“RING OF FIRE EXPEDITIONS” presents:
TOUR TO GUADALCANAL, SOLOMON ISLANDS
MAY 14-17, 2013
Location of the Solomon Islands in the South Pacific basin. Note that Kiribai is located well to its northeast where we will observe the annular solar eclipse.
The World War II Battle of Guadalcanal, was fought between August 7, 1942 and February 9, 1943 on and around the island of Guadalcanal. Fiercely contested on the ground, at sea, and in the air, the campaign was the first major offensive launched by Allied forces against the Empire of Japan and turned the tide in the Pacific War.
Solomon Islands is advertised to be home to 300+ days of perfect weather and is a travelers paradise. Trek within the forests and well preserved battlefields. You will love the swimming, snorkeling and diving as Iron Bottom Sound is reknown for some of the best wreck diving in the world.
BASIC TOUR ITINERARY
as of June 1, 2011
(Some modifications may occur due to routing and schedule changes in the region prior to the time of the tour. Hotels are those currently known as of June 2011 and are typical of the region. Prices are those in effect as of the date above and may change due to currency fluctuations, fuel surcharges for ground transport caused by escalating oil prices or increases mandated by ground operators. RING OF FIRE EXPEDITIONS does its best to keep prices in line as far in advance as possible. Trip cancellation insurance is highly recommended just in case you or a companion becomes ill or is forced by circumstance to miss the tour–unless this insurance is already included in the tour package.)
May 14 (Tuesday) FIJI TO GUADALCANAL
Depart Tarawa (from core tour). After a short layover on Fiji, depart for Guadalcanal and arrive at historic “Henderson Field”. The largest island in the Solomons is Guadalcanal. The main port of entry into the Solomon Islands is at Henderson Airport which is approximately 10 minutes drive from the capital of Honiara. The town is situated on the northern coastline and includes a small, picturesque seaport at Point Cruz.
We transfer to our hotel, with time to settle in and refresh before departing for our Honiara briefing and orientation from a vantage point atop Mount Austen. Sites pointed out will be “Red Beach,” the site of the 1942 landing; Henderson Field, Ed-son’s Ridge, the Tenaru River (Alligator Creek); Lunga Point, and other pertinent sites. Later we will tour the U.S. Memorial on Skyline Ridge for another panoramic view of the island from this vantage point. Sites pointed out will be Tulagi, Gavutu-Tanambogo, and the Florida Islands. Also, we will orient on Savo Island, “Iron Bottom Sound”: as well as key terrain features ashore. We will see Point Cruz, the Matanikau River, Cape Esperance, and other key sites that played significant roles in this landmark land and sea battle. Overnight Guadalcanal. Hotel: King Solomon (B/L/D)
May 15 (Wednesday) GUADALCANAL
This morning we will visit the Solomon Islands Cultural Center, the Vilu Open Air WWII Museum (with its open air display of relics: SBD, Wildcat, P400 remains, Corsair, P38, assorted wings, Japanese artillery and lots of smaller items) and the busy city markets. The bustling town centre in Honiara is a shaded and lovely area, filled with interesting shops including some for local handicrafts and duty free products, although the range of merchandise is limited. The town centre is where the banks, post office, restaurants, telecom, tourist information and local tour operators are located. Its outdoor markets provide the perfect setting to meet the locals and experience some great Solomon Islands shopping.
At the market, you can be sure to find local produce, including fresh vegetables, fruit, fish, betel nuts and peanuts and other items such as carvings, calico lava-lavas, basket-ware and shells. The locally crafted mother-of-pearl carvings with brown streaks, pandanus baskets, trays and bags, all with intricate detailing, are popular purchases.
