The Palau (known locally as 'Belau') archipelago is made up of 307 islands; the top of a mountain chain thrust up from the ocean bed some 35 million years ago.
Palau has some of the worlds most amazing dive sites. You can dive the same site again and again and have completely different experiences each time. One of the attractions for divers to Palau is the wide range of dives available just a short boat ride from the main dive centres.
In 1989 Palau was ranked and listed by CEDAM International as the ranking Number 1 Underwater Wonder of the World out of the seven underwater wonders.
Jellyfish Lake is one of the rock islands and is completely isolated, but in the distant past, it had an outlet to the ocean. The outlet was closed off and the high jellyfish population was isolated and started to feed on quickly-reproducing algae. Contrary to popular belief, the jellyfish of Jellyfish Lake do have small stinging cells, or nematocysts. However, because the stinging cells are so tiny, their sting is not detectable on most human tissue, so tourists can enjoy swimming with them much closer than would be possible anywhere else. At night, the jellyfish descend into a layer of hydrogen sulphide which is found below 15-20m of depth. Scuba diving in the lake is prohibited to avoid disturbing the jellyfish and also to reduce the risk of hydrogen sulphide poisoning but snorkelling is allowed.
While much of Palau's natural environment remains free of environmental degradation, there are several areas of concern, including illegal fishing with the use of dynamite and extensive sand and coral dredging in the Palau lagoon.
Photo Credits: Doug Swalen/Natasha Flaherty
- Big Drop Off which got its name because the wall begins in a couple of feet of water (1m) and drops off to 2000 feet (600m). It has some of the most beautiful soft corals and sea fans that Palau has to offer, as well as many small reef fish, including the unusual square spot anthias and thousands of pyramid butterfly fishes.
- Blue Corner - with constant sharks and a high current - is located less than 1 hour's boat ride from most resorts
- Shark City - Although you're not guaranteed to see sharks, this is a beautiful dive. Near the tip of the corner is a beautiful patch of cabbage coral and some healthy staghorn coral. The currents can sometimes be tricky, but are generally manageable.
- Ngemelis Wall - Not only is this the most famous and exciting wall dive around Palau, but it is also regarded by many as simply the best in the world. The variety of soft and hard coral is staggering.
- Turtle Cove - a spectacular dive with an entry point in a small, blue hole and exits onto a beautiful and healthy wall. Any turtles you do see here will probably be toward the end of the dive in shallower water.
- Hepatitis A and typhoid inoculations recommended
- A yellow fever vaccination certificate is required from all travellers coming from infected areas
- Bull Sharks are common in the coastal waters and estuaries, so be careful!
- Remote and expensive
|Climate:||Tropical, hot and humid; wet season May to Nov|
|Natural hazards:||Earthquakes, volcanic activity, and tropical storms|
|Diving season:||Year round|
|Water temperature:||26C - 29C|
|Air Temperature||27C - 32C|