07 June 2016

Flying around above the hundreds of jewel-like rock islands of Palau was the highlight of my 2016 visit to Palau, something I did not get to do in 2014.

Dani, Rich, two Czech guys, and I boarded the Pacific Mission Aviation plane for the hour flight.

Departing from Koror, Palau's largest city.

Palau's hundreds of "Rock Islands" are limestone or coral.

Depending on the sunlight, the clouds, the angle, and the varying shallowness of the water, my various photos turned out to have an array of different blues and greens.

Palau's Blue Corner, a renowned diving spot, dotted with boats for divers.

The "Milky Way" where the muddy limestone clay is billed as great skin treatment.

Also did some cultural site-seeing, here with guide and her son at a traditional village meeting house (a "bai").

Several Pacific Islands have large, stone monoliths of mysterious origin prompting speculation about the long vanished societies that somehow created such feats of engineering and transportation.
Palau's Babeldaob island has these monoliths at Ngarchelong.

So many Pacific islands were the scene of brutal battles where American and allied forces pushed back Japanese conquests. Always heartbreaking to see these islands where thousands died. We took day trip to the small historic island of Peleliu, scene of a two-month long, bloody battle where 13,000 died.

Four of us climbed to the highest peak in Peleliu.
(Panorama shot courtesy of Chris Tripodi)

One reason I was excited to return to Palau was the chance to again snorkel in the lake filled with golden, stingless, jellyfish. Alas, it was not to be. A drought in the spring killed most adult jellyfish. Trips to Jellyfish Lake have been cancelled to allow the jellyfish to repopulate.

Here is what I did not get to do this year: Jellyfish Lake
(and other snorkeling was not feasible either).
But Palau was a good place to visit again nonetheless.

If you are lucky enough to get a witty travel pro like Dani in your group, you'll have a blast anywhere.