We travel east to Tetere, current home to a massive Amtrac boneyard left behind at the end of the war. We return west to visit Red Beach, site of the initial landings around Henderson Field. Hotel: King Solomon (B/L)
May 16 (Thursday) GUADALCANAL
We depart today for a tour of the Botanical Gardens to enjoy the tranquility of the many ECO walks and visit an authentic working village. After lunch, we will spend time on Bloody Ridge, known also as Edsons Ridge, where the Japanese were halted in their attempts to reach Henderson Field, in one of the pivotal battles of the Pacific War. From here we view Fighter One, the field from which the Cactus Air Force and famous aviators like Joe Foss flew. We also visit the Betikama Museum and Cultural Center, an excellent place to purchase local souvenirs, before our Farewell Dinner. Located to the east of Honiara, at the Betikama School there is a small museum with relics and aircraft on display. Collected decades ago, the museum gets a steady stream of visitors. Overnight Guadalcanal. Hotel: King Solomon (Meals: B/L/D)
May 17 (Friday) GUADALCANAL
Free morning to explore the island, swim, or just relax by the pool. Those interested in wreck diving should be aware of the opportunities here. The diving in the Solomons is with out doubt some of the best in the world in terms of water clarity, temperature, sea life and beauty. Most of the diving there is on a couple of Japanese wrecks near Honiara. Their bows are on the surface and their sterns are at 200+ feet (60+m) due to the steep sea walls.
Since the Allies had control of Henderson airfield in the latter part of 1942, re-supply of the surviving Japanese troops on Guadalcanal by surface vessel had become difficult and several vessels including the Hirokawa Maru, the Kinugawa Maru, the Kyushu Maru, and the Azumasan Maru were lost. The Imperial Japanese Navy ordered the submarine force to organize a supply system for the garrison on Guadalcanal. By January 1943, the Japanese forces on Guadalcanal only had control of the northwest corner of the island, a fairly mountainous area around Cape Esperance, with the US forces moving along the north coast towards them.
The Japanese transports Hirokawa Maru and Kinugawa Maru were sunk in November 1942 quite close to the beach near Bonegi Creek, about 8 miles (13 km) west of Honiara. Another transport, Azumasan Maru, lies a little further west near Tasivarongo Point. The big Japanese cruiser submarine I-1 lies on the outside of the reef off Tambea which is a small village about 25 miles (40 km) west of Honiara. The American troopship USS John Penn lies on its starboard side off Lungga Point, east of Honiara, at 180 feet (56 m). The cruiser USS Atlanta lies off Honiara at 430 feet (130 m) well beyond the range of recreational divers.
A list of possible wreck dive sites includes the following:
Hirokawa Maru: The Japanese transport Hirokawa Maru, built in 1940 and originally about 481 ft (146 m) long. The ship lies on a steep slope on its port side with the bow completely shattered and the stern section in reasonable condition. You’ll find excellent coral growth and fish life here, and it is considered one of the best wreck dives in the Solomons.
Kinugawa Maru: This Japanese transport was beached in an attempt to off load supplies and the wreck lies close to Bonegi 1. The engine block protrudes from the water, making easy access for snorkellers and good swim throughs for divers, while the stern lies in 20m plus. There are some excellent photo opportunities, particularly in the aft section of engine room (the cathedral), while lots of blue spotted rays bask on the sand.
Azumasan Maru: Discovered by divers in 1970. Intact and upright in excellent condition, it is known as “Deep Ruanui (Deep Ruaniu)”. Clear water brings in the larger pelagics and the bow gun is covered with soft corals.
IJN Submarine I-1: The big Japanese cruiser submarine I-1 lies on the outside of the reef off Tambea which is a small village about 25 miles (40 km) west of Honiara. The submarine was 320 feet (97 m) long with an endurance of 60 days and a range of 24,000 miles. The I-1 ran aground on the reef in January 1943 after a battle with two New Zealand corvettes. The submarine now lies with the shattered bow in 15 feet (5 m) and the stern in 100 feet (30 m) of water.
USS John Penn: The huge American transporter USS John Penn measured 140 m (462 ft) long and 18 m (59ft) wide. It was sunk in 1943 by a torpedo which set off a secondary explosion. Severe damage caused the stern to separate and it can be found 1204 ft (365 m) away from the main part of the ship. The wreck lies on its starboard side at Lungga Point, east of Honiara, in 190 ft (60 m) of water. The ship is in two parts with most dives done on the bow section. A deep dive, for experienced divers only.
Last opportunity to pick up any souvenirs. Departure by air this afternoon from Guadalcanal to Fiji.
