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Palau, Yap, Truk, Pohnpei in July?

Discussion in 'The Pacific Islands' started by manar, Jun 2, 2009.

  1. manar

    manar Registered

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Far east
    Hi All!

    I am planning my diving tour this summer and I am glad to find this website!

    I am thinking about going Layang layang + sipadan or one or two islands in micronesia.
    I always wanted to see Nan-madol remains near pohnpei, but hadn't thought about going there this time, but while looking for dive sites near thai, malaysia and philippines, I decided to find out if it's possible to go there this time.

    How's Palau and other micronesian federates weather in july?
    I think I read maybe typhoon could sweep over there in july, but I also remember it's okay most of the time...

    Also, I am going to travel thai before diving, so , I have to go to Palau or micronesian islands from thai. What is the best way to get to Palau from Thai? Fly to manila and then fly again to palau by continental airways?

    Is the airplane the only way to move between the micronesia federates? Aren't there any boats or ferries?
    If I go to Palau,after diving I really want to go to pohnpei to see Nan-madol and maybe dive there too. I guess the only way is using the continental airways.. And the airfare is.. I have to pay more than I paid for my country to bangkok, stop over in hongkong roundway.

    For people who've been to both Palau and Sipadan(Or Layang layang), which is better?
    Sipadan is much closer from thai, so, I am not sure Palau and the micronesian islands are worth to go this time by paying much money. I am still a student, so most of the time I am a budget traveller, but for diving, and also if it's worth, I am willing to pay diving expenses by saving accomodation, food expenses..

    Thank you for reading this!!
    I desperately need any advice!
  2. katrinakvr

    katrinakvr Dive Shop

    Hi Manar,

    I can't advise you on Thailand, but I live in Micronesia (Kosrae island, "next door" to Pohnpei).

    Continental Micronesia is the only island that serves Micronesia, they have a fare called Visit Micronesia which is greatly discounted. If you contact Continental directly I think that they can tell you about it.

    You definitely want to consider diving in Pohnpei, the passes are as good as Palau for fish density and big fish action and they have wonderful resident mantas.

    If you are coming this far you should consider Kosrae as well, we have probably the best coral in the region. (disclaimer - I own Kosrae Village Ecolodge & Dive Resort - so I'm not unbiased! :))

  3. MissBubblyDiver

    MissBubblyDiver Divemaster

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Florida
    Never been to Thailand but I've dove Palau , Yap and Pohnpei. I will give you a brief rundown on all three.

    Palau is the most commercial and western accommodating of the three. There is a military base there and so with it comes lots of bars (fun) and trafficked prostitutes :( (not kidding. Think about it. Czech prostitutes in the middle of the Pacific??)
    The magazines live up to the reputations of the dives. Mantas, sharks etc. Beautiful wall diving. However, very heavy currents. Jelly fish lake is a fantastic snorkel!! Though beware, the jellies DO STING--it just takes a while to feel it. They lost the intensity of their stings since they are the tertiary life form. Rock Islands is a peaceful kyak trip.

    Yap-Beautiful island and probably the most mysterious. Dress code is an issue here. You will see many of the women topless however it is inappropriate for a women to show her thighs. So if you are a female, or traveling with female companions, wear pants, skirts, etc. Show nothing above the knee. We were also encouraged to bring a sarong for the boats. Even when diving--it is inappropriate to show thighs (if your a woman) so bring something to cover up during surface intervals (this wasn't always the case on boats in Yap, but usually it was).
    DO NOT fall for the traditional dance scheme if you book it. We talked to the dancers. It's fake. They dress up in those clothes. When they leave they take off the grass skirts and put on western clothes. Yap had excellent diving. We actually got tired of seeing manta rays! We saw so many. We also did a shark dive--we hovered over an edge of a wall at about forty feet and watched over forty sharks--white tip, black tip and gray reef swim back and forth feeding. Simply spectacular. Lots of nudibranchs, octopus (if you do a night dive). I highly reccomend. Simply fab despite the somewhat restrictive dress code.
    Oh and try the slight euporia-inducing BETEL NUT. It's a palm seed wrapped in a pepper leaf and sprinkled with lime (crushed coral). It stains your mouth red and makes you light headed. It's a cultural fav on this island--you will see!!

    Same for Pohnpei. Women need to cover their thighs. The visibility is lower on this island, but still I compare the life to yap. We even saw the endemic all-black manta ray. It ONLY lives around this island. The island is speckled with neat hand carved wood shops. Simply beautiful. Nam Madol is simply AMAZING. Makes a great kyak trip. If you can try the Sakau (known as kava in the states). It's a ritualistic drink. Its ground up pepper leaf but it has a highly intoxicating affect. It's like liquid xanax. Don't drink to much but if you get invited, the ritual is a fantastic bit of culture. You get rubbed with coconut oil, and the works!

    Out of the three I choose Pohnpei and Yap. A little more off the beaten track. You can find authentic local handy crafts and don't need to travel far to see true culture on the islands.

    :) Hope this helps.
    Can't help with the weather because I went in January (rainy season).

    CARHILL Contributor

    I agree with MissBubblyDiver I came here on a dive trip seven years ago and stayed. July the seas are calm it rains everyday here so do not worry about that. July is the begining of rainy season so it will rain 15 more min. than the rest of the year.

    Dale Still on a little rock in the Pacific.
  5. Bredman

    Bredman Contributor

    LL is worlds better than Sipadan IMO. The coral, fish life, dive guides and overall experience will be far superior in Layang Layang. If you want comparative reports, search my posts. I've done reviews of both.
  6. manar

    manar Registered

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Far east
    MissBubblyDiver// Thanks a lot for your advice. Pohnpei has been my dream destination since I got to know the nan-madol ruins.. Really wanted to go to micronesia this time but I happened to go to europe suddenly so I am going to do liveaboard in egypt. I am going to save some money for micronesia :)

    CARHILL//Thanks! I have no idea when could I get a chance to visit micronesia, but probably from june to august, december to february, during my vacations as I am still a student. Not going to worry about the weather but now the problem is when will I get there.. :wink:

    Bredman//Layanglayang and sipadan island are closer from where I live, so hope to visit there soon!!!! Thanks!
  7. Scared Silly

    Scared Silly ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: on the path to perdition
    July through Oct is considered the off season for Palau as the winds shift making some of the dive outside the lagoon rather rough. Pohnpei is a neat island, besides Naa-Madol the WWII relics are nice.
  8. Venus

    Venus Solo Diver

    # of Dives:
    Location: Monterey, CA
    Hi Katrina

    I've looked at the flight from Guam to Chuuk and it is $900 return for a total fly time of 3 hours

    Does that sound right to you?

  9. Scared Silly

    Scared Silly ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: on the path to perdition
    About right ~$700 is what I find it for. BTW these routings are one of the best bang for the buck for using frequent flyer miles.

    BTW I think the Visit Micronesia program is gone.
  10. katrinakvr

    katrinakvr Dive Shop

    Hi Guys,

    $700 might be about right for Guam - Chuuk and return, retail pricing. But I really suggest that you try harder on the Visit Micronesia pass - it really does exist, but I have heard that it is difficult to book and that the CO reservations agents try to avoid it because it is difficult.

    The CO program that went away was the Circle Micronesia pass - I think that it was discontinued 2 or 3 years ago.

    I know a travel agent who regularly uses the Visit Micronesia fare for guests that he sends to us. Am I allowed to post his contact information here?


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