Jules Verne, in his book “Twenty Thousand Leagues under the Sea”, once said this particular phrase: “The Sea is everything. It covers seven tenths of the terrestrial globe. Its breath is pure and healthy.
It is an immense desert, where man is never lonely, for he feels life stirring on all sides. The sea is only the embodiment of a supernatural and wonderful existence. It is nothing but love and emotion; it is the living infinite”. Somehow, it’s true. I love going to different places by boarding ships and cruises. Yes, the travel time takes long but seeing the ocean at its vastness and traversing its waters make me feel a different kind of tranquillity. It’s like entering a whole new world so distant and yet so beautiful than the one I have already seen.
However, if you think that the clear blue sky, the turquoise water and the cold breeze that touches your skin are enough to give you serenity, then think again as another realm is yet to be seen under the ocean surface. Explore and discover a new paradise in one of the world’s best underwater sceneries found in the far islands of the Republic of Palau.
Located in the western part of the Pacific Ocean, the Republic of Palau is mainly a group of an estimated 250 islands forming part of the Caroline Islands in Micronesia. Many researchers believe that the islands of Palau were first inhabited by the Negritos migrating from the Philippines 3,000 years ago. These particular Negritos or Pygmy people have lived in the area until the 12th century. Moreover, the country was initially named as “Pelew Islands” and “Belau” respectively. The term Belau is said to be derived from the Palauan Language meaning “village”.
Palau’s capital city is Ngerulmud situated in Babeldaob on the state of Melekeok. However, Ngerulmud is not always the country’s capital as Koror, the largest city, serve as the temporary capital until the country’s constitution ordered a permanent capital in Babeldaob. The capital was finally changed in 2006 but Koror remains as the top traveller’s hub.
Venture to the different sites and landmarks of Palau and witness its wonders. Start that adventure now by booking a flight to the country.
The relaxing resorts
A visit in Palau will not be complete without the relaxing accommodations offered by the different resorts in the islands. Among the top favourites are the Carolines Resort, the Storyboard Beach Resort, the Carp Island and Diving Center, the Dolphin Bay and the Milky Way.
Offering an amazing view of the sunset, Carolines Resort consists of standard air-conditioned bungalow houses fit for single, double and family size occupancy. Amenities include cable TV and VCR, mini bar, fridge, complimentary coffee and tea as well as basic bathroom necessities. Storyboard Beach Resort, on the other hand, offers a quiet place away from the city. Its oceanfront cottages are complete with ceiling fans, bathroom amenities, and other basic needs.
Moreover, the Carp Island and Diving Center is a private resort near the famous Blue Corner diving site. Perfect for fishing, kayaking, snorkelling and hiking, the area has world-class suites offering a view of the seaside and sunset. Not so much different as that of the other resorts, the Dolphin Bay offers an exquisite taste of Palauan delicacies and Asian style cuisines. The resort’s beachfront cottages also give visitors a picturesque view of the sunset in the horizon.
Lastly, take the chance to visit the Milky Way Lagoon, well-famed for their spa treatments. The area is also known for its white sandy beach, palm trees and clear waters.
Through the diving sites
Truly a scuba diver’s paradise, Palau offers many diving sites everyone can venture and roam around. Five of the most popular and well-visited are the Turtle Wall, the Siaes Tunnel, the Chandelier Cave, the Blue Corner and the Helmet Wreck.
Beginners can have their first scuba diving experience in the Turtle Wall. Reaching only over two meters deep, the area’s most distinct feature is the 300-meter coral reef as well as seeing the sea turtles as they go through their daily routines of sleeping, eating and swimming around. Butterfly fish, angelfish and a variety of marine animals can also be seen in this area. While the Turtle Wall is for beginners, Siaes Tunnel on the other hand is for those searching for a more adventurous recreational activity. Guides bring divers inside underwater cave and tunnels where stingrays and white tip reef sharks frequently hide.
Another diving site known for its magnificent caverns and tunnel is the Chandelier Cave reaching over 12 meters below the surface. Equipped with two underwater flashlights, divers can explore the five chambers seen in the area and if you ever get lucky, you can even spot a Mandarin Fish. Extending over 30 meters deep, the Blue Corner is famous for veteran divers for its strong currents as well as its vast population of sharks of various species.
Lastly, explore the shipwrecks dating back since the World War II in the Helmet Wreck. Be amazed by the huge ships that sunk underwater and is now considered as a natural habitat for brain corals, stag horn corals and lettuce corals along with a variety of marine biodiversity. Many tourists can also visit the Blue Hole and the German Channel for more diving experience.
Swimming with the Jellyfishes
Although scuba diving is prohibited for fear of harming the jellyfishes, one can still enjoy snorkelling in the Jellyfish Lake in Eil Malk island. Tourists can swim with the golden and moon jellyfishes that migrate to the area from the tunnels and narrow opening connecting the lake to the ocean.
Accessible through a 45-minute water ride from the Koror Island, tourists wanting to swim in the lake and watch the jellyfishes in their natural habitat only need to pay $100 usable for 10 days.
However, if you’re not one of those individuals who take leisure in diving and snorkelling, there are still other islands of Palau to see and visit. The Arch is situated approximately ten miles southwest of Koror Island. Made entirely of limestone, The Arch is well-known for its 50-feet wide crook where cruises and ships pass under.
The islands that make the country
If you enjoy going through The Arch, then you’ll definitely have more fun when you get to see each of the estimated 300 islets of the Rock Islands. Also known as the Chelbacheb, the said area is located between the isle of Koror and Peleliu and is now considered as part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site since the year 2012.
Rock Islands consists of three large isles and other smaller ones. The three large islands are Ngeruktabel, Ulong and Eil Malk while the other much distinguished ones are the Bablomekang, Tlutkaraguis, Ngerukeuid, Bulrrairong, Ongael and Ngeteklou.
See a wide diversity of flora, fauna and marine creatures as you visit each of the isles. Swimming, snorkelling, and other water activities can also be done in the islands. Many beach resorts constructed in some of the islands also offer relaxing spa treatments as well as give tourists, both locals and foreigners alike, a taste of the exquisite Palauan cuisines.
If humans have a soul that gives each body a life to live, then I’d like to think that the world also has a soul deep within its ocean. It’s the kind of soul that gives life to many living creatures and in turn, lives and grows in an immeasurable period of time. And if humans are born to fulfil a certain purpose, then I’d like to believe that the ocean also serves a great purpose that up until now is a mystery yet to unfold.
Unravel the beauty of the world’s soul by cruising through the different islands of Palau now.