June 20 – July 4 |
In 2021 we were the first yacht to visit Palmyra since COVID closed the refuge in 2019, 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 site 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.
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. Staff from Fish & Wildlife must also be on island during our visit, and as of now it sounds as if they’ll be there. We’ll keep you informed if anything changes. This trip will not include any diving, as we have found that all of the accessible sites are just as good or better snorkeling without all the extra gear.
All meals on board Sea Dragon are delicious and vegetarian, with the addition of fish if we catch any along the way.
This is not a trip for the infirm or physically unfit – you MUST be able to climb the 20′ steel ladder on the Kiritimati Copra Pier, have good balance, and be in reasonably good health. Please contact us with any health questions or if you answer “YES” to any of the questions on our health questionnaire prior to signing up for the trip!
This trip is an RYA Yachtmaster Ocean and IYT MOY Unlimited qualifying voyage – contact us to discuss!
Ardent Training is offering a significant discount on the RYA Day Skipper Theory online course to anyone signed up for this trip. If you’re interested in taking the course, let us know when you sign up and we can give you the discount code!
- Cost: $5300
- Date: June 20 – July 4, 2023
- Start: Honolulu, Hawaii, USA
- End: Copra Pier, Kiritimati, Kiribati
- Length: 15 days, 14 nights
- Focus: Offshore Passagemaking | Swimming & Snorkeling | Tropical Island Exploration
Please explore the drop down menus at the bottom of the page for more details about this voyage.
While we can’t guarantee that our protocol will 100% prevent a COVID infection onboard, we are hopeful that with these constraints, it will seriously reduce the risk of the possibility of a serious COVID infection at sea, far from advanced medical care.
The Government of Kiribati has its own COVID-19 regulations, which you will need to comply with in order to enter Kiribati. We will keep you updated as far as we are able as the trip approaches.
In addition to meeting all government requirements, the COVID-19 protocol for the boat is as follows:
Everyone on board the vessel must provide proof of vaccination with at least two doses against This is a requirement of the government of Kiribati.
14 days before trip: I agree to take maximum precautions to minimize my risk of infection with COVID-19 by following CDC guidelines.
72 Hours Before Boarding: I agree to take a PCR or Rapid Antigen covid test at my own expense. This test must be administered or proctored by a medical professional, and the result must be on official letterhead. If a testing site is available that can provide results in less than 72 hours, I agree to get tested as close to the date and time of boarding as is consistent with receiving results before boarding.
In the event that you have a fever over 100.4F or test positive on your pre-trip COVID 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.
Reserve your spot now with only a $500 deposit! This deposit is non-refundable per our crew contract. However, it is transferable or refundable in the event that we are forced to cancel this voyage or significantly alter the itinerary (date or location change).
Call Us: +1 (305) 330-4212 (Pacific Time), leave a message if we don’t pick up and we’ll get back to you ASAP.
Click on a heading below to learn more!Tentative Itinerary
Day 1: Arrive at Sea Dragon
You’ll join us at the dock in Hawaii between 1500-1700 to move on board. You’ll have the opportunity to find your bunk and get settled in. You’ll get familiarized with the boat, have dinner, and settle in for your first night aboard.
Day 2 : Safety Training and Officialdom
We’ll spend the day learning how to safely handle Sea Dragon and deal with any situations that may arise. We’ll also 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. Depending on time and weather, we’ll probably go for a quick day sail to practice what we’ve learned, or maybe even go snorkeling with turtles and dolphins at a nearby beach.
Day 3: 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 4 – 7: Underway Offshore
We’ll have some nice fast sailing on our way to the Central Pacific atoll of Kiritimati. Fingers crossed we’ll be visited by dolphins, whales and endless sea birds. The warm tropical sailing will be quite the treat!
Day 8: 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 9-10: 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. Depending on weather, we may leave depart on Day 10 or 11 to head to Kiritimati, but if all is well we’ll stay and enjoy as long as we can.
Day 11: 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 north towards Hawaii and settle in for an upwind sail.
Day 12: Underway to Kiritimati
At sea in the tropics – enjoy a last day of sailing the tropical pacific before arriving at Kiritimati.
Day 13: Arrive in Kiritimati
We’ll anchor off the cargo pier and clear through Customs & Immigration today, before being able to go ashore to explore the island.
Day 14: Exploration Ashore and Afloat
We’ll spend the day seeing what Kiritimati has to offer.
Day 15: Departure Day
It will be an early morning to be up and off to catch the weekly flight back to Honolulu in the morning.
– 14 nights accommodation on Sea Dragon
– All meals (vegetarian), snacks, and drinks on board
– Sailing instruction
– Safety equipment and foul weather gear
– Mask, snorkel, fins
– Use of Inflatable Paddle Boards
– Transportation from Sea Dragon to Kiritimati Airport
Contribution does not include:
– Transportation to and from Honolulu and Kiritimati
– Transportation to Sea Dragon in Kiritimati
– Additional nights spent ashore
– Personal expenses while in port
It’s hot in the Central Pacific – Take a look at our Tropical packing list.
You will join the boat in Honolulu between 1500-1700 on the first day. You will depart the boat early in the morning on the last day to make it to the airport in time.
We’ll be docked at Waikiki Yacht Club in downtown Honolulu, a 20 minute taxi from HNL airport. Cassidy International Airport (CXI) is about 20 minutes from where we’ll be anchored, and we’ll arrange transport to connect you with the one weekly Fiji Airways flight (FJ 822) back to Hawaii. Please note that Kiritimati is on the same time zone but a day ahead of Hawaii, so the flight departs Kiritimati on the 5th of July but lands in Hawaii on the 4th.
All crew members will require a passport and visas from their home country that will allow them to travel to/ from the United States and Kiritimati. 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.
I grew up in North West England, spending every weekend outdoors in the Lake District. After attending university in Cardiff, I worked as a personal trainer, working in the Middle East for a time before discovering the Clipper Round the World Sailing race. I became completely hooked on offshore sailing and after completing half the 19-20 race (pre Covid!) I gained my Yachtmaster qualification in order to be able to work in the industry. I became the skipper for a youth trust based in the Solent, England, working with young adults in order to widen their horizons and build their confidence which I found immensely rewarding. The itch to see more of the world by sea led me to becoming a freelance cruising instructor which enabled me to work with a variety of companies on a range of boats from 20’ to 70’, cruisers to high spec race boats. I spent some time in the Caribbean and around the UK helping refit boats until the Clipper Race restarted. I returned as a first mate, helping lead a crew of amateurs from the Philippines back to the UK and also completing my own circumnavigation. Having already seen the North Pacific, I’m excited to be on board Sea Dragon and explore more of the Pacific’s waters and islands- showing others the joy of ocean sailing, discovering the world around them and our effect on it, as well as teaching them to sail and work as a team.
Mary holds her Yachtmaster Ocean with commercial endorsement as well as her MCA Proficiency in Medical Care certificate.
JACOB BONNICK – First Mate