Rock Islands Kayak Trip #1-Day 1

Palau Travel Blog

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Little sister Jane, Jullian (PCV-Palau), myself (PCV-Palau), Garrett (PCV-Yap), Scott (PCV-Pohnpei), and Nate (PCV-Kosrae).
As my Peace Corps Volunteer service in Palau was winding up I still had not been on an overnight kayaking trip in the rock islands.  Sure, I had spent many an afternoon exploring the islands and reefs near Sam's Tours where Planet Blue's kayak rental is located, but I knew that it was nowhere close to the same as actually camping and fishing and paddling for several days in and amongst those jewels.  So when we had our Close of Service conference, which brought all of the Peace Corps Volunteers (PCVs) from Federated States of Micronesia and Palau together, and Jullian's sister, Jane, came to visit, we knew it was the perfect opportunity.
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.
Little sister and the boys go kayaking. 2 nights in the Rock Islands.
  Stoked!  I had our maps, and Ron would be dropping off the gear pods to the PC office later so we could pack up for the next day.  Ron and Planet Blue supplied us with all the dry bags, dry boxes, cooking and kitchen gear, mini citronella tiki torches, tents, and sleeping gear that we needed.  All we had to do was to get together our food, water, and rum.
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.
Stoked on the first day of paddling.
  This was a study site by a scientist who wanted to research reef resiliency after this site noticably resisted a serious bleaching event that damaged many Palauan reefs in 1998.  Because of this resiliency, Lolitas is one of the premier snorkel sites in the area.
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.
That's me kayaking the beautiful blue lagoon of the Rock Islands in Palau.
  A pier was built, and it was on this pier that we set up camp.
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.
Kayaking the Rock Islands of Palau.

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.
JeAr says:
i love ur blog! very beautiful place :)))
Posted on: Apr 13, 2008
sassylassie22 says:
This place is beautiful! What an awesome adventure! I've only been kayaking once, but it was a blast. I'd love to try it here through the caves. I enjoyed your blog and the GREAT pictures! :)
Posted on: Jan 24, 2008
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Little sister Jane, Jullian (PCV-P…
Little sister Jane, Jullian (PCV-…
Little sister and the boys go kaya…
Little sister and the boys go kay…
Stoked on the first day of paddlin…
Stoked on the first day of paddli…
Thats me kayaking the beautiful b…
That's me kayaking the beautiful …
Kayaking the Rock Islands of Palau.
Kayaking the Rock Islands of Palau.
Rock island undercut.
Rock island undercut.
Nate-Dog taking some shade in King…
Nate-Dog taking some shade in Kin…
Nathan and I hiking up to German L…
Nathan and I hiking up to German …
Some Japanes WWII cannons on the t…
Some Japanes WWII cannons on the …
The path leading to German Lightho…
The path leading to German Lighth…
The WWII Japanese command center a…
The WWII Japanese command center …
Camping out at German Lighthouse d…
Camping out at German Lighthouse …
Jullian climbing up German Lightho…
Jullian climbing up German Lighth…
Thats me, raggedy and worn after …
That's me, raggedy and worn after…
Looking to the south and the rest …
Looking to the south and the rest…
Looking up the northeast coast of …
Looking up the northeast coast of…
Looking west out over Milky Way an…
Looking west out over Milky Way a…