Micronesia, Rock Islands Palau

Revisited March 2016 -


(Updated July 18, 2016)


Double click thumbnails to maximize.

Visitors to Palau

have the option of staying aboard one of the lovely liveaboard yachts. This is the Palau Siren on a rare day of actually sailing.

Uplifted Limestone

islands, uninhabited and gorgeous, with shallow reefs and anchorages between, make the Rock Islands a inspiring cruising grounds.

A Drought

here produced many dead leaves in the Rock Island waters which made for brilliant floating leaves contrasting the sandy bottoms. The shimmering tradewind ripples tickled the leaves as they moved to and fro alongside us.

Though a Drought

we had many cool showers our first days in the Rock Islands. The showers were cold by comparison to the sea.

Silly Submerged Selfie

Leslie wanted to get into the water as much as we could once we were clear of the "city".

The Inner Lagoon

of Ngertuktabel was lovely but the only coral seemed to be in the shadow of the mushroom islands. The lettuce coral looked lovely in the filtered light.

In the Lagoon

fish seemed scarce except various spp. of damselfish. This little beauty is likely a "staghorn" damselfish.

Moorish Idols

are hard to capture on film.

Above the Water

noddies were everywhere and would "buzz' us if we got too close to where they were nesting.


kingfisher are brillliant. This guy flew by Carina late in the day en route to this perch and his bright plumage caught our attention.

Call it

Broccoli, Toucan or Survivors, this anchorage was our favorite. 20' of pool-clear water and thick sand. Only gentle breezes found us here.

At the Head

of the bay..."Fishnet", we found a trail and hiked over to the ocean side of the big island. This was a trail marker, near a point we had to make a sharp right, despite the terrain suggesting we go straight.


trees here can be absolutely amazing...their roots go aloft to tower above us...look at Philip standing to the left of this beauty.


As we reached the eastern ocean side of the island and Philip began to search for footholds down to the water, Leslie looked east to see a croc - bigger than Philip - racing along the shore below and towards us. She screeched a whole string of words and the croc flipped its mighty tail and changed course and went to sea. Whew. A scary encounter.


Glen was kind enough to give Leslie an introductory diving lesson one day. She loved it!


looks a bit like an astronaut in the clear blue waters of the Rock Islands

We Spent

many hours just exploring.


and below the water.


or "Mandarinfish Lake" area is a favorite day trip that's just over four nautical miles from our mooring at Sam's

Getting In

and out required crossing a coral bar with many bommies - or coral patches - that came nearly to the surface. Transit required good light and a bow watch.

The Area

was great for exploring with numerous caves and arches.

The Protected

waters hid dozens of little inlets and lots of ...


Being limestone, Leslie was hesitant to venture in. Not so Glen and Marie, who took this photo.

The Limestone

cliffs covered in vegetation were often reflected in the silty mangrove waters.

A Little Ways Up

the channel is a cave with two WWII Japanese gun installations. These commanded a defence from forces approaching from the east or north.

In Yet Another Cave

nearby our anchorage - VERRRY nearby - we saw this little beauty. He wasn't so little.

The Best

underwater life we found was up a small channel into a cove fed by marine lakes. The dive operations call it "Mandarinfish Lake". The shallow channel leading in is lined with fan corals and patrolled by triggerfish. This Picasso triggerfish was only one of many we saw that day.

The "Lake"

was fed by springs from pristine limestone hills that created slightly cloudy water and an eerie atmosphere punctuated by gorgeous undersea life.


come during the day to the area to kayak and to snorkel - or to bash the coral while flailing in unfamiliar gear. This group walked all over the coral.


seemed relatively unafraid, even considering the daily onslaught of humans.

The First

snorkel we had, we were alone for awhile which gave us the chance to see rare marine life, such as this octopus.

The Octopus'

garden was tucked up near the undercut limestone island and in the shade.


went back to the amazing snorkeling cove - known locally as a "lake" - three times and still haven't seen it all. Friends Glen and Marie joined us; this day Glen had hold of our GoPro.


were known to reside here and we were finally rewarded with seeing a few of these magnificent 2.5" gem-like beauties.


are another favorite of ours and this was a new species for us - the Pajama Cardinalfish

This Little

cutie is a segmented blenny.

From the site

where dinghies and dive boats park, there is a shallow channel leading to the lake. It is here that we saw this deadly creature - a stonefish. A sting can be fatal.


tiny star was unusual; at least to our eyes.

To See

the half beaks you actually had to lean your head back and look closely. They moved very fast!


keen eye spotted this amazing creature that we thought at first to be an epaulet shark. That is until we saw his pectoral fins. He is a crocodile flathead.

He Looked

much scarier than he was...at least to us. We don't know what he preyed on, but probably the beautiful mandarinfish whose coral rubble he laid in.

Even His Eyes

were cleverly concealed.

This Crocodile Flathead

did not move an inch while we hovered around and Glen snapped photos with our GoPro. This is our favorite shot...

Not Far

from our mooring, so technically not "in" the Rock Islands was a popular dive site - Chandelier Cave. It's entrance was creepy enough for us...we ventured no further.

Not Far

at all from Carina, in fact in "Carina's Cove" were razorfish that bob along in sometimes large groups and are very entertaining.


never got bored of watching the cardinalfish, particularly the comical-looking pajama variety