SEATTLE -- Zegrahm Expeditions is offering a 15-night trip
featuring an exploration of the Philippines.
Travelers joining the Islands of Diversity tour will visit
Singapore and Manado, Indonesia, before boarding the 335-foot
expedition vessel Clipper Odyssey, which will take them to
scheduled and spontaneous stops throughout the Philippines.
The trip departs Los Angeles on March 31.
The Clipper Odyssey's amenities include 62 oceanview cabins with
private facilities, a library, a gymnasium, a swimming pool, a
Jacuzzi, a jogging track, a salon, a boutique and snorkeling and
scuba diving facilities.
The Clipper Odyssey also carries a fleet of Zodiacs enabling
passengers to venture to ideal diving and snorkeling spots. "We aim
to offer clients the most exposure to natural wildlife in the
area," said Diane Mapes, Zegrahm's marketing manager.
"We make unscheduled stops. Expedition team leaders will go out
and scout an area if it looks beautiful and make sure it has good
landing conditions before loading the passengers onto Zodiacs."
One excursion to the Philippines' Luzon island will offer
passengers the opportunity to swim with whale sharks, which are
prominent in the waters there, according to Mapes.
"The sharks are rare, and I've heard them referred to as the 'Holy
Grail' of divers because it is such an incredible experience to see
one. People were blown away by it the last time we went," she
Other stops will include Bunaken Island, a National Marine Park;
the rain forests and rice fields of Mindanao, the Philippines'
second-largest island; Bislig Bay, a prime spot for bird-watching;
Bucas Grande; Cagayan de Oro, and Baclayon, home of some of the
oldest churches in the Philippines.
Expedition leaders will be joined by a lecture team that will
educate passengers on bird life, tribal cultures, marine life and
history of the area.
The expedition team for this trip will include Jack Grove,
marine biologist, photographer and co-founder of Zegrahm
Expeditions; Peter Harrison, ornithologist and co-founder; Shirley
Metz, explorer, photographer and co-founder, and Kim Saunders, an
expert on Philippines culture.
"We have done two trips to the Philippines before, and there is
an incredible diversity of cultures, with tribes that are still in
existence near big bustling cities.
"The scenic wonders of this area, including volcanic islands,
rain forests and undersea scenery with colorful fish and hundreds
of species of coral are a nice mix," Mapes said.
Land-only prices start at $7,990 per person.
Prevoyage extensions to Torajaland on Indonesia's island of
Sulawesi are available.
For more details, call (800) 628-8747; e-mail [email protected], or visit
the Web site at www.zeco.com.