- From Ridge to Reef
- Designed for Snorkelers
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- Belize: Snorkeling & Coral Reef Ecology
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- Palau: Snorkeling the Rock Islands
- Palau Islands by Motoryacht
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- Raja Ampat & Spice Islands Cruise
- Raja Ampat: Whales & Snorkeling (cruise)
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from ridge to reef
The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service has closed Midway Atoll to visitors for the year 2013. The closure is likely to extend through 2014. We anticipate that Midway will re-open to visitors in 2015, but are uncertain at this time. If you would like to be notified of availability, please contact our office at (415) 256-9604 to be added to our waiting list.
The only accessible national wildlife refuge within the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument, Midway Atoll consists of three islands and a shallow white sand lagoon, sheltered from the surrounding Pacific Ocean by a coral reef. The atoll supports over two million seabirds including the world's largest colonies of Laysan and Black-footed Albatross as well as many other seabirds and shorebirds. The endangered Hawaiian Monk Seal and Short-tailed Albatross - known as the golden gooney-also find refuge on this mid-Pacific outpost. The lagoon teems with colorful fishes that are less fearful of humans than are their counterparts in the main Hawaiian Islands, and green sea turtles and spinner dolphins are often seen in the atoll lagoon.
Similar to the Galapagos, much of the wildlife of Midway has remarkably little fear of humans; few places on earth allow visitors such close contact with seabirds. In 2012 we are pleased to offer trips in March during the peak albatross fuzzy chick rearing period, and again in April when the chicks are still active and the waters are warmer or enhanced snorkeling opportunitie.
Oceanic Society was the first public group to visit Midway Atoll in 2008, and we have migrated to Midway on an annual basis to offer natural history programs at this most incredible national wildlife refuge in the world.
Please see our naturalist reports from March 2011: http://www.oceanicsociety.org/sentman-blog/midway-atoll-march-madness-oceanic-society-2011
Our expert guided natural history expeditions include wildlife observations, historical excursions, bird watching, one snorkeling lagoon boat trip, and unlimited beach snorkeling. The human history is equally a part of the Midway experience with over forty historic sites. Exploring Sand Island on your own is always an option after the first day's briefing with the Fish and Wildlife Service staff. Weather permitting, we tour Eastern Island, uninhabited and crowded with seabirds, including several seabird species not found on Sand Island.
While our naturalist offers tours throughout the week and special insights based on their years of experience on Midway, there will be daily opportunities for personal exploration on your own and for photography.
Protection of the island's unique resources requires that visitors stay on specially designated trails. Most beaches are restricted for monk seal pupping (the best beach is shared with humans), and visitors will follow strict guidelines set forth by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. For interested individuals, we offer optional opportunities to assist staff with habitat restoration.
In 2012, Midway will again be wonderfully limited to only 16 visitors the entire atoll at one time. Midway Atoll is accessible via a 2 ½ -hour flight from Honolulu aboard a charter turbo-jet Gulfstream. Accommodations are in comfortable double occupancy rooms with private baths. On Midway, you can simply walk out your door and see thousands of albatross perform their ancient mating dance.
NOTE: We are still awaiting final permit approval for 2013. Deposits will be held in an escrow account until travel permits can be confirmed.
Please check this page to view the Permit Requirements, Visitors Map, Presidential Proclamation to establish the Marine Refuge, rules & regulations, and Wildlife Viewing Guidelings (Restricted to Authenticated Users on this web site)
Day 2 thru 7:
Guided wildlife and historical excursions, and plenty of time on your own for photography or other interests. Weather permitting, Eastern Island tour, one boat-based snorkel, unlimited beach snorkel.