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Palau to Bali

1,871 Nautical Miles via Raja Ampat and Komodo
This 40-day is another great option for those looking for an incredible experience this summer, but without the time available to join us for our complete 80-day semester. This fast-paced adventure joins the vessel for the second leg, joining the vessel in Palau and ending 40 days later in Bali. An alternative option is to join for the first 40 days, traveling from Fiji to Palau.
  • Days
  • Credits
  • Students
  • Term
  • Tuition (USD)
Jul 14 - Aug 22, 2024 - Aboard S/Y Argo
  • 40
  • 3 credits
  • 24
  • Summer
  • $13,970
Availability: Limited Jul 14 - Aug 22, 2025 - Aboard S/Y Vela
  • 40
  • 3 credits
  • 24
  • Summer
  • TBA
Availability: Open
Review the Application Process >

Life Aboard

Sails Up Anchors Down

USF Accredited Academics

Activities

Scuba Diving & Snorkeling Educational & Cultural Tours Hiking & Trekking Service Personal Time

The Voyage

Your Adventure Starts Here
Welcome aboard!

This is it, the culmination of months of careful planning and eager anticipation – you have arrived in Palau. After flying into the airport and collecting your belongings from the baggage claim belt, you will take a short 15-minute taxi ride from the airport to your new home. There her crew of 6 staff will be waiting to greet you with a friendly smile. With your dive gear stowed away in the Laz, and all bags unpacked, the vessel will look shipshape and Bristol fashion, ready to embark on her next adventure.

The next 40 days will see you sail along part of the famous Coconut Milk Run, 1871 nautical miles to Bali, visiting some incredible locations and communities along the way, but for now, take a deep breath, relax, call mom & dad, and get yourself acquainted with the unfamiliar surroundings you’ll come to know as home sweet home.

Sample Trip Itinerary*
Start Location End Location
Palau (ROR) Bali (DPS)
Area Ports of Call
Indonesia Palau, Koror, Ngeruktabel, Mecherchar, Sorong, Raja Ampat, Komodo, Bali
*Please note that all destinations are weather dependent and subject to change.
orientation-onboard-sailboat-seamester
Learning the Ropes
8-10 days

Early on day two, we cast our lines and the journey begins. As with all Sea|mester voyages, the first week to ten days of the program is a crash course on how to be successful in your new environment. With the guidance of our staff, you’ll learn the ins and outs of how to live, work and learn in such close quarters with others – from sailing to cooking and everything in between.

Those new to scuba diving will spend quite a bit of time underwater working towards the PADI Open Water Certification. Those arriving with more experience will get reacquainted with the underwater world by taking a few refresher dives.

During the first week, you’ll also have your first lectures for your college-level course(s). While the structure of the syllabi might look familiar, you’ll quickly find that learning from the deck of a boat couldn’t be more different.

A New Way to Learn
Academics

Throughout the voyage, it’s easy to forget that this is college even though academics are an integral part of the experience. Our instructors schedule 3 or 4 lectures, discussions, or labs per class each week and each course includes quizzes, research projects, midterms, and finals.

Learning in an environment that combines academia with experience allows you to truly interact with your education. It brings academics to life, adding relevance and practical application to the material. Learning has never been this fun.

Maldives2
Palau
(5-7 Days)

A bucket list destination for every seasoned scuba diver and avid traveler, Sea|mester shipmates have the opportunity of a lifetime to visit the pristine waters and culturally rich islands of Palau. A diver’s dream, you’ll be able to notch up some more bottom time, whether exploring the vivid reefs, checking out the wrecks of WW2 bombers, or assisting local Ocean Conservation NGOs with underwater data collection. Students will also have the chance to visit the world-renowned Jelly Fish Lake in Koror State.

> Next stop: Raja Ampat

Raja Ampat
Anchors Down – Raja ampat
(12-14 Days)

Raja Ampat or “The Four Kings” is without a doubt one of the jewels of the Indonesian Archipelago. Off the beaten track and rarely visited by tourists other than the occasional cruising yacht, the limestone karst spires remain a sight to behold. Our students will have an opportunity to submerge themselves into the company of the spectacular reef ecosystems. Imagine yourself waking up to an intriguing lecture on Indo-Pacific reef dynamics in the morning and then witnessing it first hand in the afternoon. You’re living “The Blue Planet” footage first hand here in Raja Ampat.

