On January 13, 2020 Palau received a visit from a unique expedition ship called “The World.”  While most cruise ships and expedition vessels embark passengers and guests, The World carries only residents.  Everyone on board other than staff is an owner of a cabin or stateroom.  The residents travel around the planet in the luxurious setting of a beautiful ship, complete with ballrooms, bars, and fine dining restaurants.  The residents explore the very best of earth’s dive sites, wildlife destinations, and cultural wonders.  Their non-stop tour of the planet includes annual visits to The North West Passage, Antarctica and everywhere in between.

This journey to Palau marks The World’s second visit to our Micronesian paradise.   Most of the residents agreed that sites like Blue Corner & Turtle Cove were among the very best tropical dive sites on the planet.  The residents have the freedom to vote on where The World travels each year, and the opinion was nearly unanimous that Palau had to be seen a second time around.

In addition to a full staff of engineers, seamen, waiters, and attendants, The World also hires an expert team of Naturalists during phases of their voyage known as “Expedition.”  The naturalists are hired by a European based yacht service known as EYOS.  EYOS seeks out the very best marine biologists, ornithologists, geologists, and historians, in order to teach the residents on board about the habitats and cultures they encounter.  The naturalists travel with the residents for three to four week voyages, leading tours, and giving lectures in the spacious auditorium.  These specialists come from all walks of life and typically include university professors, authors, and academics.

This year’s visit to Palau however marks a turning point in The Worlds choice of experts.  For the first time ever, expert Palauan Naturalists have joined the EYOS team for the voyage from Palau to Darwin, Australia.  Veteran guides Macstyl Sasao and EliLai Sugiyama were carefully chosen by EYOS to share their knowledge of the region’s bio-fauna, history, and culture.  The pair will explore the remote corners of Western Papua to include the famous four kingdoms, known in Bahasa as Raja Ampat.  They’ll continue through the Moluccas, of Spice Island fame before traveling on to Australia’s most Northerly city.  Macstyl will lead kayak tours and will offer lectures on the region’s plants, animals, and history, while EliLai leads the snorkelers with talks on fish, corals, whales, dolphins, & culture.

From an economic standpoint, this implies that Palau’s guides have become so esteemed internationally, that they are now a valued export commodity.  Few people outside of Micronesia have an in depth understanding of the region’s biodiversity, history, or cultures.  It’s taken Macstyl & EliLai years of study and training to achieve this level of status.  The fruits of their labors have now led them to a career that will literally take them “around the world.”   We’ll all be looking forward to hearing about what they’ve learned from this most recent experience to the remote corners of Asia-Pacific.