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Sunday, May 27, 2012

Return to Palau 2012

Have just finished up an Oceanic Society trip to Palau with travel to both Yap and Ulithi Atoll. We had a great series of snorkels and were treated to a wealth of critters like this Longnose filefish in Palau. Never disappointed in the Rock Islands, our group was able to explore a variety of habitats from hidden lakes to blue holes. Oceanic continues to deliver a quality experience by getting to sites that are traditionally thought of only as dive locations. We spent a wonderful afternoon snorkeling Blue Corner seeing large schools of Big-eyed jacks and barracudas as well as many grey reef sharks.

Star Puffer

This Star puffer also stayed in place for us as we were swept along gently with the current. We also visited The Big Dropoff and hit it just perfect at a low tide. The multitudes of fish at this site were crowded into large groups as the low tide made the available vertical habitat temporarily vanish. This Steephead parrotfish was busy getting cleaned, and Whitetip reef sharks cruised the shallows.

Steephead Parrotfish w/ cleaner wrasse

Whitetip Reef Shark
As we went through German Channel we also managed to catch a glimpse of a large manta ray. If you click on this link you can see a video of some mantas we saw underwater during our last trip to Palau in 2011.

Manta ray

On another day we used the early morning cloud cover to locate some Mandarinfish in a secluded lake. After a bit of searching everyone in the group had seen this colorful critter.


The coral in this area was equally as impressive. Large groups of brain corals one more brilliant than the next.

A trip to the famous jellyfish lake provided the expected Dr. Seuss-like experience of being transported to another world.

We were also able to catch a glimpse of the local seabird inhabiting the lake, the Pied cormorant, warming himself up in the sun.

A giant clam in Ulong Channel also surprised as it had both sides of it's shell covered in table corals.

All in all another fantastic few days spent exploring the rock islands. Stay tuned for photos from our days in Yap and Ulithi Atoll.

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