TBT - (1992) " Adventures in Paradise: Part II - Palau"

After the Manta Ray adventures on the island of Yap we flew on to the world's #1 dive destination - Palau. Our good friends, Robb & Robin Burr, who published a dive magazine called 'Fisheye View' at that time, highly recommended the island nation as the world's greatest place for SCUBA divers.

This strikingly beautiful chain of emerald green islands poking out of an azure ocean are 2 1/2 hours by jet from any major airport - Guam or Manila. But their isolation in Micronesia had never spared them from colonial interests in the past. Controlled first by the Spanish in the 19th century, it passed into the hands of the Germans and then the Japanese after each major war - finally become a Trust Territory of the United States after WWII. One of the second world war major battles of the Pacific took place on Palau, so the remnants of the war litters the ocean bottom and islands.

Most divers and non divers look at the coral reefs teeming with a variety of fish and colorful corals and just enjoy the exotic kaleidoscope of the living reef. But Barbara and I had been involved in the collecting of marine life for a few years and could appreciate and understand more of what we were seeing and experiencing on these fabulous Palau dive excursions. It was mind blowing. Our present day global tropical seas had their genesis in this part of the world - so the number and variety of species in the Western Pacific exceed what you can find anywhere else on the planet. Ten times the number of species found in the Caribbean!

There are several unique and popular dive spots around Palau - like Jellyfish Lake, Chandelier Cave, Turtle Wall, Blue Corner . . but the most impressive for us was Blue Corner. You start off swimming over a shallow reef and then the reef drops strait down for hundreds of feet. When you go down the coral reef wall, looking at the marine life living in the nooks and crannies, it is like gliding down the outside of a skyscraper and looking through the windows at the inhabitants. Then comes the the extra thrill of pushing away from the wall to swim in the middle of a school of Grey Reef Sharks!

Palau had the world's first aquaculture project for the mass production of giant clams (Tridacna). After visiting the government's impressive clam farm on Koror, we were introduced to the manager of the only marine tropical fish export operation - Larry Sharron. When he found out we were experienced in this business - we got an invitation to return to the island if we wanted to live and work in Palau.

We said we would conceder it!

To be continued . . . .