Palmyra Explorer | Hawaii – Kiritimati
May 8 – May 23 |
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 a 20′ steel ladder up the Cargo Pier in Kiritimati, 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: $5900
- Date: May 8- May 23, 2023
- Start: Ko Olina Marina, Hawaii
- End: Cargo Pier Anchorage, Kiritimati, Kiribati
- Length: 16 days, 15 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 that everyone on board the vessel must comply with. We will keep you up to date as these evolve. In addition, the protocol for joining the vessel is as follows:
Everyone on board the vessel must provide proof of vaccination against COVID-19, including a booster shot if it has been more than 6 months since the final dose of your initial course of vaccination on the date you board the vessel.
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.
Day of Arrival at boat: We will take your temperature and administer a rapid antigen test to you before you come in close contact with the rest of the crew. With proof of a negative pre-trip test result, a temperature of under 100.4 F, 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.
In the event that you have a fever over 100.4F, test positive on either the pre-trip 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.
Sign up Now with only a $500 deposit! It’s non refundable if you back out, but if we cancel or modify the trip we are happy to return your money or apply it to a different voyage. Please review the Crew Contract for full details. The remaining balance will be due March 9.
Call Us: +1 (305) 330-4212 (Pacific Time) If we don’t pick up, leave a message and we’ll get back to you ASAP.
“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.”
Click on a heading below to learn more!Tentative Itinerary
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. 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: Safety Training & 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 9-11: 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 12: 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 13: Underway to Kiritimati
Day 14: 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 15: Explore Kiritimati
We’ll spend today exploring the largest atoll on the world before everyone moves ashore to spend the final night in a hotel before an early morning flight.
Day 16: Departure
You’ll get a ride to the airport early in the morning to catch the weekly plane back to Honolulu.
– 16 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
– 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 Sea Dragon in Kiritimati on the final day of the trip. Depending on available accommodations, you will either spend the last night of the trip on board Sea Dragon, or on shore in a hotel. If it’s on shore, this will be included n the cost of the voyage. We will arrange transportation to the airport to meet the Fiji Airways flight back to Hawaii, but you will need to buy your own plane ticket.
Honolulu International Airport (HNL) is about a 30 minute drive from Ko Olina. Cassidy International (CXI) is about a 15 minute drive from where Sea Dragon will be anchored. There is one flight a week from Kiritimati to Hawaii, FJ 822 on Fiji Airways. It departs Kiritimati on Wednesday, May 24 and arrives in Honolulu on Tuesday May 23 due to the international date line.