We engage with the mysteries on the islands of Wala, Ambryn and Malakula. We visit some of the most remote and inaccessible areas in Vanuatu and share the mystery of their culture, customs and their village life.
Our luxury cruises are all inclusive with spacious en-suite accommodation, all onboard chef prepared meals, juices, water, espresso coffee, tea, exciting shore excursions, snorkel equipment, kayaks and small boat exploration, onboard cruise leader, fishing equipment and guides. A full bar service is provided.
Vanuatu – Area Information
A living island paradise “lost in time”
Vanuatu – shrouded in lush, tropical jungle…adorned with breath-taking waterfalls… overshadowed by awe-inspiring volcanoes…and surrounded by some of the most pristine tropical seas on earth – a tiny, but beautiful, corner of the world that has been so thankfully ‘lost in time’ forever. Boasting exotic cultures and a colourful history that has enriched the lives of its people for centuries; Vanuatu is surely one of nature’s greatest gifts.
Tales of the South Pacific
While Pulitzer-winning novelist James Michener was stationed in Vanuatu during WWII, he travelled from island to island learning about local culture and hearing stories from the people. Michener developed an idea for a book of short stories and spent his nights tapping it out on an old typewriter, using the backs of letters, old envelopes and official Navy stationery. Tales of the South Pacific, which later became the musical South Pacific, was published in 1947.
Vanuatu is located between 13 and 17 degrees south of the equator. There are two main seasons being the wet and the dry. We operate in the dry season, which runs from April to November, which is well outside the seasonal cyclone season. Daily temperature average is around 28oC (82oF) however this can drop to 24oC (75oF) in July and August.
What to wear
The onboard dress code for the islands is very casual indeed. Usually shorts and tee shirts are perfect for most occasions. A light sweater may be required in the evenings when the trade winds are blowing and smart casual for evening meals.
Land diving on Pentecost
Pentecost Island is famous for an ages-old ritual called the naghol or land- diving, which inspired the extreme sport of bungy jumping. Between May and June every year, men in the southern part of the island jump from tall towers (around 20 to 30 metres high) with vines tied to their feet. The stretchy vines bring their leap to a sudden stop, just inches from the ground. The ritual has two purposes – to ensure a good yam harvest and to mark the passage of boys to manhood. Land diving was first given international exposure when David Attenborough and a BBC crew filmed the ritual during the 1950s. Island Passage visits Pentecost on selected trips during the short land-diving season, so that guests can view this extraordinary spectacle.
Food from heaven
Provisioning Island Passage involves visiting local markets and growers to get the very best of Vanuatu’s local produce. As you can imagine, our menu features lots of tropical fruit and fresh seafood. You can also look forward to local Santo beef – so good, it’s exported to Japan.
Hooked on fishing
Think big when you’re fishing in Vanuatu. Towing a lure from our fishing tender, you can hope for a catch of dogtooth tuna, yellow fin tuna, wahoo, mahi mahi or GT (giant trevally). From a purely scenic perspective, you might also encounter flying fish, sailfish, dolphins and pilot whales.
The warm southeast trade winds prevail over the islands of Vanuatu. Island Passage calls Vanuatu her home from May to September each year. Average daily temperature is 27°C. The sea temperature is usually in the mid 20s, making swimming enjoyable all year round.
Budgeting For Those “Little extras”
The activities outlined in our itinerary are included in the pricing. For the various options available we suggest you budget approximately 6,000 VT for the week (approximately A$80 / NZ$100) for handicrafts offered by the local villages (payable in Vatu directly to the villagers).
Sunday Arrivals. Depending on flights you will have time to explore Port Vila prior to you boarding the ship. Otherwise all passengers will meet at the MELANESIAN HOTEL at 3pm sharp to be transferred to the ship for our 4 pm boarding. Arrival prior to Sunday. We can arrange accommodation and transfers in Port Vila. At 3 pm on Sunday we all meet at the Melanesian Hotel in Port Vila. The crew will transfer you by our coach to “Island Passage” waiting at a private jetty in the Bay. Enjoy a welcome aboard cocktail and let your crew introduce you to the onboard delights of your home for the next 6 nights. During a scrumptious welcome dinner we leisurely cruise to our overnight anchorage across the lagoon.
After a relaxed start to the morning, a swim and an a la carte breakfast we head north cruising towards our first destination, the beautiful Havannah Harbour. The spectacular narrow entrance at the Hilliard Channel provides great photo opportunities, and we anchor off our favourite pristine sandy beach at Lelepo Island. Experience the stunning snorkelling over the coral; a voyage of discovery in one of the tenders with the Bosun or beach combing as the sun goes down. This evening’s dinner will be served under the stars on the aft deck.
