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News ISSUE 45 • APRIL 2019


Welcome Last month, I led a group of twelve Coral Expeditions staff and crew to participate in the successful sea trials of Coral Adventurer. It was a very successful milestone, with Coral Adventurer proving to be highly stable and comfortable. In this issue, we have included some insights into her construction journey from our project manager on the ground, Frank Krone.

This month, we are also pleased to share the launch of a new expedition developed in association with the Cairns Indigenous Art Fair. You will also find information on our “Solo Traveller” special offers, and our new sailings for Tasmania 2020 including the inaugural 14-night Circumnavigation Voyage. Our feature story this month shines light on Sulawesi’s “Wallace Line” as seen by resident naturalist Ian Morris, who will be joining the Sulawesi sailing in 2020 as our guest lecturer. We are all looking forward to the excitement of the launch of the Coral Adventurer and the maiden voyage sailing departing Singapore on the 24th of April. We hope to see you onboard one of our many exciting new itineraries soon.

Mark Fifield - Group General Manager

^ Coral Expeditions representatives line up during Coral Adventurer’s Sea Trials: Frank Krone, Gary Wilson, Mike Marsden, Tamara Sweeting, Craig Argent, Dan Prockter, Jacopo Barchetti, Dave McDonough, Barbara Genedics, Udo Soltwedel, Mark Fifield, and Paul Chacko.


We are pleased to announce increased capacity (subject to availability) for solo travellers and no single supplement on selected New Guinea departures. Travel for the price of a twin room, and enjoy the welcoming and intimate atmosphere of our small ship expeditions.

DEPARTURES: New Guinea Circle: 25 Nights, Cairns to Darwin Customs & Craftsmen: 22 Nights, Darwin to Cairns Spice Islands & Raja Ampat: 12 Nights, 2 departures Passage to the Solomons: 11 Nights, 2 departures

FROM GEOLOGY TO ZOOGEOGRAPHY The central islands of Indonesia between Java, Bali and Borneo to the West, and Papua to the east – are a place of wonder, a breathing laboratory for the study of evolution. This region, where the Asian and Australian ecosystems meet, is known to biogeographers as Wallacea.

The natural history of Wallacea is complicated, and heavily dictated by geological forces such as plate tectonics and volcanism. To know where species come from you need to know not only the species’ evolutionary history, but also the geological history of the region where they occurred.

In the mid-nineteenth century, a titan of 19th century British science, Alfred Russel Wallace, discovered an invisible line that separated two faunal universes. This line separated elephants and tigers from marsupials, and honeyeaters from barbets and trogons. His observations of the zoological differences to the northwest and southeast of this imaginary line through the Indonesian Island of Sulawesi were part of a body of work, that alongside Charles Darwin’s, developed his theory of natural selection and reinvented biology.

Wallace trekked the Malay Archipelago, today’s Indonesia, from the 20th of April 1854 to the 1st of April 1862, delighting in its wildlife. Situated on the equator and bathed by the temperate waters of three great tropical oceans, this area of 13,000 islands showcased an unheard of, extraordinary array of species. This prompted Wallace to imagine the movement of species across dry sea beds in Southeast Asia and Northern Australia when water was held up by ice on land during the Ice Ages and sea levels fell. Subsequently, with the melting of the



ice sheets, world sea levels rose, and evolution of species developed north and south of the Wallace Line. Today we know that the Wallace Line marks the edge of the Eurasian continent and the beginning of a shifting constellation of oceanic islands. To the northwest, the Sunda Continental Shelf is the submerged southeastern corner of the Asian continent, and to the southeast, the land masses of New Guinea, Australia and Tasmania sit on the Sahul Continental Shelf. During the ice ages when sea levels were lower, the bodies of water along the Wallace and Weber Lines were deep enough to remain filled. By contrast, the waters west of Borneo toward the Malaysian Peninsula were exposed as land bridges and the fauna is more like that of mainland Asia. In Wallace’s 1880 book Island Life, he used his experience in the Malay Archipelago to classify three zoological situations: isolated oceanic islands, recently-linked continental islands and ancient-linked continental islands. By combining geological history and physical proximity this lesson from Wallacea helped provide the basis for the modern study of biogeography. Wallacea first sparked the curiosity of zoologist, author and inimitable travel guide, Ian Morris, during his early life as a teacher in East Arnhem land, where he encountered Indigenous students with genetic links to Makassan trepangers.

“The precise dates of contact with outsiders have long been the subject of dispute, with Aboriginal and Makassan oral histories indicating that trading began as far back as a thousand years before European colonization. They were interested in gathering a variety of marine products from our rich northern coastline for trade with the Chinese” says Morris. CREATURES OF WALLACEA This first-hand encounter with Indonesian history tied in closely with Morris’s love of creatures great and small. “Although the Indo-Australian Archipelago occupies only 4% of the planet’s land area, its home to nearly one quarter of all


The wildlife, landscape, and history of the Indonesian Archipelago - see our website for more detail.