> Next stop: Komodo National Park

Komodo Dragon
Anchors Down – Komodo National Park, Indonesia
(3 days)

This island may be best known for the dragons that rule it without competition but it’s the saturated colors you’ll find exploring this place that will stick with you. Jade sloping hills fade seamlessly into the pink sands that lead to the red coral and endless indigo sea. As you become more comfortable with being underwater, the steep reefs and abundant wildlife of Komodo will continue to astonish on certification and fun dives. No visit would be complete without a visit to the fishing village of Kampung Komodo or a hike on the islands in search of dragons.

> Next stop: Bali, Indonesia
Bali WEB
Anchors Down – Bali, Indonesia
(6 Days)

The otherworldly nature of the Balinese landscape is mirrored and perhaps magnified by the heavily spiritual and joyful culture and customs of its people. You’ll be caught up in the whirlwind that is Balinese daily life by venturing into some of the island’s most iconic temples and participating in the spiritual fire dances performed island-wide. Bali is also a world-famous destination for surfers of all skill levels – you’ll take a lesson and have a chance to hang ten on the world-famous Kuta Beach. It’s here, in Bali, that you will depart the vessel’s company with a profound sense of achievement, lifelong friends, memories, shared experiences, and maybe a couple of tears in your eyes.

 

Rite of Passage
Island Hopping

One unique aspect of this journey is that the passages get longer as you move towards your final destination. Polynesian society created some of the world’s most advanced and accurate navigation techniques. This unique corner of the world gave the local people enough natural indicators within their surroundings for them to cross oceans with nothing but a navigator’s skill and intuition. You will follow the trail blazed by these ancient sailors as you spend days at a time in the rhythm of watch teams.

While time seems to stop when you’re out of sight of land, the academic aspects of your journey do not. Classes connect with your daily life through practical application in everything you do. Make no mistake, as a Sea|mester student you are not a passenger, you are the crew responsible for making the ship go. You’ll be an integral part of a watch team sharing the responsibility of navigation, bow watch, engine checks, sail trim and steering the ship to its next port.

Seamester Study Abroad Gap Year Brochure
cultural-exchange-study-abroad
Cultural Exchange
Connecting People with Places

In some ports of call, locals will hardly bat an eyelash when a white schooner with 31 souls drops anchor in their harbor. On the flip side, much of the South Pacific is out of the way and rarely visited. As a result, the farther you sail from civilization the more you’ll find the people to be welcoming, cheerful, and unfailingly obliging.

Cultural exchange happens each time our vessel sails within sight of land, but you’ll have the chance to gain an intimate acquaintance with local customs on each island you visit. Whether it’s picking up a few words of Palauan from a local guide or spending an entire day with a village chief in Fiji, you’ll gain a lifetime’s worth of joy from the happy people of these happy islands.

The World Between Islands
10-15 Dives

The islands of Oceania are considered a paradise by travelers from all over the world but it’s the world between the islands that often leave visitors most amazed. Over the course of the 80-day voyage, you’ll become an experienced diver, completing between 25 and 30 dives. However, the novelty of breathing underwater won’t disappear. Whether working towards a new certification in 15 feet of water, researching on a barrier reef, or exploring a wreck at 100 ft. – you’ll gain a lifetime worth of stories from places few people get to see.

If you’re new to diving, you’ll earn the PADI Open Water Dive Certification as well as the Advanced Open Water Dive Certification. Depending on time, conditions and student interest, many groups also earn the PADI Rescue Diver certification. If you’re already an experienced diver, you can work all the way up to the professional Divemaster certification. If you feel that scuba diving is a passion, this is definitely the voyage to consider.

Time to Say Goodbye

The best way to explain what it means to say goodbye after such an incredible experience is to use the words from someone who had to do just that…

For me, it has been a realization of the world that lies beyond my comfort of solid ground; an appreciation of things as small as flushing a toilet or an ice cold beverage for a meal. I have learned more about myself among 29 others venturing through the same experiences as me than in the years I spent both at home and in high school. Once again to my family and friends, the life I am living is not done justice through what has been written on the blog.

Alex B. Neifau, Tonga

Need More Information?

Vocational Certifications

Depending upon previous experience, students will have the opportunity to complete a number of the following certifications during their voyage.

Seamester is a PADI 5 Star Resort

Scuba Certifications

Advanced Open Water Diver
Rescue Diver
Learn more about scuba
 

Seamester is an International Yacht Training partner school

Sailing Certifications

Navigation Master
Learn more about sailing

Need To Know

This program will offer a fast-paced experience in terms of the geographical area covered and both academic and vocational classes and certifications earned. During the 40-day program, 3 academic credits are offered through the University of South Florida for the Student Leadership class taught aboard. Also, several vocational courses are offered for those looking to further their professional development in the maritime industry. For more information on our classes, please visit our academics page.

