We caught up with PELORUS Co-Founder Jimmy Carroll to learn more about his recent yacht expeditions to the Solomon Islands & Papua New Guinea, and to pick up some tips for others thinking of embarking on similar adventures.
In December 2019, PELORUS Co-Founder Jimmy Carroll led an expedition to the Solomon Islands for 35m MY SPIRIT, followed by an expedition to Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands for 63m SURI. Each trip was carefully curated by the PELORUS Yacht Expeditions team, and was tailored to each group’s criteria. A superyacht is the perfect platform for embarking on such an expedition, allowing guests to experience the best of both land and sea.
For SURI and SPIRIT’s trips to the Solomon Islands, the itinerary comprised:
– 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
– Double Island
– Diamond narrows
– The Helena Goldie Hospital – a visit to the children’s ward
The Solomon Islands offer a completely unique experience each day, and many once-in-a-lifetime opportunities. Throughout the Solomon Islands, the history of ancient civilisations is blended with the events of more recent times. There are many reminders of the part these islands played in World War II and the well-preserved wrecks, including that of a US fighter plane near Double Island, are incredible scuba and snorkelling sites.
The variety of marine life to be found in the Solomon Islands is really quite amazing, from dugongs and turtles to crocodiles and Black Tip Reef Sharks.
Jimmy advises that the trip to Skull Island was a particular highlight for guests: “Skull Island is an ancient burial ground for former tribal and village Chiefs. Here, old sculls, obtained during the headhunting days of old, create a fascinatingly eerie display!”
For visitors wanting to feel immersed in the region’s culture, a walk through the village on Rendova Island facilitates a chance to converse with locals who are keen to share their way of life and traditions.
“A thorough understanding of the location is essential for visiting this region, accessing the two remote locations of Rendova and Double Island required a helicopter ride, and our knowledge of a local initiative to regrow coral in areas badly damaged by a tsunami, meant that guests were able to assist in planting coral on the wreck of a WWII Wildcat Navy fighter plane,” comments Jimmy.
Other highlights of this expedition included trekking through untouched jungle to see a settlement that had only been discovered two weeks prior to the group’s arrival, and flying over the Kolombangara volcano.
For SURI’s trip to Papua New Guinea, the itinerary was as follows:
– Raboul and surrounding areas
– Duke of York Islands
– Baining Mountains
– Jacquinot Bay
– Nakanai Mountains
– Blue hole
Papua New Guinea is rich in culture and traditions. The group saw local tribesmen scale coconut trees to harvest the coconuts, and they experienced a Baining Tribe Fire Ritual.
“A trip to Papua New Guinea is simply not complete without taking a flight over Mount Tavurvur, an active (and steaming!) Volcano,” advises Jimmy, and he also tells us of the playful super-pod of Spinner Dolphins that the group encountered.
“Really, the list of things to do, and experiences to be had, here just goes on and on. I think learning some spearfishing skills from the local tribesman and venturing out in their traditional outrigger canoes is another pivotal experience.”
Jimmy led the group on a recce of the area by helicopter, and guests loved later visiting snorkelling sites that they had seen from the air. Guests also enjoyed a tender ride up an inland river, taking them deep into the heart of the jungle and into scenes like those from a Hollywood movie, with jungle either side and mist rolling in around them.
These remote destinations are easier to access by superyacht than ever before, and they’re particularly well suited to it. “Both of these destinations have a rich tapestry of tribal culture dating back hundreds of years, which means the experiences to be had are near impossible to find anywhere else in the world,” comments Jimmy.
Jimmy advises that general infrastructure is still basic but for many, it’s this rawness that makes the region so attractive. PELORUS are able to partner that authenticity with heightened levels of luxury, with a yacht and its assets able to facilitate smoother transitions between shore side excursions, tenders, helicopters and floatplanes.
The two locations have been extremely popular with PELORUS clients, and expeditions to the region have garnered some of the most talked-about experiences to date. PELORUS works with expert guides, who have operated in the region for over thirty years, and trips take meticulous planning. To enable an interaction between guests and a local tribe, for example, requires someone who is familiar to the tribe and trusted by them to secure this exclusive access.
PELORUS work symbiotically with a yacht’s own crew and a network of on-the-ground specialists, to ensure that the expected luxury yachting experience is still delivered. “Visiting this region by superyacht, you can cover a significantly larger area even in a reduced time frame. Relocate overnight and awake each morning in completely new, and stunning, surroundings. It’s luxury expedition travel at its finest.”