Palau - Day 2 (Rock Islands Tour - Japanese Zero, Milky Way, Jellyfish Lake)

Koror Travel Blog

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Jellyfish Lake

My tour today was called the Rock Islands Tour and it was by far the best tour of the trip.  Although the morning started gray and wet, by afternoon it was bright and sunny.  We began with a boat tour of the gorgeous limestone Rock Islands and did some snorkeling at a few sites, including a place called Cemetary Reef.   For lunch, we stopped at a small island famous for the black tipped reef sharks that ply the shoreline.  It was a bit unnerving swimming with the sharks but took comfort knowing that they were too small to be interested in humans.  Another highlight was clam city, where giant clams can be seen in only 10-12 feet of clear water - very unusual. 

After lunch it was off to the famous Jellyfish Lake.

Bright red fan coral
  An inland lake (actually one of three in Palau), it is a saltwater lake that at some time in the past was once open sea.  The jellyfish there now either were left behind or were carried to the lake by birds.  In either case, they have thrived in this environment without any natural predators and in the process eventually evolved to be stingless and therefore safe to swim with.  They mostly gather in the center of the lake because they derive their entire nutritional needs from the sun.  We were told not to dive deeper than about 10 feet because the bottom of the lake is poisonous with a sulferic compound.  It was so much fun to swim around these 9 billion creatures for 45 mintutes!  You're not supposed to touch them, but with so many around you it's impossible not to.
Japanese Zero
  And who can resist experiencing the feel of these rubbery and unusually harmless (and litterally brainless) creatures anyway.

After the lake, we headed off to a bay known as the Milky Way, so named for it's greenish whitish waters.  The color comes from the white limestone mud on the bottom and it's known as a great rejuvinating facial (I bottled some to take home).   Then it was off to our second-to-last stop, a Japanese zero that crashed on a shallow reef near the end of the last world war.  As we approached we could see its propellar sticking up over the surface like a shark fin.  In only two feet of water at low tide, it is clearly in an advanced state of decay, but still easily recognizable both above and below the clear waters. 

From here, our last stop was back into the fast moving channel where we jumped off the boat and let the swift current push us back most of the way to the dock over beds of colorful coral and teeming schools of fish. 

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Jellyfish Lake
Jellyfish Lake
Bright red fan coral
Bright red fan coral
Japanese Zero
Japanese Zero
At Cemetary reef
At Cemetary reef
table coral
table coral
Jellyfish Lake
Jellyfish Lake
Arch island
Arch island
Shark point
Shark point
Clam city
Clam city
Black tipped reef shark
Black tipped reef shark
Clam city
Clam city
Jellyfish Lake
Jellyfish Lake
small Eel in the center
small Eel in the center
Clam city
Clam city
Clam city
Clam city
Shark point
Shark point
Jellyfish Lake
Jellyfish Lake
Jellyfish Lake
Jellyfish Lake
Jellyfish Lake
Jellyfish Lake
Jellyfish Lake
Jellyfish Lake
Jellyfish Lake
Jellyfish Lake
Jellyfish Lake
Jellyfish Lake
Jellyfish Lake
Jellyfish Lake
Jellyfish Lake
Jellyfish Lake
On the way to the Milky Way
On the way to the Milky Way
Japanese Zero
Japanese Zero
On the way to the Milky Way
On the way to the Milky Way
In the cockpit
In the cockpit
The Milky Way
The Milky Way
The Milky Way
The Milky Way
Japanese Zero
Japanese Zero
Japanese Zero
Japanese Zero
Japanese Zero
Japanese Zero
Japanese Zero
Japanese Zero
In the cockpit
In the cockpit
Japanese Zero
Japanese Zero
Koror
photo by: bluemarbletreader