Palmyra Explorer II | Hawaii – Palmyra – Kiritimati
April 27 – May 10 | $4300
This trip is a blast – we’ll leave from Oahu for a few days of power reaching in the trades before negotiating the ITCZ, also known as the Doldrums! Squalls and unsettled weather abound, but the rewards for careful boat handling are beautiful sunsets, rainbows, and the satisfaction of sailing fast in tough conditions. We’re planning to then stop at Palmyra Atoll National Wildlife Refuge, which lies within the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument. This visit is dependent upon a permit which won’t be issued until the day we depart Hawaii, however we expect to be able to obtain it. At the request of the refuge, we are limiting our group size for this trip, so it will really be an intimate experience.
In 2019 we were the first ecotourism visit to Palmyra since it became a National Wildlife Refuge, and it was extraordinary! We have never been on such a beautiful and healthy reef. Almost anywhere else you go will be spoiled for you after this visit. This is really something special, and the only way to visit is by sea. Palmyra was a US naval base in World War II, the sight of several failed copra plantations, and and the destination of many adventurers and dreamers up through the 90s. Since then, Palmyra has been jointly managed by the Nature Conservancy and US Fish & Wildlife service, who are doing an amazing job maintaining it as a research station and restoring native Pacific atoll ecosystems to the island. This is the trip we are most excited about this year.
Upon arrival in Kiritimati, we hope to be greeted by the huge Manta Rays that cruise the anchorage off the Copra Pier. These islands are truly remote, and the best way to get to them is by sea. Come with us and explore some of the Central Pacific’s gems.
This trip is an RYA Yachtmaster Ocean and IYT MOY Unlimited qualifying voyage – contact us to discuss!
- Cost: $4300
- Date: April 27 – May 10, 2021
- Start: Ko Olina Marina, Hawaii
- End: At Anchor, Kiritimati Atoll, Kiribati
- Length: 14 days, 13 nights
- Focus: Offshore Passagemaking | Swimming & Snorkeling | Tropical Island Exploration
April 23: Arrive in Hawaii no later than this date.
The CDC classifies air travel as a “higher risk activity” and air travel with connections in its “highest risk” travel category. Please do all you can to minimize risk during your flight: follow CDC recommendations, social distance when feasible, book direct if possible, wash your hands or sanitize according to CDC guidelines, and wear the best fitting and highest filtration mask you are able to.
Once you have arrived in Hawaii, we ask that you get a PCR COVID test, then self quarantine in a hotel until boarding. This means avoiding crowded outdoor spaces, avoiding indoor spaces with others, and generally trying to avoid any possibility of picking up an infection prior to boarding.
As of today, Hawaii PCR tests are taking 72 hours to get results, so please take the PCR test on April 24. If testing times improve, we may change when this test is taken in order to reduce the gap between the test and boarding. With the information we have now, taking the test on March 11 is the closest day to boarding to take the test and get results back in time. We will provide some suggestions of where PCR tests are available.
April 27: Arrive at boat.
We will provide you with a COVID symptoms questionnaire to complete before boarding. We will take your temperature, review your questionnaire, and administer a rapid antigen test to you on the dock before boarding. With proof of a negative PCR result, a negative COVID screen from the questionnaire and temperature check, and a negative rapid test on the dock, you will be able to board Sea Dragon. Once everyone is on board, we will fall into the normal routine for trip operations. We’ll become a “bubble” with no masks required on board. You’ll choose your bunk, we’ll have a group dinner on board and go through safety briefings for departure to Palmyra.
In the event that you test positive on either the PCR test or your pre-boarding rapid test, you will not be allowed aboard the vessel, and we will be happy to transfer your payment to a trip of your choosing at a later date.
Travel Update: As of February 3, it is likely that while we will be allowed to visit Palmyra, we will not be allowed to interact with the station staff who are there. This may mean that we are not allowed on shore at all, or only allowed on shore away from the station. We would, however, be able to paddle board, snorkel, and explore the lagoon and surrounding waters, which are magnificent.
As of February 10, Kiritimati is still not open for travel, and will remain closed until the end of February. A decision on whether to re-open will be made at that time.
The $500 deposit is nonrefundable, but will be refundable in the event that we need to cancel the trip. Please also review our crew contract.
