PHILIPPINES & PALAU

Rainbows End

4 - 21 MAR 2015 18 DAYS   |   14 GUESTS

  

Snorkel | Dive | Wildlife & Nature | Photography | Culture & History


PRE EXTENSION   |   MALAPASCUA ISLAND  |  28 FEB - 5 MAR  |   5 DAYS  |   10 GUESTS







Join Wild Earth Expeditions on another exceptional expedition through the Philippines and Palau, showcasing incredible marine biodiversity inside the Coral Triangle with over 1500 species of fish and a plethora of soft and hard corals. You'll discover jaw-dropping landscapes, world-class snorkeling, diving and kayaking and swim with millions of jellyfish at mysterious Jelly Fish Lake. Experience the cultural riches of South East Asia and Micronesia. Explore WWII wrecks, hunt for weird critters on "muck dives" and snorkel alongside the worlds largest fish, the Whale shark. All from the comfort of our privately chartered yachts, furnished with luxury amenities and excellent food. Encounter the smallest primate on earth, visit a bustling colorful local market, hike to a volcano lake, kayak through the lush islands, enjoy a massage, sip on a cocktail and stroll along a pristine white sandy beach while watching a spectacular sunset.

From the largest fish in the ocean to the tiniest, this expedition has it all and should be on the "Bucket List" of any keen snorkeler or scuba diver.

Join Thomas Baechtold and our wonderful Wild Earth leader and Marine Biologist extraordinaire Robin Aiello on this wonderful expedition to the “rainbows end”.


For the ultimate Philippines adventure be sure to join the Pre-extension to the tiny tropical island paradise of Malapascua. Surrounded by white sandy beaches, turquoise waters and situated across the northernmost tip of Cebu Island, the reefs off Malapascua Island are the only place in the world where you can encounter the elusive Pelagic Thresher sharks but also Manta rays, Devil rays, White-tip Reef sharks and Grey Reef sharks. Explore an amazing coral encrusted ship wreck and enjoy some of the Philippines best “Muck diving” on the house reef.


HIGHLIGHTS

  1. Sail in the lap of luxury as you explore the best dive and snorkel sites in the Philippines and Palau, onboard our exclusively chartered traditional sailing and dive yachts.

  2. Soak in the tropical island paradise ambiance with walks along pristine white sandy beaches, spectacular sunsets, a massage and cocktail in hand.

  3. Swim alongside a giant Whale shark, watch Manta rays and turtles glide past and get up close to the endangered Pelagic Thresher shark.

  4. Enjoy "muck diving" in the Philippines in search of weird and wonderful critters like the pygmy seahorse, Harlequin ghost-pipefish, Giant frogfish and White-bellied star gazer.

  5. Come eye to eye with the smallest primate on earth, the Philippine Tarsier, see the world-famous Chocolate Hills of Bohol Island and visit a colorful and vibrant market.

  6. Explore coral encrusted World War II shipwrecks and swim in mysterious Jelly Fish lake with millions of stingless Jelly fish.

  7. Kayak through Palau's Rock Islands, exploring marine lakes and fragile coral gardens.


  
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  1. PLEASE NOTE: Learn about Marine Biology, Photography and Shark Conservation from your professional Wild Earth Leaders. Included in the cost of your expedition are all gratuities, meals and drinks, cocktail parties, all taxes and fees. More details on our COST & INFO page.




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SPECIES SPOTLIGHT


Pelagic Thresher Shark - The Thresher Shark is an endangered species and remains vulnerable to extinction, especially due to its low frequency of reproduction. Monad Shoal was recently declared a marine sanctuary to help protect these beautiful creatures. The tiny tropical island of Malapascua is the only place in the world where you can see and encounter the elusive Pelagic Thresher shark on a daily basis. See these incredible creatures on our pre extension to Malapascua.


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INTERESTING TO KNOW


WORLDS FIRST SHARK SANCTUARY

On 25th September 2009 Palau President Johnson Toribiong announced the creation of the world’s first shark sanctuary encompassing Palau’s entire exclusive economic zone, an area roughly the size of France. With this single historic move, Palau has leaped ahead of the rest of the world and established a new precedent in shark conservation.



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VIDEO - click play to watch this video of the Philippine Siren





TRIP DESCRIPTION


MAIN TRIP | Philippines and Palau

Philippines

Experience a land that is made up of over 7,000 beautiful islands, host to lush rainforests, caves, waterfalls, stunning golden sand beaches and surrounded by deep blue seas that contain some of the richest marine life on earth.

