Best of Micronesia – Rabaul to Palau (18 Days)

Cruise Line: Zegrahm Expeditions
International Dateline (Crossing) to Palau Island, Palau
Dates: 03 Mar 2019 - 21 Mar 2019

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Tour Segment  Cruise Segment
03 Mar 2019
Air travel
04 Mar 2019
International Dateline (Crossing)

Arrive in Cairns and transfer to the Shangri-La Hotel for lunch and an afternoon at leisure. Gather this evening for a welcome reception and dinner at our hotel.
Board your independent flight to Australia. Lose a day crossing the International Date Line.

05 Mar 2019
Cairns, Australia

Transfer to the airport after breakfast for your flight to Rabaul. Six cone-shaped volcanoes, some of which are still active, ring Rabaul's dramatic flooded-caldera harbor. Visit the bubbling hot springs and take in magnificent views from Observatory Ridge. Learn about the island's WWII history—Rabaul was a Japanese stronghold under Admiral Yamamoto. Embark the Caledonian Sky, settle in to your suite, and enjoy dinner onboard. Tonight, attend an astonishing performance of the Baining tribe's fire dance. Tribe members in huge, magnificently crafted masks leap and dance over crackling, red-hot coals in a centuries-old ritual to honor the local deity-spirits.

06 Mar 2019
Cairns, Australia
Air travel
Rabaul, Papua New Guinea
Rabaul, Papua New Guinea

Completely encircled by an oblong reef, few passenger vessels are able to visit this small group of islands. Land on a sandy beach and meet the 350 inhabitants of charming Tingwon—a picture-perfect village—and enjoy their hospitality, local delicacies, and dances. After your visit, snorkel or dive along the islets' surrounding reef.

07 Mar 2019
Tingwon Island, Papua New Guinea

During a day at sea, lecturers introduce the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM), formerly the Caroline Islands, whose long colonial history includes administration by the U.S. after WWII. Many islands are so remote that the traditional villages are nearly untouched by tourism. You may also join naturalists on deck to search for tropical seabirds and marine mammals.

08 Mar 2019

During a morning at sea, lecturers introduce the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM), formerly the Caroline Islands, whose long colonial history includes administration by the US after WWII. Many islands are so remote that the traditional villages are nearly untouched by tourism. In the afternoon, Zodiacs bring you ashore for a tour of the small community of remote Kapingamarangi, where fishing and cultivating taro are the main industries. In the afternoon, snorkel in the lagoon over stunning coral gardens full of colorful reef fish including lionfish, pipefish, and moray eels. Divers venture via Zodiac to the edges of the reef, keeping an eye out for blacktip reef sharks and other pelagics.

09 Mar 2019
Kapingamarangi, Micronesia

A chain of tiny islets circling a sparkling emerald lagoon, Nukuoro is one of the most stunning atolls in Micronesia. Meet with the friendly locals and wander through lush vegetation and gardens of taro, banana, and breadfruit. Swim or snorkel in the crystal-clear waters before returning to the ship for an afternoon at sea.

10 Mar 2019
Nukuoro, Micronesia

Pohnpei is a high volcanic island, with dense rainforests filled with towering trees, elegant ferns, tumbling waterfalls, and luxuriant moss. Choose to visit the extensive WWII ruins on Lenger Island with our historian, with time to snorkel along rich reefs or to spot the Pacific golden plover and Pacific reef heron. Or, hike along an upland nature trail to search for the Pohnpei lory, Micronesian pigeon, and Pohnpei flycatcher. Another option is a full-day tour to Pohnpei's famed archaeological site, Nan Madol, a National Historic Landmark. Explore the 92 megalithic man-made islands, once the residence of royalty and priests of the Saudeleurs from about the 12th to 15th centuries.

11 Mar 2019
Pohnpei, Micronesia

This classic atoll's ring of coral has only a few islets around its perimeter, and is inhabited by a family of eight who will show you their gardens of hibiscus, banana, and sweet potato. A short forest walk takes you past taro to a copra processing area. Beachcomb along the lovely shoreline, keeping an eye out for hawksbill and Pacific green sea turtle nests, while birders look for ruddy turnstones, black noddies, white-tailed tropicbirds, and Micronesian starlings. Snorkeling and diving are superb, with the chance to spot blacktip reef sharks and coral trout.

DAY 10
12 Mar 2019
Oroluk, Micronesia

This spectacular and enormous coral-fringed lagoon shelters 15 high islands of volcanic origin. The dramatic scenery ranges from lush rainforests and waterfalls, to deserted beaches and small villages. Chuuk's lagoon is a world-renowned paradise for wreck divers. In 1944, American bombers sunk 60 Japanese Imperial Navy vessels and aircraft which sheltered here; the armada is visible today in an intriguing and vast museum-like underwater environment of unparalleled mystery. Nature has transformed these wrecks into a wonderland, colonized by a mosaic of corals, sponges, anemones, and sea fans, which are the playground of fish by the thousands and can be explored by both divers and snorkelers. In this lagoon of astonishing variety and extravagant natural beauty, Zodiacs take you to idyllic white-sand shores and dazzling coral reefs teeming with life, while birders search the islets for seabirds.

