WP-08 West Pacific 2008 – a cruise NEW ZEALAND, New Caledonia, SOLOMON ISLANDS, PNG, FSM, Guam, Mariana Islands, Iwo Jima, Okinawa, JAPAN
Date of travel: Feb 25 – Mar 29, 2008
On Feb 25 in the afternoon I drive in rented car from Vista to Los Angeles airport. In the evening I board a Qantas plane for Auckland, NEW ZEALAND. I land there in the early hours Feb 27. I am taken to my hotel. Today there is a sightseeing trip of the city arranged by Vantage Company for all who take the cruise. The following 2 days I see Auckland by myself visiting the 328 m high Sky Tower, take a tourist bus and a boat ride through the harbor. On Mar 1 we visit the Museum and in the afternoon we board the Holland America ship Statendam. The ship leaves Auckland in the evening.
During next 2 days the ship stops in Tauranga and Bay of Islands still in New Zealand. That is followed by 2 full days on the Pacific Ocean before we dock at the town of Noumea on the island of NEW CALEDONIA which is a French possession. In the morning I walk the city on foot and in the afternoon there is a bus tour of the island.
Next 2 days the ship sails on the Coral Sea and on Mar 9 we dock in Honiera on the Guadalcanal Island in SOLOMON ISLANDS. During the trip through the island we visit Bloody Ridge and the airport Henderson Field both famous from the battles between Americans and Japanese in WWII.
After another day on the sea Statendam moors at Rabaul on the Island of New Britten of PAPUA NEW GUINEA (PNG) on Mar 11. This is my second visit of this place. During the trip through the island we visit a WWII cemetery where some 1000 Allied soldiers are interred. We also see Japanese fortifications, WWII museum and the town Rabaul. One of the local volcanoes is spilling smoke and volcanic dust. Soon our ship is covered by few inches of this stuff.
Three days on the Pacific Ocean and then landing on the Yap Island which is part of a country called FEDERATED STATES of MICRONESIA (FSM) . I explore its town Colonia on foot. A specialty of this island are so call “stone money.” They look like large mill stones. They are leaning against the walls of a hotel. Each has certain value and belongs to various people on the island.
Another day on the ocean and the next stop is island of GUAM on Mar 17. I have visited Guam before so I do the sightseeing by myself. The following day we dock at the Saipan Island in the NORTHERN MARIANA ISLAND group. There I take a bus tour which shows us among other where the American soldiers stormed the beaches in WWII.
After another day on the ocean Statendam anchors at Iwo Jima on Mar 20. Since Solomon Islands we have been visiting the battlegrounds of WWII. There is a number of participants of those battles on board. At Iwo Jima is a ceremony of remembrance.
Two days later on Mar 22 we are at city of Naha on Okinawa, JAPAN. Here I take part in a bus tour. The following day we sail past many Japanese islands and on Mar 24 we reach Nagasaki on island of Kyushu. There is also a bus tour. Another day among the Japanese islands and on Mar 26 our ship docks in Osaka. From there by bus past Kobe to Kyoto. Next 2 days I am sightseeing the historical city by bus and also on foot.
On Mar 29 I leave Japan from Kansai Airport in Osaka for San Francisco. From there by another plane to Los Angeles. Here I take a car from AVIS and drive home to Vista.
Travel office: Vantage and Holland America
Who took part: a ship full travelers