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Diving in The Federated States of Micronesia

For having so many small islands, the area of Micronesia is a giant in the dive world. Experience manta rays up close, pristine underwater landscapes and some of the world’s best wreck dives.

Diving in The Federated States of Micronesia

Quick facts

Micronesia encompasses an extensive area of the western Pacific. It’s really a subregion 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. The region is comprised of small islands and even smaller coral-ringed atolls. If you think it sounds tailor made for divers, you’d be right. The reputation as a premier dive destination is well deserved. The main dive destinations — Palau, Yap, Chuuk, Pohnpei 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. In Yap, dive with manta rays at cleaning stations and visit beautiful drop-offs and caverns. At Chuuk, almost all dives are to see shipwrecks as there are many which lie within recreational diver depth limits. Some highlights include the Fujikawa Maru, an aircraft ferry and Nippo Maru, a cargo ship. Pohnpei is still unfamiliar to the majority of divers but those who venture there will be spoilt by pristine dive sites consisting of drop-offs, passes and outer atolls. Ant Atoll and Pakin Atoll are the top areas to visit as they are teeming with marine life. Kosrae, the most isolated island state, is surrounded by a fringing coral reef. Make drift dives along vertical walls at dive sites like Shark Island or enjoy hard coral gardens like Walung Coral Gardens. Diving at Yap, Pohnpei and Kosrae is typically land based, but at Palau and Truk Lagoon in Chuuk, liveaboard diving is recommended given the vast size of these areas.

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.

When to go

The weather is balmy in Micronesia, averaging at 81°F (27°C). Slightly more rain can be expected during the months of November to May at Yap, Pohnpei and Kosrae, while Chuuk sees more rain during April to December. Despite the rain, it is possible to dive there on a year-round basis, but do check forecasts for passing typhoons while planning your trip. Water temperature ranges from 79-82°F (26-28°C), so a 3mm wetsuit will suffice. Visibility is mostly good, and at some dive sites, it can be spectacular at up to 131ft (40m).

Rain and temperature

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Water temperature

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Where to dive

  • Chuuk (Truk) Lagoon

    Explore the Ghost Fleet of Chuuk Lagoon which is possibly one of the best wreck diving destinations in the world.

  • Kosrae

    Make the long journey to Kosrae to be spoilt with the untouched feel of the island and to explore its magnificent fringing coral reefs.

  • Pohnpei

    Often called Garden Island because of its lush green appearance, Pohnpei offers quality diving with sharks and manta rays at seemingly untouched reefs in crystal clear waters of the Pacific Ocean.

  • Yap

    Remote and exotic, Yap is heaven for divers who want an up-close and personal experience with manta rays.

USD 1,180Per person for 7 nights for 2 divers
USD 1,208Per person for 7 nights for 2 divers
USD 2,195Per trip
USD 2,476Per trip
* 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.

What to see

Visit Yap from December to April to see manta rays during mating season. Males will chase the tails of larger females, and you might sometimes spot a pregnant female. Manta rays are almost a guaranteed sighting in Yap as are reef sharks at a drop-off called Vertigo. In the Truk Lagoon at Chuuk, shipwrecks attract all manner of sea creatures looking for food and shelter. Sharks are often seen passing by as schools of fish like fusilier and snapper hang around the wrecks. Mandarin fish, anthias and anemone fish always delight. A closer look will reveal critters like nudibranch, scorpion fish and shrimp. Palau has its famed Jellyfish Lake filled with non stinging jellyfish. At Pohnpei, you’ll find huge schools of barracuda near the atolls and other pelagic species like sharks, trevally, tuna and sea turtles. Look out into the blue for eagle rays, which come to the atolls to feed and clean. Kosrae will reveal beautiful coral reefs buzzing with life. Colorful reef fish, critters and also resting nurse sharks can be found, and this is also frequently visited by eagle rays.

Calendar

For better readability of the table, pass into the landscape mode.

Most likely sightingsPossible sightings

Country

Federated States of Micronesia consists of four main island states which are Yap, Chuuk, Pohnpei, and Kosrae. However, the region of Micronesia can be extended to also encompass Palau and Guam. The Federated States of Micronesia has been an independent sovereign island nation since 1986. It’s also a United States associate state. The country is spread across the Western Pacific Ocean and is made up of altogether 607 islands. Its capital Palikir is in Pohnpei, while the largest city is Weno, in Chuuk. Based on a 2013 estimate, the Federated States of Micronesia has a population of only 106,104 people. Discovered by the Portuguese in the 16th century, these islands were incorporated into the Spanish East Indies in the 19th century. It was then sold to the Germans in the late 19th century before Japanese took over during World War I. During World War II, many Japanese warships went down in this area, particularly at Truk Lagoon which is a part of Chuuk. After World War II, the islands were administered by the United States under United Nations auspices. As a travel destination, the Federated States of Micronesia is largely known for its spectacular scuba diving. All four states offer unique diving experiences with the most popular being Yap and Chuuk. The former is famous for its resident manta rays, which can be seen almost year-round. At Chuuk, Truk Lagoon is one of the top places in the world for wreck diving. Pohnpei and Kosrae are slowly gaining popularity with their beautiful atolls and stretches of pristine coral reef. For non-divers with interests in culture and history, visit during festivals like Yap Day in March or tour ancient cities and ruins in Pohnpei and Kosrae. Surfing is also a highlight activity at Pohnpei and Kosrae, while there are war sites to visit at Chuuk.

Other attractions

Experience the culture and traditions of Micronesians by taking land tours and also visiting ruins like Nan Madol in Pohnpei or Lelu Ruins in Kosrae. Deep sea fishing expeditions can be arranged as can surfing lessons in Pohnpei or Kosrae. At Chuuk, visit caves used by Japanese forces and take tours to learn more about World War II. 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.

Getting there

The Federated States of Micronesia is relatively difficult to get to. Fly to Palau or Guam and take connecting flights to the four main island states. 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.

UTC+10:00

Time zone

USD

Currency

+691

Calling code

120 V

Electric volt

A, 

B

Plug type

PNI

Main airport
Note - Travel to any destination may be adversely affected by conditions including (but not limited) to security, entry and exit requirements, health conditions, local laws and culture, natural disasters and climate. Regardless of your destination, check your local travel advisory board or department for travel advice about that location when planning your trip and again shortly before you leave.