Day 2-18 Exploring
- 17 Breakfasts, 17 Lunches, 17 Dinners
em>These are expedition itineraries covering remote regions. Your Captain and Expedition Team may make changes to the daily schedule when necessary to maximise guest experience. Below are the highlight destinations of your voyage.
Yap state is one of the four states of the Federated States of Micronesia. The main island of Yap is famous for its stone money – limestone discs, known as Rai, that are used as currency and may be as large as 4m or as small as 4cm in diameter. These discs do not lose value and many still carry the wealth of their owners. Discs can be seen embedded in the earth or standing in rows near villages. The Yapese are skilled builders, which can be seen in elegant tribal buildings. They are also very skilled navigators, and we will learn about their canoe building culture and ability to navigate through the many islands of Micronesia. Be welcomed and entertained with traditional dancing, and we may be here in time for their Homecoming Summer Festival.
Ulithi’s Lagoon is the fourth largest in the world, and the ocean currents surrounding the island provide the perfect environment for diverse species to thrive. It is common to see manta rays, dolphins, turtles, sharks and barracuda around the atoll.
The Ulithi people practice long-held cultural traditions, which they will introduce through performances and village tours. We have to opportunity to relax and enjoy the company of the locals, before entering the warm waters of the lagoon on snorkeling or diving expeditions to enjoy the marvelous marine environment.
Enjoy a rare opportunity to visit a tiny uninhabited island. Some time ago, a large cyclone caused the inhabitants to relocate to a different island, and the atoll has since thrived. Enjoy nature walks to spot flocks of seabirds and endemic birds of this region of Micronesia and beach-comb along the white sand beaches. Snorkeling or diving reveals a thriving population of fish – be surrounded by snapper, batfish, angelfish, and trevally as well as many others. This is an expedition stop which provides a relaxing and peaceful day surrounded by nature in one of the most remote regions of the world.
One of the most traditional villages in Micronesia, Ifalik is determined to maintain cultural integrity that we are privileged to experience. Witness traditional dances and demonstrations of skills integral to the local lifestyle such as rope making, pandanus fiber making, basket weaving, and carving. After a wonderful morning learning about the people who make this remote atoll their home, there are opportunities to enjoy another dive or snorkel.
The locals may provide the opportunity to sail the lagoon in an outrigger canoe which incurs a small fee to the canoe owner (at your own expense).
Visit the villages of Lamotrek Atoll (subject to permission), where the local people are known for their navigation skills and construction of elegant long canoes constructed from breadfruit wood. Here, we may see demonstrations of weaving and the creation of traditional foods, as well as exploring the beaches and snorkeling over the fringing reef. Enjoy conversations with the residents to learn about life in this remote atoll and relax on the beach together. Making these connections provides such a wonderful experience of shared culture that it is difficult for us to depart.
At Pulap Atoll, enjoy traditional dancing in a unique style, and later enjoy a drift snorkel through the aquarium-like lagoon. At Puluwat Atoll, we may visit an abandoned lighthouse or see WWII wreckage at Alei Island.
Continuing on to Chuuk, the main atoll of Chuuk State, we explore the spectacular coral-fringed lagoon, which shelters the mountainous volcanic islands. The sweeping views of lush rainforest and cascading waterfalls contrast with deserted beaches, small thatched villages and tiny islets swarming with bird life.
Once a major military site for the Japanese, many of the Imperial Navy vessels sheltered here until 1944, when American bombers sunk 60 vessels and aircraft in the lagoon. Known as the ‘ghost fleet’, the lagoon contains a vast museum-like collection of unparalleled mystery – ship after ship leaning into the ocean floor, and aircraft with wings tilted are revealed on an otherworldly dive.
Snorkellers may explore more shallow dives, while nature walks reveal endemic birdlife such as the Caroline ground-dove and Micronesian myzomela. There is also the opportunity to explore a multitude of WWII sites, particularly the Japanese command centers and the ruins of the colonial hospital built-in 1930.
We may have the opportunity to go ashore at Ant Atoll, a stunning coral reef atoll that is recognized as a World Biosphere Reserve. Home to some of the largest colonies of terns, boobies, black noddies and frigatebirds in the Pacific, the lagoon also has a thriving population of grey reef sharks. There is only one small settlement on this island, so we may snorkel, dive, or spend the afternoon strolling in search of endemic bird species.
On Pohnpei, the largest and tallest island in Micronesia, we visit the archaeological site of Nan Madol, a stone city with many ocean-filled canals and channels. Known as the Venice of the Pacific, the ancient city was a thriving civilization in the 12th century. Tour the ancient site and have the opportunity with longer walks to visit Kepirohi Waterfall and learn about the endemic flora and fauna.
The mountainous island of Kosrae is known as the ‘island of the sleeping lady’ and is the easternmost state in the Federated States of Micronesia. Verdant forests and tumbling waterfalls give way to mysterious archaeological sites from a civilization that peaked around the 14th century.
We explore the enigmatic Lelu Ruins site, once an impressive city covering 20 hectares with an extensive canal system, social structure and pyramidal tombs. Corals were used extensively in the building of Lelu, and local myth implies that the city was constructed using magic. An investigative visit here will satisfy your desire to understand more of the ancient civilizations of Micronesia.
In the afternoon, enjoy snorkeling and diving at the Blue Hole, enjoy bushwalking and hiking, or spend time conversing with the local people.
After time at sea, we will go ashore at Nukuoro, one of the most stunning atolls in Micronesia. This atoll provides a fantastic opportunity to snorkel or swim over the wreck of a Japanese zero in shallow, crystal-clear water. We will also spend time in the village, meeting the locals and strolling through gardens of taro, and orchards of banana and breadfruit trees.
We celebrate our journey through the fascinating small islands and atolls of Micronesia with a final cultural performance at Kapingamarangi, where the locals farewell us. Say goodbye to an idyllic journey, surrounded by the beauty of nature and the warmth and welcome of the Micronesian people.