Don’t want to fly home from Kiritimati? What about combining this voyage with “Tahiti? Why Not!” and saving $2250! Total trip price is $4300+2950-$2250 = $4950. To sign up for the the Combo trip, please click below.
“This was one of the best vacations I have ever had. I learned a lot about plastics, coral, and the environment from skipper, first mate, and knowledgeable crew … Eric and Shanley were professional and super fun! The boat was perfectly set up and maintained for our trip. I look forward to more adventures with Eric and Shanley.”
Day 1: Arrival On Board Sea Dragon
You’ll join us at Ko Olina Marina in Oahu between 1500 and 1700 to move on board. You’ll have the opportunity to find your bunk and get settled in. We’ll all gather together for our first dinner on board. Afterwards your professional crew will take you through general life on board and safety procedures. You’ll be fitted for your lifejacket, and if you didn’t bring any with you, foul weather gear. We’ll have a visit from the Palmyra Station Fish and Wildlife representative on Oahu to discuss the rules and conditions of our visit, as well as to give us a quick orientation to the island we’ll be visiting. You’ll have the rest of the evening free to do what you please, whether reading a book or taking a walk along the shore to give your legs a nice stretch before going to sea.
Day 2: Departure from Green to Big Blue
After breakfast, we’ll drop lines and head out to sea. As we set our sails and point south, the backdrop of green mountainsides will slowly fade and give way to a 360-degree endless horizon. We’ll settle into our watch schedule and routine for our 1000NM sail.
Day 3 – 6: Underway Offshore
We’ll have some nice fast sailing on our way to the Central Pacific atoll of Palmyra. Fingers crossed we’ll be visited by dolphins, whales and endless sea birds. The warm tropical sailing will be quite the treat!
Day 7: Atoll Arrival
Welcome to Palmyra! We’ll make our way through the reef and anchor in the lagoon on this gorgeous atoll. Keep an eye out for all types of life – manta rays, melon-headed whales, sharks, and dolphins! We’ll meet the refuge staff and get an orientation to this very special location. There’s nothing like dinner on deck at anchor in a remote location such as this.
Day 8-9: Another World Exploration
We’ll take full advantage of our surroundings over the three days on location. Exploration is the name of the game. We’ll work closely with the scientists and staff on Palmyra to minimize our impact on this special place as we explore ashore, paddle board in the lagoon, and get a chance to snorkel on some of the most spectacular reefs in the world. Nights at anchor.
Day 10: Back to Sea
After a visit to a place you can only get to by sea, we’ll pick anchor and head out of the lagoon when the light is favorable. We’ll set sail once again and point our bow toward Kiritimati as we settle in for an upwind sail to our final destination.
Day 11-12: Underway to Kiritimati
We’ll sail upwind across the beautiful blue waters of the Central Pacific. You’ll get to put the skills you learned on the trip South to the test as we work our way to Kiritimati.
Day 13: Arrival in Kiritimati
Today we arrive at our second atoll. We’ll anchor outside of the lagoon by the cargo pier and get cleared through customs and immigration once more. We’ll enjoy a relaxing day, swimming off the stern or going ashore to explore, before having a peaceful dinner on board for our last group dinner. Spend the night on anchor.
Day 14: Departure Day
After breakfast, it will be time to disembark Sea Dragon and take the final dinghy trip ashore at 1200. You’ll spend this night in a hotel onshore on Kiritimati so you can make it to the airport for the early morning flight to Hawaii the next day. We highly recommend spending the night at Timei’s Lagoon View Motel. If you do, Timei will arrange transport for you to the airport for the early flight to Hawaii the next day, and he and his family are wonderful hosts. We’ve had several groups of guests stay with Timei and every time have had rave reviews.
