Day 11: Jellies, Sharks, and Clams oh my!

Our day started promptly at 8:00, meeting Ron and his crew at Rock Island Kayak Expedition. After he explained where we would be spending the day, we loaded the boats and made our way to the island of Mecherchar, home to Jellyfish Lake! After the hour-long boat ride, we hiked to the lake with anticipation. The jellyfish (which don’t sting) were abundant throughout the lake but were in the highest densities at the Eastern side. We swam about 20 minutes to the large mass of jellyfish. They were magical. Taking our time, we swam among the jellies until we were forced to head to the next destination.

We made our way to the island aptly named ‘shark city’. The Rock Islands are breathtaking, but the mix of bright sand and countless shades of blue had us all truly speechless. We ate chicken, fish, and veggie bento boxes overlooking the beautiful Rock Islands. After lunch, some of us immediately ran to the water to snorkel with the black-tip sharks. Little did we know that Ron had an even better surprise for us. He explained that the sharks inhabiting the waters surrounding this island have been habituated to large numbers of tourists. Consequently, they are accustomed to free food from tourists (Remember, never feed wild animals anywhere you go!) Our guides set up a line in shallow water and had us all gather shoulder-to-shoulder along it. They began throwing small food scraps in the water, and the 3-4-foot sharks began feasting right in front of us. After a few minutes of feeding frenzy, the sharks started getting a little too aggressive and this experience came to an end. We once again packed up the boats and headed to our next location.

Our last stop of the day was across the bay in the Giant Clam beds. We anchored and swam among 500lb clams. We were instructed to keep our eyes out for crown of thorn sea stars, which eat coral and can be destructive to the reefs. We enjoyed the snorkeling and eventually made our way to the nearby beach, which was littered with plastic. We scoured the beach, filling 11 large trash bags. The trash was loaded onto the boats and brought back with us to Koror for proper disposal.

Overall, it was a fantastic day, full of unique experiences that we will all remember for the rest of our lives and being able to pick up such a large quantity of trash made us all feel as though we have left Palau cleaner than we found it.

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