Another glorious day at Havannah Harbour and the chance to join one of our talented fishing guides who will do his utmost to ensure the catch of your dreams … amazing tropical Tuna, Wahoo or Mahi Mahi which our chefs will prepare for you. Lunch is served underway as we cruise the lengths of the lagoon and get up close and personal to the beaches surrounded by dense tropical jungle and dramatic volcanic cliffs. Within the lagoon there are numerous atolls fringed by coral-encrusted shallows. Swimming, snorkeling and fishing will beckon or join the shore parties to explore the nearby villages. “Island Passage” will overnight in the harbour and we enjoy the crew night with a superb BBQ buffet on the aft deck to celebrate a perfect day in paradise.
We bid farewell to Havannah Harbour this morning. Guests that are “hooked” on the tropical fishing can have another chance today as the fishing tenders can follow the ship on this morning’s cruise. Our destination today is Pele Island, however if the conditions permit then the Captain will make a detour north to Mataso Island. Totally untouched and remote, this tiny island and reef with its azure waters and thick tropical forestation is a destination few travellers ever experience.
Today is spent immersed in the true cultural experience of Vanuatu. The people of Pele will dance, sing and welcome you into their traditional village life. During the day the tenders run a shuttle between the ship and the shore so you can explore this remote village and get to know the friendly Chief and the people at your leisure. As the sun goes down a farewell Kava ceremony and more “kustom dance’ will provide an amazing end to the day on Pele and Kakula Islands. These islands are typical of the South Seas by having white sand beaches fringed with tropical rainforest. Snorkeling, swimming and visits to the villages will make this a memorable and most relaxing day in paradise.
Another leisurely start to the day, the landing craft will make trips to the amazing coral gardens off Pele. This area is known as one of the best snorkeling spots in Vanuatu. The ship’s tenders will be the perfect for exploring such a large area and underwater highlights will include spectacular drop-offs and stunning coral gardens. Turtles nest on the islands’ volcanic sand beaches. Jungle walks will reveal the island’s birdlife – and the afternoon snorkelers are likely to encounter turtles. Fishing is available, or perhaps swim or walk ashore, or just relax with a book on the top deck and enjoy the stunning vista. In the early afternoon we make our way back outside Havannah Harbour and South to Mele. Tonight the Island Passage crew farewell you at the Captain’s cocktail party. The last night aboard is traditionally a fun affair with the guests enjoying a great night with all their new acquaintances.
You wake to the aromas of your last meal aboard being prepared. “Island Passage” anchors close to the Port Vila waterfront that has many small shops and a local market located next to the waterfront – perhaps the perfect opportunity to purchase local art and craft or just soak up the vibrant atmosphere. Make sure you swap addresses with your fellow adventurers and say your last goodbyes to the crew. We will transfer you at 9:30am to Port Vila central city or Hotels by coach from the ship. We hope to see you onboard again.
You now have nights at your selected hotel in Port Vila. Built around Vila Bay, Port Vila spreads up steep hillsides that offer stunning views over its beautiful harbour, sculpted with inlets, lagoons and islets. In combination with its faded French atmosphere, rambling streets and café scene, it makes Vila one of the South Pacific’s most attractive towns. There are numerous activities available for your stay. The tours that operate throughout the island and villages are always popular. The dining in Port Vila is varied and reasonably priced with selections ranging from Asian, Pacific and French with numerous café style restaurants throughout the bay. The shopping is also interesting from the market in town to the numerous duty free opportunities. Either way you will be offered many choices and endless possibilities for your time in Port Vila. At the end of your stay we will collect you and transfer you to the airport for your flight home.
Islands of Discovery Schedule - 6 Nights
|CRUISE ONLY pp||AUD||NZD||AUD||NZD||AUD||NZD|
|09 Jun 13||2995||3750||3495||4450||3995||4950||AVAILABLE|
|23 Jun 13||2995||3750||3495||4450||3995||4950||AVAILABLE|
|14 Jul 13||2995||3750||3495||4450||3995||4950||LIMITED|
|21 Jul 13||2995||3750||3495||4450||3995||4950||SOLD OUT
| 28 Jul 13
| 04 Aug 12
|CRUISE + RESORT pp||7 NIGHTS||7 NIGHTS||7 NIGHTS||7 NIGHTS||7 NIGHTS||7 NIGHTS|
|HOLIDAY INN RESORT
||5157|| Resort View
|GRAND CASINO||3118||3904||3618||4604||4118||51104||Harbour View|
|CRUISE + RESORT pp||10 NIGHTS||10 NIGHTS||10 NIGHTS||10 NIGHTS||10 NIGHTS||10 NIGHTS|
|HOLIDAY INN RESORT
|| Resort View
|GRAND CASINO||3425||4288||3925||4988||4425||5488||Harbour View|
CRUISE + RESORT packages include Cruise, Vanuatu transfers and Hotel (including breakfast).
Add special return airfare as advertised from Sydney, Brisbane and Auckland to Port Vila.
|FLIGHT DETAIL||7 Nights Arrive||7 Nights Depart||10 Nights Arrive||10 Nights Depart|
|Ex Sydney||Sun NF 11 1045-1510||Sun NF 10 0700-0945||Sun NF 11 1045-1510||Wed NF 10 1520-1805|