PALAU: SHARKS, CROCS, JELLYFISH, DOLPHINS, WORLD WAR II RELICS AND CORAL


Where else can you find the opportunity to safely interact with sharks, crocodiles, jellyfish, dolphins, World War II memorabilia, kayaking into inner lagoon wonderlands and the most coral species in the world all in one location?  None other than the destination of Palau, Micronesia, which is a natural, ecologically-responsible habitat for each of these attractions.

SHARKS
Shark enthusiasts are invited to enjoy a shark themed week full of adrenalin-packed activities as the Micronesian Shark Foundation (MSF) holds it 7th annual shark week at the Fish ‘n Fins dive shop, in Palau between March 8-15, 2009.  

Between February and April, hundreds of grey reef sharks migrate to the waters of Palau to mate.  This generates a fabulous opportunity for shark lovers to dive with the world famous sharks of Palau and to participate in data collection. Special hotel packages for this week start from $1250

CROCS


In January, Palau’s newest attraction made its debut, namely the Jungle River Boat Cruise, where crocodiles are at center stage. The Jungle River Boat Cruise is one of Palau’s eco-friendly tours, providing visitors with the ideal opportunity to see crocodiles; Palauan Fruit Dove Bird, or Biib; Palauan Fruit Bats; Kingfishers; Archer Fish; and several other wildlife and fauna. Additionally, passengers might get a glimpse of locals collecting their catch of the day, big mangrove crabs, along the river banks. For information, contact Billy Takamine at rivercruise@palaunet.com or call (680) 488-1188.

JELLYFISH


Attractions most can only dream of also include the daring and the unusual - like Jellyfish Lake, where two types of jellyfish can be found, namely the golden jellyfish known as Mastigias and the moon jellyfish known as Aurelia. This intriguing lake departs radically from convention for it is an enclosed body of water wherein resident jellyfish have completely lost their sting because they haven’t had to fight off predators, allowing adventure seekers a rare opportunity to swim amongst these truly unique water creatures.  In order to access this unique adventure, visitors will need to enlist the transport of a local tour guide, both Fish ‘n Fins and Sam’s Tours offer public access.  It’s recommended that visitors sign up for the full day excursion, which includes snorkeling, lunch in the Rock Islands and a trip to nature’s spa the Milky Way.

DOLPHINS


Dolphins Pacific is a local outfit that was created to preserve the integrity of these popular mammals, educate visitors about their unique place in the environment and to study their behaviors and abilities. The facility offers several public encounters, including everything from a basic one-hour interactive program to fantastical wedding ceremonies.  One favorite is the Dolphin Symphony, which is priced at only $80 and provides the opportunity to swim with several dolphins in the clear blue waters of “Dolphin Bay.” Additionally, Dolphins Pacific recently introduced the Dolphin’s Ocean Blessing for those interested in a less conventional wedding ceremony.  The package starts at $1,600.  For information, call (680) 488-8582, visit www.dolphinspacific.com, or email e-dream@dolphinspacific.com.

WORLD WAR II HISTORY TOUR
While it may seem like a bit of a disconnect, Palau’s World War II/Peleliu Excursion is also an integral part of Palau’s truly unique history, rounding out the varied interests and attractions found within the destination’s natural habitats.  Peleliu Island was the scene of one of the Pacific’s bloodiest battles when U.S. Marines made an amphibious assault on the beaches of Peleliu in 1944 to liberate the island from Japanese forces.

OLD GROWTH CORALS OF PALAU


Palau, offers snorkelers the feeling of timeless scenery in the form of the destination’s old growth forests.  While many species of sun loving corals grow with amazing speed, those corals found within the shade of overhanging limestone islands are limited to imperceptible growth.  The vertical walls of Palau’s rock islands serve as cathedral like walls, protecting ancient corals from seasonal winds, waves and even typhoons.  As a result, the corals within the rock islands are often hundreds and even thousands of years old!  


*For more information on the sharks, Jellyfish Lake, World War II and Coral tours, please contact: info@fishnfins.com, info@msfpalau.org or info@samstours.com. Alternatively, visit www.fishnfins.com, www.msfpalau.org or www.samstours.com.

Source: Palau Visitor’s Authority (http://www.visit-palau.com)

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Ellen Barone has been creating words and images for travel and tourism since 1998. She co-founded and publishes the group travel blog YourLifeIsATrip.com and is currently at work on her first book "I Could Live Here".