Known in birding circles, simply as the ‘WPO’, this expedition incorporates many of the key birding areas in the South West Pacific. First offered in 2007, it is now considered one of the ‘must do’ expeditions for any birder because of opportunities to see some of the rarest pelagic seabirds in the world plus many island endemics. But it is not only for ‘birders’. The cetacean list can only be described as outstanding and if you ever tire of birding or cetacean watching then there are numerous snorkelling, swimming and relaxing opportunities.
After departing the Port of Tauranga, in New Zealand we sail for the rich waters of the Hauraki Gulf where there are numerous endemic species, including the recently discovered New Zealand Storm Petrel. From there it’s northward to Norfolk Island for a day. Next stop is New Caledonia where we search for the amazing Kagu and other endemics in the Rivière Bleue National Park.
We then spend five exciting days in the Solomon Islands birding on Rennell, Makira, Guadalcanal (Mt Austin), Santa Isabel and Kolombangara, before cruising across the New Britain Trench, an area known to be extremely rich in cetaceans. As we sail along the coasts of Bougainville and New Ireland, we will look for two extremely poorly known seabirds, Heinroth’s Shearwater and the recently rediscovered Beck’s Petrel, both of which we have seen on almost all our previous expeditions in this region.
Next stop is Truk Island (Federated States of Micronesia) for some more intensive birding before we set a course for the Bonin Islands south of Japan. Our route will take us to Chichi-jima, Haha-jima and Torishima Islands (and hopefully Short-tailed Albatross) before we visit Miyake-jima, where we will look for the last specialities of the expedition. Our voyage will then conclude at the Port of Yokohama in Japan.
This expedition is accompanied by some of the best pelagic birding guides in the world who have extensive experience of the seabirds of the West Pacific and have visited the islands we will be landing on multiple times before. Birding starts at dawn and finishes at sundown. Our guides are there throughout the day to assist you and the ‘reading of the bird list’ each evening is legendary for its detail and discussion. This is one expedition you can’t afford to miss.
Short-tailed, Black-footed, Campbell, Shy, Buller’s and Wandering Albatross, Fluttering, Wedge-tailed, Little, Tropical, Bannerman’s, Streaked, Bryan’s, Heinroth’s, Short-tailed & Buller’s Shearwater, Gould’s, Black-winged, Providence, Beck’s, Bonin’s, White-necked, Kermadec, Bulwer’s, Collared, Grey-faced, Great-winged, Tahiti & Black Petrel, New Zealand, White-bellied, Matsudaira’s, Tristram’s, Leach’s, Polynesian, Band-rumped, ‘New Caledonian Storm Petrel’ & White-faced Storm Petrel, Grey-backed & White Tern, Little Penguin, Blue & Black Noddy, Common Diving Petrel, Red-tailed & White-tailed Tropicbird, Black-tailed Gull, Japanese Cormorant, Japanese Murrelet, Norfolk Island Parakeet, Slender-billed White-eye, Norfolk Gerygone, Teardrop White-eye, Chuuk Monarch, Bonin Honeyeater, Kagu, New Caledonian Goshawk, Goliath (New Caledonian) Pigeon, Cloven-feathered Dove, Horned Parakeet, New Caledonian Parakeet, New Caledonian Crow, New Caledonian & South Melanesian Cuckooshrike, Long-tailed Triller, Fan-tailed Gerygone, Melanesian (New Caledonian) Whistler, Striated Starling, New Caledonian Myzomela, Barred & Crow Honeyeater, New Caledonian Friarbird, Red-throated Parrotfinch, Rennell Starling, Rennell Shrikebill, Bare-eyed White-eye, Rennell Fantail, Rennell White-eye, Sooty Myzomela, White-collared Monarch, White-mottled Flowerpecker, White-headed Fruit Dove, Rufous Fantail, Red-capped Myzomela, White-billed Crow, Solomons Cuckooshrike, Solomons Monarch and Yellow-throated White-eye, Sanford’s Sea Eagle, Roviana Rail, Citrine White-eye, Micronesian Myzomela, Micronesian Starling, Oceanic Flycatcher, Caroline Reed Warbler, Island Swiftlet, Purple-capped Fruit Dove, Izu Thrush, Ijima’s Leaf Warbler, Japanese Wood Pigeon, Japanese Robin, Japanese Pygmy Woodpecker, Japanese Bush Warbler, Blue Rock Thrush, Japanese White-eye, Brown-eared Bulbul.
Sperm, Sei, Short-finned Pilot, Melon-headed, False Killer, Cuvier’s Beaked, Longman’s Beaked, Hubb’s Beaked, Pygmy Sperm & Dwarf Sperm Whale, Bottlenose, Spinner, Striped & Pantropical Spotted Dolphin.
Pacific Ocean, landings on tropical islands, lowland rain forests, deciduous forest
cool (but not cold) seas off New Zealand & Japan, much hotter weather as we sail near the equator. Rain is likely on some days
very relaxed, with some longer optional walks
brilliant coral reef snorkeling, traditional island culture, rarely visited tropical islands, historical World War II relics