Called one of the world’s last Edens by National Geographic, Palau has a
superabundance of reef fish and coral life simply without parallel on
earth—more than 700 coral species and over 1500 species of reef fish. This
incredible marine ecosystem is fully intact, thanks to the long-held
conservation ethic woven into Palau’s traditional culture. We experience
world-class snorkeling in the uninhabited Rock Islands, one of the natural
masterpieces of the Pacific, exploring magnificent habitats from shallow
coral gardens to dramatic outer reef walls teeming with colorful fish. Our
deluxe private beach camps provide special access to this wilderness, along
with delightful beach barbecues, crimson sunsets, and amazing star-gazing.
We take just nine participants, so sign up early!
What the Trip is Like:
This trip is Level 3, Moderate, according to our trip grading system. It is relaxed enough to allow ample time for photography, snorkeling, extra paddling, and beachcombing. The Trip Leader gives a daily background briefing on the natural history of each area we explore, including its geology, birding, reef fish, coral reef ecology, or archaeology. During our six nights on the Rock Islands, we are supported by a motor-launch boat. Amenities at our Rock Island beach camps include walk-in tents, toilet tent, solar shower, and a dining tent with table and chairs. Multi-course meals, including fresh fruits, salads, and wine, are served, and cold beer and sodas are available. Typical breakfasts may include fresh papaya, pineapple, eggs, pancakes, or Palauan specialties; lunch is usually picnic style, featuring sandwiches and tropical fruits; dinner is usually a delicious barbecue with fresh-grilled fish or chicken, vegetables, and baked local desserts. When we are away from camp, our meals are picnic style. Our support boat goes ahead to each new campsite with our gear so that our new camp is set up and awaiting us on arrival. Campsites are chosen for their beauty and/or access to fantastic snorkeling. Our days of physical activity will fuel good appetites, and our two camp cooks provide delicious repasts.
Our days are spent kayaking through gorgeous, crystal-clear turquoise waters, snorkeling, hiking to sites of interest, birdwatching, swimming, and relaxing on untouched beaches. On most days, we paddle for four to five hours, although usually not more than an hour at a time, interspersed with snorkeling and other activities. The paddling distances are short, and we cover a linear distance of no more that 30 miles during our seven paddling days.
The journey is designed to offer an enjoyable vacation—you need not have done any previous kayaking. On any given trip, however, it is impossible to predict what the weather will have in store and it often varies with each successive day. In general, we choose routes that are largely protected from high winds and strong currents, and we run the trips at the times of year when the weather is most reliable. We also adapt our daily schedule to local conditions. The Trip Leader will present each day's combination of paddling, snorkeling, and hiking activities based on the prevailing conditions. If the paddling ends up being easier than you had expected, you will have the option of doing some extra kayaking or hiking in the afternoon after we reach camp. If it turns out to be more difficult than you had expected, you can opt out of kayaking for that day. We have welcomed both beginner and experienced paddlers on this trip, and they have found sea kayaking to be a fantastic way to experience the wonders of Palau.