The Shipping News

Jan 1, 2003
Outside Magazine

Oceania personified: Micronesia's Truck Lagoon

Cargo ships crisscross Oceania like 18-wheelers do American interstates, offering cheap access to the South Pacific's island oases. Keep in mind, however, that these ships stay true to the spirit of adventure: Prices, boats, and itineraries often change.

The Marquesas: Twice a month, the 250-foot Taporo 4 makes a 15-day voyage to these craggy islands 800 miles northeast of Tahiti, stopping at seven atolls en route. Private cabins aren't available, but there's decent cafeteria food. Cost: round-trip fare, $450 for deck passage. Contact: 011-689-42-63-93.

The Tuamotus: To travel to these 80 small specks 200 miles north of Tahiti, track down the Mareva Nui in Papeete's harbor. More primitive than the Taporo 4, this 180-foot freighter makes four-day round-trip excursions to Rangiroa and its immense lagoon. Cost: $139. Contact: 011-689-42-2553.

The Tokelaus: Every two months, a ship chartered by the Office for Tokelau Affairs makes the 800-mile, seven-to-eight-day round-trip voyage from Western Samoa north to this lonely atoll. The ship stops at each of the Tokelaus' three reef-bound islands: Fakaofo, Nukunonu, and Atafu. Cost: Cabin fare runs about $200, deck fare about half that. Contact: To make reservations, write to the Office for Tokelau Affairs, Apia, Western Samoa. They'll answer. Really.

Micronesia: The 300-foot Micro Glory, operated out of Pohnpei by the Federated States of Micronesia, travels southwest on an 11-day, 900-mile round-trip voyage to some of the most remote islands in the world—Mokil, Pingelap, Sapwuahfik, Nukuoro, and Kapingamarangi. Cost: about $250 for a cabin and all meals. Contact: Call 011-691-320-2235 or write to the Public Affairs Office, Pohnpei State Government, Pohnpei, Federated States of Micronesia.

The Solomon Islands: Try the four-day trip to Gizo, in the Western Provinces, about 200 miles northwest of Honiara, aboard the 200-foot Luminao. She makes 11 stops at tiny island villages and provides first-class cabins, a small refrigerator, a cold shower, and a toilet. No food is served, so stock up before you depart. Cost: $90 round-trip. Contact: Wings Shipping Co., P.O. Box 9, Honiara, Solomon Islands.

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