30 Night Cruise sailing from Tauranga to Yokohama aboard Spirit of Enderby.
Day 1: Tauranga, New Zealand
Arrive in Tauranga and embark the ship. Settle into your cabin and join your expedition team and captain for a welcome on board.
Day 2: Hauraki Gulf
Our seabirding will start in the Hauraki Gulf where we will look for the critically endangered New Zealand Storm-Petrel as well as Little Penguin, Grey Ternlet, Buller’s, Fluttering and Little Shearwaters and Grey-faced and Black Petrels.
Days 3 to 4: At Sea
En route to Norfolk Island, we have a good chance of finding Gould’s, Black-winged, Kermadec, White-necked and Grey-faced Petrels, plus Wedge-tailed and Short-tailed Shearwaters.
Day 5: Norfolk Island
After clearing Australian Customs, we spend most of the day at Norfolk Island’s remnant forest, home to the four endemics – the Norfolk Island Parakeet, Norfolk Gerygone, Norfolk Robin and the Slender-billed White-eye.
Day 6: At Sea
At sea on a northward course, we cross a large underwater seamount, a productive area for seabirds including Tahiti, Collared, White-necked, Providence and Kermadec Petrels.
Day 7: New Caledonia
We visit the Parc de la Rivière Bleue National Park where local rangers will assist us to search for the endemics including the incomparable Kagu and highly range-restricted Crow Honeyeater. Other birds could include Horned and New Caledonian Parakeets, Yellow-bellied Robin, New Caledonian (Goliath) Imperial Pigeon, Southern Melanesian and New Caledonian Cuckoo-shrikes, New Caledonian Goshawk, and Red-throated Parrotfinch.
Day 8: At Sea off New Caledonia
We plan to visit waters where we have previously seen the ‘New Caledonian Storm-Petrel’. This bird was first found on the WPO expedition in 2008 and has been seen several times since. Although seemingly closely related to New Zealand Storm-Petrel, there are a number of important differences and it is now believed this is a long lost species which was collected in Samoa 200 years ago and not seen since !!
Other possibilities include Tahiti, Providence, Gould’s and Collared Petrels.
Days 9 to 10: At Sea
Enjoy leisurely days at sea and a chance to relax, catch up on notes, reading and sleep. Birding can also be good including Polynesian Storm-Petrel.
Day 11: Rennell Island
This morning we will go ashore at Rennell Island where we hope to see Rennell Parrot, Rennell Shrikebill, Rennell Gerygone, Bare-eyed White-eye, Rennell White-eye, Rennell Fantail and Rennell Starling. Other species could include Silver-capped Fruit Dove, Finsch’s Pygmy Parrot, Melanesian Flycatcher and Cardinal Myzomela.
Day 12: Anuta Island in the Makira Group
Makira Island holds its own treasures, including the endemic San Cristobal Melidectes, White-headed Fruit Dove, Makira Flycatcher, Makira Cicadabird, White-collared Monarch, Sooty Myzomela and Mottled Flowerpecker. Other species could include Chestnut-bellied, Red-knobbed and Island Imperial Pigeons as well as Pied Goshawk, Pacific Baza and Solomon Islands Sea-eagle.
Day 13: Honiara
We will anchor off Honiara and depart before dawn for Mount Austin. The birding here is exceptional and the specialities we could see include Ultramarine Kingfisher, Yellow-bibbed Lory, Ducorps’ Cockatoo, Solomons Cuckoo-shrike, Brown-winged Starling, Chestnut-bellied Monarch, Steel-Blue Flycatcher, Black-faced Myzomela and Midget Flowerpecker.
Day 14: Santa Isabel Region, Barora Fa Island, Poru Channel
Enjoy a full day exploring Santa Isabel and its surrounding islands; we will explore the inlets and reef systems by Zodiac of the spectacular Poru Channel. We plan to land on Vakao Island and visit its verdant rainforest; species we hope to find include the highly localised Yellow-throated White-eye, Red-capped Myzomela, Ultramarine Kingfisher and Blyth’s Hornbill. After lunch snorkel and relax on the white sandy beach or return to the forest to look for Melanesian Megapode and Black-and-white Monarch.