– 13 nights accommodation on Sea Dragon
– All meals (vegetarian), snacks, and drinks on board
– Sailing Instruction
– Safety equipment and foul weather gear
– Masks, fins, snorkels
– Use of inflatable paddle boards
Contribution does not include:
– Transportation to and from Hawaii and Kiritimati
– Transportation to and from the boat
– Additional nights spent ashore
– Personal expenses while in port
You will join the boat in Ko Olina between 1500-1700 on the first day. You will depart the boat in Kiritimati at 1200 on the last day. Kiritimati is on the same time zone as Hawaii, but 1 day ahead, so you will be departing the vessel on May 10 Hawaii time, but May 11 local time. You will spend the night of May 11/10 (local/Hawaii) ashore in Kiritimati at a hotel before flying out the next morning. We can help connect you with Timei at the Lagoon View Motel if you would like to stay there – we highly recommend it.
Honolulu International Airport (HNL) is about a 30 minute drive from Ko Olina. Fiji Airways has one flight a week (FJ822) from Kiritimati (CXI) to Honolulu (HNL) – it departs Kiritimati the morning of May 12 (local), May 11 (Hawaii).
All crew members will require a passport and visas from their home country that will allow them to travel to/ from Kiribati and the USA. Please ensure that you have any necessary visas for Kiribati before joining the vessel in Hawaii. Please ensure you have the appropriate paperwork completed before joining the vessel, or you will not be allowed to board. Please look into the specific type of visa you need for arriving at these destinations by sea, or contact us directly to discuss.
Anna and Maggie met as Skipper and First Mate on a 74ft science expedition yacht, sailing from the UK to Tahiti researching ocean plastic pollution.
Anna, born in 1990 was taught to sail in the Cadet fleet in Poole harbour, UK, by her grandfather at the age of 6. From a competitive dinghy racing background, she became an RYA Yachtmaster instructor and has worked full time in the industry for 14 years; teaching a range of ages in all aspects of watersports.
Alongside her professional sailing career, Anna also gained a BA in Architecture from Brighton University. However, having grown up on a farm in the south-west of England, living and working outdoors, she chose to pursue a passion for the outdoors and adventure.
Anna has worked in most areas of the industry from race Captain on luxury yachts in the Maxi Worlds, to teaching and managing an RYA Training Centre. She has sailed over 75,000nm in the Atlantic, Pacific, Mediterranean and Caribbean. She loves being offshore and has competed in many ocean crossing races with teams of novice crew which she thoroughly enjoys. She first sailed Seadragon in 2017 across the Atlantic and then again across the Pacific in 2018.
Maggie, born in 1992 grew up in Australia’s Whitsunday Islands and Great Barrier Reef. She started racing sabots from the age of 5, then progressed to pacers and lasers later in her youth. She coached her school sailing team which is where she developed a passion for teaching sailing. Maggie completed a Bachelors degree in Business Public Relations but chose a career offshore with an undying passion for ocean sailing.
Maggie started her career as a teenager, working in her family business which ran adventure sailing charters. Every school break, when she wasn’t competing in dinghy regattas, she spent her time working on a traditional square rigger, classic schooner and ex americas racing cup racing yacht. In 2013 she sailed to Antarctica and rounded Cape horn and fell in love with ocean sailing.
In 2017 Maggie left Australia to travel and continue sailing. She worked in the Mediterranean on a range of luxury yachts between 28 and 92m. She has sailed over 30,000nm all over the world in the Pacific, Atlantic, Arctic and Southern Oceans.
When they are not sailing, they enjoy travelling by land in their yellow camper-van which they converted themselves. They also love to dive and are currently learning to kite-surf.
Anna is an Ocean Yachtmaster with commercial endorsement, an RYA Yachtmaster Instructor, a PADI Open Water Diver, and holds her STCW endorsed Proficiency in Medical Care at Sea. Maggie is an MCA Master of Yachts < 200 tons, MCA Officer of the Watch to 500 tons, Australian Master Class 5, and holds a certificate in Advanced First Aid & CPR.
Kim was born and raised in San Diego and brings a wide range of maritime experience. A certified EMT and Open Water Diver, Kim received her first USCG Captain’s license in 2010 and has held her MMC ever since. Her vast and diverse experience on the high seas includes captaining vessels 21 to 50 feet and crewing on yachts over 150 feet. Kim also has a passion for animals and backcountry adventure, which initially led her to Alaska, where she guided bear viewing adventures in Kodiak and Katmai. Active and artistic, Kim loves paragliding, photography, hiking, free diving, climbing, surfing, snowboarding, paddle boarding, fishing, and art.