In approximately 7 hours we will be on our way to our next great adventure. Starting on Sunday 3rd April and departing from Cairns, Kelly and I will be sailing on the Orion 1 for 22 days, experiencing a part of the world that we thought we would never see, to Papua New Guinea and West Papua & Maluku .
The trip consists of two back to back cruises, the PNG Cultural Highlights - Australian Geographic Photography Expedition and West Papua & Maluku - Voyage of Discovery. Our route will take us north from Cairns to our first stop at Alotau, Milne Bay and then further north and west to the Sepik River and back to Rabaul, the end of the first cruise. From there, on the second cruise, we sail up the coast to Wewak and then to a number of small islands and atolls, around the "birds head" to finish up in Darwin.
The first leg is an inaugural photographic expedition, specifically designed for different photographic conditions, such as the possibility of morning landings or late afternoon Zodiac cruises to take advantage of specific lighting conditions. Along side the regular expedition team, two specialist photographers will be on board for this voyage; Nick Rains and Peter Eastway. Nick and Peter will be running a program for all levels of photographic skills while on-board.
I haven't met either Nick or Peter, I have however worked on a number of projects for Panasonic Australia including Lumix Life featuring Nick and Peter's work with Lumix cameras.
The second leg of the journey is termed a "Voyage of Discovery" as it's the first time Orion has traveled this particular route. We will be undertaking an anti-clockwise navigation around Papua and over the "birds head" of West Papua witnessing some remote locations and unique ceremonies. The province contains the highest mountains between the Himalayas and the Andes, rising up to 4884m high. There are lowland rainforests, extensive wetlands, and some of the largest mangrove forest in the world.
Around the tip we visit Raja Ampat, an archipelago comprising some 1,500 small islands, cays and shoals surrounding the four main islands. We will then sail south to Maluku, a rarely visited group of islands, finally berthing in Darwin.
We have no idea of what to expect and I hope to report back on a daily basis all that we have seen and have experienced. So keep an eye on the blog!
As in the past our first task was to send the Fur Kids, Rupert and Peanut off to kitty camp. Here's a shot of them waiting for the Hanrob limo to pick them up.