DAY 11
13 Mar 2019
Chuuk Islands, Micronesia

The villages of Pulap and Tamatam are known for their skilled navigators, whose expertise also shines in the construction of long canoes made of breadfruit wood. Older canoes are hand-sewn with traditional sennit, and may feature the silhouette of a black frigatebird on the bow. With the chief's permission, wander at leisure through this traditional village. Snorkel, dive, beachcomb, or sit under a palm tree to enjoy the afternoon on a perfect islet with a shallow aquamarine lagoon to your right and the deep indigo Pacific to your left.

DAY 12
14 Mar 2019
Pulap Atoll, Micronesia

Step ashore as the women of the village—adorned in lava-lava skirts, their skin tinted by turmeric—present welcoming dances. Meet the exuberant young boys of the island, whose skills in tropical waters are so fine-tuned that they seem "half-fish". The men of Satawal, famed for their mastery of ocean navigation without the use of instruments, still voyage between the islands of Micronesia in outrigger canoes, steering by the sun, stars, and swells.

DAY 13
15 Mar 2019
Satawal Island, Micronesia

Keep a lookout for common bottlenose dolphins playing in the ship's wake as you approach Ifalik. This classic tiny circular atoll, with only three islets, represents the most authentic aspects of Micronesia's traditional state, Yap. The chiefs are intent upon maintaining cultural integrity—motor-powered boats are banned within the lagoon, as are televisions in the village. Ashore, the islanders present their thatched-roofed houses set under shady trees. After lyrical dances by grass-skirted women, you are free to wander and admire the island handicrafts, including unique fish hooks fashioned from golden-lipped pearl shells. In the afternoon choose to snorkel, dive, sail in one of the handsome outrigger canoes, or go birding with our ornithologist.

DAY 14
16 Mar 2019
Ifalik Atoll, Micronesia

This afternoon, watch for green turtles as Zodiacs zigzag through coral reefs and shallow sandbars to land on a white-sand beach. On this tiny uninhabited island, groves of coconut palms adorn the lagoon shore as sooty terns and white-tailed tropicbirds soar overhead. Snorkel over a coral drop-off or enjoy a dive in deeper waters populated by large pelagic fish. We spend the afternoon cruising the Pacific Ocean and enjoying the many amenities the Caledonian Sky has to offer.

DAY 15
17 Mar 2019
Sorol, Micronesia

Ngulu is a large stunning atoll, its ring-shaped lagoon bordered by tiny islets with swaying palm trees and beaches that offer a nesting ground to sea turtles. Go ashore to meet with the chief and the small number of villagers living on Ngulu Atoll. Afterwards visit the nearby palm-clad sandy islets for nature walks, birding, snorkeling, and diving.

DAY 16
18 Mar 2019
Ngulu Atoll, Micronesia
DAY 17
19 Mar 2019
Palau Island, Palau
Palau Island, Palau
Air travel

Disembark this morning. A highlight today is the opportunity to snorkel in Jellyfish Lake; named one of the Seven Biological Wonders of the World, this unique lake system is a prime example of biological isolation. Enjoy an otherworldly experience as you snorkel among hundreds of amazing melon-sized jellyfish that have lost their ability to sting. Check into the Palau Royal Resort for dinner and a chance to relax before your late evening flight. Arrive in the USA the next day.

DAY 18
20 Mar 2019
Air travel
Best of Micronesia – Rabaul to Palau map

About the Ship

Caledonian Sky

The 100-guest Caledonian Sky is a spacious, yet intimate, expedition vessel. Refurbished in 2012, public spaces include a single-seating dining room, a large lounge, elegant bar, panoramic viewing deck, sun deck, library, and small gym. All suites have an ocean view, a sitting room, and en suite bathroom. The Caledonian Sky carries a fleet of Zodiacs.

What's Included


  • All gratuities; accommodations as outlined in the itinerary; all onboard meals and group meals ashore, including soft drinks, beer, and wine with lunch and dinner; arrival and departure transfers on group dates; services of the expedition staff including lectures, briefings, slide/film shows; all group activities and excursions; landing and port fees; and medical expense coverage and emergency evacuation insurance.

Not Included

  • All air transportation (except where noted); optional estensions and excursions as noted in the itinerary; excess baggage charges; airport arrival and departure taxes; transfers for independent arrivals and departures; passport and/or visa fees; travel insurance; items of a personal nature such as laundry, bar charges, alcoholic beverages (other than listed above); e-mail/internet/fax/telephone charges.

About Us

With over 25 years in expedition travel, Seattle-based Zegrahm Expeditions Inc. is a leading adventure travel company specializing in small-ship expedition cruises, tours, and safaris to remote and intriguing destinations around the world. Led by expert guides and lecturers, Zegrahm itineraries are carefully crafted and all-inclusive, feature deluxe accommodations, and operate in all seven continents.

Insider Tip

Virtually everything is included: gratuities, transfers, group hotels, wine and beer with lunch and dinner, and a variety of excursions including snorkeling and birding.

Terms & Conditions

Please read our complete set of Terms and Conditions on our website. In order to confirm your participation, it is important that you carefully read and electronically sign the acknowledgement form for your trip. You can select the applicable trip option from our website.

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