Day 11: Kayangel Atoll

We started the day with an early morning boat ride, going 2.5 hours to the north. During the ride, we saw spinner dolphins jumping out of the waves to greet us.

When we reached the island the water was a gradient of colors ranging from turquoise blue to deep ocean blue.

The turquoise blue waters near the atoll
Our boats docked along Kyangel Atoll

There was work lined up for the day, but the Kayangel State Conservation Staff was on lunch break, so we sat in the summer house and ate our lunch. Each of us got a single piece of the best mango on the planet.

Delicious mango that we all cherished

Afterwards, we took the opportunity to explore or talk to conservation experts. It was low tide, and on the far side of the island there was more trash than any of us had seen here. All of this was washed up by the tide, and most was not from Palau.

Disco ball shack

We also explored a cool island shack that seemed to be the life of the party! Cue the disco ball.

Trash piled along the east side of the island

Down in the tide pools, we came across two different species of moray eels. They were hiding under rocks away from the sun waiting for the tide.

Moray eels within the tide pools

We then made our way to the clearing to help the conservation staff continue their work. Our job was to remove the invasive green vines that were growing over the trees. Removing the vines prepares the land for reforestation, which will improve the habitat of the Megapode (a native ground bird).

A group photo of work being done to remove invasive species
Melissa clearing vines from the trees

We boarded the boat to start back towards Babeldaob, and to listen to Chris Kitalong talk about the destructive coconut rhinoceros beetle. The beetles have always been in Palau, but go through cycles of destruction. They eat the heart of the palm , which kills the tree, resulting the loss of palm fronds and fruits. It is clear when the beetles have been to a place because the palms are left looking like giant sticks. Coconut trees are important to island life because coconuts provide a hydration source where freshwater is rare or absent.

Chris Kitalong giving us a lecture about the Coconut Rhinoceros Beetle
Coconut trees that have been decimated by the Coconut Rhinoceros Beetle

As we were making our way to the dock, the sun began to set, which made a calming glow on the tranquil waters and the rock islands.

Sun setting on a group boat by the dock

It was a quick turnaround from returning to the dorms to leaving for the night market. The Koror night market occurs biweekly, and features food, art/craft vendors, and dancers. We all got to try fried spiral potatoes and bought some fresh dragon fruit.

Local night market under the Friendship Bridge in Airai

Written by Rachel, Abby, and Haley.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *