Day 10: Jellyfish Lake and Roof Building

The tenth day of the class began with a brief visit to the Coral Reef Research Foundation (CRRF) to listen to a presentation on the impacts of climate change on the islands of Palau by Dr. Pat Colin.

Interested students learning about the effects of climate change on Palau

After the presentation, we headed to the Palau International Coral Reef Center where we hopped on a boat and went on a bumpy 30 minute ride to Jellyfish Lake.

Happy students before we hit the open ocean and the bigger waves

Once we arrived at the lake, a bit beaten and battered from the boat ride, Gerda Ucharm, a research biologist for CRRF, gave us a brief overview of what we would see in the lake and the life cycle of their world famous jellyfish.

Once everyone was ready and had their snorkel gear on, we jumped in the water and were greeted by the most amazing scene we had ever seen.

There were thousands upon thousands of golden and moon jellies but don’t worry, they have lost the ability to sting humans.
There were so many jellies it was difficult not to kick them with our fins
Simone capturing the beauty of all the jellies around her.
Destiny doing her best impression of The Matrix to avoid hitting the jellies

Jellyfish are not, however, the only residents of the lake. There are also a few endemic species of fish and anemones, of which, three are pictured below.

An endemic cardinal fish
An endemic anemone
An endemic blenny

After snorkeling Jellyfish Lake for about an hour, we went and had lunch on a nearby beach and then went for a short snorkel.

A school of moorish idols swim over a beautiful forest of coral
A curious pufferfish

After we returned to dry land, we headed over to Palau Community College (PCC) where we learned how to weave palm fronds into pallets to be used on the roof of a traditional bai, or men’s meeting house. According to the president of PCC, they need approximately 2,000 pallets to cover the roof (I was only able to make two in an hour).

One of the PCC volunteers teaching the gang how to weave the string through the fronds to make a tight pallet to keep rain out.
Bryan was the first to try it on his own
Tate and the rest of class got better and faster at the weaving as we made more and more pallets.

After working up a big appetite making pallets, we ended our evening at the Rock Island Cafe where we had pizza, pasta, burritos, and sundaes.

Savannah and Simone were very pleased with their purchase.

Dylan Heppell, Environmental Sciences, Class of 2022

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