Day 3: Caves and Corals

Palau Travel Blog

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Our shanty at Ancient Village Beach.
The last day of paddling was set to be short, but full of side stops to investigate caves, WW2 bunkers, and pristine reefs.  It was a hot one so the shade and swimming definitely made the heat bearable.  I couldn't swim, but at least I had the shade.
First stop, Tarzan Cave, so named because the roof of the cave has collapsed and vines have grown down into the cave, giving it an erie feeling and making it an interesting first stop on our way back home.
Next up was Skylight Cave.  Similar to the previous stop, but this one can be accessed without actually having to get out of the kayaks.  It's pretty cool being able to paddle into the cave and look up and out of the "skylight".
Third stop was Cathedral Cave.  OK, this is where I started to get jealous that I couldn't swim with the rest of my group.
Packing up on the last morning.
  Cathedral Cave lives up to its name because it is quite large.  It could fit a whole fleet of kayakers inside, and at the entrance you can climb up to the roof and jump.  The drop is only about 20-25 feet, but none-the-less it looked pretty dang fun and I'm sorta addicted to jumping off of high places into nice cool pools of water.
After several caves it was nice to mix things up a bit.  A narrow channel between islands provided the only access from the east into Niko Bay, and this channel was guarded by 3 Japanese bunkers.  We tied the kayaks up to the side of the island and climbed up to the bunkers to take in the history and the view from up above.  There were lots of relics laying about, like ammo boxes, old bottles, and even some old graffiti.
The campfire area of Ancient Village Beach.

We then had lunch and went to find some of the best, most pristine snorkel sites within an hour paddle of Koror.  Lettuce Coral Wall, and Rembrandt's Cove are shaded by overhanging trees and other vegetation so they don't receive too much sunlight.  Believe it or not, too much sunlight can be a bad thing.  If, for instance, a reef was located in an area of shallow water or an area where the water didn't receive much current so therefor could be overheated easily, this could be detrimental to the health of the corals.  The point is that these reefs, once again, have shown a high degree of resiliency and therefore have been growing without any environmental setbacks for many years.  This is what makes a really good snorkel/dive site.  That, and the fact that both of these reefs have some of the highest coral diversity in all of Palau, puts them into a class of their own.
On the way home we found ourselves singing songs and were surprisingly jubilant for having all been sunburnt and worn from 3 days of paddling.  This trip turned out to be just a warm-up for another that would come only 2 months later.  We had a fantastic time and I felt really good about having shown my out-of-town guests a side of Palau that most people don't see.
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Our shanty at Ancient Village Beac…
Our shanty at Ancient Village Bea…
Packing up on the last morning.
Packing up on the last morning.
The campfire area of Ancient Villa…
The campfire area of Ancient Vill…
Tarzan Cave.  So named due to the …
Tarzan Cave. So named due to the…
Skylight Cave on our last day.  Te…
Skylight Cave on our last day. T…
Garrett, paddling into the cave at…
Garrett, paddling into the cave a…
Cathedral Cave with Scott in the e…
Cathedral Cave with Scott in the …
Garrett climbing the cave entrance…
Garrett climbing the cave entranc…
Cave jumping at Cathedral Cave.
Cave jumping at Cathedral Cave.
Resting after lunch on the last da…
Resting after lunch on the last d…