One regret I had about traveling to the Micronesian island of Palau was not being certified to scuba dive and therefore not having the opportunity to be surrounded by dozens of sharks in the famous Blue Corner.
For most people that would be a benefit, not a regret.
I actually was certified many years ago, but definitely would have needed a serious refresher course before feeling comfortable enough to dive in one of the world’s most renowned scuba diving locations. But, it turned out that there were three other ways of exploring the island of Palau by sea that proved to be visually fruitful too and not totally sans sharks. I mean a shark. There was only one.
The next best thing to scuba diving in the waters surrounding Palau island is snorkeling and those of us without diving certification would be doing it for three days of this water-filled trip. Each morning we were guided by a different reputable company through the Rock Islands.
With Sam’s Tours we had one of my most memorable bucket list experiences by being enveloped in jellyfish while snorkeling in the World famous Jellyfish Lake. Luckily, these critters were stingless, because they may have initially scared me more than the sharks. They also took us to Clam City to witness the giant mollusks that can potentially grow more than four feet. Stuck on the bottom of the sea, they didn’t frighten me nearly as much as the jellyfish.
Neco Marine did take us to the Blue Corner where the lucky certified divers were surrounded by grey and white tip reef sharks, while I snorkeled trying to spot a stray shark from the top of the water. And I did see a lonely one from the ocean’s surface.
Instead of turning to rapidly swim in the opposite direction, I chased it until it disappeared into the depths of blue.
Lastly, Fish n’ Fins took us to New Drop Off where my bucket list goal of ‘swimming with a school of fish’ was easily checked off about a dozen times over. There was even a sweet turtle floating about. Plus, the color of coral was vibrant, making it look as if we were inside of an aquarium instead of the warm Palau waters.
Snorkeling wasn’t the only way to explore the Palauan waters, kayaking was a viable option too. Sam’s Tours led us along the edges of the islets and in shallow enough water to see the Sea cucumbers on the sandy floor.
We were able to squeeze into spaces that the motor boats could not possibly fit into.
In between the snorkeling and kayaking we boated through the Rock Islands exploring all of its nooks, weaving in and out of the hundreds of islets. A different perceptive.
And even though the weather and views were mostly perfect, there was one day traveling by boat where we were caught in a storm.
…and we were all still smiling because it just added to the adventurous and memorable experience of Palau.