None at all. All you need is a great attitude and a willingness to fully participate in every aspect of the experience.

Six professional staff members live aboard full-time. There will be the Skipper, the First and Second Mate and two Marine Biologists (who are typically scuba diving instructors) and a sixth staff member who could also be an EMT or someone with other special skills. Take a look through our team page for more information.

Meet our team

The weather in the South Pacific during this time of the year should be fantastic, turning slightly cooler as we head further west towards Bali.

When we are ashore or close at anchor there will be plenty of opportunities to communicate with friends and family at home. That said, while aboard we have guidelines as to when it is appropriate to use your personal communications devices. The environment we strive to create relies heavily on each individual remaining focused on the group and our experience. Being tied to the modern world of “instant communications” can, in certain circumstances, be a hindrance to the personal and group processes aboard.

Cell Phones: Check with your provider before you go, but so long as you have a sim card, your cell phone will likely work in most global locations.

Internet: While our vessels are not wifi equipped, another way to communicate is by email, text, Facetime or Skype using shore side internet. The internet is often free or available to purchase in most of the locations that we visit.

Both on the vessel and ashore, the answer is up to you. The vast majority of the meals during your trip are prepared and eaten aboard. For meals aboard, each person on the crew takes a turn as head chef to plan and cook the meals for an entire day with the help of another person acting as sous-chef. We all work to stay within a budget, with both students and staff responsible for stocking the vessels. We endeavor to accommodate everyone aboard while providing what any alumni will tell you, was a great dining adventure. During your free time ashore you will have the opportunity to eat more adventurously. With this voyage starting in Fiji, students will get to sample some classic fare, such as Kokoda, and you’ll likely sample Kava Root during a ceremony there.

Sea|mester students range in age from 18 through to about 22. Average age is right around 20, yet this can change from voyage to voyage. Give a call through to the office if you are interested in learning more about the student crew.

Nitty Gritty

Students come from all over the world, so coordinated travel is vital.

You can choose to book on your own, yet we suggest that you start by requesting a quote from one of our recommended travel partners as they will provide you with service on-beyond an online booking service or search engine.

This voyage is scheduled to:

  • Start in Palau (airport code ROR)
  • End in Bali, Indonesia (airport code DPS)

When booking travel, students should be aware that the program start date is the date upon which students should arrive aboard the vessel. The program end date is the date on which students should depart the vessel and start their travel home.

Recommended Travel Agents

a. TRC Travel Center

Leah Hernandez is our primary travel coordinator, and she works for a company called TRC Travel Center. Leah obtains great fares and provides close monitoring and assistance on travel days in case of flight difficulties. Leah will also maintain your flight details in the Student Portal on your behalf, ensuring their accuracy in the event of flight changes. Connect with Leah –
Phone: +1.281.528.7727 (9am – 5pm Central Time)
Email: leahctn68@hotmail.com

b. Global Marine Travel

An alternative is to contact Global Marine Travel (GMT) to request a quote for a “Marine Fare” ticket. Marine Fares may be cheaper or more expensive than a regular fare, but in most cases will be more flexible should you need to change your ticket and will include the provision for a larger number of checked bags. Do the research to figure out which ticket suits you best. Connect with GMT –
Phone: +1.954.761.9595 (24hrs)
Email: info@flygmt.com

When contacting GMT, you will need to reference the following:

  • Organizational Name: Global Expeditions Group
  • Vessel Name (select): Ocean Star, Argo or Vela
  • Vessel Registry: British Virgin Islands

c. Other Booking Options – Air Miles & Self Booking

We cannot be responsible for coordinating flights booked in this way, so please ensure that you are booking the correct itinerary (dates/destination) before purchasing a ticket online or through a source other than our recommended travel partners. If you have any questions regarding the date or time of arrival for your voyage, please call us to confirm any proposed flight itinerary before you book it. Once booked, you will be required to enter, then maintain accurate flight details in the relevant section of the Student Portal.

Passports

Your passport’s expiration date is of utmost importance to the immigration officials in the countries we visit. Each government mandates a “minimum validity,” with many using a six-month rule, meaning that the visitor’s passport must remain valid for six (6) months AFTER the last day of travel in that country. A few nations have more lenient minimum validity rules, but since we typically visit multiple countries throughout the voyage, meeting the six-month standard is compulsory in most cases. If your passport expires sooner than six months after the final day of your program, we recommend that you talk to the passport office about their backlog and renewal timeframe. You may also contact our office to learn more about whether you would be able to travel on a passport that expires earlier than six months after your trip ends.

