Day 1 — Papeete, Tahiti, French Polynesia
Embark the Silver Explorer and depart on your exciting Silversea Expedition — “In the Wake of the Bounty”.
Once you have settled in and before Silver Explorer leaves Papeete, you will attend a mandatory safety drill. During a special sail away party look for dolphins or whale that linger near the entrance of the harbour and say good-bye the Society Islands.
This evening you can enjoy the delights of The Restaurant.
Day 2 — At sea
Today we will be able to relax after the long voyage to Tahiti. Gather in The Theatre for staff introductions and briefings on Zodiac safety. The members of the Expedition Team are all knowledgeable experts in their various scientific fields. They will present lectures about the rarely visited islands and archipelagoes that we will visit. Topics will include botany, anthropology and ornithology, and prepare you for the adventures to come. As our voyage follows to a certain degree the route of HMS Bounty, our Historian will also describe how our itinerary is connected to the famous breadfruit-expedition of William Bligh and Fletcher Christian.
The waters surrounding the Austral Islands are a well-known breeding ground for humpback whales, so be sure to have your binoculars when heading out on deck to watch for cetaceans with our Marine Biologist. Other onboard diversions may include photographic workshops, spa treatments, and a workout in the Fitness Centre.
Day 3 — Raivavae, Austral Islands, French Polynesia
Our first stop in the Austral Islands has been described as a small and laid-back version of Bora Bora –without the tourists. We will land on Raivavae’s north shore to semi-circumnavigate the island by local bus. A stop will be made at a marae where one of the few tiki carved on Raivavae can still be seen in a private garden. Once past the airport –which had to be built in the lagoon because there was not enough flat space on land- we will come to meet our Zodiacs again on the southeast side to be transferred across the lagoon to Motu Vaiamanu. This is the typical South Sea paradise one expects: crystal-clear waters, white sandy beaches, pandanus and coconut palm trees, with reef fish for snorkelers to enjoy and tropicbirds, reef herons, noddies and the occasional shorebird for our birders. If you just want to relax on the beach listen to the local musicians and taste some of the local delicacies prepared for you.
At noon we head back to the ship and will continue to sail southwards.
Days 4-5 — Rapa Iti, Austral Islands, French Polynesia
The island of Rapa (or Rapa Iti) is the southernmost inhabited island of French Polynesia. Two villages are located inside what seems to be a volcano’s caldera open to the east. A narrow channel leads into the bay and depending on conditions Silver Explorer might have to drift in front of the entrance.
Going ashore by Zodiacs, we will visit the main village of Ahurei, and intend to reach one of the 28 ridgetop fortresses known to exit. The best example is the fortress of Morunga Uta. Excavated in 1956 by William Mulloy from Wyoming and local helpers, this fort -as all the others too- would indicate local warfare by the 16th to 17th century. The climb needs stamina and good weather –the trails are unpaved and tend to be very slippery after rain.
The two villages today have a combined population of 515 inhabitants and are famous throughout French Polynesia for their religious singing. Apart from a folkloric presentation in Ahurei, we want to attend the local church and hear their singing.
Day 6 — Marotiri, Austral Islands, French Polynesia
Some 75 kilometres southeast of Rapa are the four uninhabited rocks that make up the Bass Group, known as Marotiri to the Polynesians. According to stories from Rapa, these rocks were used on occasions to exile unwanted Rapans.
The rocks are an important breeding site for seabirds and fish are abundant. Pending permission by the French Polynesian authorities we will take our Zodiacs to cruise around the four rocks and look for the seabird colonies on French Polynesia’s most remote possession.
Days 7-8 — At sea
As the Silver Explorer travels from the southern Austral Islands to the equally rarely visited Pitcairn Islands, we will learn about the residents of these remote islands –not only humans, but also plants and animals. Having visited some of the Austral Islands, our lecturers will use the sea days to talk about the Pitcairn Group, seemingly uninhabited islands and their importance to wildlife and the early Polynesian seafarers that not only stopped on the islands for a short while, but actually settled some of them during centuries.
When not attending a lecture or relaxing on the Sun Deck, get help from the onboard Photographer during a workshop or contemplate the wide expanse of the South Pacific whileSilver Explorer will sail in a northwesterly direction to reach the Pitcairn Islands.
Day 9 — Oeno, Pitcairn Islands, UK
Located 120 kilometres northwest of Pitcairn, Oeno is a beautiful low-lying island rarely visited. Oeno used to be the island Pitcairners went to on their ‘holidays’. The little island is surrounded by white sandy beaches inside a lagoon. A sand bar, which is constantly undergoing change, is currently unattached to the island. Home to a number of seabirds -such as Murphy's Petrels, Sooty Terns and Brown Noddies- it was necessary to eradicate the rats some twenty years ago. Since this happened the birds have had a higher chance of survival.
