Published: April 12th 2007April 12th 2007
This is me in jellyfish lake, thanks to the mask you cannot see the terror on my face!
I apologize for the lack of posting, the internet connection in Palau is super-spotty. So, on my last night in Palau, sitting on the beach, looking up at the Southern Cross, thinking about what an amazing, magical place this is. If you want to see the most pristine reefs, the most unusual wildlife, and eat the most unusual food, this is the place. The majority of this trip has been spent underwater seeing amazing sea life, including but not limited to: black tipped reef sharks, manta rays, crocodile fish, blennys, etc. I could go on and on, but unfortunately my digital camera doesnt work underwater so I have no photos! It was a REAL screwup on my part not to think about my faithful blog readers. Some of the highlights, if I had to choose, of Palau were our adventure on U'long island (pronounced ew-long), swimming with the jelly fish in jelly fish lake, and cruising through the ravines between the rock islands.
U'long island is on the extreme outer rim of the Palau archipelago. It literally straddles the Pacific Ocean and the Phillipine Sea. It's famous for a couple of reasons, back in 1783, a british vessel
an amazing place, one of the few sandy beaches on any of the islands in Palau
known as The Antelope crashed on the reef, leaving the crew to be stranded on the island for 3 months while they built a new ship out of the foliage from the jungle. There were native palauans on the island, and this is the first known contact between civilizations. The commander of The Antelope, Henry Wilson, arrived back in the Old World and reported finding a paradise in the middle of the sea. It's the first known record of Palau. The second reason this island is famous is it's where the first american Survivor was filmed. Kind of an interesting dichotomy! In fact, you could say this island saw the beginning of modern civilization come to palau, and the end of it! haha.. yes, that was a good one Bill! We decamped onto the island for the day, exploring the rock cliffs, and the very dense jungle interior.
Next we were off to the famous jellyfish lake, where I am REALLY sorry I didnt have an underwater camera. This is truly an "only in palau" lake. You wont find anything like it anywhere else in the world. You have to hike to get to it, as it's completely isolated. The
a sunken japanese gunship from WWII. Amazingly well preserved and very eerie
guide we were with had a hard time explaining how these particular jellyfish actually got into the lake, but get in they did! And once in, with no natural predators for them, they multiplied. I had a tough time, because jelly fish dont bring up warm and fuzzy feelings in me, but I got in the water at the lake and began to swim. At first, you only see one or two jellys, and you think, "oh, this isnt so bad..." and then a few more float by, and you think, "ok, I've had about enough..." AND THEN you get towards the center of the lake, where the sunshine is the most direct, and all of the sudden you are literally swimming on a bed of jellyfish. They are everywhere, surrounding you, bumping you, coming for your face, everywhere. Through evolution, the jellyfish realized they had no natural predators, so they slowly but surely shed their stinging tentacles. They no longer have them, and are harmless, but that is hard to remember when you are being covered by live jellyfish. The reason you must go to the center of the lake is that jellyfish survive through photo-synthesis, and they need
The sign at the trail head for jelly fish lake, words cannot adequately describe this place
as much sunlight as possible. Very, VERY odd but a once in a lifetime experience I'll never forget.
Then it was on through the rock islands, where mini "cupcake" islands as they are called rise majestically out of the clear blue water. If you let yourself get somewhat hypnotized by the motion, you can almost believe you are going down a river in Vietnam, because the jungle that lives on these little islands grows down into the sea.
I am off to Decompress in Lanai'i for a few days before traveling on, so this will be my last blog about Palau. I have loved it here, the native palauans are very friendly and accomodating. Thank you all for the emails and comments, keep them coming!!
There are more photos below