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Dive Micronesia

Map of MicronesiaThe islands of Micronesia are situated north of Papua New Guinea and to the west of Hawaii, approximately 5 hours flying time, from Cairns. Micronesia is made up of more than 2,000 islands that were first settled about 3,000 years ago by seafarers who travelled across from South East Asia. Guam is the largest and most populous of the islands and is the main gateway to Micronesia. The English language is widely spoken in addition to a number of indigenous languages including; Palauan, Yapese, Chuukese and Marshallese.

The eight, main island groups that form Micronesia include: Guam, The Republic of Palau (Belau), The Marianas, Pohnpei, Yap, Truk (Chuuk), The Marshall Islands and Kosrae. Each island group has its own unique cultures, language, history and attractions.

Following World War II, the U.S.A. administered the Islands of Micronesia as a trust territory under the United Nations. More recently, the islands attained self-government, with subdivision and the formation of: The Republic of the Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia (consisting of Yap, Chuuk, Pohnpei and Kosrae), The Republic of Palau and The Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands - a United States Territory.

Micronesia, means “small islands” and is the collective name given to the two thousand, tiny, tropical islands, scattered over an area of more than three million square miles of the Pacific Ocean, between Hawaii and The Philippines. (Some islands are so small they do not appear on many world maps). 

Inhabited areas consist of local villages that have maintained the traditional and cultural way of life, with few modern day facilities. There are also the more upmarket, resort areas of Guam and Saipan offering luxurious accommodation, entertainment attractions and great shopping.

  • Geographical Information

    Micronesia DivingThe islands of Micronesia are geographically, culturally and naturally diverse. They include the high volcanic islands of Pohnpei and Kosrae, the raised coral islands of Guam and Saipan and the coral atolls of The Marshall Islands. The islands and atolls are the culminating result of volcanic activity, which took place millions of years ago. Many of the islands are the summits of huge underwater mountains or rims of sunken volcano craters peaking through the water surface forming tropical lagoons. Other natural features include secluded sandy beaches, crystal clear blue water, rolling hills, lush mangrove forests, mountain peaks, striking rock formations, river valleys and stunning waterfalls.

    Micronesia has some of the most pristine underwater environments supporting thousands of fish species and a lush, tropical topside that houses an abundance of bird-life and flora and fauna.

     

  • Micronesia Activities

    Micronesia DivingMicronesia is renowned for its world class diving. The pristine waters plays host to a variety of dazzling marine life whilst Truk Lagoon is the ultimate destination for wreck diving enthusiasts. Kayak around the many islands or hike to secluded lake and waterfalls. For culture lovers visit and enjoy the experience of traditional village life and for the history buffs there are many World War II sites.

     

  • When to Travel to Micronesia

    Micronesia has some of the most uniform year round temperatures in the world, with an average temperature of 27°C. The lowest rainfall period is normally experienced between January to March.

  • Scuba Diving in Micronesia

    The majority of visitors come to snorkel or scuba dive. The fish life, corals and the many wrecks from World War II make the area one of the worlds leading dive destinations.

    The majority of diving in Palau is drift diving along the walls and coral gardens of the outer reefs. Schooling pelagics, WWII wrecks, snorkelling Jellyfish Lake and kayaking among the Rock Islands are the key reasons why divers love Palau and do not hesitate to come back time and time again. The start of the year is the best time to dive the glassy waters of Palau and will most likely give you the best chance to visit with waters of Peleliu State.

    Truk is indisputably a Diver's Mecca, suitable for both novice and experienced divers. Featuring an entire WWII Japanese fleet which was sunk by the US, and with over 42 diveable wrecks to choose from and all in immaculate conditions, many divers have made multiple trips back to Truk Lagoon to revisit favourite wrecks as well as new ones they haven’t had the chance to see.

    Kosrae offer uncrowded reef diving with is clear clean ocean & extraordinary living coral reefs that completely surround it. Currents are mild here so is very conducive to underwater photography and for novice divers.

    Pohnpei is surrounded by a barrier reef with many passages that exit the lagoon into the open sea and therefore offer uncrowded current & channel dives, walls and drop offs.

    Yap offers uncrowded reef diving, caverns and swim throughs with consistent manta ray sightings year round.

    Average water temperature is 29°C so a lycra suit or a 3mm suit is recommended.

Guide to Micronesia

  • General Details
  • Entry & Visa Requirements
  • Medical & Health Requirements
  • Currency
  • Baggage
  • Duty Free
  • Weather
  • Clothing
  • Electricity
  • Banking
  • Language
  • Religion
  • Water
  • Shopping
  • Tipping
  • Diving
  • Departure Tax

General Details

The Islands of Micronesia are about 5-6 hours by air from Cairns and are situated just to the North of Papua New Guinea and to the west of the Hawaii Islands. The international country code for Guam is 671, Palau 680 and the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) is 691. Also from June 2010 there are direct flights from Gold Coast to Palau.

