We begin our holiday with a flight to Brisbane, Australia, from where we fly to Honiara, the capital of the Solomon Islands and departure point for our 10-night cruise. As we travel west, we will be on the look-out out for an exciting range of cetaceans and will stop at a variety of coral-fringed islands home to Solomon Island Sea-eagle and Red-knobbed Imperial-pigeon, plus interesting Melanesian villages. The Solomon Islands lie within the so-called ‘Coral Triangle’, the centre of global marine biology.
A nation comprised of six major islands and over 900 smaller islands in the South Pacific, the Solomon Islands lie to the east of Papua New Guinea and north-east of Queensland, Australia. This is a seldom explored paradise, where high levels of biodiversity, a unique culture and a fascinating history all blend tantalisingly together. The best way to explore this wildlife-rich island nation is by boat, and so for this pioneering cruise we have exclusively chartered the liveaboard vessel MV Bilikiki. The nine guest cabins are all en suite and air-conditioned and, although not luxurious, Bilikiki is ideal for our needs. Indeed, she is the only such vessel in the Solomons. Our voyage will take us past rugged jungle-clad islands, and whilst we will enjoy plenty of time at sea each day, searching for and enjoying cetacean sightings, we will also make time for visits ashore to enjoy birds and other wildlife, and to visit traditional Melanesian villages. The larger islands are dramatic volcanic outcrops, carpeted with lush tropical rainforest, whilst many of the smaller islands are no more than coral reef sand cays. The forests support a rich birdlife, including many endemics, as well as a wealth of smaller creatures including birdwing butterflies and beautiful dragonflies. As for the reefs themselves, the Solomon Islands lie within the Coral Triangle, the centre of global marine biodiversity. The coral diversity is stupendous, and the reefs boil with colourful fish, so we can expect worldclass snorkelling. We will anchor most evenings in sheltered bays or lagoons, making time to snorkel over these magnificent coral reefs.
We will begin the holiday with a flight to Brisbane, via Dubai. We recommend breaking the journey at this point, either with a few days to enjoy Brisbane, or by joining our pre-tour extension to Lamington National Park where we will enjoy a little birding while we recover from jet lag, before continuing our journey to the South Pacific. Our onward flight from Brisbane to Honiara arrives in the afternoon, and from here we will transfer to the port and board MV Bilikiki. For the first half of our cruise we will slowly work our way westwards, past the Russell Islands, out into the Solomon Sea, and on towards the New Georgia Islands and Marovo Lagoon, the largest double barrier reef lagoon in the world. Each day we will journey past far-flung islands, enjoying the scenery and remaining constantly on the lookout for whales and dolphins, flying fish and seabirds. We will keep our plans very flexible to take account of local conditions and to make the most of our wildlife encounters.
Although there has been relatively little cetacean research in the Solomon Islands, the splendid diversity and abundance of whale and dolphin species in and around the archipelago is obvious, and there is much still to be discovered. Our inaugural cruise to the Solomons in 2018 enjoyed sightings of 16 cetacean species, including Omura’s Whale, a little-known baleen whale that was only described in 2003. Other cetaceans that we may see include Spinner, Pan-tropical Spotted, Striped, Risso’s, Common Bottlenose, Indo-Pacific Bottlenose, Fraser’s and Rough-toothed Dolphins, Short-finned Pilot Whale, Pygmy Killer Whale, Melon-headed Whale, Cuvier’s, Longman’s and Blainville’s Beaked Whales and Sperm Whale. There will also be plenty of opportunities for seabird-watching; many species have been recorded from the region, and in addition to the expected tropical terns, tropicbirds, boobies and frigatebirds, we will pay particular attention to the tubenoses. Among others, these could include Heinroth’s Shearwater, Beck’s Petrel and Collared Petrel. As for land birds, there is a great diversity on the Solomon Islands including many endemics and regional specialities, amongst them Sanford’s Sea-eagle, Island Imperial-pigeon, Solomon Cockatoo, Coconut Lory, Claret-breasted Dove and Pied Goshawk.
For the second half of our cruise, we will return to the main island of Guadalcanal by a different route, perhaps stopping at Mborukua Island (also known as Mary Island), with plenty more time for whale and dolphin-watching. We will not use all the same anchorages, allowing us to snorkel on new reefs and to visit different islands along the way. Arriving back in Honiara, we will spend our final evening on board Bilikiki before we must disembark after breakfast the following morning. We should have a little time to explore the town, before taking our flight to Brisbane and continuing our journey home.
