Pakin Atoll Diving

Pakin Atoll, Pohnpei, Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) Map
Pakin has similar features and conditions as And, except that the atoll has no true passage into the lagoon — which is limiting. Divers will mostly want to stay outside the lagoon. Small boats can enter only at high tide at one of two locations along the west side of the barrier reef. Both of these spots are sketchy with very narrow areas to maneuver, extremely shallow conditions, and dangerous currents and surge. Local residents have been killed attempting to enter when the conditions were less than ideal. The reefs on the west side drop off extremely deep — straight down. Hard coral and excellent visibility (often exceeding 60 meters) can be found all around the outside and in the lagoon as well. Most of the sites offer the same sorts of attractions, including large pelagic species, barracuda, jacks, tuna, whitetip and blacktip reef sharks, and sea turtles. Diving at Pakin is possible from May through October, but the best conditions are usually September-October.

“Turtle Gardens”

The many small islets around Painpwel, Sapangin, and Kehrot are nesting sites for sea turtles. Consequently, the outer reef wall northwest of Painpwel is famous for turtle sightings. Best at 10-35 meters.. Advanced.

“Barracuda Cove”

As the name suggests, this spot on the edge of the reef wall southwest of Nikahlap (Island) is a good place to see large schools of barracudas (among other things). Best at 10-30 meters.. Advanced.

  • “Barracude Cove” is inside an MPA and requires a permit. Visit our MPA page for details.

“Shark Bay”

This drift follows the reef wall north of Nikahlap (island) and is known for large congregations of reef sharks and occasional oceanic species. Best at 18-40 meters.. Advanced.

  • “Shark Bay” is inside an MPA and requires a permit. Visit our MPA page for details.

“East Wall,” “Mwahnid Wall” & “West Wall”

These are all outer reef drift-dives that can offer everything from fabulous hard and soft coral colonies and macro-life to large pelagics, sharks, eagle rays, and turtles. “East Wall” is east of Olamwun (Island), “Mwahnid Wall” is south of Mwahnid (Island), and “West Wall” is east of the primary point of entrance into the lagoon. Best at 18-40 meters.. Advanced.

  • “Mwahnid Wall” is inside an MPA and requires a permit. Visit our MPA page for details.


We’d like to extend a big kalahngan to Mike Viti, John Ranahan, and Karino Olpet for sharing their in-depth, first-hand knowledge about SCUBA diving on Pohnpei — without which this page could not have been created. Images licensed from

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