Where: South of Kokor, Republic of Palau, Micronesia, Pacific Ocean
When: January to March are good weather times to visit Micronesia
Activities: Bizarre floating limestone rock formations with superb opportunities to view from under the sea diving or above the water with a sea kayaking tour
Where It’s At
The Republic of Palau (known locally as Belau) is a separate principality southwest of the Federated States of Micronesia. Palau is a group of 343 islands spread over a 100 mile stretch.
Lying south of Kokor, the 200 formations known as the Rock Islands are uninhabited rounded, jungle covered islands. They are limestone formations which appear to float on the water due to the fact that the bottoms of the islands are narrower than the tops.
Top Palau Dive Sites
Palau is famous as an exceptional dive spot. Tourists come here to experience dive sites such as Blue Corner, Peleliu Express, and Ulong Channel where they can experience blue holes (dark blue subterranean caverns), drop-offs (under water cliffs), crystal caves, pristine reefs, and Japanese World War Two wrecks. The icing on the cake, however, is not only to experience these islands from beneath the water but to take a sea kayaking trip above the water through the islands.
Kayaking the Rock Islands
Sea kayaking around the Rock Islands allows you take stock of Palau in a way that diving does not. If you leave having only dived in this region you will have missed out on the terrestrial ecosystems and undiscovered world of the marine lakes and those that depend on them.
Many of these lakes harbour unique species of jellyfish and are breeding grounds for juvenile fish including Black-tip Reef Sharks. 1,500 species of fish populate the reefs in this region. Cave systems within the islands also hold different fauna and flora; the lack of light prevents coral form growing in them so snorkelling in caves is quite a different experience.
Sea kayaking in the Rock Islands is a great experience. The islands shelter the water so that it is calm and smooth. If you have not kayaked before you should probably sign up for a guided tour; if you are an experienced kayaker then you can chart a multi-day solo kayak and make an excursion to some of the more remote parts of Palau.
Make sure you go to Planet Blue Sea Kayak Tours, operated out of the well-known dive shopSam’s Tours. This is where you can book onto guided kayak tours with its founder Ron who is a biologist and knows the waters better than anyone else. Even if you are an experienced kayaker then you can rent equipment and get advice on where to head.
Website for Palau’s popular dive, fishing and kayaking shop and tour guide.