On arrival in Fiji transfer to the Raffles Hotel. Overnight Fiji. (B, L)
May 18 (Saturday) FIJI TO LOS ANGELES
Transfer on your own to our flight back to the US. Cross the International Dateline and arrive back in Los Angeles (LAX) on the same day. (B/D provided on plane)
USD$1964. credit card price (cash price $1889.) LAND ONLY per person beginning in and ending in Fiji, double occupancy. Add USD$592. credit card price (cash price $569.) for single supplement (if available).
NOTE THE PRICE ABOVE CONTAINS NO AIR SEGMENTS. SORRY, NO CHILDREN UNDER 12.
BASIC TOUR PRICE INCLUDES:
- accommodation as indicated in itinerary with private facilities
- all tour features as listed in the itinerary
- all touring by private, air conditioned, motor coach with experienced driver / guide
- meals as shown
- airport transfers if you are arriving and returning with the group
- services of English-speaking guides
- entrance fees at attractions listed in the itinerary unless otherwise not
- beverages only where specified
BASIC TOUR PRICE DOES NOT INCLUDE:
- meals not stated, drinks, visas (if required)
- no airfare is included at this time (a separate air package will be announced about 11 months prior to the tour when it has been scheduled)
- room use outside of normal check-in/check-out times
- hotel and transfers on May 17/18 in Fiji due to forced layover
- porterage: you must be in a position to carry your own bags
- optional cost tours
- beverages unless specified
- tips and gratuities
- personal expenses and anything else not included in the ‘tour includes’ features list
PAYMENT SCHEDULE (per person)
BEFORE SEPTEMBER 1, 2012…………………………USD$525. DEPOSIT credit card price (cash price USD$500).
JANUARY 1, 2013…………………………………………..BALANCE DUE.
CANCELLATION FEES (per person)
BEFORE SEPTEMBER 1, 2012………………………….USD$250. EXCEPT IF YOU FIND A REPLACEMENT FOR YOURSELF. THEN, NO PENALTY.
AFTER JANUARY 1, 2013……………………………….100% OF THE TOTAL TOUR COST
Travel Leaders/Future Travel recommends that each client purchase adequate trip cancellation insurance, medical, baggage, accident and other personal effects insurance (unless it has been included with the tour package already). Clients should be aware that we cannot guarantee the weather for this astronomical event or any other. Contact Travel Leaders/Future Travel for details.
Please complete and submit the registration form below.
Please review and print our Terms & Conditions prior to starting your registration.
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Tour Terms & Conditions
Please read the following tour terms and conditions prior to reserving your trip:
RESERVATIONS AND PAYMENTS
Your reservation may be confirmed ONLY with SIGNED application form AND DEPOSIT. Tour space is limited and group flight reservations are accepted subject to availability at the time both RESERVATION FORM and PAYMENT(s) are received by FUTURE TRAVEL. For information call: (281) 480-1988 or (800) 929-9004. In order for us to keep your tour costs down we cannot return phone calls outside of the Houston area. If you cannot get through, please call back.
Payment schedule is as outlined on the tour registration form.
CANCELLATION AND REFUND
The operators of hotels, airlines, and our ground logistics suppliers have strict policies which we have to follow. Cancellations must be received in writing by Future Travel. Because our tours are mostly to remote areas and are of an unusual nature, neither hotels, airlines, or ground suppliers will refund money to us for unused or canceled space. Our prices are based on group minimums and any cancellation could otherwise cause a rate increase for others.
Cancellation penalties are as outlined on the tour registration form.
Land and air prices are subject to change without notice due to unforeseen increases in the rates for hotel and meals, government taxes, currency fluctuations, and ground services. Prices are based on two persons sharing one room. There is additional cost for a single room (single supplement) or an extra person in the room if either of these features are available.
There will be a change fee of $75.00 per person charged for any change in travel arrangements made after ticketing and at least 30 days prior to departure. No changes will be allowed within 14 days of the departure date. These fees are subject to change.
If you are traveling by yourself but wish to share a room with someone else, we will attempt to match men with male roommates and women with female roommates, along with smoking/non-smoking preferences. If we cannot find a roommate for whatever reason we will advise you and have to charge you the single supplement fee. You may wish to look for a roommate from your local astronomical society.
