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EXC In-Depth Field Notes: The First Zodiac Tour in Vava’u and Beautiful Dravuni & Suva

Our EXC In-Depth Voyage reached Vava’u, the port where the first zodiac tour took place! EXC In-Depth Marine Scientist and Naturalist Cristiana Damiano and EXC In-Depth Leader Chris Cook sent some details about the adventure, as well as Field Notes from Dravuni. Enjoy this installment, and stay tuned as the ship heads to New Zealand.

Neiafu, Vava’u

We could not have wished for a better location and perfect day to launch our EXC In-Depth Zodiac program! As Maasdam prepared to drop anchor in the safe and secluded waters of Vava’u’s harbor, anticipation was tangible on board our beautiful ship. With cameras and snorkeling gear in hand, the first-ever EXC zodiac expedition took off to explore “Mala”, one of the stunning islands of this special archipelago.

Expedition team driver-naturalist Caitlyn Webster and guests observing Maasdam from another angle. Photo by Kristy King.

Expedition team driver-naturalist Caitlyn Webster and guests observing Maasdam from another angle. Photo by Kristy King.

Remote and truly unspoiled, the waters of Vava’u are crystal clear and regarded as the most scenic of the ancient Polynesian Kingdom of Tonga. We were able to explore a peaceful island fringed with coral reefs and tropical fish. Some guests simply enjoyed the idyllic beach and surroundings, while some plunged into the warm waters to discover the coral reef ecosystem. It was a truly remarkable way to create history for Holland America!

Submitted by EXC In-Depth Marine Scientist and Naturalist Cristiana Damiano

Suva, Fiji

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Bula from Suva, Fiji! The beauty of our visit to this tropical location was not apparent at first, but when we took in the beautiful bay where we were and then took the time to visit the “Real Fiji,” you certainly found it to be like nowhere else on earth. We had a multitude of tour options that immersed our guests in Fiji, and I was fortunate enough to join a group on a nature trail. We were able to visit a reserve that had been heavily logged in the past, but had lovingly been converted into a nature reserve filled with native tress that brought varied wildlife. The trail was set along a beautiful stream, sourced from a natural spring, where visitors and locals, alike, took the opportunity to go for a swim!

Submitted by Chris Cook, Explorations Leader for EXC In-Depth

Dravuni

Dravuni was a day that Holland America Line had never experienced before. Our intrepid guests headed out onboard zodiacs looking for an exclusive adventure lead by an EXC In-Depth team of naturalists and Marc Wilson, our guest photographer. Three small idyllic islands awaited, offering an experience they would cherish forever. Surrounded by clear, dazzling blue waters and under an azure sky, a sheltered white sand beach and a healthy reef ecosystem, this paradisiac setting provided to be the perfect environment for snorkeling, nature walks and photograph adventurers. Unique bird life, fauna and flora, and underwater treasures were discovered by all. It was a memorable experience we will never forget.

Coral off a beach near Dravuni. By Peter Carey

Coral off a beach near Dravuni. By Peter Carey

A beach approach near Dravuni. By Peter Carey

A beach approach near Dravuni. By Peter Carey

Submitted by EXC In-Depth Marine Scientist and Naturalist Cristiana Damiano

Next up, Maasdam visits New Zealand and the surrounding islands. Our EXC In-Depth team members will be sending more Field Notes along the way! If you’d like to join an EXC In-Depth Voyage, they are scheduled into 2020 so take a look and see where you’d like to explore!

2 Comments
  • Robert Pressrich

    We are looking into a Maasdam EXC Cruise next year. How are the Zodiacs reserved/booked for the guests? Are they boarded from the tender platforms?

  • Julie

    The zodiac tours are booked just like all other tours. They can be pre-booked or booked on board, but we recommend doing it before you cruise. They are boarded from the tender platform.

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