Diving in Micronesia
Micronesia encompasses an extensive area of the western Pacific. It’s a sub region of Oceania. There are nearly seven and a half million square kilometres/three million square miles of ocean and less than three thousand square kilometres/one thousand square miles of land. It’s comprised of small islands and even smaller coral-ringed atolls. If you think it sounds tailor made for divers, you’d be right. Its reputation as a premier dive destination is well deserved. The main dive destinations — Palau, Yap, Chuuk, Guam, Saipan and Kosrae — offer countless dive opportunities. Palau has amazing shallow reefs, caverns, walls, drop-offs, tunnels, channels, a legion of WWII wrecks and an almost limitless variety of marine life. Diving Yap is about as close as you’re going to get to a guaranteed manta encounter with a lot more too: sharks, mandarin fish and pristine coral kingdoms. Chuuk, or Truk, Lagoon harbors an entire fleet of wrecked WWII fighting machines that have become underwater ecosystems dripping with color and drama. On Guam, an unincorporated United States Territory, you can visit a wreck from both WWI and WWII on the same dive. Kosrae is internationally renowned for its crystal clear waters and pristine reefs. Micronesia offers what divers dream of: clear, warm water, unique dive experiences and incredible marine life interactions – just don’t expect too much land.
Blue Corner, Palau – A top Palau dive since its discovery, Blue Corner is a coral peninsula that juts out from a sheer wall. You drift down the wall, reef hook in hand, and hook in at the top edge. There, floating like a kite in the wind, you’ll be surrounded by sharks, schools of jacks, unicorn fish and whatever else happens to pass by – a true thrill ride.
Chandelier Cave, Palau – To reach this air-filled cavern, you swim through the gaping maw of an entrance and into the last of three chambers. Here you can pop up and have a chat with your buddy in the huge air pocket. You can always see the light from the cavern’s entrance.
Mi’il Channel, Yap – The mantas that come to this renowned cleaning station arrive with such frequency that they have names. One of the few marine life experiences in the world that comes with the label "mostly guaranteed.” There’s a good chance other pelagics will swim by too.
Yap Caverns, Yap – There are a series of tunnels and swim-throughs in the shallower depths of the amphitheater-shaped site, which provide perfect spots for white-tip reef sharks to nap. Grey reef sharks also lurk outside the caverns, but they're considerably more active. Large coral heads, humphead parrotfish and lionfish are also part of the scenery.
Fujikawa Maru, Chuuk – Many of the wrecks in Truk Lagoon are quite deep, but this former cargo ship’s superstructure is at about 9 metres/30 feet and the deck at 18 metres/60 feet. The ship is packed with parts, from airplane fuselages to ammo. Plus, many interior spaces, such as the pilothouse, galley and staterooms, are easily accessible.
Sankisan Maru, Chuuk – Built as a passenger transport, then converted for military use, this wreck contains aircraft engines, medical supplies, and several trucks. Sitting between 15-24 metres/50-80 feet and encrusted in anemones and coral, the ship is missing her entire aft section, perhaps from a bomb explosion that led to her sinking.
SMS Cormoran/Tokai Maru, Guam – These wrecks sit side by side. The 88-metre/290-foot Cormoran, scuttled at the beginning of World War I, features an intact hull with lots of structure to explore. The 134-metre/440-foot long Tokai Maru, sunk by a torpedo in WWII, has lots to explore and a cargo hold filled with truck parts, beds and other items.
Blue Hole, Guam – This dive site makes for a great photo op when you look straight up from 30 metres/100 feet at descending divers framed by the hole’s walls. The entrance is on a shelf at 18 metres/60 feet and opens through an archway at about 38 metres/125 feet. Don’t forget to explore the wall outside the hole.
Hiroshi Point, Kosrae – Massive coral heads and a cast of marine characters headed up by reef sharks and eagle rays leave divers looking to return to this spectacular dive spot.
Shark Island, Kosrae – Divers enjoy a steep wall and excellent visibility here. Currents attract big schools of pelagics such as tuna, reef sharks and barracuda. The healthy, which starts at about 15 metres/50 feet, reef is home to myriad invertebrates.
Visibility – You'll consistently have more than 30 metres/100 feet of visibility, but it can range from 20 metres/65 feet to more than 50 metres/160 feet.
Water Temperature – Roughly 28° C/83° F all year.
Weather – Diving is available throughout the year. Air temperatures range from 24-29° C/75-90° F, but sea breezes manage to keep the worst of the humidity at bay. Parts of Micronesia are in the Typhoon belt, with storms occurring most frequently between August and December.
Featured Creatures – Mantas, sharks, trevally, spotted eagle rays, sea turtles, mandarin fish, anthias, anemone fish and nearly every other kind of tropical fish you can think of. Palau has Jellyfish Lake, filled with nonstinging jellyfish.
Recommended Training – The PADI Deep Diver and PADI Wreck Diver courses will help you enjoy many of the sites in Micronesia. AWARE – Coral Reef Conservation and AWARE-Fish Identification courses will help you appreciate the diversity of marine life. To visit the deep wrecks in Chuuk, look into PADI TecRec courses.
Language – English is a primary language, with many local languages still spoken in villages.
Currency – United States Dollar. Credit cards are accepted in resort areas.
Major Airports – Guam’s main airport is Antonio B. Won Pat International Airport (GUM). Many international flights arrive here and then go on to other Micronesian destinations. On Palau, you arrive at Roman Tmetuchl International Airport (ROR). In Yap, the airport is Yap International Airport (YAP) and Chuuk International Airport (TKK) in Chuuk.
Electricity and Internet – 110 volts, 50Hz. Internet is available in most resort areas and major towns.
Topside Attractions – Visit some of the WWII historic sites. Cruise the Rock Islands on Palau and relax on a deserted beach. Stroll through a village and purchase local handicraft, including wooden storyboards, in Palau. Learn about the stone money in Yap.