Visas

US Citizens: Those traveling on a US passport rarely need to apply for specific country visas in advance of the program. In certain circumstances, we are required to process a vessel cruising permit or visitation visa on your behalf before the trip. If this is the case, we’ll let you know in advance whether there are any steps that we need you to take.

Students traveling on non-U.S. passports: Aside from needing a valid US ESTA to transit through the United States (if applicable), students traveling on a Canadian or an EU passport rarely need to apply for any other specific country visas in advance of the program. Learn more about the ESTA requirements, and whether this applies to you here – https://esta.cbp.dhs.gov/.

Citizens of Asian, African, and South American nations may need to apply for specific visas. Since we cannot apply for visas on your behalf, you must take the following steps as soon as you can.

  • Contact our office and request a definitive list of the countries we will visit on the voyage. Please do not rely on the sample itineraries listed on our website.
  • Verify visa requirements for your nationality by contacting the local embassy or consulate for these destination countries.
COVID-19 Vaccination Requirement

We do not currently require proof of vaccination in order to enroll.

Other Immunizations

We know that each individual has unique medical considerations and understand that families have varying opinions on immunizations as a whole. While we are not physicians and cannot provide official or specific medical advice, we recommend that you talk with your healthcare provider to discuss the trip and check that all standard immunizations and boosters are up to date.

The CDC’s (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) website at www.cdc.gov contains an excellent section that focuses on Travelers’ Health. This is a useful resource as you consider which precautions you might want to take. When completing your research, bear in mind that your voyage is almost 100% coastal. Many of the CDC’s recommendations are specific to agricultural or rural areas or regions within the country which we do not visit.

Sea|mester tuition includes the following:
  • Sea|mester academic instruction for the applicable courses offered during the voyage
  • University of South Florida (USF) academic credit for all academic classes offered during the program.
  • Full room and board
  • All group excursions, field trips and destination-focused educational experiences
  • Non-professional sailing instruction and certification costs
  • Non-professional scuba instruction and certification costs
Not included in the Sea|mester tuition:
  • Travel expenses from home to the program (flights, visas, ferry, taxi, baggage, taxes, etc.)
  • Required International SOS and MedAire membership & emergency evacuation insurance. (20-day voyages = $100 | 40-day voyages = $175 | 80 & 90-day voyages = $250) LEARN MORE >
  • Vaccinations (if required/selected)
  • PADI required course books and materials
  • Personal spending money
  • Travel & Tuition Protection insurance – LEARN MORE >

Though the fundamentals of our voyages do not change, specific logistics evolve over time and can be subject to change based on any number of factors, most of which relate directly to risk management planning.

For this reason, the map and voyage timeline portions of this page should give you a basic understanding of the places we’ll go and activities we’ll do, but you should expect your voyage to be unique. If you take a look through the Trip Logs for previous voyages you’ll see that they can differ significantly.

With that in mind, we encourage all students to “live in the moment” while on the program. Travel, even on organized trips, requires flexibility and a willingness to accept adversity and change. We hope you’ll take the bumps in stride, and enjoy the adventure!

Students come from all over the world, so coordinated travel is vital.

You can choose to book on your own, yet we suggest that you start by requesting a quote from one of our recommended travel partners as they will provide you with service on-beyond an online booking service or search engine.

This voyage is scheduled to:

  • Start in Palau (airport code ROR)
  • End in Bali, Indonesia (airport code DPS)

When booking travel, students should be aware that the program start date is the date upon which students should arrive aboard the vessel. The program end date is the date on which students should depart the vessel and start their travel home.

Recommended Travel Agents

a. TRC Travel Center

Leah Hernandez is our primary travel coordinator, and she works for a company called TRC Travel Center. Leah obtains great fares and provides close monitoring and assistance on travel days in case of flight difficulties. Leah will also maintain your flight details in the Student Portal on your behalf, ensuring their accuracy in the event of flight changes. Connect with Leah –
Phone: +1.281.528.7727 (9am – 5pm Central Time)
Email: leahctn68@hotmail.com

b. Global Marine Travel

An alternative is to contact Global Marine Travel (GMT) to request a quote for a “Marine Fare” ticket. Marine Fares may be cheaper or more expensive than a regular fare, but in most cases will be more flexible should you need to change your ticket and will include the provision for a larger number of checked bags. Do the research to figure out which ticket suits you best. Connect with GMT –
Phone: +1.954.761.9595 (24hrs)
Email: info@flygmt.com

