Throughout this expedition, the expedition team may make changes to the itinerary in order to maximize the experience. Visiting these remote communities is subject to approval of the local landowners. Below are the key destinations the ship aims to visit.
Sewa Bay & Samarai, Papua New Guinea
Clear into Papua New Guinea at Samarai, then cruise into beautiful Sewa Bay and be welcomed ashore to the local Pwanapwana Primary school. The locals will show their traditional war dances and share a morning tea of pineapple, coconut milk and sugar bananas.
Dobu & Dei Dei Springs (Fergusson Island), Papua New Guinea
Join the expedition staff on a walk to Dei Dei Hot Springs, where the people share their mythical and spiritual tales of these hot water and mud springs. Learn of the history of the Kula Ring at Dobu Island and meet the local primary school children, who will welcome with a traditional dance performance. There will also be an opportunity to snorkel the incredible Bubbling Springs Reef.
Kuiawa, Papua New Guinea
Historically known as the Islands of Love, the Trobriand Islands offer a glimpse of traditional cultures largely unspoiled by outside influence. In the morning, go ashore at the small island of Kuiawa to be greeted by enthusiastic traditional dances performed by colorfully costumed locals. Make some purchases at the market and relax on the pristine island beach in the afternoon.
Tufi Fjord, Papua New Guinea
Today enjoy a true highlight. Discover the scenic beauty of the Tufi Fjords. Featuring 25 individual canyons with sheer basalt cliffs, these are the only fjords in Papua New Guinea and offer a wealth of sightseeing opportunities. Aboard the Xplorer tender vessel, travel to the entrance of one of Tufi’s most scenic fjords and be met by local villagers in traditional dress aboard outrigger canoes. Have the opportunity to board one of the outriggers as the locals paddle up the creek under the rainforest canopy. Here, spirits and sorcery remain integral to village life, and one can learn about bush medicines, fire making, mat weaving and traditional tattooing. Deep in the rainforest, have the chance to witness the tribesmen perform a traditional sing song in their ceremonial dress. Later, discover white-sand beaches, or snorkel or dive over spectacular fringing reefs.
Buna & Sanananda, Papua New Guinea
Land at Buna beach, home to some of the toughest fighting in the WWII Pacific campaign. Enjoy a welcome from the local residents and then be guided through the jungle by them to visit the areas where Allied forces clashed with Japanese forces. In Sanananda, see the local monuments and pay tribute to fallen Australian soldiers at the war museum, located at the far end of the Kokoda Track. Also enjoy the opportunity to visit the lush gardens surrounding the village.
Fly Islands & Morobe, Papua New Guinea
Awaken early and travel ashore for a morning of water activities at Fly Island. Biangatu Reef is teeming with fish life and colorful coral. Enjoy snorkeling, diving (added cost) or kayaking. Enter Morobe Harbor and cruise in the Xplorer to view the stunning forest from the Mou River. Receive an Oro Province welcome and enjoy exploring the village with local guides. At high tide, hope to travel into a stunning hidden bay to another village.
Dregerhafen, Papua New Guinea
At the beautiful anchorage of Dregerhafen, enjoy a high-spirited traditional welcome in Gingala village, and explore the market which is famous for Tami bowls and timber paddles before the chance to mingle with the locals and stroll through the village. After lunch enjoy snorkeling, diving, glass-bottom boat tours and kayaking in the blue waters of the lagoon.
Madang, Papua New Guinea
Explore Madang and its surrounds, which sits on a peninsula surrounded by a number of picturesque islands and is famed for its waterfront setting and colonial history. Discover the surrounding area on a Madang tour–which includes a visit to the Madang Haus Museum, the Coastwatchers Lighthouse and Bil Bil Village where pottery is made. Certified divers have the opportunity to check out some great dive sites in the area with experienced local operators (added cost).
Sepik River, Papua New Guinea
At first light, the ship enters the mighty Sepik River. The destination is the remote village of Bien or Kopar, where the locals are known for their arts and crafts. A true Sepik welcome awaits while stepping ashore! Take the opportunity to purchase the unique hand carvings of this region. While departing from the Sepik River, sail past the active volcano at Kadovar Island and enjoy sunset drinks.
