Micronesia, Palau, 2014

 

For photos of Peleliu State - site of one of the bloodiest battles of WWII Pacific - click here.

Click here for photos of Palau Revisited 2015-2016

 

 

For more photos by Volker & Michaela Kissling of SV La Gitana, visit their website by clicking here

For more photos by Paul & Lisa Hogger of SV Lorelei, visit their blog by clicking here

 

 

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Malakal Anchorage in Summer

This photo - taken by Paul Hogger of SV Lorelei - shows Carina aglow at about 3 am during the muggy, still El Nio summer of 2014 in Palau. The Palau Siren is on the right and Sam's Tours/Royal Belau Yacht Club is on the left.

Malakal Island

Is the home of Palau's commerical port in Koror State

Lily

When we arrived in Palau, we met Tiger Lily, a perfectly marked and perfectly spunky new crew aboard Brick House.

Peppermint Patty

was the name Leslie gave her bicycle which took us all over Koror Island, gave us some exercise and saved us roughly $10 per trip to town.

Munchkin Beauties

are abundant in Palau too. This sweety was clearly bored of her great grandma's company and played hide and seek with us.

SSCA Ham Gam

Peter of Kokomo was the first examinee to pass the exams and become a general class amateur radio operator.

Lisa and Selena

of SV Lorelei and SV Westward II also passed the elements necessary for their licenses. The SSCA volunteer examiners included us - Leslie & Philip - plus Sherry and David of Soggy Paws (also pictured) at Sam's Tours on Malakal Island.

Jellyfish Lake

is a famous Palau landmark in the Rock Islands. Permits cost $50 for each person, so we had to be content to see the "famous" jellyfish in the Palau Aquarium.

Chambered Nautilus

live in the deep waters around Palau. This male lives in the aquarium with his mate but they have had no progeny in captivity.

Rock Island Retreat

After almost a month in Palau we finally made it to the Rock Islands - and extensive preserve of uplifted limestone islands in the southern end of the archipelago and inside its barrier reef.

Cemetery Anchorage

was our first anchorage. We entered through a shallow bottleneck and into a calm lagoon filled with tropicbirds. Heaven.

Summertime

was nearly upon us so we had high humidity and little wind. The only remedy was getting wet. Here Leslie cools her feet as we putter around exploring in the dinghy.

Our Third Anchorage

in the Rock Islands was call Stone Bridge. The water in the shallows reflected the sandy bottom.

A Silhouette

of Carina through another stone bridge carved by millions of years of sea swell

Seventy Islands

is a preserve within a preserve. No one is allowed to enter except for the resident flora and fauna.

Even Palau's Shallows

have brilliant coral.

A Favorite Site

in tropical waters are the clouds of tiny blue fish bouncing in and out of finger coral.

These Look Like

giant clams but if they are their shells are well hidden. These are about six inches long and retract when they sense your presence. We'll find out.

"Spike"

darted around but was intensely curious. He is about two inches long.

BLUE or Maybe PURPLE

coral in the shallows at Ulong Island

Crown of Thorns

starfish destroy coral. This was the second one we'd seen in two days. As we understand, they have few natural predators - the Triton Trumpet being one or perhaps the only one. We had no pitchfork with us so we left it on the reef.

Unsettled Weather

is typical in Micronesia. This squall is forming west of Palau in late May 2014.

And More

unsettled weather followed a few days later. This liveaboard dive boat is anchored near Palau's barrier reef at Ulong Channel, an amazing place to dive or snorkel.

A Cloudy Day

makes an eerie reflection of the sea surface near Ulong Beach

Puttering

around Ulong Island in the dinghy we saw much sea life beneath us, including a BIG black tip shark. This photo, taken just below the surface, shows the reef below and the island as we motor along.

Palau's Rock Islands

have thousands of tiny little spots like this. Pools filled wtih fish and coral, limestone cliffs or sea stacks with abundant bird life.

