Yes.. I know. It has been a long time since I posted. We have been busy diving and doing boat projects and waiting for the typhoon season in the Philippines to slow down so we can head west again. That is our plans for January, head into the sunset again. In the meantime I have been doing a small amount of canvas work, (sewed two dinghy covers) and Doug has been working on the boat. We have continued to dive and snorkel and continued to take underwater pictures of all kinds of sea critters. Since that is what I have the most pictures of, follow me over to the new page, UW Photos – Palau 3, and see what I have found!
Well, I know it has been too long since I have updated this blog. But, we have just been busy, busy, busy!! We have been continuing on the marathon diving program and have managed to squeeze in a long trip to Peleliu. More on that later.
Palau, which is made up of the Rock Islands, is really hard to photograph well enough to convey the beauty of all the tiny islands scattered inside the fringing reef. The best way to really see it is by helicopter. Sorry I can’t accomodate you with some pics taken from the sky, the helicopter ride is just a bit out of our price range!
So, here are some sea level pics to try to show you where we are living our dream for the time being!
While in town and not diving, diving, diving we have gotten out for a bit of cultural exposure. One resort here does all-you-can-eat buffets and tops them off with local dancers. Dancing here is gender specific… men and women don’t mix. It’s not really Polynesian style either. It’s more of a line dancing while singing. More swaying arms and less gyrating hips! Here are some pics of the dancing.
When we get out to the other islands in the lagoon our anchorages are invariably gorgeous. Aqua marine waters, emerald green islands.
We have been really lucky to have met our Aussie friends Ian and Christine of the SV Sabi Star. (A Sabi Star is a flower in Africa, where Ian and Christine are originally from). They love diving as much as we do. There are two things we need to watch out for diving here in Palau. One is the unpredictablity of the currents. The other is the commercial dive boats. We’ve managed to solve both problems by working out a dive system whereby we always have two people in the dinghy at all times. (The girls dive together and the boys dive together). That way we can come retrieve the diving pair in case the current sweeps them off down the dive site and we can detatch our dingy from the dive mooring making way for the commercial dive boats when they show up. The system has worked great. And I must say the commercial dive boats have been really great in letting us tie off to their boats at the dive sites.
Here are a few of my latest underwater discoveries.
The weather here in Palau has been just about perfect. Lots of sunshine and lots of rain. The rain occasionally will fill a whole day but most often comes in the shape of mildly windy squalls interspersed with all that sunshine!
I promised you I would tell you all about our trips to Peleliu. Those trips take a special page so come on over to the Peleiu WWII page and learn a bit of history!
Greetings to you all again from Palau. Doug and I just got back to town from another ten days of diving the absolutely fantastic waters of Palau. You may all wonder how we are managing to do so much diving in one of the world’s top diving spots without going bankrupt! That is why we have our own home on the water and our taxi out to the dive sites, our dinghy! We have jumped through some beaurocratic hoops to obtain a Koror State ID card. If we did not have this card Doug and I would have to pay $25 each for 10 day visitor permits that would enable us to visit the Palau Rock Islands. We still have to pay $40 for a 30 day cruising permit but we figure that is definitely doable.
We can now take ourselves and our boat out to the Rock Islands and down to the best dive sites. The closest anchorage to the diving is still a good 20 to 60 minute dinghy ride but it is worth it. We take two tanks with us and a lunch and just go dive, dive, dive!!
Here is a map of Palau and the dive sites: (just click on it to enlarge it)
Home base is up in the right hand corner, inside what is called the Pinchers. That is where Koror state’s main town is. We sail out of there and southwest down to Ulong Island where there is a pretty good anchorage. The dinghy ride is only about 20-30 minutes to the amazing Ulong Channel. I am of the opinion that Ulong Channel is some of the best diving I have ever seen in my 10 plus years of diving. The sail to Ulong Island is about 2-3 hours. Next we head south of Ulong Ilsand for about another 2-3 hours sailing to the small group of islands just northeast of German Channel. There the dinghy ride is longer, but the dive sites are numerous and fabulous! Blue Hole, Blue Corner, Manta Feeding Station just to name a few!
When we are not diving we are exploring around the Rock Islands. This last trip we found a very cool swim-through that came out into a small lake. Here is a picture of looking into the lake through the opening.
When we got through to the other side, snorkeling, we made two very cool discoveries. One was a new jellyfish.
The other discovery was…… a BOMB!!!
Believe me… as soon as we got back to town we let the authorities know about this bomb. And found out it is not unusual to still be finding them here and there. There was a major WWII battle down in the southern Palauan state of Pelalu.
I have added another Palauan page to the right with MORE underwater critters from our last outing. Go take a look and enjoy!
I must give credit where credit is due. This is not my picture. I borrowed it off a Palau web site. This IS what the Rock Islands of Palau look like. And this picture is only a small part of them. Very beautiful. Palau is actually a group of islands spread out haphazardly inside a fringing reef. The islands are not the flat little islets that make up atolls. They are tall and covered with rain forest type growth. The bases of a lot of the islands are limestone and they have been eaten away by wind, water and critters making them look a lot like green mushrooms.
The map on the right shows the Pacific Ocean in the Micronesian area. Palau is to the west. You can also see the Marshalls, where we started this saga last January!
When you arrive in Palau you will have a hard time disinguishing it from the Hawaiian Islands. It is that developed. So, I haven’t spent much time taking landside pictures. Here are a few, though, showing some of our exploration in and out of the Rock Islands.
Palau is really a beautiful place. But, you know me. I go bonkers on what is underwater. So most of my pictures are going to be from our dives. Check out the new Palau page for some beautiful new creatures, including some sharks and turtles!