In November 2018, Oceanic Society and Mission Blue jointly led an exclusive expedition to Palau’s breathtaking Rock Islands with Dr. Sylvia Earle. Trip highlights included:
Flights bound for Palau from the U.S. typically depart from Honolulu or Seattle. Since you will be crossing the international date line, you will have to leave a day early to arrive on time. Once you arrive in Koror, you can relax for the rest of the day at your hotel. The following morning will be the beginning of your diving program.
The total reef complex of Palau -- the outer barriers, the fringing reefs and the varied communities within the tiny coves and marine lakes, has been described as one super-organism. The reef is riddled with hundreds of tiny mushroom-shaped islands dressed in tropical foliage, known as the Floating Gardensor Rock Islands. These jungle-coated stone mounds rise straight up from the water; their bases eaten away by wave action and shellfish. Our days will be spent diving the nearby Rock Islands by live aboard boat.
We will spend seven days diving off of the Ocean Hunter 3, mooring each evening in the protected inside waters of the fringing reef. Your dives will include the world class sites of the Ulong Channel, theBig Drop Off, the German Channel, the Blue Corner, as well as WW2 ship wrecks (Iro and Chuyo Maru), and Chandelier Cave. During the evenings, there will be presentations by Sylvia Earle and others discussing the natural history of the area.
Following breakfast, guests will disembark the Ocean Hunter 3 at 8:00 AM, and will be taken to a hotel.Most flights depart after midnight from Palau for Honolulu, via Guam. You will cross the InternationalDate Line (gain one day) and arrive in Honolulu on the evening of the previous day (for example if you depart on November 9, you will arrive in Honolulu on November 8 in the evening). For those not interested in spending an extra day in Palau, an alternative option would be to go to the airport the evening of November 7.
Oceanic Society was founded on the heels of the 1968 Santa Barbara oil spill, at a time when ocean pollution was a growing concern. Oceanic Society created innovative ocean patrols that engaged citizen scientists in policing ocean polluters, and our staff played a critical role in advancing legislation in response to the Exxon Valdez oil spill. We are now working to curb ocean pollution from plastic and toxins. On this expedition we explored the global environmental problem of plastic pollution through the lens of Palau, a tiny island nation that has made big commitments to ocean conservation.
DR. SYLVIA EARLE, called “Her Deepness” by the New Yorker, “Living Legend” by the Library of Congress, and “Hero for the Planet” by Time Magazine, is an oceanographer, explorer, author and lecturer with experience as a scientist, government official, NationalGeographic Explorer-in-Residence, and board member of Oceanic Society and dozens of leading ocean research and conservation institutions. She has led more than 100 expeditions and logged more than 7,000 hours underwater. As founder of Mission Blue, her special focus is on developing a global network of ocean ecosystems, “Hope Spots,”to safeguard the living systems that provide the underpinnings of global processes, from maintaining biodiversity and yielding basic life support services to providing stability and resiliency in response to accelerating climate change.
RODERIC MAST is Oceanic Society’s President and CEO. He is a lifelong conservationist, a marine biologist, and an experienced travel guide who got his start as a naturalist in the Galápagos Islands. Rod is an expert in sea turtles, and is the both the co-chair of theIUCN Marine Turtle Specialist Group and the founder of the State of the World’s Sea TurtlesProgram, which is managed by Oceanic Society. Rod is also a passionate photographer, author, and public speaker.