Diving and snorkeling from the comforts of our privately chartered luxury live-aboard S/Y Philippine Siren - you will have the opportunity to explore some of the many and varied marine environments of the Philippines. Situated in the Coral Triangle, Southern Leyte and the Southern Visayas region is home to some of the best diving and snorkeling in the Philippines, with its wide diversity of marine life, steep coral covered walls and offshore pinnacles, gentle sloping coral gardens, critter and muck diving hotspots and the possibility of getting up close and personal to the world's largest fish - the Whale shark. These enormous filter feeders arrive here each year to feed on the swarms of plankton that bloom in the warm shallow waters.

The calm waters of Leyte, Cebu, Bohol and Negros islands belie the activity and stunning scenery that lie beneath. The sheer reef walls are rich with sea fans and sponges, attracting schools of sardines, snapper and reef fish. The coral gardens team with brightly colored anthias, fusiliers, butterfly fish, turtles, barracuda and jacks. Spot the many varieties of nudibranch and find pygmy seahorses, shrimps and crabs and enjoy some of the worlds best “muck diving” along the dark sandy slopes, in search of ghost-pipefish, frogfish, seahorses, octopus and many other critters.

On Bohol island spend an afternoon visiting the world-famous cone-shaped Chocolate Hills, which consists of approximately 1,268 hills with heights ranging from 40 to 120 meters that were formed centuries ago by tidal movements. Get up close and personal to the smallest primate on earth, the rare Philippine Tarsier at the Tarsier sanctuary.

Finish the Philippine part of this expedition with a three days at the 5* boutique Atmosphere Resort, beautifully situated on a spectacular beach within an old coconut plantation on the island of Negros. Whether you want to do some incredible muck diving critter hunting, indulge in the enchanted spa, visit the local markets, hike to a stunning mountain lake, or simply read a book by the pool with a cocktail in hand, you can look forward to an unforgettable Philippines finale to our first part of the expedition.



       


Palau

Let Wild Earth Expeditions introduce you to the wonders of this hidden wonderland at the “Rainbows End”. Lying between the Philippine Sea and Pacific Ocean, this limestone archipelago is surrounded by cobalt blue water and home to a dazzling array of marine life, endemic birds and breathtaking beauty. Take in the magic of Palau by sea as we sail through the kaast limestone islands amid the comforts of our exclusively chartered sailing yacht - S/Y Palau Siren. Let Thomas bring to life the islands hidden secrets, as he shares his intimate knowledge and experiences gained over the 5 years that he lived and worked in Palau. Palau is steeped in ancient culture, boasting a rich history of matrilineal societies, men’s houses, ancient stone paths and stone monoliths, all woven in mysterious legends.


One of the Seven Underwater wonders of the world, Palau showcases an incredible marine biodiversity with over 1300 species of fish and a plethora of soft and hard corals. Discover jaw-dropping landscapes and enjoy a week of world-class snorkeling and diving dramatic coral encrusted drop offs, marine channels with schooling fish and feeding manta rays, awe-inspiring caves, adrenalin-pumping drift dives with reef sharks, eagle rays, tuna, Napoleon wrasse and huge schools of barracuda and jacks at world renowned dive sites Blue Corner, New Drop Off and Peleliu Cut. Explore the significant World War II battle sites of Peleliu Island, dive a japanese World War II ship, stroll on pristine white sandy beaches, witness spectacular sunsets and swim with millions of non-stinging jellyfish at mysterious Jellyfish Lake.


Finish your expedition exploring the lush Rock Islands by kayak, venturing into Palau’s hidden network of marine lakes and mangrove channels, enjoying the quiet beauty and snorkeling above fragile coral gardens. The perfect way to finish an incredible expedition!




PRE EXTENSION | Malapascua


For the complete allround perfect Philippines adventure be sure to join us on this 5 day extension to the tiny tropical island of Malapascua. Surrounded by white sandy beaches and turquoise waters and situated across the northernmost tip of Cebu Island, Malapascua Island is the only place in the world where you can encounter the elusive Pelagic Thresher shark.


We are given a unique opportunity to view these deep water nocturnal sharks as they migrate to the shallows at Monad Shoal in the early morning hours to rid themselves of parasites at cleaning stations. With their characteristically long caudal fin they are easy to identify. Scientists believe that this strange-looking fin is used to hunt, whipping it with such ferocity that it stuns prey such as squid, sardines and perhaps juvenile tuna. Moon wrasse and Blue-head Fairy wrasse which inhabit the top of the plateau have the daring job of cleaning these sharks.




The Thresher sharks are not the only visitors to Malapascua, with giant Manta rays, Devil rays and reef sharks frequently visiting Monad Shoals. Incredibly these creatures often share the same cleaning station at the same time.

