Spectacular snorkeling in Palau - Part 1

Community Highlights Seafaring Spectacular snorkeling in Palau - Part 1

Jellyfish Lake closed in 2016 when drought killed off millions of jellyfish but reopened in January 2019; the jellyfish population now is around a million, down from 30 million in 2005

Jellyfish Lake closed in 2016 when drought killed off millions of jellyfish but reopened in January 2019; the jellyfish population now is around a million, down from 30 million in 2005

Imagine having this view every day!; I was ready to buy a houseboat and just ride around the gorgeous islands of Palau

Imagine having this view every day!; I was ready to buy a houseboat and just ride around the gorgeous islands of Palau

Palau's Natural Arch looked pretty precarious to me; we saw lots of smaller arches and other creative contours that the sea has molded

Palau's Natural Arch looked pretty precarious to me; we saw lots of smaller arches and other creative contours that the sea has molded

We stopped at the Milky Way Lagoon where you apply white mud to your body and, supposedly, will look 10 years younger (I don't think it worked!)

We stopped at the Milky Way Lagoon where you apply white mud to your body and, supposedly, will look 10 years younger (I don't think it worked!)

Blue-spotted pufferfish; this species is solitary, shy and active during the day (they also have 4 strong teeth)

Blue-spotted pufferfish; this species is solitary, shy and active during the day (they also have 4 strong teeth)

Gray Norse god nudibranch; these sea slugs get creative names because of their often extraordinary colors and striking forms

Gray Norse god nudibranch; these sea slugs get creative names because of their often extraordinary colors and striking forms

Branching whip coral; soft corals are integral members of the reef ecosystem and provide habitat for fish, snails, algae and a diversity of other marine species

Branching whip coral; soft corals are integral members of the reef ecosystem and provide habitat for fish, snails, algae and a diversity of other marine species

Clownfish; Palau is unusual in that there is virtually no shore snorkeling since there are no beaches on the tree-covered islands

Clownfish; Palau is unusual in that there is virtually no shore snorkeling since there are no beaches on the tree-covered islands

The waters off Palau were incredibly pristine with great visibility; there was practically no trash and if we saw plastic or other garbage we would remove it

The waters off Palau were incredibly pristine with great visibility; there was practically no trash and if we saw plastic or other garbage we would remove it

Oriental sweetlips; this colorful fish is very photogenic but they tend to be very camera shy and hide whenever they see me coming

Oriental sweetlips; this colorful fish is very photogenic but they tend to be very camera shy and hide whenever they see me coming

A tiny slice of beach meant we didn't have to eat lunch on the boat; the few specks of beach tend to be far out in the islands (45  minute boat ride from town)

A tiny slice of beach meant we didn't have to eat lunch on the boat; the few specks of beach tend to be far out in the islands (45+ minute boat ride from town)

Titan triggerfish; the locals on Palau tend to have bad teeth and I only saw one dentist office

Titan triggerfish; the locals on Palau tend to have bad teeth and I only saw one dentist office

Raccoon butterflyfish; since Palau is surrounded by a national park, everyone has to pay $100 for a 10 day pass in order to do any snorkeling or diving

Raccoon butterflyfish; since Palau is surrounded by a national park, everyone has to pay $100 for a 10 day pass in order to do any snorkeling or diving

Festive parrotfish; yes, that's actually the name of this colorful species

Festive parrotfish; yes, that's actually the name of this colorful species

Feather star crinoid; these animals are related to sea stars and sea cucumbers

Feather star crinoid; these animals are related to sea stars and sea cucumbers

Barracudas are ferocious, opportunistic predators, relying on surprise and short bursts of speed, up to 27 mph, to overtake their prey

Barracudas are ferocious, opportunistic predators, relying on surprise and short bursts of speed, up to 27 mph, to overtake their prey

Giant clam; there is a commercial nursery for giant clams nearby but some have managed to escape their enclosure