>  ITINERARIES Experience the diversity of Indonesia on our Sulawesi and Komodo Dragons & Krakatoa voyages


Darwin to Singapore: 17 Nights, 15 January 2020 Singapore to Darwin: 18 Nights, 2 February 2020 Darwin to Makassar: 14 Nights, 27 February 2020 Makassar to Makassar: 20 Nights, 12 March 2020 Makassar to Darwin: 14 Nights, 1 April 2020

Wallace’s Line


Wallacea 105°



^ Map of the region known as Wallacea; Ian Morris interpreting on location; Tangkoko Knobbed Hornbill, Sulawesi

terrestrial land species and the most species-rich coral reefs in the world” continues Morris.

fortunate to share my knowledge with explorers in comfort that is fortunately much easier to handle!”

As the oldest and largest island within Wallacea, Sulawesi, formerly known as Celebes, hosts a rich fauna with many species that are unique to the island. Although its fauna is predominantly Asian in origin, it is the only island in southeast Asia with marsupials (the bear cuscus and dwarf cuscus), a distinctively ‘Australian’ element.

“We cross these seas in a sophisticated expedition vessel with a shallow draft and maneuverability unmatched by larger ships, with the latest navigation equipment, covered decks and snorkel equipment, and a lively Australian crew that keeps us safe pampering us with delicious meals each time we return from an expedition on land.”

The island’s primates are also special, and at least seven species of macaques are unique to the island. Several species of the smallest primate in the world, the tarsus tarsier, which fits in the palm of your hand, are also found here.

Expedition by small ship is a fitting way to explore Wallacea and all its wonders, since you can travel to small far flung isles rarely seen by visitors.

You might find miniature buffaloes, or anoas, whose lovable appearance is said to hide an aggressive demeanour. Or enigmatic wild pigs, babirusas, with wrinkled skin and impressive upper tusks that instead of growing down, grow up and backwards toward the skull, penetrating through the skin of its upper lip. Reptile diversity is also high - Wallacea is home to the famed Komodo Dragon, or ‘ora’ in local language. IN WALLACE’S FOOTSTEPS Today, you can explore the islands of the Archipelago and follow in Wallace’s footsteps. “Of many of these islands, thousands are difficult to reach owing to their archipelagic spread” says Morris. “Travelling with other seasoned adventure seekers, I feel fortunate to share insights with like-minded and intrepid travellers following in the footsteps of the British field biologist, Alfred Wallace. But where Wallace undertook his voyages in small and primitive “pinisis” assisted by crew members who would often deceive or desert him - managing illness, fever, hunger and extreme weather conditions - I am

Like Wallace’s famous book Malay Archipelago, you can begin in Singapore before travelling east to the Malaysian state of Sarawak on the western coast of Borneo. Here, just near the capital of Kuching – City of Cats – you’re just upriver from Santubong National Park where Wallace wrote up the Sarawak Law. You can look out to the shallow waters and remember that you are, geologically, still connected to the Asian continent. Behind you, the immense rainforests of Indonesian Kalimantan hide countless species awaiting discovery and on the far side of the mountains, the Makassar Strait marks an important transition point. From there, the islands of Wallacea await – Lombok, Timor, Ternate, the Moluccas and many more. You’ll have woodpeckers to the west and parrots to the east. You could spend a lifetime studying the animals of these tropical islands and waters, and yet there’d be many more to find. There’s no better laboratory for studying biological geography under the tutelage of a passionate expert than this archipelagic constellation between two continents.

^ New Build Project Manager Frank Krone, < Inspecting corridors during the build, < At the shipyard prior to sea trials



Our New Build Project Manager, Frank Krone, has been with Coral Expeditions for seven years. With five years as Coral Discoverer’s Chief Engineer, he is highly regarded for his attention to detail and knowledge of our ships. Frank was a natural choice to head the complex building exercise for Coral Adventurer. Moving to Vietnam with his wife, Frank has been based at the shipyard for the past two years to oversee the construction of the ship. He has co-ordinated the varied requirements from the company’s marine, hospitality and IT departments while managing the day-to-day ship-build. The result is a ship that is true to Coral Expeditions’ style and will serve the company for decades to come.

In Frank’s own words: “One of the most challenging parts of my job has been dealing with suppliers in different languages and communicating to them our requirements! From an engineering perspective, the huge amount of stone and wood we used on the ship interiors created many headaches. We had to reduce the thickness of the stone while maintaining structural integrity in order to manage vessel weight. We have used stone expertise from Europe, China and Vietnam to make this happen. Similarly, while we liked the natural warmth of wood for our interiors, we had to reduce the thickness of the wood to meet fire retardancy requirements. At the same time, the wood had to withstand ship movements and temperature changes without deforming. There was much trial and error!” “I am very pleased with the results of our efforts. The interiors look excellent and the plans have come together with great workmanship. The business side, the engine room, is also our most advanced ever. During the sea trials, it was a real pleasure to see her under her own steam for the first time.” “At the end of the day, the greatest reward for me is seeing paper plans evolve to become a real ship. The sea trials have shown that she is a great blue water vessel — highly stable and comfortable even in choppy conditions. She rides beautifully!”