The local dive sites around Malapascua house abundant soft coral gardens and the house reef is considered one of the best “muck & macro dives” in the country. You can find a whole host of weird and wonderful creatures, like pygmy seahorses, frogfish, squat lobsters, devilfish and pipefish.

*SNORKELERS PLEASE NOTE the Thresher sharks are only found at depths of 20m and deeper, well out of a snorkelers reach. However that said, the Thresher shark dives are at sunrise and we return for breakfast at 08:00. Most of the other dive sites we will be visiting during the day are equally fantastic for snorkeling. So if you are a snorkeler and simply want to acclimatize, enjoy a wonderful tropical island paradise and do some fun snorkeling, please join us, just be aware that snorkeling with Thresher sharks is not possible.




INTERESTING TO KNOW


  

CORAL TRIANGLE


The Coral Triangle covers roughly 5.7 million square kilometers of ocean waters and its biological resources sustain the lives of over 120 million people. World Wildlife Fund, The Nature Conservancy, Conservation International and many other environmental organizations consider this region a top priority for marine conservation. Here’s why it’s the...


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WHAT IS MUCK DIVING?


So what is "muck diving"? It's the underwater exploration of an area with a sandy or muddy bottom, high nutrients and low visibility... So why would anyone venture away from colorful reefs teeming with fish life and good visibility to dive in this "muck"? The answer is...



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ITINERARY - IN BRIEF


PRE EXTENSION | Malapascua  |  28 FEB - 5 MAR 2015  |  5 DAYS  |  10 GUESTS

Day 1. Feb 28             Depart Home / En Route to Manila or directly to Cebu

                                    (Lose day if traveling from U.S.)

Day 2. Mar 1               En route to Cebu and Malapascua Island, Philippines

Day 3-5. Mar 2-4        Malapascua Island / diving

Day 6.  Mar 5              En route to Cebu / board S/Y Philippine Siren           


MAIN TRIP | Philippines and Palau  |  4 - 21 MAR 2015  |  18 DAYS  |  14 GUESTS

Day 1. Mar 4                Depart Home / En Route to Manila or directly to Cebu

                                     (Lose day if traveling from U.S.)

Day 2.  Mar 5               En route to Cebu and board S/Y Philippine Siren

Day 3-7. Mar 6-10       S/Y Philippine Siren - Diving/snorkeling Southern Leyte & the Visayas. Visit Bohol’s   

                                     Chocolate hills and see tarsiers up close.

Day 8. Mar 11              Disembark S/Y Philippine Siren at 5* Atmosphere Resort Dumaguete

Day 9. Mar 12              Negros Oriental, Dumaguete muck/macro diving, visit local market while staying at a

                                     luxurious boutique resort

Day 10. Mar 13            Morning tour to Lake Balanan / Afternoon flight Dumaguete - Manila / Evening

                                     flight Manila - Koror (Palau)

Day 11, Mar 14            Board S/Y Palau Siren / Rock islands Palau

Day 12-16. Mar 15-19  S/Y Palau Siren - snorkeling/ diving, Rock Islands, Outer Reefs

                                       Jellyfish lake and Peleliu Island

Day 17.  Mar 20           Disembark S/Y Palau Siren / Kayaking Rock Isl. / Koror

                                      Depart home on evening or early next morning flight

Day 18. Mar 21            Arrive home

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*Please check out our ADD ON options, under Cost & Info, if you would like to explore a bit more of Palau. We can assist you in putting together a great itinerary for a couple of extra days in this magical place.




WILD EARTH TEAM



THOMAS BAECHTOLD - Founder, Managing Director and Expedition Leader: Born and raised in Switzerland, Thomas felt the travel bug from an early age on. His ceaseless passion for the outdoors, wildlife and photography, has taken him to nearly every corner of this exciting and diverse globe.

Certified as a PADI Scuba Diving Instructor 20 years ago, he found a new passion in the underwater world and its wonderful inhabitants. His career as a dive instructor, dive shop manager, underwater cameraman and trip director onboard dive live-aboards, has taken him to most of the diving hot... READ MORE




MARINE BIOLOGIST ROBIN AIELLO Marine Biologist, Snorkel and Dive Guide: Robin Aiello has spent most of her life on, and under, the oceans of the world. It is her passion! She graduated from Harvard University with high honors in Evolutionary Biology & Marine Biology.

After University, she worked as a scientific Expedition Leader in some of the most exotic and remote areas of the world - 4 months camping on & diving under the ice in Antarctica, 2 weeks living underwater in the Caribbean studying corals, cave diving in the Pacific, snorkeling with Minke whales and... READ MORE

 

PHOTOS © Thomas & Natalia Baechtold, Atmosphere Resort & Palau/Philippines Siren Fleet

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