We arrived in Palau after a very long flight from Seattle, around 16-17 hours with layovers. Six of us; Roseanne Ryburn, Phil Kush, Steve Dauzenroth, Cathy, and son Kevin, Emerson and myself had come a week early to dive at Palau and then join the rest of the 9 in Truk. The Sunrise Villa Hotel was very nice, comfortable, nice view and pool. Not that we were there much.
Our dive guide was Matt Young with Sam's Tours. The first day on these trips is usually a warm up and the first dive was at Turtle Cove - a very nice wall without too much current. Saw lots of fish life, lots of variety. Lots of big stuff. There were whole schools of black tip reef sharks and a few white tips - very docile fish during the day. Nice soft corals on second dive at Big Drop Off. Hawksbill turtles that were tame and would come right up to you if you stayed still and didn't blow too many bubbles. Or take pictures, which I didn't the first day
On the way back we stopped off at Jellyfish Lake, where there are thousands of non-stinging jellyfish landlocked in a brackish lake. Took a hike in the jungle to get there, avoiding the "poison trees" whose sap can give you a bad burn.
Palau is very pretty, hundreds of smallish, low, rounded limestone islands covered in growth. It sits out in the ocean directly at the junction of the Philippine Sea and The North Pacific Ocean. After going through the islands on our boat we cut through German Channel out to the open water and dive the reefs there. Weather was a bit wet and humid, warm in 80's, but the heavy rain showers move through quickly. Water temp around 85F. Viz an easy 100'+.
The second day we dove the big bad "Blue Corner". High current on the edge of the reef. On the edge of open water. They give you a reef hook on a line which you clip to yourself then you set in the rocks add a little air to your B.C. You just sit there in the current taking pictures of big 'ol Grey Reef Sharks, Barracuda, schools of White Tip Sharks, huge Napoleon Wrasse and all sorts of stuff swimming by in the blue. Second dive was Blue Holes, grottoes with several entrances, a huge cavern, and a cave they call the "Temple of Doom", as turtles get stuck in it and die. Awesome diving. (Continued on Page 2)