ACCOMMODATIONS, MEALS AND SIGHTSEEING
Accommodations, meals and sightseeing will be provided as specified in the itinerary. Substitutions, if any, shall be of similar quality as outlined in the itinerary. Sightseeing will be provided by our tour host and is subject to change due to weather conditions, accessibility, border crossing limitations, and hours of operation. Sightseeing will be by motorcoach or best available transportation.
In order to provide maximum convenience for all tour participants, we normally accept children if they are the age of 12 and older, although some tours are for adults only and are specified as such. Children must be accompanied and supervised by parents or guardians and are expected to display proper decorum while the group is together, especially at the observation site and on tour buses.
Tour participants must attest that the are in good general health and capable of performing normal activities on this trip. They must further attest that: they are capable of caring for themselves during the expedition and will not impede the progress of the trip or enjoyment of other tour members; they must understand that this expedition may take them far from the nearest viable medical facility and that all expedition members must be self-sufficient. With that understanding they must certify that they have not been recently treated for, nor are aware of, any physical, mental or other condition or disability that would create a hazard to themselves or other members of the trip.
Tour prices are quoted based on coach (economy) fares and are subject to change without notice. If air fares are increased, any such increase will be collected from tour members. We will attempt to use the lowest available airfare at time of ticketing.
SMOKING IS PROHIBITED ON OUR TOUR BUSES, OBSERVATION SITE AND IN BRIEFING/LECTURE ROOMS.
United States citizens are required to have a valid PASSPORT (valid at least 6 months beyond the end of the tour). Citizens of other countries must make their nationalities known immediately to Future Travel and are responsible for obtaining proper documentation to enter the U.S. and any other countries where tour options are involved.
It is recommended that tour participants do not bring expensive jewelry or like possessions with them. Telescopes and observation equipment should be securely packed; insurance on expensive items is highly recommended. Future Travel or any of its representatives or contractors are not liable for loss/damage of any personal effects.
Consult the TSA web site for restrictions on what is currently allowed to be carried onto aircraft. Also, due to constantly changing airline limitations, we advise all participants to verify baggage allowances directly with the airlines. The following guidelines may vary from trip to trip. Consult the individual tour inclusion to be sure these are in force. In general, from the USA you are allowed to check two standard sized suitcases per person, each weighing not more than 70 lbs and combined length, width, height of each adding up to less than 106 inches. But for flights in most other countries, only one checked bag weighing up to 44 lbs is permitted. Carry-on luggage must fit in the overhead compartment or under the seat. Excess baggage can be checked at the tour participant’s own expense. Lost or damaged luggage while in transit is the sole responsibility of the carrier or traveler and subject to international and/or domestic governing regulations. All baggage of tour participant(s) is accepted on tour at participant(s) own risk. IF YOU ARE BRINGING A TELESCOPE OR ANY UNUSUAL EQUIPMENT, YOU MUST PROVIDE A LIST OF SUCH ITEMS TO FUTURE TRAVEL SO THAT WE CAN DETERMINE THEY ARE ALLOWABLE. WE WILL PROVIDE INSTRUCTIONS RELATED TO CUSTOMS FORMALITIES.
When transfers are included in the tour package between hotels and airports, transportation of participants and their baggage is provided only when participants travel with the rest of the group . If your schedule is different from this, private transfers are available at extra cost and must be requested in writing. Carry-on bags must be carried by tour participants and porterage is included AFTER passing through customs area upon arrival. Porterage is included for two (2) pieces of baggage only at hotels and airport unless otherwise stated in the individual itinerary inclusions. In some situations hotel porterage may not be possible. Be sure to consult the tour information to be sure.
TIPS AND TAXES
Tours include taxes for hotel accommodations and airfare. Departure taxes within foreign countries are NOT included since they vary widely. Each airport departure may require a separate departure tax which will have to be collected from each tour participant prior to boarding. Tips are NOT included for guides, tour personnel or drivers who render special services or who have done an outstanding job. This is left to each person’s discretion.
