Western Pacific Odyssey 2019
AT A GLANCE
Bird & Wildlife Cruise: birds, whales & dolphins, remote islands & photography.
New Zealand – Norfolk Island – New Caledonia – Solomon Islands – Chuuk – Japan
Numerous temperate and tropical Pacific seabirds including Short-tailed Albatross, Beck’s Petrel, Heinroth’s Shearwater, Polynesian, Tristram’s, New Zealand and ‘New Caledonian’ Storm-Petrels, Japanese Murrelet, as well as Solomon Sea-Eagle, Kagu and many other island endemics. 20 + species of whales and dolphins are also possible. See the itinerary section for a more comprehensive list.
Temperate to tropical and back to temperate
50+ passenger expedition ship, cabins with and without private facilities.
Relatively unexplored by keen sea watchers, WildWings conceived and designed this ‘world first’ voyage, sailing northwards from New Zealand through the Pacific Ocean to Japan. The inaugural departure was in 2007 followed by several equally successful departures, however, for the last few years a series of shorter voyages to PNG have operated. We are, therefore, delighted to announce that our full, original itinerary is back in 2018 and this includes planned landings on the Bonin and Izu islands (south of Japan) and a close approach to Torishima Island, the home of the Short-tailed Albatross. For early bookers, we can offer special prices too!
The voyage includes many days at sea, travelling through waters where some of the least known seabirds on the planet can be found. The itinerary also includes a number of landings on rarely visited islands, rich in bird endemics. The unique Kagu of New Caledonia being an example of one of the many special species we will seek ashore. There will also be some optional snorkeling and general island exploration opportunities for anyone wanting to take a break from birding.
The main purpose of the voyage, however, will be the seabirds and cetaceans, and we will use chum and fish oil during the voyage to target specific seabirds. Photographic opportunities are generally good to excellent.
Recent voyages have also seen a mystery Storm-petrel offshore from New Caledonia which was first discovered on WPO 2008. Subsequent expeditions have now confirmed that these birds are indeed an unknown species. Full details, photographs and biometrics will be published soon. The upcoming 2019 voyage offers the next chance to see one of the world’s newest birds!
Other possibilities include the recently described ‘Magnificent Petrel’ which has now been photographed on several recent WPOs and on Norfolk Island, we can expect to see ‘Tasman Booby’ which may well be split from Masked Booby as these birds have dark eyes and different biometrics to other Masked Boobies populations.
We start by sailing through New Zealand’s famed Hauraki Gulf for the recently rediscovered New Zealand Storm-Petrel and other southern tubenoses before venturing north. Our itinerary crosses both tropics and the Equator on our way to the Japanese breeding grounds of another two of the world’s rarest seabirds, Short-tailed Albatross and Japanese Murrelet, with a host of other seabird possibilities along the way, as we cruise through generally tranquil tropical seas.
We anticipate finding a number of almost mythical species, such as Heinroth’s Shearwater, Polynesian Storm-Petrel and the recently re-discovered Beck’s Petrel plus the possibility of the‘Fiji’-type Petrels off the coast of New Ireland. The breeding grounds of Vanuatu Petrel have now been discovered (only a couple of hundred miles to the east of our route) and this species has been added to the WPO’s amazing seabird list. Another possibility is the recently described Bryan’s Shearwater and we plan to spend an evening offshore from the only known breeding island for this species in the Bonin Islands.
A good, sometimes amazing, supporting cast of cetaceans is also expected including beaked whales and various dolphins and species seen previously include Blue Whale, Sperm Whale, Melon-headed Whale, Dwarf and Pygmy Sperm Whales, Blainville’s Beaked Whale and Spinner Dolphins.
Seasonal weather at this time of year is normally good and the previous expeditions have enjoyed a generally calm passage in warm to hot conditions. Explore remote tropical islands such as Kolombangara in the Solomon Islands and enjoy Pacific dawns and sunsets, rainbows and long sunny days.
Our vessel will be the comfortable expedition ship, the Spirit of Enderby, operated by Heritage Expeditions carrying a maximum of just over 50 passengers. All cabins have portholes or windows and plenty of storage space. The ship has a bar/library lounge and a dedicated lecture room with informal but excellent dining in two dining rooms. We will use her Zodiacs for landings and cruises.
Chris Collins, the WildWings leader, greatly assisted in putting this trip together and 2019 will be his eleventh such voyage. Other seabird ‘luminaries’ will also be onboard to help you maximise your experience.