When contacting GMT, you will need to reference the following:

  • Organizational Name: Global Expeditions Group
  • Vessel Name (select): Ocean Star, Argo or Vela
  • Vessel Registry: British Virgin Islands

c. Other Booking Options – Air Miles & Self Booking

We cannot be responsible for coordinating flights booked in this way, so please ensure that you are booking the correct itinerary (dates/destination) before purchasing a ticket online or through a source other than our recommended travel partners. If you have any questions regarding the date or time of arrival for your voyage, please call us to confirm any proposed flight itinerary before you book it. Once booked, you will be required to enter, then maintain accurate flight details in the relevant section of the Student Portal.

Passports

Your passport’s expiration date is of utmost importance to the immigration officials in the countries we visit. Each government mandates a “minimum validity,” with many using a six-month rule, meaning that the visitor’s passport must remain valid for six (6) months AFTER the last day of travel in that country. A few nations have more lenient minimum validity rules, but since we typically visit multiple countries throughout the voyage, meeting the six-month standard is compulsory in most cases. If your passport expires sooner than six months after the final day of your program, we recommend that you talk to the passport office about their backlog and renewal timeframe. You may also contact our office to learn more about whether you would be able to travel on a passport that expires earlier than six months after your trip ends.

Visas

US Citizens: Those traveling on a US passport rarely need to apply for specific country visas in advance of the program. In certain circumstances, we are required to process a vessel cruising permit or visitation visa on your behalf before the trip. If this is the case, we’ll let you know in advance whether there are any steps that we need you to take.

Students traveling on non-U.S. passports: Aside from needing a valid US ESTA to transit through the United States (if applicable), students traveling on a Canadian or an EU passport rarely need to apply for any other specific country visas in advance of the program. Learn more about the ESTA requirements, and whether this applies to you here – https://esta.cbp.dhs.gov/.

Citizens of Asian, African, and South American nations may need to apply for specific visas. Since we cannot apply for visas on your behalf, you must take the following steps as soon as you can.

  • Contact our office and request a definitive list of the countries we will visit on the voyage. Please do not rely on the sample itineraries listed on our website.
  • Verify visa requirements for your nationality by contacting the local embassy or consulate for these destination countries.
COVID-19 Vaccination Requirement

We do not currently require proof of vaccination in order to enroll.

Other Immunizations

We know that each individual has unique medical considerations and understand that families have varying opinions on immunizations as a whole. While we are not physicians and cannot provide official or specific medical advice, we recommend that you talk with your healthcare provider to discuss the trip and check that all standard immunizations and boosters are up to date.

The CDC’s (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) website at www.cdc.gov contains an excellent section that focuses on Travelers’ Health. This is a useful resource as you consider which precautions you might want to take. When completing your research, bear in mind that your voyage is almost 100% coastal. Many of the CDC’s recommendations are specific to agricultural or rural areas or regions within the country which we do not visit.

Sea|mester tuition includes the following:
  • Sea|mester academic instruction for the applicable courses offered during the voyage
  • University of South Florida (USF) academic credit for all academic classes offered during the program.
  • Full room and board
  • All group excursions, field trips and destination-focused educational experiences
  • Non-professional sailing instruction and certification costs
  • Non-professional scuba instruction and certification costs
Not included in the Sea|mester tuition:
  • Travel expenses from home to the program (flights, visas, ferry, taxi, baggage, taxes, etc.)
  • Required International SOS and MedAire membership & emergency evacuation insurance. (20-day voyages = $100 | 40-day voyages = $175 | 80 & 90-day voyages = $250) LEARN MORE >
  • Vaccinations (if required/selected)
  • PADI required course books and materials
  • Personal spending money
  • Travel & Tuition Protection insurance – LEARN MORE >

Though the fundamentals of our voyages do not change, specific logistics evolve over time and can be subject to change based on any number of factors, most of which relate directly to risk management planning.

For this reason, the map and voyage timeline portions of this page should give you a basic understanding of the places we’ll go and activities we’ll do, but you should expect your voyage to be unique. If you take a look through the Trip Logs for previous voyages you’ll see that they can differ significantly.

With that in mind, we encourage all students to “live in the moment” while on the program. Travel, even on organized trips, requires flexibility and a willingness to accept adversity and change. We hope you’ll take the bumps in stride, and enjoy the adventure!