Departure from Samoa:
The SV Southern Cross will be tied up to the floating docks at the main yacht marina in Apia harbour (close to Aggie Gray's Hotel) on the day of departure. Please come to the boat before midday (12 noon) on the day of departure with your passport, as we need this for the crew to arrange immigration and customs departure clearance during the afternoon. Departure will be late in the afternoon after some shopping for fresh produce in the local market in Apia. All food will be supplied during the voyage.
Kanton (Canton) Island:
This is the only inhabited atoll in the Phoenix Group - with a small community of about 40 people (mainly Kiribati Government staff and their families). They will be happy to see us, as they very rarely get visitors.
Planes using Kanton's massive 2300m long sealed runway are even rarer (averaging about one per year in the last decade). The era of the transpacific flights stopping at Kanton for fuel is long gone.
If you are a Pacific history enthusiast, bring your camera, it is all here in front of your eyes - even a large satellite dish sits rusting away in the tropical sun - not to mention dozens of World War 2 bunkers scattered around the island.
There are heaps of snorkeling and diving options, including the lagoon, the big pass, and the outer reef drop offs. The Phoenix Group was declared the largest Marine Reserve in the world recently - and it is easy to see why, when you get below the waves large and colourful fish and live coral are abundant. In July 2010 the Phoenix where declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
Orona (Hull) Island:
We can camp ashore at an abandoned Kiribati village along the western side of the atoll - this small settlement (complete with church and meeting house) was built new in 2002 and abandoned three years later due to drought and the difficulty of living in such a remote place.
Sleeping under the stars on a sandy beach is also highly recommended, as is plenty of snorkeling in the large blue lagoon and scuba diving along the outer reef.
Luckily for Pacific voyagers like us, both Orona and are Nikumaroro are well vegetated with coconut trees, hence, plenty of excellent shade and lots to eat and drink. If you are looking for an atoll to be shipwrecked on, then choose one of these.
Nikumaroro (Gardner) Island:
Possibly the final resting place of Amelia Earhart, but we can not guarantee you we will find her crashed Lockheed plane.
We can find you plenty of diving with the manta rays and sharks. We definitely recommend a trip around the lagoon shore, bring your snorkeling gear for sure.
Be careful, this is the sort of magical atoll that you will fall in love with, probably at first sight, a green speck of paradise in the mighty blue Pacific.
If time allows, we may visit Atafu (Tokelau Islands) for a day on our way back to Apia. The village of 500 people is beautifully laid out in a classic Polynesian style. This is the smallest of the Tokelau Islands, and like the others, it has a beautiful big lagoon.
We plan to visit the the capital of the Tokelau Islands for a day. We will have our passports stamped and we suggest a guided tour of the big lagoon. This is a very large atoll, so there is plenty of opportunity for exploring uninhabited motu and relaxing on golden sandy beaches.
Arrival in Apia:
We will arrive back at the Apia Yacht Marina in the morning, this will give us enough time to process passports and other arrival formalities so that passengers can go ashore for the night or catch their flights home. Staying aboard the vessel for one final night is also an option if you wish.
If a dose of civilization is on your wish list after over two weeks at sea, then a visit to Aggie Gray's Hotel should be first on your list of things to do. If you want some local colour, then we recommend the Apia public market - it is large, cheap, and a lot of fun.
All of the islands on this voyage have excellent snorkeling and diving. We provide all equipment without additional charge (a licence is required for scuba diving) - there is a maximum of six people on diving voyages.
Help on board:
We much appreciate passengers who help us with the running of our vessel and also while onshore setting up camp etc - this type of team work adds greatly to everyone's experience.
Standard trips: $1900 USD per day full charter (max of 7 pax)
Scuba and Science trips: $2200 USD per day charter (6 pax)
Adventure travelers: $4,900 USD per passenger (max of 7 pax)
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