Wake Island Charter Announced

Military Historical Tours has just announced a Wake Island charter for the first time since 2009. Wake Island has long been considered one of the two most difficult places to reach on the Travelers Century Club (TCC) list of 324 countries, territories and unique destinations. This Wake Island charter, assuming it actually goes, will allow me to inch closer to one of my goals of completing the TCC list-I have currently been to 318 of the 324.
Wake Island
This Wake Island charter; which runs $1795 per person not including flights to and from Guam plus hotel etc., will be only the second time tourists have been allowed to visit the island in the last 30 years or so-to my knowledge. It is administered by the US Air Force and was the site of one of the most famous battles of the Pacific in World War II.

I went to Midway Island back in 2010 with Military Historical Tours and I thought it was one of the best trips I had taken because of the pageantry and the historical significance of the island. So I really look forward to the Wake Island charter. I do however; have some apprehension about the trip based on prior experience.

In 2008, I was unable to go on the Wake Island charter that left out of Guam because the December dates conflicted with my business school finals. I seriously thought about foregoing finals to do the trip but I was assured there would be another trip in 2009. I signed up for it immediately but it never got off the ground and was cancelled due to lack of interest or so I was told.

In 2011, I was in Guam when the trip was cancelled days before it was supposed to go to Wake Island. I was really pissed as you might imagine. Especially after I had previously had a British Indian Ocean Territory (BIOT) expedition cancelled last minute earlier that year. BIOT is the other hardest TCC destination to get to.

As a side note, Tristan de Cunha, Pitcairn Island, Tokelau and Norwegian Antarctica are probably the next hardest on the list to achieve. I have been to all of those except for Tristan de Cunha but I will do that soon along with St. Helena, when the airport opens up in 2016 and Ascension Island.

That would leave Bata, an enclave of Equatorial Guinea; which was added recently to the list, as the only place I’d have remaining to visit and it’s pretty easy to get to-it’s just a matter of actually doing it. It’s not the most exciting, cheapest or pleasant part of the world to visit and in all honesty, there’s not much going on there except oil related activities.

Earlier this year and for a few years now I have passed on a repositioning vessel that stops in all 3 South Atlantic islands of the TCC list. It’s a big commitment of a month plus you’re not guaranteed a landing on Tristan de Cunha; which is what happened this year to a boat where many people I know were on.

That boat was also supposed to land on Bouvet Island but was unable to do so although the boat was able to circumnavigate the island. It’s always an interesting debate amongst extreme travelers/country counters what counts and what doesn’t as visits. Believe me, everyone has an opinion and there is always some hypocrisy in every argument…plus some people are completely insane and take things way too seriously!

However, the main reason I had passed on the repositioning trips each year is that it would still leave me 2 short, assuming I went to Bata. Wake Island and BIOT are always looming but you need help to get there. However, this Wake Island charter is exactly what I was hoping for and I really hope it goes-I’ve already signed up and made a deposit!

For those unaware of the BIOT, it is a military installation and requires special permits to go there. The territory is made up of Diego Garcia, controlled by the British and American military and the Chagos Archipelago. There has been mixed signals in recent years about the viability of Diego Garcia and whether they will be moving operations from Diego Garcia to the Cocos Islands of Australia or somewhere else.

Even if that happens it’s not guaranteed that it will open for tourism as the British Government has proclaimed it a protected marine area and there is sure to be a lot of red tape to go along with that. I even had the commanding officer (CO) of Guantanamo Bay, Cuba write a letter of recommendation to the CO at Diego Garcia and I was denied a permit to fly in.

The only other option and the most common for TCC members over the past 15 years is to charter a yacht from the Maldives or Mauritius and basically do a touch and go where you moor in the waters and zodiac/swim in for a few minutes before heading back to either country via yacht.

This is very expensive, complicated with all the red tape, and to be honest, it seems like a big waste of time other than to say you’ve been there. However, at this point in the list and my travels, I would certainly do it without question and at some point I will. I imagine I’ll have to take the initiative to make it happen and recruit some others to come along. We shall see. I’m in no particular rush to finish the TCC list but very pleased about the news of the Wake Island charter-with a caveat of if it actually goes.

Note: I receive no compensation from Military Historical Tours and will be paying full price for the Wake Island charter like everyone else.

Comments

  1. Herb Clayson says

    When a country changes borders is renamed or is divided into two countries, does the TCC list of 324 update as well? And more importantly do you then have to revisit the country (s) to update your list?

    • The TCC has a board which votes on new places every 2 years I think it is. The answer to your second question is it’s up to you. It doesn’t matter to me!

  2. Diego Garcia is soooo pretty! Are you too old to enlist in the Marines for a year and get to go there that way? Haha. Good luck w/ Wake Island, I’d love to go there for the WWII history.

  3. Sorry, it seems to think I’m a spammer again. I have no idea why? I comment on about 8 blogs over the course of any given week, so it’s not like I’m high volume or something.

  4. Sorry, might have missed it while glancing through the story, but what is the other of the “two most difficult” places?

  5. Looks like it is cancelled again :/

  6. Well, looks like you will be disappointed once again. I am also signed up for the Wake Island excursion and received formal notice this past Monday that the US Air Force has officially denied permission for us to go. The MHT folks haven’t sorted out the monetary issues yet but Wake Island is now completely off the table.

  7. Glenda Joiner Mitchell says

    I visited the island in 1970. 2 months during the summer. I would like to see the island one more time. To walk the island, explore the historical sites and possibly find another glass ball. It is my dream to smell the air, watch the sunsets and feel the sand under my feet. My family knows this is my own personal paradise and have heard why. I was 16, my sister was 17. We were invited by our uncle, who worked on the island for 7 years. He worked for Federal Maintenance Company. We drove all over the island in his jeep, walked on the reef and beaches. Fell in love for the first time and came home wishing I could stay there forever. If anyone knows how I can go back to Wake Island for a few days, I will have completed the only thing I have on my bucket list. Thank you.

  8. Lisa Baniago says

    I would love to go on a tour back to my Birthplace, Wake Island. I was born there and lived with my family for more than 8 years. I’ve been looking for tours or any research group needing volunteers just so that could return for a visit….Treasured memories.

  9. My grandfather was a Wake Island Marine, God rest his soul. I have been desperately searching for a way to get my famiky on Wake for a visit as part of a spiritual journey. Is there any hope out there??

    [email protected]

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