Expedition Leader Jamie Anderson photographing Port Davey


Marking a new decade, and as part of Coral Expeditions 35th anniversary year, we are pleased to share our new Tasmanian product developments and the addition of a special annual Circumnavigation voyage onboard Coral Discoverer commencing on January 1st, 2020. For our 2020 season, our regular Pristine Tasmania 7-night expeditions include enhanced “Tastes of Tasmania” experiences, through additional shore excursions to artisanal food, wine and spirit producers along with the opportunity to meet and travel with local characters of Tasmania. Already sold out, our inaugural 14-night Circumnavigation of Tasmania expedition will explore the wildlife and nature, maritime and convict history, local characters and communities and the culinary tastes of the island state. This

extended expedition voyage has highlights including sailing though the rarely seen Bass Strait islands and venturing down the remote west coast of Tasmania. Guests will discover King Island and enjoy a taste of its famous produce, hike through the breathtaking Strzelecki National Park on Flinders Island, and sail up the Tamar River to enjoy a special Winemaker’s Dinner at the renowned Josef Chromy Wines vineyard, winner of an Australian Good Food Guide Chef Hat in 2017. Guests will also explore Tasmania’s wild west coast and stop in the World Heritage Wilderness Area of Port Davey and Bathurst Harbour. Our daily stops will feature coastal treks, aquatic activities and the chance to explore this unique and pristine coastline from our Xplorer expedition vessels.


Response to the 2020 season has been very positive with our 2020 Tasmania Circumnavigation selling out in one week. As a result, we are taking early bookings for a 16-night Tasmania Circumnavigation in January 2021. To join the 2021 Tasmania Circumnavigation waitlist, call our friendly Reservations team on 1800 079 545.

>  ITINERARIES Pristine Tasmania > 7 Nights > Hobart to Hobart

Tasmania Circumnavigation 2020 > 14 Nights > Hobart to Hobart


Tasmania Circumnavigation 2021 > 16 Nights > Hobart to Hobart




In partnership with the Cairns Indigenous Art Fair (CIAF) celebrating its 10th Anniversary Year, we are pleased to announce a special 4-night voyage accompanied by renowned Cape York artist Naomi Hobson. Having exhibited nationally and internationally since 2013, Naomi is well known for her ceramics and paintings exploring identity and her country with a vibrant and individual voice. Joining us on the cruise, Naomi will host ceramic workshops during the voyage and share her story and works with guests. Our journey will take in historic Cooktown, Lizard Island and the Endeavour and Ribbon Reefs Whilst not included in the expedition fare or itinerary, guests are also invited to join as VIP Guests at key events during Cairns Indigenous Art Fair, including the opening night, Curators & Collectors private viewing, Fashion Parade and accompanying events across the pre cruise dates from 11th to 14th July 2019.


15 July 2019

>  ITINERARY 4 Nights > Cairns - Lizard Island - Cairns

Guest artist Naomi Hobson




From time to time, our ships undertake sea crossings, as we reposition to new seasons and destinations. Now for the first time, we will welcome a small number of guests on board to join us on these crossings. With peaceful, uneventful days at sea, accompanied by our high level of service and fabulous cuisine, a free steam is a great way to experience an ocean voyage.

PASSAGE #1 6 Nights - Wellington to Sydney aboard Coral Discoverer Departs 18 December 2019 Arrives 24 December 2019

Take an adjoining cruise and enjoy a 10% discount on both voyages.

You have the opportunity to book the first of these Open Passages as an adjoining extension to our existing itineraries, or simply join for the sea voyage from Wellington to Sydney. If you love life at sea, enjoy the solace of an open passage and enjoy the warm hospitality of our crew, then come aboard.

• Milford Sound to Wellington 10 Nights > 8 December 2019


CALL TO ENQUIRE Bridge Deck Promenade Balcony Deck A

Twin Share Sole Use

Promenade Deck B

Main Deck A

Main Deck B











• Sydney to Hobart ‘Chase the Race’ 6 Nights > 26 December 2019

1800 079 545 Email: reservations@coralexpeditions.com

EXPEDITION DIARY > TASMANIA 7 NIGHT CRUISE > 17 FEBRUARY 2019 “We ventured across Port Davey to the Breaksea Islands to explore this spectacular set of small islands which guard the entrance to Bathurst Harbour. A pair of adult White Bellied Sea Eagles and their fledglings were spotted cruising above these rugged islands and a blow hole was working intermittently as we passed by. We could see the way that the heavy swells were carving and reshaping this rocky barrier.” - Guest Lecturer Mike Sugden


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Discover News April 2019  

Discover News April 2019