I was fortunate to have won a trip to Kosrae Nautilus Resort through a dive group that we travel with. I would never have known about Kosrae, let alone selected this as a travel destination. But after spending a fantastic week here, I've got to start doing more research into "out of the way" destinations.
We were greeted at the airport by Salik, a local, who is Doug and Sally's "right hand man". Aside from chauffeuring, Salik wore the hats of Boat Captain, Divemaster and Waiter, and was hospitable in every discipline.
The accommodations were very clean. Plenty of hot water (provided by a state-of-the-art solar collection system) for showers, and the air conditioning was adequate. Daily housekeeping kept things spotless, even amongst our clutter.
The restaurant at the resort is very good. I especially enjoyed the Sashimi - absolutely the freshest fish I've ever had! Burgers were very tasty, and the Pizza was amongst the best I've had - anywhere. Overall, prices were reasonable. One night, we visited Bully's, down the street, for a change of pace and scenery. Nice to do, once.
The real treat, though, was the diving. Daily, Doug and Salik drove us by van, to either of the marinas where Nautilus' boats were docked for a three-tank dive. The reefs are splendid, with magnificent hard coral formations, and millions and millions of colorful fish. Either Doug or Salik led each dive, pointing out items of interest, but would generally let us "do our thing". Each dive was terminated at the 60 minute mark, although on a couple of occasions, the scenery was so fantastic that we extended this to 70 minutes or so. On our surface intervals, fresh water and fruit were provided, and a sandwich was provided between the second and third dive. After diving, we hung out by the pool, played table tennis, or just relaxed.
While in Kosrae, Doug and Sally had arranged for a couple of afternoon trips for us to see different parts of the island. For a modest fee, an operator took us by boat to the rainforest to see the ecosystem that is endemic to Kosrae. The second trip was led by an older gentleman, on a dugout canoe, through the mangroves, and up a freshwater river. He provided some history of Kosrae, and a LOT of insight into the biodiversity of the island. One thing that we did not do while on Kosrae was to visit Lelu, the bottled water company. They literally do everything, from the collection of the water to the bottling and distribution (they even make their own bottles). As an engineer, I would have liked to see their facility.
Getting to Kosrae from the U.S. isn't easy, though. My wife and I decided to extend our trip, and defray the airfare cost, by visiting Truk Lagoon, first. Cleveland to Chicago to Tokyo to Guam (overnight) to Truk. After spending time there, Truk to Kosrae, with a stop in Pohnpei. Our homebound flight was Kosrae to Honolulu, with stops in Kwajalein and Majuro, to San Francisco to Cleveland. This padded our frequent flyer account, quite nicely.
We spent some time talking with Doug and Sally, and were surprised that this isn't chosen more often as a dive destination. The majority of their clientele is business travellers. So, if you go to Kosrae for the diving, you'll probably enjoy the personal, one-on-one attention that we received.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Eighteen air-conditioned guest rooms and a restaurant, plus outside dining by the swimming pool. Full service NAUI dive shop, purpose built dive boats. Island tours arranged. The ideal location for business and pleasure travelers. Free airport transfers, and rental cars arranged. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Kosrae Nautilus Hotel Kosrae