Arrive in Koror, Palau for an overnight stay before your kayaking day trip tomorrow.
Snorkel and SCUBA dive amongst tropical islands in the western Pacific Ocean on our voyage through the newly created Palau National Marine Sanctuary.
This unique expedition in partnership with Conservation International will explore the more well-known, easily accessible snorkel and dive sites, plus the remote and seldom-visited Southwest Islands of this world-renowned archipelago. Explore the World Heritage Rock Islands Southern Lagoon, where tropical-forested karst islands meet coral caves and lakes with non-stinging jellyfish, where you’ll have an opportunity to snorkel. Explore some of the most diverse reefs on the planet, learn about the ecology of Palau’s fish and reefs, and experience the unique culture of the people of the Southwest Islands. Join us on this unique voyage that balances the interests of both snorkelers and SCUBA divers.
• Spend eleven days among the islands of Palau.
• SCUBA dive and snorkel through crystal-clear waters in pristine, remote, and world-renowned sites.
• Explore the rich culture and wildlife by visiting with inhabitants of the Southwest Islands.
• Kayak in Risong Bay, getting close-up looks at the tropical-forested karst islands.
• Explore the Rock Islands Southern Lagoon, including a very special opportunity to snorkel amongst non-stinging jellyfish.
Scott Davis is a professional photographer specializing in wildlife, nature, travel, and editorial imagery. Originally trained as a wildlife and marine biologist, Scott's research and photo assignments have taken him to far corners of the globe and all seven continents. His photographic work has appeared in numerous national and international magazines and newspapers, commercial websites, prestigious stock agencies, and corporate reports. His patience for teaching and love of capturing the essence of his subjects make him one of our most popular tour leaders.
Macstyl (Macs) grew up in the Republic of Palau, paddling his outrigger canoe among the wild outdoors. By age seven, his extended family swept him away to provide better educational opportunities in the Pacific Northwest of the United States. He returned to Palau after high school and found a group of relatives who taught him the advanced arts of Micronesian hunting and fishing. Abandoning his western customs, Macs quickly adapted to a lifestyle which revolved around the moon and the tides. This lunar existence required an intimate knowledge of fish behavior and the ability to free dive under the full moon light in search of massive aggregations of spawning fish. As the ecotourism industry had begun to develop in Palau, Macs traded his spear gun for an underwater camera, finding that understanding fish behavior during hunting translated well into photography. So now he shares his passion for Palau's environment as a guide, plus uses his photography to help guide policy to protect Palau's fragile environment and precious resources.
***IMPORTANT - This voyage is 100% non-smoking.***
Arrive in Koror, Palau for an overnight stay before your kayaking day trip tomorrow.
This morning, transfer from the hotel to a speedboat to kayak the wildlife-rich Risong Bay. Here you will benefit from the local knowledge of Macs guiding you through a long morning at Black Tip Lake, Shipwreck Bay, Kingfisher Bay, and Mandarin Fish Lake. You’ll kayak to paddle past glorious limestone cliffs with endemic plants and birds, snorkel among non-stinging jellyfish, and hear about the historical significance of the area during World War II. Mandarin Fish Lake will cap a beautiful morning with a snorkel over pink sea fans and stunning soft corals, perfect habitat for juvenile sail fin tang, pajama cardinal fish, and mandarin fish. By late afternoon, you’ll head back to the harbor and board Ocean Hunter III, your home for the next 12 nights.
Explore a rainbow of diversity as you snorkel or dive among dazzling schools of mandarin fish. The complex reef system within this collection of uninhabited limestone islands supports more than 385 types of coral, sustaining a large variety of plant, bird, and marine life. You will discover endemic populations of ocean species in the unusual collection of marine lakes located here (isolated bodies of seawater separated from the ocean by land barriers). Some lakes are home to millions of non-stinging jellyfish that you can swim amongst! The ship will anchor in the heart of this distinct landscape, allowing for beach BBQ dinners and visits to some of the world-famous dive and snorkel sites of Palau. Dive highlights may be Blue Corner, Big Drop-Off, and German Channel where gentle giant manta rays show up at a cleaning station for parasite-eating fish to pick them clean of pests. The richness of Ulong and Ngemelis guarantee both snorkelers and divers will have incomparable wildlife experiences. Ulong boasts superb coral life, anemones, sea snakes, dazzling colors of clams, and a myriad of fish species. Timing the tide gives the possibility of finding gray reef sharks riding currents with great viewing for both divers and snorkelers. Ngemelis can legitimately be called the underwater Serengeti of this beautiful planet. Yet exploring on land is also a must where cultural finds, like Yapese Stone Money, and birds, such as the mound-building Micronesian megapode, are found.