Giant clam; there is a commercial nursery for giant clams nearby but some have managed to escape their enclosure

Ringed (banded) pipefish; this is the only one I've ever seen and it moves more like an eel or snake but is actually a fish; in this species it's the male that gives birth

Ringed (banded) pipefish; this is the only one I've ever seen and it moves more like an eel or snake but is actually a fish; in this species it's the male that gives birth

Brown curryfish sea cucumber; this sounds more like an item on an Asian restaurant menu rather than a sea animal

Brown curryfish sea cucumber; this sounds more like an item on an Asian restaurant menu rather than a sea animal

Juvenile Oriental Sweetlips; first time I've ever seen one of these before they turn into colorful adults

Juvenile Oriental Sweetlips; first time I've ever seen one of these before they turn into colorful adults

Mean-looking crab; the Palau population was 50,000 in 1783 but the arrival of Europeans brought epidemics so that by 1901 the population was only 3700

Mean-looking crab; the Palau population was 50,000 in 1783 but the arrival of Europeans brought epidemics so that by 1901 the population was only 3700

We didn't see many sea stars except in the brackish waters near the main island; Palau is an archipelago of 500  islands in Micronesia

We didn't see many sea stars except in the brackish waters near the main island; Palau is an archipelago of 500+ islands in Micronesia

Gorgeous, large, pink sea fan; Palau has little variation in temperatures throughout the year with average monthly highs of 87 or 88 and average monthly lows of 75 or 76

Gorgeous, large, pink sea fan; Palau has little variation in temperatures throughout the year with average monthly highs of 87 or 88 and average monthly lows of 75 or 76

Crown of thorns sea star; Palau is great but difficult to reach from the US (it's taking me 4 long flights to get back to NC)

Crown of thorns sea star; Palau is great but difficult to reach from the US (it's taking me 4 long flights to get back to NC)

The visibility was so good we could see huge schools of big-eyed jacks below; the wall we snorkeled appeared to go straight down

The visibility was so good we could see huge schools of big-eyed jacks below; the wall we snorkeled appeared to go straight down

Checkerboard wrasse; there is an annual calendar of underwater activity here so each month you're guaranteed to see something different

Checkerboard wrasse; there is an annual calendar of underwater activity here so each month you're guaranteed to see something different

Moorish idols with brain coral; Palau is expensive to visit partly because the diving and snorkeling requires a boat rental or organized group trip

Moorish idols with brain coral; Palau is expensive to visit partly because the diving and snorkeling requires a boat rental or organized group trip

Blackeye thicklip; not the most flattering name for such an attractive fish

Blackeye thicklip; not the most flattering name for such an attractive fish

Juvenile silverlined cardinalfish (?); only 8 of the hundreds of islands that make up Palau are inhabited

Juvenile silverlined cardinalfish (?); only 8 of the hundreds of islands that make up Palau are inhabited

Jellyfish Lake is one of the top tourist attractions in Palau; you can swim with millions of non-stinging jellyfish during their daily migration across a 14 acre marine lake

Jellyfish Lake is one of the top tourist attractions in Palau; you can swim with millions of non-stinging jellyfish during their daily migration across a 14 acre marine lake

Our snorkeling excursion wasn't much cheaper than diving would have cost; we did the obligatory stops at Milky Way Lagoon, Natural Arch and Jellyfish Lake

Our snorkeling excursion wasn't much cheaper than diving would have cost; we did the obligatory stops at Milky Way Lagoon, Natural Arch and Jellyfish Lake

Orange-lined triggerfish; this species helps control the burrowing sea urchin which has the ability to degrade coral reef ecosystems

Orange-lined triggerfish; this species helps control the burrowing sea urchin which has the ability to degrade coral reef ecosystems

This featured blog entry was written by VagabondCowboy from the blog The frugal travels of a vagabond.
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By VagabondCowboy

Posted Mon, Jun 24, 2019 | Comments