Rock Islands Kayak Trip #1-Day 1
Palau Travel Blog› entry 1 of 6 › view all entries
July 13th, 2006 – by: Reephboy
I spent an hour sitting down with Ron Leidich, who runs Planet Blue, to figure out an itenerary and take a prelimenary look at the maps that we would be following while we weaved in and out of that maze of green mushroom shaped islands.
We set out fairly early on the 13th. The decision was made to make the first day a short paddle with a couple of easy snorkel sites along the way. This would allow us to warm up and not be too sore on the first night (or the next morning for that matter). So, it was to be German Lighthouse the first night. We could stop by Lolitas Coral Garden on the way for one of the better snorkels in all of the Rock Islands.
German Lighthouse was built in the very early 1900's when Palau had been colonized by Germany for its mining resources. Ngeruktabl road was built at that time to provide fuel for the kerosene powered lighthouse. It was this road that was later utilized by the Japanese during their 40+ year occupation of Palau as a command center for the defense of the eastern entrance to the Rock Islands and the city of Koror.
We hiked Ngeruktabl Road (named so because it is set on Ngeruktabl Island) and stopped along the way to ponder the Japanese WWII relics such as 25' long cannons that were dug into bunkers intermittently as defense against Allied Forces. A Japanese command-post is also evident solely by the remaining stone wall, concrete foundations, and some twisted and rusted metal framework. This little walk is a great way to get to see some of the native plants and animals found in these islands. Once at the top, we were rewarded with an excellent view of the surroundings. The lighthouse is actually so grown over that you get the impression that its a part of the hill, but you can still see the old doorway and there is a rusted, gnarly ladder attached to the side that you can climb for the panoramic vista.
Camp had already been set so that we wouldn't have to worry about that in case it was dark when we got back from our little stroll. We did however have to cook in the dark and we found that cooking by tiki torch light is a bit challenging, especially when we aren't really used to the rickety old stoves that we were provided (Ron had already sent off his best cooking gear with some other kayakers, and because he was hooking us up we couldn't complain).
First day impressions: our first round of snorkeling while towing kayaks turned out pretty well, we figured out which tents were missing parts and how to run our oldschool stoves, so overall I would say the first day went well. I also started to get the hang of navigation using the maps we had been provided, which is a skill taken for granted in a place where one island melts into the other and each turn could be a dead end. Sweet.
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