Palau – day 3

During the last of the three diving days that we originally planned in Palau, we enjoyed again the already usual sharks and tropical fish. Furthermore, at night time we were impressed by one of the best hidden wonders of Palau: its sea fireflies.

Just like the previous two days, we started our third day in Palau by going to Neco Marine early in the morning to start our diving day, with the now traditional tour around the beautiful islands of Palau.

Our first stop of the day was Ulong Channel, a natural channel famous for its strong currents. If the current is appropriate, it can be a very pleasant dive, since you will simply have to let yourself be carried by the current through the channel, as if it were a highway. In addition to the usual sharks (which never cease to impress us), we could see colorful smaller creatures. Among them, we were particularly impressed by strange sack-shaped beings called sea squirts or ascidians. They are tiny immobile marine animals that anchor themselves to corals or rocks and filter the water to obtain nutrients. We were able to identify a type known as a green barrel sea squirt, due to the intense green color of its interior, next to which we saw a magnificent elegant sea slug (characterized by its white protrusions on a black body).

We were also lucky enough to find a spotted eagle ray, easily recognizable by its pattern of white dots. This animal, which has a long stinger with powerful poison (so it is not advisable to get too close if you see any sign of stress) is also the Neco Marine logo.

Our next destination was Siaes Tunnel. Despite its name, it is rather a large cave with three entrances, located about 30 m deep, so it is necessary to have the PADI Advanced Open Water Diver certification or equivalent. Also, it is highly recommended to bring a diving flashlight, as the cavern is quite dark. On this dive we were able to see closer than ever the Napoleon wrasse (also called Māori wrasse), named after its characteristic profile caused by a protrusion on its head.

Napoleon wrasse

During this dive, you should pay special attention to the depth, since the ceiling of the cave is just under 30 m, and it is easy to get carried away by the beautiful views and sea creatures without realizing that the recommended depth limit is being exceeded (which must be respected for your own safety, and also to avoid problems in some diving cameras).

Cave at Siaes Tunnel

After finishing the second dive, we took, as usual, a lunch break. Then, we carried out our third dive in the same area, repeating at Siaes Corner. We were able to enjoy again a great variety of tropical fish, sharks and colorful corals. We also had the chance to follow very closely a grey reef shark!

Having finished our last dive of the day, we returned to Koror. Theoretically, we then said goodbye to the Neco Marine team. However, since we had a day left with nothing planned during our stay in Palau and we had been so happy and amazed with our dives, we decided to hire one more day of diving. Thanks to this, it was then just a simple “see you later.”

To top off an adventurous day, we had planned to go on an afternoon kayaking excursion. We hired the tour with RITC (Rock Island Tour Company), who picked us up at our hotel. The tour begins at sunset, which allows you to enjoy a beautiful scenery around the Rock Islands. By kayaking, we were able to get closer to the islands to see their vegetation in more detail. Thus, we finally saw the national flower of Palau, a small white flower called rur in Palauan.

After passing through some inland lagoons between the islands, we headed to an anchored boat where we left our kayak. So we put on our snorkeling gear and jumped into the water to enjoy an incredible experience: the observation of countless sea fireflies. These creatures, also present in the seas of southern Japan (where they are known as umi-hotaru, 海蛍), are small marine animals that rest on the bottom of the sea during the day. At night, they float through the ocean to feed, and emit light when shaken. It is really impressive to watch them on a dark night, when they make the ocean seem to transform into a sea of stars.

To finish such a complete day, and given our great love for Japanese food, we decided to have dinner at the Japanese restaurant B’s Izakaya Yume. There are quite a few Japanese restaurants in Palau, due to the large Japanese influence that still lingers and that originates from the period during which they were part of the Japanese Empire. An izakaya is a sort of Japanese tavern, where a variety of dishes are often ordered to share. So we decided to try a selection of the most typical Japanese dishes, from sashimi to chicken katsu curry (a type of Japanese breaded chicken curry). We also tried dishes with traditional Palauan ingredients, such as Ukaeb (which, as we previously explained, is land crab meat with coconut milk) or taro tempura, a typical tuber from the tropics. We guarantee that all the dishes were delicious.

Summary

Visited places:
  • Neco Marine
  • Ulong Channel (dive 1)
  • Siaes Tunnel (dive 2)
  • Siaes Corner (dive 3)
  • Rock Islands (night kayak tour)
  • Snorkelling with sea fireflies
Seen sea creatures:
  • Hard and soft corals
  • Green barrel sea squirt
  • Elegant sea slug
  • Three-band clownfish
  • Whitespotted grouper
  • Grey shark
  • Dogtooth tuna
  • Spotted eagle ray
  • White tip reef shark
  • Napoleon wrasse
  • Bigeyes
  • Pyramid butterflyfish
  • Christmas tree worms
  • Purple anthias
  • Two-striped sweetlips
  • Blue-barred parrotfish
  • Sea fireflies

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Lara and Rafa

Lara and Rafa

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