Wewak, Papua New Guinea
Early in the morning, arrive into the port town of Wewak. There is much WWII history here. Go on a tour with local guides including Wewak Hill Lookout, ANZAC Memorial, Mission Hill, and also see the local craft markets.
Visit Asei Village at Sentani Lake and be greeted by enthusiastic costumed dancers. View and perhaps purchase art painted on bark for which Lake Sentani is famous. This is the clearance stop as the ship leaves Papua New Guinea and departs for Indonesia.
Today, enjoy an expedition stop at Nirumoar. At this unusual location, discover a shipwreck on the beach and enjoy snorkeling and beachcombing, before relaxing on the white-sand beach.
Mamberamo River, Indonesia
The Mamberamo River is the largest river in Papua and is regarded as the Amazon of the East. It is considered one of the largest rivers in Indonesia by volume. Along the huge river valley live many tribes who have little connection to the outside world. There is an amazing biodiversity here in flora and fauna. Today go ashore at Teba Village, at the mouth of the river. This village is built on the muddy riverbank and presents a unique insight into the way of life of this remote region. Stroll through the village with local guides and make new friends with the enthusiastic locals. Later, explore the river on an Xplorer tender vessel cruise. This is an expedition destination.
This afternoon visit the Papuan village of Kwatisore, where the locals will perform a bird of paradise dance and other traditional performances. Consider participating and dancing with the local people. Market stalls will be set up with interesting items to purchase, such as carved paddles. They are skilled musicians here and will entertain all with their string band.
Cenderwasih Bay & Kwatisore, Indonesia
Today, experience one of the highlights of this cruise—swimming with the whale sharks. The gentle giants will be swimming around the fishing bagans and everyone will have the chance to enter the water in small groups to swim with these amazing animals. Visit Kwatisore to shop for local arts and crafts, be entertained by the string band and the bird-of-paradise dance.
Roon Island, Indonesia
Just below the surface resides a Japanese plane wreck with big black corals, gorgonians, big lionfish, glassfish, shrimps and many more. Snorkelers on the surface can still clearly see the wreck when the weather cooperates and the water is still, or they may dive down for a closer look. Afterwards, hope to explore a nearby village to meet the locals.
Pulau Ayau & Pulau Kanobe, Indonesia
Today, discover the beautiful and incredibly remote Ayau Atoll. Go ashore at Pulau Ayau to visit Miosbekwan Village with the possibility of a swim with friendly dolphins in the clear turquoise waters of the lagoon. This pristine location offers an extraordinary experience of culture and nature in one of the most isolated parts of the world.
Wayag Islands, Indonesia
The jewel in the crown of Raja Ampat, picturesque gumdrop karsts are the backdrop for this paradise on earth. Here, the underwater world is rightly famous– spend time discovering it with snorkeling, SCUBA diving (added cost) and kayaking opportunities. For the fit, a walk up to Mt Pindito is available. This steep uphill walk rewards with remarkable views over the islands.
Aljui Bay, Indonesia
Kofiau Islands are covered by lush trees and wild plants, they offer a fantastic wealth of nature and beautiful scenery. The tropical rainforest is home to the endemic rare kofiau paradise kingfisher, kofiau monarch and kofiau green-tree python. Here, enjoy white and soft sandy beaches, and crystal-clear water with stunning corals. Be welcomed to the local villages and meet the people in their daily lives. Witness traditional foods being prepared and attend the celebration of Buka Sasi. In the afternoon, enjoy snorkeling, diving or birdwatching.
At Misool, explore the stone gardens with its misty beauty. As a hidden and deserted paradise, Misool is unspoiled with waters of aquamarine lined by towering karst cliffs of various shapes and forms. Misool waters have approximately 200 saltwater lagoons stretching like a green carpet and bustling with unique and beautiful corals. Here, swim, snorkel and explore around the islands by kayak.
Arguni is a small island off the west coast of West Papua province of Indonesia. The island covers less than two square miles. The local language Arguni is spoken by about 150 people. On the south side of the island are pearl farm buoys and cages floating in the warm clear water. Mangrove swamps, many interesting limestone islets and formations, Papuan rock art (notably hand and foot stencils), burial caves and villages (some on stilts) line the shore. While Arguni is in the Fakfak Regency, it still has a traditional king (a functionless title), Raja Hanaf Pauspaus of Arguni, one of many kings of Indonesia.
