax on the white sandy beaches, swimiming and snorkelling, or looking for bird life ashore.
The Cenderawasih Marine Park features over 15,000km2 of relatively undisturbed marine and coastal habitat and the extensive coral reefs rank amongst the finest in the world. Cenderawasih is renowned for its diversity of coral reef fish species, including numerous species of butterfly fish, angelfish, damselfish, parrotfish, rabbitfish and anemone fish.
Cenderawasih (Bird-of-Paradise) Bay encompasses the Auri Islands offering some of the most beautiful clear-water snorkeling in the huge bay. The dozen or so islands have white sand beaches and excellent reefs. Auri’s spectacular karst islands also merit Zodiac cruises to explore the geological formations. One snorkel site has a trio of American WWII planes sunk in formation in only a few meters of water.
Cenderawasih Marine Park is known for congregating whale sharks. As the biggest fish in the sea, they feed exclusively on the smallest planktonic creatures, growing to more than 12 meters in length. While there are other places in the world where snorkelers can seek a close encounter with these gentle giants, in Cenderawasih Bay the whale sharks tend to linger close to the surface for extended periods. They have become accustomed to taking small fish that spill from the nets of local fishermen.
Pulau Roon is just south of the Auri Islands. Closer to the mainland, its twisted coastline has many secluded bays and sandy beaches with the potential for excellent snorkeling on shallow offshore reefs. Pulau Roon is also peppered with small villages that might warrant an impromptu visit by Zodiac to connect with local people in an authentic and spontaneous interaction that can only be achieved on an expedition such as ours.
While Silver Discoverer rounds the northwest tip of New Guinea, known as the Bird’s Head, our lecturers will take some time today to prepare you for the Raja Ampat and coastal Papua. More entertaining and relevant than many university lectures, the choice of presentations on offer through the day will no doubt stimulate both thought and conversation aboard the ship.
The Raja Ampat region of West Papua, with its multiple islands and intricate system of reefs lies in the heart of the Coral Triangle. This region has been called the most biodiverse area of ocean on the planet. Silver Discoverer will anchor amongst small islands just off the coast of the larger Misool Island, and the Expedition Team will scout the best reef and beach combination for your visit.
Steep coral walls and drop-offs are festooned with table corals, staghorn corals, and orange and purple sea squirts. We hope to see giant clams nestled into the coral formations while fish in rainbow colors sprinkle the reef above. From confetti-size inhabitants amongst the branching staghorn corals, to enormous solitary bumphead parrotfish this will be another snorkeler’s delight. Beach activities and bird watching will be on offer too.
On the southern shore of the Fakfak Peninsula are several karst islands that brought international interest in the 1930s thanks to extensive fields of ancient rock art that were found here. We will take our Zodiacs to explore several of the islands and will have a close look at the most accessible wall paintings that almost resemble Aboriginal motives from the Dreamtime. Depending on local permits we might also be allowed to visit one of the smaller villages and have a look at day-to-day modern life.
In 2008, the Kaimana Regency declared a 6000 km² Marine Protected Area around the waters of Triton Bay. The non-profit organization, Conservation International, maintains an office in Kaimana and a field station out in Triton Bay where visiting scientists can do their work. The marine biodiversity is second to none and the area offers everything from the tiniest pygmy seahorses to large and graceful whale sharks. The Expedition Team will select a prime spot for swimming and snorkeling within the bay. In addition, we hope to pay a visit to remote Auiduma Island.
Kai Islands will be our final opportunity to meet local people and to take to the water on this voyage. Depending on the conditions (and permits that are granted), we may choose to visit a village first, or to have a relaxing day in the water and on the beach to cap off this adventure in and around New Guinea.
As the miles peel away in our churning wake, you may wish to take advantage of one last fascinating lecture series, or perhaps you want to take time out to edit the many photos you have taken during the voyage. Regardless of how you spend the day, be sure to attend the screening of our Videographer’s final video recap of the voyage.
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.