Western Pacific Odyssey 2018 - full itinerary here
Potential Seabirds (selected species only)
Little Penguin, Antipodean, Gibson’s, Northern Royal, Snowy, Campbell, White-capped, Pacific, Short-tailed, Laysan and Black-footed Albatrosses, Southern & Northern Giant Petrels, Tahiti Petrel, Beck’s Petrel, ‘Fiji’-type Petrel, Grey-faced Petrel, Providence Petrel, Kermadec Petrel, Herald Petrel, Magnificent Petrel, White-necked Petrel, Vanuatu Petrel, Cook’s Petrel, Gould’s Petrel, Bonin Petrel, Black-winged Petrel, Pycroft’s Petrel, Fairy Prion, Bulwer’s Petrel, White-chinned Petrel, Black Petrel, Streaked Shearwater, Flesh-footed Shearwater, Wedge-tailed Shearwater, Buller’s Shearwater, Short-tailed Shearwater, Heinroth’s Shearwater, Christmas Shearwater, Fluttering Shearwater, Little Shearwater, Atoll and Bannerman’s Shearwaters (former subspecies of Audubon’s Shearwater), Bryan’s Shearwater, ‘New Caledonian’ Storm-Petrel, New Zealand Storm-Petrel, Wilson’s Storm-Petrel, Black-bellied Storm-Petrel, White-bellied Storm-Petrel, White-faced Storm-Petrel , Polynesian Storm-Petrel, Band-rumped Storm-Petrel, Tristram’s Storm-Petrel, Matsudaira’s Storm-Petrel, Common Diving-Petrel, Red-tailed Tropicbird, White-tailed Tropicbird, Australasian Gannet, Tasman & Masked Booby, Red-footed Booby, Brown Booby, Japanese Cormorant, Great and Lesser Frigatebirds, South Polar and Brown Skuas, Black-tailed Gull, Kelp Gull, Slaty-backed Gull, Silver Gull, White-fronted Tern, Black-naped Tern, Grey-backed Tern, Bridled Tern, Sooty Tern, Fairy Tern, Great Crested Tern, Grey Ternlet, Brown and Black Noddies, White Tern, Ancient & Japanese Murrelets and Rhinoceros Auklet.
The following cetaceans have been seen on one or more of the previous expeditions:Bryde’s Whale, Sperm Whale, Blue Whale, Dwarf and Pygmy Sperm Whales, Gray’s, Cuvier’s, Longman’s, Hubb’s , Ginkgo-toothed and Blainville’s Beaked-Whales, Short-finned and Long-finned Pilot Whales, Orca, False Killer Whale, Pygmy Killer Whale, Melon-headed Whale, Striped, Pantropical Spotted, Eastern Spinner, Bottlenose, Risso’s, Short-beaked Common, Rough-toothed and Fraser’s Dolphins.
Selected ‘Island’ Birds
Pacific Baza, Solomon Sea-Eagle, White-bellied Goshawk, Roviana Rail, Kagu, Pacific Emerald Dove, Caroline Islands Ground-Dove, Purple-crowned, White-headed and Claret-breasted Fruit-Doves, Cloven-feathered Dove, Chestnut-bellied, Red-knobbed and Pacific Imperial-Pigeons, Ducorps’s Cockatoo, Cardinal Lory, Yellow-bibbed Lory, Finsch’s Pygmy-Parrot, Buff-headed Coucal, Moustached Treeswift, Ultramarine and Beach Kingfishers, Solomon Islands, North and South Melanesian Cuckoo-Shrikes, Caroline Reed Warbler, Rennell, White-winged and Streaked Fantails, Rennell Shrikebill, Kolombangara, White-collared, Chestnut-bellied and White-capped Monarchs, Oceanic Flycatcher, Norfolk and Yellow-bellied Robins, New Caledonian Whistler, Norfolk Island and Rennell Gerygones, Rennell, Bare-eyed, Green-backed, Solomon Islands and Caroline Islands White-eyes, Midget and Mottled Flowerpeckers, San Cristobal Melidectes, Sooty, Red-capped, Cardinal and New Caledonian Myzomelas, New Caledonian Friarbird and Crow Honeyeater, Micronesian, Brown-winged and San Cristobal Starlings and Red-throated and Blue-faced Parrotfinches.
Please note: All itineraries are subject to weather, local conditions and final approval by the relevant authorities.
Dates: 5th April – 5th May 2019 New Zealand – Japan
Leader/s: Chris Collins and the rest of the ship’s expedition team
£4829 sharing a twin with washbasin (lower and upper berths)
£5449 sharing a twin with washbasin (lower berths)
£5999 sharing a twin with private facilities (upper & lower berths)
£6345 sharing a twin with private facilities (lower berths)
£7585 sharing a suite with private facilities (double bed and separate lounge)
Discovery Fund US$600pp, payable in cash onboard (which includes donations to conservation projects and villages we will visit).
Payment can also be made in US$, please contact us for rates.
Update (17/11/17) – The 2019 voyage is currently full with waiting lists. We are now taking registrations for the 2020 voyage, TBC April – TBC May 2020, £100 refundable registration fee per person.
Prices include: Voyage with accommodation as booked, including all meals aboard vessel, tea and coffee, guided shore excursions as described, lectures and services of ship’s expedition team, transfers to ship from designated meeting point in Tauranga and from the ship to Yokohama railway station, day-by-day bird and mammal checklist and evening log-call.
Excludes: Flights, pre/post hotels, travel insurance, drinks, crew tips (suggest US$10 per day), visas and other items of a personal nature.
The previous trip reports and systematic lists are available on this website or from the WildWings office.
5th April – 5th May 2019
TBC April – TBC May 2020
Chris has birded in over 50 countries around the world and now spends quite a lot of his time at sea. Although professionally qualified as a Chartered Accountant, these days Chris concentrates on wildlife-related projects and was very instrumental in setting up the Western Pacific Odyssey and also guides our Russian Far East voyages.