Upon arrival, be greeted by villagers displaying many cultural attractions, including traditional dances, local music and traditional handcrafts. Enjoy fresh coconut and browse around the village to observe daily life and interact with the local people. Following this, journey by Zodiac to visit the famous ancient blood paintings at Roefroefoea. The paintings feature many hands of humans and also animal depictions, with the red color of the paintings resembling the color of blood.
Banda Islands, Indonesia
As the ship arrives at the entrance to Banda Neira, the Zonegat Channel, traditional long canoes known as Kora Kora emerge, rowed thunderously by men in traditional costume. These traditional war canoes provide an impressive escort into the caldera for the first look at Banda Neira. This island visit features Rumah Budaya, Old Dutch Church Hatta House, Perigi Rante, a Nutmeg plantation and the highlight visit of the beautiful Fort Belgica for traditional dancing and sampling local treats during sunset drinks.
History has coined these islands as the fabled Spice Islands and is not without sound reason. Today these islands may be almost unheard of, but they’ve played an important role in the European history from the 16th to the 18th centuries. Combining raw natural beauty, a warm local heart, and a palpable and fascinating history, this remote cluster of ten islands were home to some of the most prized and fought-over commodities in the past–nutmeg, cloves and mace. Underwater, impressive undersea drop-offs are vibrantly plastered with multicolored coral gardens. The central islands–Pulau Neira and Pulau Banda Besar–curl in picturesque crescents around the pocket-sized volcano Gunung Api.
Today, snorkel over the coral reef that has emerged on the lava flow from Gunung Api’s historic eruption. Others may go ashore in Banda for a tea party in the charming local surrounds.
Sebakor Bay, Indonesia
Discover the beautiful remote coast of Sebakor Bay. The aquarium-like waters are home to exceptional marine life and coral reefs, and snorkelers and divers will have the opportunity to explore. There will be time to kayak, or simply relax and look for Papuan birdlife along the shoreline. Later, enjoy the chance to swim under the Mommon Waterfall, where cool freshwater flows out of the lush jungle and falls into the ocean.
Triton Bay, Indonesia
Triton Bay lies on the south coast of the West Papua province of Indonesia, surrounded by tropical rainforests and rising on one side to a roughly 3,475-foot peak. The waters of the bay nurture abundant marine life woth 471 types of coral and 959 types of coral fish. In these waters, Bryde’s whales and whale sharks also find their home. Nearby this region is where Alfred Russel Wallace, contemporary and equal of Charles Darwin, wrote of his explorations in The Malay Archipelago around 1858. With visitors rare to this region, it is indescribably special.
Triton Bay is known for displaying an impressive level of soft coral coverage similar to places like Misool Island. Epaulette sharks can be seen walking over the reefs as giant groupers lurk in sheltered spots, while schools of jacks and fusiliers dart en masse. Squadrons of bump head parrotfish charge around chomping the coral into fine sand, watched by ever-present turtles. Triton Bay’s black coral forests are awesome in scale and never fail to impress. In one area, the high limestone cliffs display extensive pre-historic drawings and carvings–colored orange, white and black–which are truly breathtaking. Explore the underwater world and look for whale sharks, which gather here.
Aru Islands, Indonesia
The Aru Islands consist of some 95 low-lying islands covered with forest and with swampy coastal surrounds located in the Maluku province of eastern Indonesia in the Arafura Sea. Flora of the area ranges from dense green forests of tree ferns to grassy plains while the fauna has Australian affinities with marsupials being the dominant animals in the area. Here, cruise along the mangroves to catch sight of the illusive and beautiful birds of paradise that call nearby Lorang Village home.
Experience a memorable welcome by an armada of about 40 or more war canoes, rowed powerfully towards the ship by the Asmat warriors in traditional costume. Disembarking by Xplorer tender vessel, be accompanied by the Asmat tribe’s warrior war canoes to Syuru village for a welcome dance set and performance by the Asmat women. After the ceremony, be invited deep into the “Men’s House” to experience wonderful items of traditional wooden arts and sculpture, which are offered for sale. This afternoon, visit Agats Township and the Museums there, with time to purchase artifacts and souvenirs.