Republic of Palau
The Republic of Palau is made up of around 300 islands, small green mushrooms bathed by turquoise waters, pristine beaches of snow-white sand, and vegetation as intensely green as it is lush. Its seabed is unique for its transparent water, its wealth of flora and fauna, and for the vestiges of the Second World War that are still present, reminding us of what must not be repeated. It is a region of the planet where large ocean currents converge, loaded with a large amount of nutrients and attracting many animals. Sharks, manta rays, large schools of barracudas, turtles and even marlins, the fastest fish in the sea, are common on every dive. But if anything is truly surprising, it is what comes next.
The Jellyfish Lake
Located on one of the “rock islands”, this lake was cut off from the sea a long time ago and the jellyfish that lived there were trapped there forever. In their process of adaptation to the new environment, with no prey to feed on and no predators to defend themselves against, these jellyfish (unique in the world) have lost their stinging ability. And what do they feed on? Well, what they found: algae. This fact allowed us to enjoy a unique and impressive session with animals as rare as they are fascinating. To be able to touch them or have them rub against your body is something that is difficult to put into words.
A unique experience both in and out of the water, a combination of paradise and war history makes this island a must. Peleliu witnessed one of the longest and bloodiest battles of World War II between the Japanese and the Americans. In three months, 20,000 people died. It is hard to imagine that on such a small island there was such a battle. On land, the remains of the bombed bunkers, tanks and amphibious vehicles inevitably transport you to that moment. Underwater, seaplanes and the dreaded Japanese “zero” fighters become a small amusement park for us and a natural refuge for the clownfish.
But the most special attraction is a particular point where two major ocean currents meet. This time we can’t stay on the surface. We all jump into the water suddenly and dive down to the seabed (so that the current does not separate us). Equipped with a harness, a rope, and a grappling hook, we anchor ourselves to the rocks, let go and… let’s fly! I remember a moment during the dive when the current was so strong that if I turned my head, it ripped the regulator out of my mouth. And that’s when I realized that I had a shark next to me, looking at me in amazement, as if thinking… what is this tourist doing there stuck to the rocks? What impressed me the most at that moment was to see the shark, completely still, against the current. If I let go, the current would carry me away at full speed without me being able to do anything. The shark, on the other hand, didn’t even flap its fins. It basically “surfed” in the current. The hydrodynamics of sharks are, without a doubt, perfect.
The Republic of Palau is absolutely a unique experience not to be missed. It can be explained but it is better to enjoy it first hand.