Friday, December 27, 2013


Many years ago, I read an article in National Geographic, or some such magazine, or perhaps it was a show I watched on Discovery or some such channel.  It told of an isolated lake on an island somewhere in the Pacific Ocean with jellyfish that, in the absence of predators, had evolved without stinging tentacles.  Because of this evolution, visitors to the island could snorkel in the lake - perhaps the only place on earth where one can safely swim with jellyfish!  It must have made an impression on me, because I have remembered it all these years.  I never imagined I would be in a position to actually visit that place.  Now here I am in Japan, and it turns out I am not so far from that tropical island chain.  We were reintroduced to the idea of visiting Palau by one of Mike's colleagues, and so we boarded a plane last Wednesday to take us to Palau and the Rock Islands.

First morning in Palau

Kayaking and snorkeling in Nikko Bay

The water in Milky Way is this beautiful, milky blue color because of the limestone clay beneath it.

Rumor has it that the clay is good for your skin.  Our boat driver dove down to scoop some into a bucket for us to try out.  He said that clay is the reason he always looks 19. :)

The main event: Jellyfish Lake!

It actually creeped me out a little.  I didn't like the feeling of brushing up against jellyfish as I swam.

The Drop-Off!  It's a real place!

"Hey, I know what that is!  Sandy Plankton told me!"

 You think I look good in snorkeling gear?  Well just wait until you see me...

with salt-water drenched riding in a speed boat hair!  

Mike took Bear scuba diving...

with black-tip sharks!

Mike also went diving by himself.

Palau isn't actually a beach destination, but the one beach on the main island is lovely.

Our final activity.  Beaver was nervous to shake flippers with the dolphin, but Bear was happy to get right down there.

So, along with the monkey onsen in Nagano, I have now visited two of what I refer to as "National Geographic Places".  Palau was great, but I actually felt a little tropiced out by the time we left, and I'm happy to be back in temperate (currently cold!) Japan. 

We love being able to take our kids on trips like this, but feeding Beaver is enough of a challenge at home.  He pretty much ate nothing but french fries all week.  Once I forced him to eat a piece of pineapple from our Hawaiian pizza.  ("Not cooked pineapple!  It tastes like ham!")  That may be the only bit of fruit he had the whole trip.  Thankfully, the hotel had french toast and scrambled eggs for breakfast, so at least he started the days off right.  I'm also glad to be back home where I feel like he is getting a bit of nourishment.


christy said...

Amazing! Aiden wants to scuba too.

Fran said...

Wow! The photos give me a real feel for the island. And I can almost hear the scary music along with that black fish!

kelsey said...

Looks so fun! Luke went scuba-diving?! What adventure for a kid. And you look great in saltwater drenched, speedboat hair. That's a wonderful family photo.