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Micronesia: Ulithi, Yap, and Palau

Snorkel Micronesia's stunning reefs and experience vibrant local cultures on this one-of-a-kind multinational expedition. Our partnership with the people of Ulithi Atoll gives you special access to this island paradise.

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Overview

  • Miles of healthy coral reefs in crystal clear water showcasing a diverse landscape of marine life including sea turtles, sharks, and manta rays.
  • Visits to the famous Jellyfish Lake and Rock Islands (Palau), a new manta ray sanctuary (Yap), and sea turtle nesting beaches (Ulithi).
  • Our partnership with the people of Ulithi Atoll gives you special access.

Our multi-country exploration of the western Pacific will expose you to the pristine reefs, clear waters, tropical landscapes, and vibrant cultural traditions that have lured adventurers here for centuries.

Miles of coral reefs with white sand beaches, secluded lagoons, sea turtles, sea birds, and clear waters that abound with coral and colorful tropical fish are some of the reasons to visit remote Ulithi Atoll. Located northeast of Yap, Ulithi consists of one of the world's largest lagoons surrounded by 36 tropical isles, four of which are inhabited. A former military base, Ulithi only recently opened for public use and we invite you be pioneers exploring this breathtaking area.

Our 12-day coral sea adventure begins with five days exploring Palau's unique Rock Islands, beautiful green mushroom-shaped islets set in an azure lagoon. We visit the best shallow water snorkeling sites within the coral lagoon while experiencing the wonder of "rainbow's end."

We then continue to Yap, known as the best place to see manta rays on a consistent basis. The reefs and channels surrounding the landmass are home to a spectacular array of fish and corals.

The Yapese and the Ulithi communities continue to practice their traditional lifestyles, and our program will include a cultural tour and opportunities to see the local crafts of the island.

From Yap, we fly to the remote coral atoll of Ulithi, home to nesting hawksbill and green sea turtles, coconut crabs, and seabirds such as frigates and boobies. Our comfortable beachfront lodge on Falalop Island offers beach snorkeling, and serves as a base for coral reef snorkeling excursions and day trips to Turtle and Lizard Islands. The idyllic lagoon is teeming with life and the reefs are so pristine that you will feel like one of the first to have explored them.

Wildlife Highlights

Micronesia is known to have 300 species of corals and 1,000 species of fish, and we will make every effort to explore this region's renowned biodiversity on our multi-country journey. With many of the locations we visit under some form of protection, many species that are threatened or absent in other areas can be found regularly here including manta rays, sharks, sea turtles, abundant and large reef fish, giant clams, and much more. The colorful soft and hard corals on the reefs are so pristine in some places that you might think you are the first to explore them, and nudibranchs and other invertebrates are found in abundance. On land we can see several seabird species and unique island inhabitants such as fruit bats and coconut crabs.

Trip Dates & Cost

2016: May 10–22. $4,995 per person.*

* Single supplement fee $800. Trip price does not include international airfare.

Photos
Naturalist

Roderic Mast is Oceanic Society's President and CEO. He is a lifelong conservationist, a marine biologist, and an experienced travel guide who got his start as a naturalist in the Galápagos Islands. Rod is an expert in sea turtles, and is the both the co-chair of the IUCN Marine Turtle Specialist Group and the founder of the State of the World's Sea Turtles Program, which is managed by Oceanic Society. Rod is also a passionate photographer, author, and public speaker.

Wayne Sentman is our director of international eco-tour programs and an Oceanic Society naturalist since 1988. He is an experienced guide with a diverse background in marine mammal, seabird, and marine debris research. Wayne also co-teaches undergraduate field programs in Kenya on human-wildlife conflict and on the use of social media and art to raise public participation in conservation. He recently received a Master's in Environmental Management from Harvard University.

Jon Rulmal Jr. is a native of Ulithi Atoll who holds a bachelor of business administration from Hawai'i Pacific University. He has studied and worked in the tourism industry for many years, and is manager of Ulithi Adventure Lodge on Falalop Island. Jon is also project supervisor of the Ulithi Marine Turtle Project, and is actively involved in advancing community-driven marine resource conservation in Ulithi Atoll.

Itinerary

Day 1-2: Honolulu - Koror, Palau
Fly across the international date line to arrive in Koror, Palau.

Day 3-7: Palau
Daily snorkeling trips in Palau's reef complex, picnic lunches at Rock Islands' beaches. One day to explore jellyfish lake, and one tour to visit Palau's cultural sights.

Day 8: Koror - Yap
Afternoon snorkel to search for manta rays in the new Manta Ray Sanctuary.

Day 9: Yap - Ulithi
Afternoon beach snorkeling.

Day 10-12: Ulithi Atoll
Full days for snorkeling in pristine waters with many reefs still untouched. We will likely be the only visitors in the entire atoll. One day to visit to nesting sea turtles and to snorkel at the remote Turtle Islands.

Day 13: Ulithi - Yap
Morning beach snorkel; afternoon flight to Yap.

Day 14: Yap
Cultural and natural history tour.

Day 15/14: Yap - Honolulu
Fly to Honolulu crossing international dateline, gain a day.

Accommodations

Throughout the expedition guests will stay in comfortable, double occupancy rooms with private baths.

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