Palau is 9 hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT); Guam, Chuuk & Yap are 10 hours; and Pohnpei & Kosrae are 11 hours ahead of GMT.

Entry and Visa Requirements

For transits/stopovers in Guam (US Territory) log onto the ESTA website and complete the online application https://esta.cbp.dhs.gov

Cost is USD$14 (subj to change).

Even though Visas are not required for Australian Passport holders travelling to FSM less than 30 days and Palau less than 90 days, all travellers transiting via Guam will need to USA visa by going to the ESTA website and completing the online application https://esta.cbp.dhs.gov

Medical and Health Requirements

There is a recompression chamber in Guam, run by US Navy and two hospitals in Guam. There are also recompression chambers in Palau, Chuuk, Yap and Pohnpei. There is no major health risk in Micronesia. Remember that some medications can make you sun sensitive, so extra care must be taken to ensure that skin is protected from sun burn. Please check with your physician for the best precautions to be taken. (For further details please contact Travel Vax on 1300 360 164).

Currency

The currency of Guam & Micronesia is the US Dollar. Most international credit cards are accepted by hotels, shops and restaurants throughout Micronesia.

1 AUD =  approximately 0.70 USD (May 2016)

Baggage (International flights Ex Australia)

China Airlines - 30kg to 30 June 2017
Other Airlines - check individual baggage allowance
United Airlines (ex MNL / GUM) - 2 pieces (23kg each) - 1st bag is free, 2nd bag incurs a fee of US$40 per check-in dependent on routing. 

(subject to change without notice)

Duty Free

Guam & Palau allowance is 200 cigarettes or 454g of tobacco, and 1.136 litres (Guam) / 2 litres (Palau) of alcoholic beverages. FSM allowance is 600 cigarettes or 454g of tobacco and 2 litres of alcoholic beverages (over 21s only). If transiting in Guam you are not permitted to carry duty free items with you to the outer islands. Duty free can be purchased in Guam.

Weather

Micronesia has some of the most uniform year round temperatures in the world, with an average temperature of 27°C. The lowest rainfall period is normally experienced between January to March.

Clothing

The emphasis is on light casual clothing. Swimwear is not permitted in public areas of hotels. Remember to cover up with light cotton clothing at dusk and dawn to prevent mosquito bites. Sun protection is absolutely essential.

Electricity

110-120 volts, Plug A & B-same as USA. 
(For further details refer to  http://www.iec.ch/worldplugs/ ).

Banking

It is strongly recommended not to carry Australian Dollar travelers cheques as you may have difficulty cashing them. Opening hours are 8.00am to 12.00pm and 1.00pm to 5.00pm Monday to Friday and closed on the weekends.  

Language

Predominately English speaking throughout although Micronesia also has a native tongue. You will also find that many elderly people are fluent in Japanese.  

Religion

Local traditional beliefs and ceremonies are maintained in remote areas but Roman Catholic influence is predominant.

Water

The water is safe to drink in major hotels and resorts, however it is always best to drink bottled water. A jug of drinking water is often supplied and bottled water is sold everywhere. In the tropics it is important to drink plenty of non-alcoholic fluids to avoid dehydration.

Shopping

Guam is a duty free port and there is a large range of goods and clothing available but ensure that any electrical goods purchased are suitable for Australia. Other islands offer local artifacts and clothing. Most shops are open 08.00am to 5.00pm Monday to Friday, on weekends some shops open with limited hours.

Tipping

Guam, Chuuk & Palau follow the American custom and tipping is an accepted practice in restaurants, hotels and for dive guide services. In FSM tipping is neither expected or encouraged.

Diving

The majority of visitors come to snorkel or scuba dive. The fish life, corals and the many wrecks from World War II make the area one of the worlds leading dive destinations. Average water temperature is 29°C so a lycra suit or a  3mm suit is recommended. Palau states charge small fees to assist with their Conservation programs. Koror State, Rock Island & Jellyfish Lake Permit valid for 10 days is USD 100. Peleliu State Dive Permit valid for 10 days is USD 30.

A dive permit costing USD 50 is required in Chuuk. Dive operators supply tanks, weight belts and dive guide services. There will be an extra charge if equipment hire is required.

Departure Tax

Local departure taxes vary from island to island. Chuuk USD 20, Palau USD 50, Pohnpei & Kosrae USD 15, Yap USD 20 must be paid on departure. There is currently no local departure tax for Guam

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