Yapese Stone Money

was quarried in Palau. This broken piece is found at Ulong on what is locally known as "stone money beach". It is pinkish from the rosy colored quartz it is mined from.

Lorelei's Sea Kayaks

brought us to Stone Money beach. We enjoyed the paddle but found muscles we'd forgotten we had.

Stone Arches

abound in the Rock Islands. A brief sun shower passes one of the many arches at Ulong Islands.

Ulong Channel

One evening at sunset with the incoming tide, we got to snorkel Ulong Channel on the reef's western shore as the divers of the group dove. This and the following photos were taken by Michaela Kissling of the vessel La Gitana.

Rainbow Runners?

Michaela Kissling photo

Brilliant Purple Soft Coral

Michaela Kissling photo

Black Coral? Fire Coral?

Micheala Kissling photo

It's a Good Life

for reef fish in the protected waters of Ulong Channel. Michaela Kissling photo.

More Brilliant than Brilliant Blue

staghonrn coral. Ulong Channel. Michaela Kissling photo.

The "Natural Arch"

in the Ngeruktabel Island group.

A Lone Coconut Palm

clings to a typical Rock Island sea stack

Baby Shark

was the name given to our favorite little hole. We had to squeeze through the opening and anchor in 80' in the dead center. Birds were our only visitors. From here we explored the Natural Arch and also the underwater world of the "Soft Coral Arch".

Underwater

magnificence from near the Soft Coral Arch - a Black-Backed Butterflyfish. There was a pair of these little beauties that seemed to be teasing us.

Soft Coral Arch

in the Rock Islands contains soft corals not normally seen at this depth. It is mesmerizing to watch these brilliant corals sway in the current. It's like being in a garden of monster flowers in the fog.

Soft Coral

supports tremendous marine life. It may be the minerals filtering through the narrow opening in the island group that supports the unusual life. We went back twice to try to get better visibility but the milky limestone seawater made the whole scene glow.

Fuel Drum Cave

was massive and contained hundreds of rusted WWII vintage fuel drums.

Leslie

doesn't much like caves so she waited near the entrance. Her silhouette gives you a sense of just how big the cave is.

Our Last Anchorage

in the Rock Islands in June 2014 was immediately adjacent to a cove with a wreck in shallow water. We know nothing of its history, yet.

Sergeant Majors

were what we called these gregarious fish in the eastern Pacific...

The Wreck

reflected on the underside of the water's surface.

Back at Malakal Island

Jake settled into the good life.

Shadow, Too

Enjoyed his life at Sam's Tours.

Chariot

Eddy and Glenda went in with us on a rental car...bigger than we expected but quite nice.

Navigating

around Palau can be a challenge. Place names are immemorable and maps have no basis in reality. It was a fun tour.

Babeldoab

island is over the Japanese Friendship bridge from Koror.

WWII

sites abound (here too) and this is a large Japanese Communications Center.

Even the Communications Center

needed to protect itself. Eddy and Glenda pose with one of its

What sort of Deity

is this? This brilliant white ceramic statue was on a wrecked tank. There were three faces...anyone know?

Palau's

eastern shore is littered with small towns and history. Here a command center overlooks one of the few passes in the reef.

Palau's

capital is in the middle of "no where" much like DC was when it was built. Unfortunately, Palua's capital wasn't built of limestone or granite but of faux materials prone to mildew in the tropics. All of this built with debt to the Chinese (or so says the sign).

However

from afar the capitial looks grand.

Surangels

construction crew was a long way from home and taking a rest.

Wind-Blown Ollei

on the far north end of Babeldoab

Kabekel

or war canoe is slowly decaying. An ignoble end to a beautiful boat.

Stone Paths

similar to Yap are reputed to be all over Babeldoab. We could only find this one at Ngkeklau where Glenda and Leslie posed.

Ngkeklau

also sported a men's house or bai built about sixty years ago.

The Compact Road

Eddy of SV Helena taking a photo of the capital as we zoomed along the "Compact" Road. That is the road paid for by US Compact funds.