CHANGES IN THE TOUR
Sometimes the airline or ground operator will be forced to change a portion of the tour dependent on equipment, weather or other factors beyond control of Future Travel. Alterations in the tour may also be necessary for other reasons. If this does occur, any additional expenses will have to be paid by tour participants and Future Travel will advise if/as soon as such expenses are anticipated.
Future Travel or its representatives cannot guarantee the observation of the advertised astronomical event(s). We make every effort to examine weather prospects prior to selecting the observation site including satellite photo studies.
WHAT IS NOT INCLUDED IN OUR TOUR
Cost of passports or visas, airport departure taxes outside the USA, excess baggage, meals and beverages not specified in the itinerary, baggage handling in the USA, tips, room service, liquor, phone calls, voluntary changes in flight(s), laundry, insurance costs, and items or services of a personal nature not specified in the tour itinerary.
CONSUMER DISCLOSURE NOTICE / DISCLAIMER
RESPONSIBILITY AND LIABILITY
Future Travel, Inc. and the Johnson Space Center Astronomical Society act only in the capacity of agent for the suppliers of the travel services named in the Itinerary or otherwise providing services or goods in connection with the Itinerary (the Suppliers), such as airlines, hotels and other lodging providers, cruise lines, camp operators, sight seeing trip operators, bus lines, car rental companies, driving services, restaurants, and providers of entertainment. We assume no responsibility for any personal injury, property damage, or other loss, accident, delay, inconvenience, or irregularity which may be occasioned either by reason (1) any act or omission of any of the Suppliers (2) any matter beyond our exclusive control including but not limited to a delay or cancellation of a flight that causes you to miss any portion of the Itinerary. We have no special knowledge regarding the financial condition of the Suppliers, unsafe conditions, health hazards, weather hazards, or climate extremes at locations to which you may travel.
For information concerning possible dangers at destinations, we recommend contacting the Travel Warnings Section of the U.S. State Department at (202) 647-5225 or www.travel.state.gov, and click on Travel Warnings.
For medical information, we recommend contacting the Centers for Disease Control at (877) FYI-TRIP or www.cdc.gov/travel. You assume full and complete responsibility for checking and verifying all passport and visa requirements of the destinations and for complying with all laws of the country in the Itinerary.
You are also responsible for respecting the authority and following the directions of the guide during the trip. We may exclude you from participating in all or any part of the trip if, in our sole discretion, your condition or behavior renders you unfit for the trip or unfit for continuation once the trip has begun. Unfitness may include, without limitation, any behavior that, regardless of its cause, is inappropriate or offensive or interferes with the delivery of our services, or may constitute a hazard or embarrassment. In such case, our liability shall be strictly limited to a refund of the recoverable cost of any unused portion of the trip. Should you decide not to participate in certain parts of the trip, no refunds will be made for those unused parts of the trip. You agree to indemnify and hold us harmless from and against any costs, damages, losses, or liabilities arising out of your actions or omissions.
The right is reserved to withdraw any tour announced by Future Travel or make substitutions and/or alterations as may be found desirable for the convenience of the parties and the proper carrying out of the tour. The tour price is per person and quoted in U.S. dollars. All rates are subject to change without prior notice due to unforeseen economic circumstances (including but not limited to airfare increases) or currency fluctuations. Any increase in cost as a result of change in either will be borne by tour participant.
Any dispute related to the trip shall be governed by Texas law without regard to conflict of laws principles. The federal or state courts in Harris County, Texas shall be the exclusive forum for any lawsuit related to the trip, and you consent to the personal jurisdiction by said courts. You agree to present any claims against us within 30 days after the trip ends and to file within one year of the incident, and you acknowledge that this expressly limits the applicable statute of limitations to one year. You agree to grant us (and third parties with whom we may engage in joint marketing) a worldwide, royalty-free, fully paid up license to use your photographic, video, or digital likeness solely for our promotional and/or commercial purposes. Facsimile transmission of any signed document shall be deemed delivery of an original. At our request, you shall promptly provide an original document as well. If there are any conflicts between these terms and conditions, the Reservation Form, and the Itinerary, these terms and conditions shall apply.