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Melanesia

A large region of the South Pacific comprising independent countries with a shared culture and history, stretching from the north to the east of Australia.

A cruise in this region of the world will open your eyes to a culture and lifestyle that is very different to what we know in the western world.  It is an unobtrusive respectful way of approaching and meeting villagers, enjoying walks with them and their insights into the local flora and fauna, as well as their celebratory customs. 

The main attraction of this cruise? You are right in the centre of the Coral Triangle, an area with the highest concentration of marine biodiversity in the world. There are 6 different turtle species, manta rays, reef sharks and more than 2,200 species of coral reef fish in a multicoloured coral habitat promising an underwater sight for sore eyes. 

Another highlight of this cruise is exploring the untouched shores of deserted islands by sea, for that far side of the world experience.

options

Several routes from island to island are possible, depending on the weather and your mood.

To find out more about the different routes you can take, please contact us.

There is a huge variety of bird life in the area, including colourful parakeets and some rare native species. It will bring out the birdwatcher in you. (optional activity)

Coral Sea

Start

According to routes plotted together

Finish

According to routes plotted together

Date

Été – Automne 2021

Type of cruise

Coastal sailing with areas of ocean sailing (from 50 to 200 miles depending on routes)

ROUTE

Flights

International flights to Brisbane or Sydney, then regional flights depending on routes.
The dry season in this area of the humid tropics stretches from March to November. Regular squally showers can be expected all year round. The temperatures are between 22°C and 30°C and the sea is between 26°C and 29°C.

Weather

Day to Day in Melanesia

Day 1

Welcome aboard La Surprise!

Making the most of a mooring near a village to gain a little more insight into the Melanesian culture at a fire ceremony and an impressive ritual parading masks.

Day 2

Weighing anchor and set sail for our next mooring. The sea is calm and the wind is in the right direction. The weather is perfect for sailing up and down the archipelago and taking the helm!

Day 3

Relaxation or guided tour. The choice is yours. Learn about the insular customs and traditions on a visit to the village, with a local guide. Then enjoy snorkelling in a colourful sea not unlike a natural aquarium.  

Day 4

With sails hoisted, it’s time to go trolling with some surprising catches! Nang immediately prepares a sashimi of the tuna fish catch of the day. It is delicious when it is really fresh.

Day 5

The Coral Triangle is no legend. The minute you don your snorkelling gear and dive in, you are amazed at the variety of marine life. The 2 moorings today are perfect for observing manta rays, turtles, giant clams, multicoloured corals, reef sharks, etc.

Day 6

A good long sail in the morning takes us to a more mountainous island. A hike to a waterfall offers the ideal place to watch native birds in the shadow of a dense forest of palm trees, banyans, African tulip trees, etc.

Day 7

A ‘singsing’ demonstration with body painting and stunning masks, passing on the history of the people’s ancestral wars and current beliefs. We share a dinner cooked in a traditional earthen oven in a pit of hot stones.

Day 8

The day begins by taking the tender up a river. The mangrove is a habitat teeming with life and many juvenile fish mature here before returning to the ocean.

Day 9

Last night on board, under a stunningly clear starlit sky. With virtually no light pollution in this region of the world, gazing at the night sky is an experience to remember.

Day 10

Last coastal navigation, anchoring in crystal clear turquoise waters, perfect for underwater exploration. We provide kayaks, stand-up paddles and diving masks.

History of Melanesia

The culture in this region is very developed, the result of several waves of settlement by different ethnic groups for more than 50,000 years.  These movements were in successive stages, starting from the west, gradually exploring the windward archipelagos, eastwards, as far as Polynesia. The Austronesian peoples were probably historically the first great sailors known to man and the islands they populated went on to attract some other great explorers centuries later. Today, nearly 1,300 languages are spoken in Melanesia. The communities are divided into small groups and they live as they have always done, with a complex system of trade and commerce based on strong family ties. The trading routes connect distant communities and often include long passages on canoe-like crafts, using ancestral navigation techniques. The daily subsistence farming routine of hunting and fishing, is accompanied by a good number of rituals. This involves body painting and ceremonial weaves. The people don’t believe in a single god, but respect their ancestors, the spirits, and the other living creatures that share their natural environment.

Melanesia has taken care to protect its natural wealth from destructive fishing techniques. It is right in the centre of the Coral Triangle, which has the highest concentration of marine biodiversity in the world. You can see 6 of the 7 sea turtles, more than 2,200 coral reef fish species and several endangered cetaceans, including the largest mammal in the world: the blue whale.

Depending on your route and your mood, we can take the tender up the rivers into a tropical mangrove teeming with life, hike as far as the waterfalls and caves, and more.

Some of the Melanesian islands still show the signs of the various annexations by the Japanese and the Allied Forces during the Second World War.   To immerse yourself in history, the ultimate experience is deep-sea diving to explore plane and ship wrecks on the sand. (optional activity)

You need a taste for adventure to enjoy the honour of sailing in one of the last destinations untouched by tourism!