PELORUS Voyages: Solomon Islands & Papua New Guinea
As seen on the cover of Condé Nast Traveller, May 2020.
Words and Video by PELORUS
December 2019 saw PELORUS Co-Founder Jimmy Carroll hosting two yacht expeditions for our clients in the Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea. One on board 35m motor yacht SPIRIT and the other on board 63m explorer yacht SURI.
Each trip was carefully curated by the PELORUS Yacht Expeditions team and was tailored to each group’s interests and criteria. Utilising a luxury yacht as the main base for each expedition allowed the guests to experience the best of both land and sea, encompassing culture, wildlife, nature, marine exploration, action, and true adventure. Here, Jimmy shares his experience of hosting in these two spectacular destinations and tells us a bit about the client’s most stand out experiences.
Itinerary Overview: The Solomon Islands, Munda Province
Lola Island and its beach style accommodation
Vononavona Lagoon and Skull Island – home to the skulls of Rendovan chiefs
Rendova Island – Zipolo Lodge
Lumbaria Island and the history of JFK
Tetepare Island – a conservation jewel of the south pacific
Kolombangara scenic flight
The Helena Goldie Hospital – a visit to the children’s ward
What did the guests love most about their time in the Solomon Islands?
It’s difficult to narrow this down as every day uncovered unique, first-time experiences for all the guests. Skull Island, an ancient burial ground for former chiefs was a particular highlight. Here, old sculls, obtained during the headhunting days of old create a fascinating yet eerie display. Walking in Rendova Island village was also an engaging experience. The clients felt fully immersed in the culture as they were warmly welcomed by the local people who taught them about their way of life, history, and even put on a spectacular display of a traditional war dance.
Throughout the Solomons, there are constant reminders of the part these islands played in World War II. You can dive excellently preserved wrecks and visit the islands US President John F. Kennedy was based at during the war. There is a multitude of history at every step and one that blends ancient civilisation with modern-day warfare and now tourism. Guests were left amazed and somewhat pensive after snorkelling the wreck of a US fighter plane near Double Island. The helicopter ride to find these two remote islands was also spectacular, as were all heli flights throughout the trip.
“Every day uncovered unique, first-time experiences for all the guests”
Planting coral on the wreck of a WWII Wildcat Navy fighter plane was a moment enjoyed by all. This is a fantastic local initiative, set up with the aim of regrowing coral in this area which was badly damaged by the tsunami. Diving and marine life are plentiful in the Solomon Islands and highlights included seeing the amazing dugongs, turtles, crocodiles and Blacktip Reef Sharks surrounding Tetepare, which is the largest uninhabited island in the Solomons and a jewel for conservation work.
The guests revelled in trekking into untouched jungle to view a settlement that had only been discovered two weeks prior to our arrival. Deep within the heart of the jungle, it dates back hundreds of years and our guests were among the first to set eyes on this newly uncovered settlement. Flying over the vast Kolombangara volcano and the protected rainforest that covers it today was also an astonishing experience for all.
Itinerary Overview: Papua New Guinea, New Britain
Raboul and surrounding areas
Duke of York Islands
What were the “best bits” for the guests in Papua New Guinea?
Flying over Mount Tavurvur, a steaming active volcano. Visiting Admiral Yamamoto’s bunker and witnessing the fortifications that were built. Learning about the incredible history of German rule in this part of Papua New Guinea. Swimming with a playful super pods of Spinner Dolphins. Spearfishing with local tribesmen in traditional outrigger canoes. The list goes on.
Guests loved snorkelling and seabob diving over two Japanese war tanks that we spotted whilst conducting a heli recce. They are in pristine waters and fantastically preserved.
Helicopter flights into the high mountains unveiled spectacular sinkholes with the most amazing waterfalls, found guests swimming in fresh water rivers and through dancing rapids that weaved their way down the valley, trekking through remote villages and discovering a series of pristine waterfalls and natural pools. An experience that they won’t forget anytime soon.
“Experiencing the Baining Tribe Fire Ritual was also a real high point. A truly incredible spectacle.”
A tender ride up an inland river that took guests deep into the jungle was more like a scene from a Hollywood movie, with mist rolling in around us. After leaving the boats, we trekked through the jungle to find the Blue Hole, so named as the water was the richest blue you could ever imagine.
Papua New Guinea is rich in culture and traditions. We witnessed local tribesmen charging up coconut trees with only vines tied around their feet for added grip as they harvested the coconuts. Experiencing the Baining Tribe Fire Ritual was also a real high point. This ritual displays the incredible bravery of the young men in the villages. As night fell, we were greeted by hundreds of locals. Women and children danced energetically as they made way for the male fire dancers to wow us with such gusto. A truly incredible spectacle.
Why would you say these remote destinations are well suited to yacht travel?
Both of these destinations are rich in tapestry and tribal culture dating back hundreds of years, which means this experience is hard to find anywhere else in the world. However, infrastructure is still basic, and this rawness is part of what makes it so attractive. At PELORUS we can achieve heightened levels of luxury with the use of yachts. Smoother transitions between experiences can also be achieved by using all the assets available to us on a yacht, from multiple tenders to helicopters and floatplanes. We can cover much more ground on board a superyacht, meaning in a small time frame you are able to achieve a vast amount. Harnessing a yacht to steam at night allows you to relocate and wake up each morning to stunning new surroundings.
Why should clients choose PELORUS when considering a yacht expedition to the Solomons and Papua New Guinea?
Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands have been a hotbed of activity for PELORUS since our conception and have delivered some of our most talked-about experiences to date. Working with amazing guides, who have operated there for over thirty years, brings us a wealth of knowledge and experience. Many are concerned that these areas are untamed and not for the faint-hearted, this can be true but is easily navigated by using the correct guides and meticulous planning. We understand that interaction with local tribes requires a familiar face to broker the exclusive access we seek for our clients, so that they can feel fully immersed in the culture.
PELORUS come into our own when we host our clients on complex trips. Whilst working symbiotically with yacht crew and ground specialists, we show how so much can be achieved whilst still delivering an exceptional, top-level experience for the client.
For more information or to start planning your next trip contact the PELORUS Yacht Expeditions team on firstname.lastname@example.org.