Access to the island is quite limited, as the currents close to the channel leading to the island can be quite strong and one has to carefully navigate around the many coral heads.
Day 10 — Pitcairn Island, Pitcairn Islands, UK
Halfway between Peru and New Zealand, Pitcairn was the perfect hiding spot for the famed HMS Bounty mutineers and their Tahitian wives. Not only had the island been misplaced on early maps of the region, but it can also be very difficult to come ashore as large breakers tend to build up just in front of the small harbour of Bounty Bay. Depending on the sea conditions, we will either go ashore by Zodiac, or will have the privilege to use the Pitcairners’ longboats.
Our goal is to visit with the islanders, descendants of the Bounty crew, and get a sense of their daily lives, far removed from the rest of the world. Listen to their distinct dialect, a combination of 18th-century English and Tahitian, and explore the island, either on your own or accompanied by one of our experts. We plan to visit the museum, the cemetery, the school and will hike towards Fletcher Christian’s cave. Birders should be on the lookout for the endemic Pitcairn Reed Warbler, while stamp collectors will certainly want to purchase a few of the coveted Pitcairn Island stamps to keep as reminders of their visit to this remote and storied island. Pitcairn Island cook books, hand-carved replicas of the Bounty, walking canes, and other souvenirs will be set up at Adamstown’s meeting ground next to the church and post office.
Day 11 — Henderson, Pitcairn Islands, UK
On this remote and uninhabited piece of land – a raised coral island virtually untouched by man – you will get a true sense of how the landscape has appeared for endless years, while gaining an understanding of how natural selection has resulted in Henderson’s primary attraction: four endemic land birds. The onboard Ornithologist will lead a guided nature walk, hoping to spot the flightless Henderson Rail, Stephen’s (or Henderson) Lorikeet, the Henderson Fruit-dove, and the Henderson Reed Warbler. The island is also known to have ten endemic species of plant life. To protect the rare, natural state of Henderson Island, UNESCO designated it as a World Heritage Site in 1988.
Day 12 — Ducie Atoll, Pitcairn Islands, UK
Ducie, a small isolated atoll, is the easternmost of the Pitcairn Islands. A mere speck in the surrounding expanse of ocean, uninhabited except for the estimated 500,000 nesting seabirds that reside among the two plant species (Beach Heliotrope and at least one specimen of Pemphis) that grow over seventy percent of the island. Bird species we should be able see include Murphy's Petrels, White Terns, Great Frigatebirds and Masked Boobies. In this rarely visited spot, you can count yourself amongst the few to ever snorkel on top of the wreck of the Acadia or in the atoll’s lagoon waters. Learn about the island’s history, from its discovery to the 1881 wreckage of the Acadia, and hear the latest news regarding recent conservation efforts.
Days 13-14 — At sea
Join our Easter Island expert in The Theatre for his fascinating lecture series about this unique destination in the Pacific and its fascinating history and attend a briefing on the variety of sites that can be visited and other important information needed to make the most of your time ashore.
Join our Photographer to view the video presentation of our journey so far. On the night before Easter Island the Captain would like to invite you to his Farewell Cocktail Reception and the Restaurant Manager and Executive Chef have prepared a special Farewell Dinner.
Day 15 — Easter Island, Chile
During the morning Easter Island will gradually appear on the horizon and once we have cleared into Chile –hopefully during lunchtime- we will go ashore using our fleet of Zodiacs. Depending on the wind and currents there are several possible landing sites, but we hope to be able to land at Hangaroa-o-Tai, the very centre of Easter Island’s only village.
This afternoon we will have an introduction to Easter Island’s archaeological ruins.
During the two days we spend at Easter Island, we will visit the Rano Raraku quarry where the massive moai (statues) were carved. At Ahu Tongariki, you will be able to see fifteen moai that were re-erected in the early 1990s. Time permitting; we may also be able to explore the ceremonial village of Orongo, the sacred site of the ancient ‘birdman’ festivities and the restored platforms at Tahai. Lovely Anakena Beach, the island’s largest white sand beach, where according to legend the legendary leader Hotu Matu’a landed, will be part of the excursion. There you can relax and ponder the mysteries of these monolithic stone sculptures while watching a vigorous folkloric presentation by a local group of musicians and dancers.
Day 16 —Easter Island, Chile
After breakfast, disembark Silver Explorer for further private exploration or –if you continue onboard Silver Explorer towards mainland Chile- enjoy another excursion to some of the more than 14,000 recorded archaeological sites according to the University of Chile.
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.
Not sure what to wear while onboard? Visit our shop and gear up. We've got layers to keep you dry and warm, breezy wear to keep you covered and cool, and accessories to keep everything packed up and ready to go. So, no matter the weather, you'll be better prepared for your expedition.
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