SNORKEL WITH SHARKS IN THE FIJI ISLANDS
Snorkelling with sharks in Fiji’s stunning Yasawa Islands is an experience of a lifetime. The day trip on board South Sea Cruises’ Yasawa Flyer departs from Denarau and heads to Kuata Island, the closest of the Yasawa Islands to Nadi, a small hidden gem in the Yasawa Island archipelago. Here visitors are greeted with a picture-postcard beach, clear turquoise-coloured waters, towering rock formations and warm Fijian hospitality.
After donning snorkelling gear it’s off to the shark reef site with one of a team of experienced guides who have spent hundreds of hours getting to know the resident school of sharks.
You’ll spot two main species of sharks on the trip: Whitetip Reef Sharks and Blacktip Reef Sharks, both of which are common in the warm tropical waters of the South Pacific. Each species can grow to a length of just over 1.5 metres although under the water they appear 25% larger thanks to a snorkelling face mask optical illusion.
Whitetips are the dominant species and by nature are an inquisitive shark and not frightened to check you out. Their Blacktip relatives, by contrast, are timid and will shy away if they feel threatened.
Buoyancy aids are available for less confident swimmers and because the sharks prefer shallow waters there’s no need to even dive under the water to get a thrilling view. Non-snorkellers too can thoroughly enjoy the day by watching from the boat.
EXPLORE TAHITI’S OUTER ISLANDS ON BOARD A WORKING SHIP
Tahiti-based Aranui Cruises offers a unique cruising option around Tahiti’s picturesque islands on board Aranui 5.
Aranui 5 is an incredibly great-value way to experience Tahiti while also offering an authentic seafaring adventure on board a working ship. The 14-day itinerary takes guests to nine islands across three French Polynesian archipelagos – the Marquesas, the Tuamotus and the Society Islands – showing off some of the most naturally beautiful and untouched islands in the world.
As a working ship, Aranui 5 offers the rare first-hand experience of seeing a freighter delivering a lifeline of food, fuel and other staples to remote island ports.
The destination-rich itinerary includes Bora Bora and its famed blue lagoon; the chance to walk in the footsteps of Robert Louis Stevenson, Herman Melville and Paul Gauguin on Nuka Hiva; the islands of Ua Pou, Ua Huka, Tahuata, Fatu Hiva and Hiva Oa in the far-flung Marquesas, and the picturesque Tuamotu ports of Rangiroa and Takapoto.
During the round-trip cruise from Papeete, the freighter drops off cargo while guests disembark and explore a range of complimentary excursions including hikes, 4WD tours, visits to archaeological sites and a picnic on a secluded beach in Bora Bora. Throughout the journey, guests enjoy the comforts of a cruise ship including a restaurant, two conference rooms, lounges, a library, a computer room, a boutique, a swimming pool, a fitness room, a spa and four bars including the popular Sky Bar.
CYCLE IRAN WITH SPICEROADS
SpiceRoads Cycle Tours has a new addition to its itinerary options: “The Jewels of Persia by Bicycle”, in Iran.
Iran is an emerging destination and one of the top go-to places for intrepid adventurers. With a history that spans thousands of years, Iran boasts fascinating historic sites as well as varied landscapes that provide a perfect setting for cycling through this oncerestricted country.
The Jewels of Persia by Bicycle is a 15-day, moderately challenging cycling tour that takes travellers along a beautiful route through Central Iran, exploring the country’s cultural heartland and visiting key historical sites. It begins in Shiraz and ends in the Iranian capital of Tehran.
The ride is primarily on paved roads but incorporates the variety of natural environments the region has to offer including mountains and hills as well as valley flatlands. There are a few challenging climbs as well as some fast, sweeping descents, and a short off-road section.
Itinerary Highlights: Beginning the journey in Shiraz, the capital of Iranian poetry. Wandering the still-standing ruins of Persepolis, once the richest city on earth. Strolling through the famous gardens of Isfahan. Discovering Zoroastrian influences in Yazd. Camping underneath the star-filled desert sky for two nights. Gazing in awe at the splendor of Persian mosques. Spending two nights in traditional caravanserai (travellers’ inns) along the Silk Road.
THE RAW, WILD AND FASCINATING ARCTIC
The Arctic is a fascinating part of the planet that offers an exciting and dramatic holiday experience. In this immense and spectacular wilderness region you are at the mercy of the wind, ocean and ice. Australian-based Peregrine Adventures aims to set the industry benchmark for minimum environmental impact and the most stringent safety practices.
One itinerary option is to explore the wild Canadian Arctic by day and then come home to a comfortable base at the Arctic Watch Wilderness Lodge. Stuated on the northern tip of Somerset Island on the shores of the Northwest Passage, it is the world’s most northerly and most remote lodge and a world-class beluga whale observation site.
This eight-day adventure offers the full Arctic safari experience, with guided activities and extraordinary wildlife sightings during the 24 hours of summer daylight. After an overnight stay in Yellowknife, fly to Nunavut on Somerset Island and transfer to the lodge. Each day brings the chance of new wildlife sightings including beluga whales, ringed seals, polar bears, roaming musk oxen, Arctic foxes, snowy owls and more. Learn to drive all-terrain vehicles, try your hand at kayaking among icebergs, navigate the gentle Cunningham River rapids on a raft and fish for Arctic char at Inukshuk Lake.
The Cunningham River estuary is a beluga whale migration site and so close to the lodge that you can see whales from the riverbank. Come home with unique photos and a lifetime of stories about the Canadian Arctic.
What adventure would you recommend to other readers? Let them know in the comments below.