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Diving in the United States Minor Outlying Islands

Way, way out in the Pacific you may stumble upon the United States Minor Outlying Islands, a virtually untouched haven for scuba divers, with the right credentials, that is!

Diving in the United States Minor Outlying Islands

Quick facts

Warm and tropical throughout the year, you can expect awesome visibility and healthy reefs. There is a downside, however, these islands are hugely inaccessible. Unless you are a member of the military or a scientist that just happens to get stationed here momentarily, the only way to make it out here is to own or charter a yacht or sailboat, taking the long trek through the rolling seas.

If you do make it here, there are plenty of things worth seeing. Around Baker Island there are some fascinating shipwrecks from WWII, and even an aircraft. The reefs, too, deserve plenty of careful inspection, as the creatures here have probably never seen a human before.

Just a heads up, it is HIGHLY recommended that you do not do any snorkeling or diving anywhere near Johnston Atoll because of its military association.

When to go

Rain and temperature

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Water temperature

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What to see

A haven for wildlife, you can run across a bountiful display of reef fish, and even some sharks and rays. Monk seals come here to rear their young, so you might just get lucky enough to swim with these playful and curious creatures. Spring time is the best time of year to come across these beauties.

From August to April you will surely see a huge array of sea birds. Albatross, especially, come here in huge flocks to lay their eggs and raise their young.


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

Most likely sightingsPossible sightings


Hidden in the vast Pacific Ocean, the US Minor Outlying Islands are a world away from it all. Eight islands make up this group: Baker Island, Palmyra Atoll, Johnston Atoll, Howland Island, Jarvis Island, Kingman Reef, Midway Islands, and Wake Island.

At one time Johnston Atoll was used by the United States as a storage facility for weapons of mass destruction. This all ended in 2001, when the military base was shut down and deserted. Today, there are no permanent residents on any of the islands. Occasionally members of the scientific community are stationed here to do research, but they come and go with the tide. Now, an occasional yacht will put down an anchor and rest before heading out again, but those times are few and far between.

Other attractions

The only activities to accomplish here are snorkeling and scuba diving, fishing, and lounging on the beach. This is the literal definition of a desert island. It’s just you and nature, out here!

Getting there

The only way to get to the island is by a private ship of some kind. There are no roads on the islands, no stores, no medical facilities. You’re on your own!


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Calling code

120 V

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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.

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