Travelreport Palau (Peleliu) 2014

or: At the Rainbow's End


The entry forms already say: "Welcome to Palau, The Rainbow's End ". Actually, it sounded very tempting, but it was not clear what the meaning was, until we arrived there after about 24 hours of travel. Pouring rain sometimes and contrary to all statistics also in February 2014.

However, back to the beginning: Palau had long been on our wish list, known mainly because of its biodiversity as one of the dream destinations for divers. After the former German colony declared itself the first shark sanctuary of the world, a new peak followed with the Southern Rock Islands being put on the UNESCO list of world natural heritage sites, the island nation in the Pacific gets more popular for nature and outdoor enthusiasts and rightly so.

We took China Airlines via Taipei which has been extremely punctual (unfortunately on the outward journey, with a transfer time of 7 hours) to Koror. After a stopover in Koror, we went to our destination, the Dolphin Beach Resort on Peleliu, the next morning at 8 o'clock with a boat. The Dolphin Beach Resort with attached dive center is a simple beach hotel with only seven bungalows set amidst a beautiful tropical garden. There is a beach, but a bath in the adjacent sea is not possible because of the shallow water. For non-divers, we would therefore not recommend this hotel. Snorkeling tours are only for a fee, for example, possible accompanying a dive trip.


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The hotel has a restaurant and bar for the guests, the food is simple but delicious, enough to our opinion (no buffet). At 9 o'clock pm curfew, if you want night life, this is the wrong place.

We wanted to do scuba diving in particular and this was awesome. A wide variety of dive sites in Palau offer: Firstly, the steep walls with many intact soft corals, gorgonians, sponges, and anemones and small reef fish. Repeatedly, turtles, hawk fish, tilefish, doctor parrot and angelfish.

The well-known dive site "Blue Corner" we experienced as the scene of courtesy for the couples of grey sharks. Amazing to see the gray reef sharks congregate here, an estimated 50 or 60 sharks and more, between them the not at all shy Napoleon Wrasses, also repeatedly turtles and schools of barracudas. Here the reef-hook was needed, as otherwise, the strong current would have captured the divers and the show would have been over. Reef-hooks are therefore in principle accepted in Palau's waters. The current depends on the incoming or outgoing tide.

The "German Channel" we saw a total of 4 times, each time very different. This dive site is located on the flatter part of the channel at the transition to the lagoon. The water is very rich in plankton in ongoing waters, also bad visibility. This unfortunately is reinforced by a very strong advent of divers, sometimes probably about 100 divers at the same time digging here in the sand. Several cleaning stations of sharks and manta rays are located here. The last and the best dive of our holiday we experienced there with 4 manta rays in the blue water, a quarter of an hour struck somersaults just for us , close enough to touch.

In addition, we dived various dive sites around Peleliu, Peleliu-Wall, Peleliu-Express and Peleliu-Cut. Again, there were incredible amounts of gray reef sharks and white tip reef sharks. For the first time we saw a zebra shark ( Stegostoma varium ) on 25m depth.


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The Jellyfish Lake on the island of Eil Malk really is a must for a Palau- vacation. After a short but strenuous hike through the jungle you reach a unique habitat, protected, but worth to go. 50 USD entrance fee the privilege to experience this natural wonder is to be paid. We once again were unlucky with the weather, after the second dive and a break on a small beach, there was again a normal, strong downpour, unfortunately, it was quite dark even at Jellyfish Lake, and the clouds did not want to disappear like that. One advantage after the bad weather yet: we were almost the only ones on the lake where usually at least 100 snorkelers and more appear.

The lake has two species of jellyfish, a few jellyfish and the Mastigias Discomedusae both live without hunting, exclusively by sunlight. The jellyfish in the lake have no partial dangerous for humans tentacles, except for a few anemones there are no natural enemies. One can therefore approach the animals as snorkelers painless and safe, touch carefully and watch.


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On the last two days of vacation we had the time and inclination to explore the island, once with guide and car, then the next day by bicycle. Quite a bit you can see there, the Orange Beach in the southwest of the island, the landing site of the American troops during World War II. Here, one of the bloodiest battles played out in the South Pacific, nearly 14,000 people lost their lives. War Museum, the former runway, remnants of Headquarters, bunkers, fighter planes, tanks, unfortunately sometimes grenades, mines and ammunition. Everywhere you will encounter the remains of the Second World War.

On the hill "Bloody Nose Ridge" you have a marvelous view of the entire island. The planned helicopter flight we had to cancel because of the very unsettled weather.


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Conclusion: Once again, a very nice diving holiday, the long journey and 8 hours time difference has paid off. However, we would have liked a bit more stable weather, the yellow rain jackets were our constant companion, even on the dive boat. Presumably, therefore, there were many mosquitoes and more sand fleas on Peleliu. Somewhat strange we felt for the ever-necessary "permits" the Government of Palau raises for all "outdoor activities" such as diving, snorkeling, kayaking, and even shore excursions on Peleliu. A general entry fee would be there at least be easier to organize, so there were always discussions.