LAMINGTON NATIONAL PARK
O'Reilly's Rainforest Retreat sits on a plateau at 1,000 metres, amongst mountain peaks, cliffs and gorges. Here we will enjoy forest walks and the rich birdlife - including King Parrots, Satin and Regent Bowerbirds - plus mammals and marsupials. After 3 nights at O'Reilly's we continue to Honiara in the Solomon Islands. Price depends on group size
+32 71 84 54 80
Présente le lundi, mardi de 8h30 à 15h30 et jeudi de 8h30 à 15h00
Thu 11th Nov - Wed 24th Nov - 11.478€
- Accommodation: For this cruise we have exclusively chartered the 18-berth ‘MV Bilikiki’, a 38-metre liveaboard vessel featuring nine en suite and air-conditioned guest cabins. For additional information please refer to the tour itinerary.
- Food: All food, plus teas, coffees and bottle water, is included once on board MV Bilikiki.
The pre-tour extension is booked on a full board basis, with all meals included (drinks are extra).
* These tours are operated by Naturetrek (ABTA Y6206) for which Nature et Terroir acts as agent.
“Many of the flights and flight-inclusive holidays in this brochure are financially protected by the ATOL scheme. But ATOL protection does not apply to all holiday and travel services listed in this brochure. Please ask us to confirm what protection may apply to your booking. If you do not receive an ATOL Certificate then the booking will not be ATOL protected. If you do receive an ATOL Certificate but all the parts of your trip are not listed on it, those parts will not be ATOL protected. Please see our booking conditions for information, or for more information about financial protection and the ATOL Certificate go to: www.atol.org.uk/ATOLcertificate”
-“It is a condition of joining one of our holidays that you must be insured against medical and personal liability risks, including our 24-hour medical emergency assistance cover. We strongly recommend that you ensure the cancellation cover under your policy insures the full value of your holiday.”
-Le prix de ces séjours est sous l'influence directe du taux de change de l'US Dollar et de la Livre Sterling... NATURE & TERROIR se réserve le droit, selon ses conditions générales de vente, de revoir son prix en cas de fluctuation importante des devises ou des tarifs de transport.
-Le prix affiché est majoré de 10 euros pour frais bancaires.
-En cas d’inscription à moins de 70 jours de la date de départ, la totalité du montant du bon de commande est dû dès inscription. A plus de 70 jours, un acompte de 30% est dû, le solde étant à verser dans les 70 jours précédents le départ.
Dr. Chas Anderson
Sara works full time in Naturetrek's busy office as the Website and Marketing Manager. However, by training, she is a Zoologist, graduating from Newcastle University where she was also the president of the university's Zoological Society. Prior to working at Naturetrek she lived and worked in British Columbia, Canada, as a wildlife rehabilitator caring for Black Bears, Coyotes, River Otters and Raccoons on a daily basis. When she wasn't providing medical care to injured wildlife she could be found hiking in the mountains, photographing wildlife, howling with wolves and avoiding bears (usually successfully). On her return to the UK she moved to the Scottish Hebrides, where she spent three years working at sea as a wildlife guide, finding Minke Whales, Otters, dolphins and eagles for her guests on a daily basis! She also spent her summers as the Senior Wildlife Officer on a ship in the North Sea, collecting sightings data on whales and dolphins, and delivering marine biology lectures to guests.
Always keen to be involved with media, Sara has presented on both live radio and TV, is regularly published in wildlife and travel magazines and has worked as a guide for Ray Mears and TV film crews for several natural history documentaries. A keen cetacean spotter, Sara specialises in leading Naturetrek's cruises in the Maldives, Hebrides, Azores and Indonesia. She has also enjoyed leading our Spitsbergen cruise, and is looking forward to leading our arctic Norway and Baja California cruises in early 2020.
Day 1 - Depart London
Day 2 - In Flight
Day 3 - Arrive Brisbane, Fly Honiara & board MV Bilikiki
Day 4/12 - Wildlife cruise on board MV Bilikiki
Day 13 - Depart Honiara
Day 14 - Arrive London