Located to the west of Micronesia and to the east of the Philippines is the magnificent archipelago of Palau, made up of 8 main islands and over 250 smaller islands. This tropical paradise is known for its excellent diving opportunities with breath-taking drop-offs, sunken shipwrecks and a large diversity of marine life, making it a dream destination for dive enthusiasts. Blessed with a rich diversity of terrain and marine life, Palau’s dive sites are world renowned and offer something for everyone, from the magnificent wall drops of Blue Corner to the majestic manta rays at the German Channel.
One of the best diving sites in Palau is Blue Corner, a spectacular vertical wall populated with colourful fans, soft corals and sea anemones, also home to an array of reef life, from rainbow coloured mandarin fish, seahorses and garden eels to large schools of barracuda, prehistoric looking nautilus, and white tip and grey reef sharks. Strong currents allow for excellent drift diving opportunities, however if you would like to stay in the action for a little longer a reef hook is provided, allowing you to attach yourself to the rocks along the reef.
Another well-known diving destination in Palau is the German Channel, a long wall encompassing the length of Ngemelis Island and home to three other dive sites namely, Turtle Wall, Big Drop off and New Drop off. The German Chanel is known for the vast amount of manta rays that visit the reef’s cleaning station. Diving the German Channel offers divers an opportunity to see these majestic creatures up close as they glide effortlessly through the water in an awe-inspiring display.
Not only does Palau have world renowned wall diving locations but it also boasts many rare and unique underwater landscapes. With sandy bottoms covered in giant clams, hidden caves and tunnels, mangrove forest channels that lead to crystal clear secret lakes, dark blue holes and sunken shipwrecks.
The Rock Islands are Palau’s most striking and recognisable land marks. These enchanting mushroom shaped islands are home to an intricate maze of winding channels, pristine coral reefs, secret lagoons, forgotten WWII sites and magnificent sandy beaches. Kayaking or canoeing is the perfect way to explore the natural beauty of the Rock Islands. As you weave through the many twisting channels surrounding the Rock Islands you may even get an opportunity to see the endemic saltwater crocodile, a permanent resident on Palau’s Islands.
Palau is also home to two spectacular lakes, the Milky Way and Jelly Fish Lake. Milky Way, named after the milky appearance of the water, is a lake covered with a white milky clay believed to have youthful properties, offering a one of a kind natural spa pampering experience. Jelly Fish Lake, on the other hand offers a completely different diving experience. Hidden amongst the Rock Islands is a secret lake populated with millions of golden jelly fish. Snorkelling is a popular activity in Jelly Fish Lake as the jelly fish, having been isolated from predators, have evolved over millions of years to have very weak stingers, making it safe to snorkel amongst them.
Another natural phenomenon that occurs in conjunction with the lunar cycle is the spawning of the red snapper fish. Diving off the coast of Peleliu during the full moon provides a once in a lifetime opportunity to witness this spectacular event as thousands of red snapper fish congregate in one area to spawn, turning the waters a rich rusty colour and attracting many large predators.
Although Palau’s best dive sites are known for their strong currents divers of all levels of experience can enjoy the many wonders of Palau. Palau enjoys a warm climate year round with temperatures ranging from 24°C to 30°C. February and March are the driest months with June through to August being the wettest months. If you’re interested in guaranteed sightings of large schools of manta rays and sharks the best times to visit is from December through to March.
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