Keep your eyes peeled for migratory shore birds and whale encounters as the you motor toward the island of Peleliu. Here, the snorkeling and diving are glorious, and divers may visit the breathtaking fish and corals of the Peleliu Wall diving area.
On land, you will scout for endemic birds while you learn about the role these islands played in World War II, visiting the intense relics of the Battle of Peleliu where up-ended tanks are now taken over by glorious fig roots, reclaiming the island’s wild nature. You will also search for coconut crabs, the largest known terrestrial arthropod, and learn about the biology and conservation of these enormous hermit crabs. Listen for the mysterious whistle of the elusive and endemic bush warbler as you walk through these forested islands.
En route to Helen Reef, watch for any traveling birds, and maybe whales, or just enjoy the ride on the sun deck.
Explore Helen Reef atoll, very seldomly visited by tourists. Helen Reef atoll has been named as a Marine Protected Area, helping to safeguard it from overfishing and poachers. You will encounter an abundance of dazzling fish and other marine life during your underwater exploration around this spectacular collection of remote reefs. Inside the ring of coral reef sits tiny Helen Island, which is uninhabited except for the rangers stationed there to protect the reef’s conservation status and vast bird colonies, including great-crested terns, sooty terns, and black noddies. Visit the ranger station to learn about the ongoing marine research to better understand and protect this breath-taking site. Enjoy a sunset on the beach with your shipmates.
Arrive at Tobi Island by early morning. Explore this small limestone island, learning about the culture and lifestyle of the 16 people that live here and that of their ancestors, a culture with a separate dialect endemic to Tobi. Tour the culturally-modified island to see taro patches that have sustained the inhabitants for more than 150 years and visit other significant cultural sites. You will also SCUBA dive or snorkel in the reefs around this unique island.
Today you will arrive at Sonsorol Island to snorkel and SCUBA dive through a magnificent rainbow of hydrocorals, plus land to learn about island life on this remote place or wander the beaches in quiet solitude. In the evening, you’ll cruise around Fana Island to marvel at the birds as they arrive back in time to roost for the night in their colonies. Fana is an uplifted reef flat island in the Southwest Islands of Palau that qualifies as a globally significant Important Bird Area. This international designation indicates that this area is critical for the conservation of bird populations. On land, you’ll scout for congregations of nesting black noddy and common white tern, plus brown noddy, great frigatebird, and red-footed booby. On the beaches, you will search for coconut crabs and nesting green sea turtles.
Surprises may await on the voyage north toward our port in Koror, so keep watch for any traveling birds or whales, or just enjoy the ride on the sun deck. Arrive in time to have an afternoon SCUBA dive or snorkel.
Spend one more full day of snorkeling and SCUBA diving in the Rock Islands and if the weather cooperates, enjoy a sunset on a small isolated beach.
You will disembark the ship in Koror in the morning and transfer to the airport or into town, for museums, shopping, or relaxing, depending on your flight’s departure time. If you wish to extend your stay, we are happy to book a hotel in Koror for you (not included).
SCUBA dive and snorkel through crystal-clear waters in pristine, remote, world-renowned sites teeming with wildlife and coral.
With so few boat trips in Palau very few tourists are afforded the unique experience of the remote Southwest Islands.
The Ocean Hunter III is a 96-foot, steel-hulled live-aboard motor yacht designed by divers, making her the perfect choice to fully and comfortably experience the islands of Palau. The experienced and friendly crew consists of several local Palauan guides who have grown up on these reefs and care deeply about preserving the Palauan environment and culture.
This high-quality ocean-going vessel accommodates 16 guests in eight air-conditioned cabins with private bathrooms (toilet, shower, washbasin, and vanity) and hot water. The main deck sports a luxurious salon with a flatscreen TV, computer station, and library. This deck also contains a well-equipped galley, large dining room, spacious gear room with camera table and charging station, and dive deck with individual storage bins. Relax on the upper deck in one of the two Jacuzzis or the various loungers and chairs.
|Luxury star rating:||3|
|Elec Outlets:||2 Flat Prong 110V|