Day 15: Kolombangara Island
We intend to head into the hills to visit the Imbu Rano Conservation Area to explore dense upland forest. We hope to see the spectacular Solomon Islands Sea Eagle, Cardinal, Duchess and Meek’s Lorikeets, White-capped Monarch, Crimson-rumped Myzomela, Ducorps’ Cockatoo and Metallic and Singing Starlings. We may also look for the elusive Roviana Rail as we leave the reserve. After we depart we will be scanning the seas for whales and dolphins as this is a good area for cetaceans. Birders will also want to keep a lookout for Heinroth’s Shearwater which can be found here too.
Day 16: At Sea
Today we are at sea near the Bougainville and the New Britain Trench, experience tells us that it is a very productive area and we hope to see Heinroth’s Shearwater, it is also great for cetaceans including Sperm Whale, False Killer Whale and Fraser’s Dolphin.
Day 17: Off the coast of New Ireland
Today we cruise along the coast of New Ireland, where our target is the recently rediscovered Beck’s Petrel with another chance for Heinroth’s Shearwater. This is another area where a number of different species of cetaceans have been seen previously including Melon-headed Whale, Dwarf and Pygmy Sperm Whales and Orca.
Days 18 to 19: At Sea
We will cross the Equator and the species we will be on the lookout for include Bulwer’s Petrel, Tropical Shearwater, White-tailed Tropicbird and Sooty Tern.
Days 20 to 21: Caroline Islands
On Weno Island where we will be berthed we hope to see species such as Myzomelas, Reed Warbler, Swiftlet and the Ground Dove. We should be able to see Caroline Islands White-eye, Swiftlet and Reed Warbler, the Micronesian Myzomela and Starling as well as Oceanic Flycatcher. On Tol South it is possible that we may see the endemic Great Truk White-eye and the Chuuk Monarch.
Days 22 to 25: At Sea
The birding can be quiet but as we head northwards new species could include Matsudaira’s Storm-Petrel, Bonin Petrel as well as Bannerman’s and Christmas Shearwaters. As we approach the Bonin Islands, we stand a good chance of finding Humpback Whales which can occur here in reasonable numbers.
Day 26: Chichi-jima
After clearing into Japan at Chichi-jima, we will explore the settlement looking for Japanese White-eye, Brown-eared Bulbul and Japanese Bush Warbler
Day 27: Haha-jima and Higashi Shima
We plan to spend the morning on Haha-jima, the only place in the world where the stunning Bonin Honeyeater can be found. In the late afternoon, we will look for the recently described and very rare Bryan’s Shearwater off the east coast of Chichi-jima.
Day 28: At Sea
Relax at sea as we sail north from the Bonin Islands. We will be on the lookout for seabirds with the possibilities including Tristram’s Storm-Petrel, Bonin Petrel and Bannerman’s Shearwater.
Day 29: Torishima Island
Landings are not permitted at Torishima Island, but we cruise close by where we hope to spot the Short-tailed or Steller’s Albatross. Other species in the vicinity include the Black-footed and Laysan Albatross, Streaked Shearwater, Tristam’s and Matsudaira’s Storm-Petrels.
Day 30: Miyake-jima Island
We plan to land on Miyake-jima and visit the Tsubota Nature Centre where the forest trails provide an opportunity to see endemics such as Izu Thrush, Ijima’s Leaf-warbler and Owston’s Tit. In the afternoon, we plan to cruise close to an islet where Japanese Murrelets breed before continuing north to Yokohama.
Day 31: Yokohama, Japan
After breakfast and completing Japanese arrival formalities you disembark the ship. We bid farewell to our fellow voyagers.
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