Did You Know? Jellyfish Lake

Ongeim’l Tketau (OTM), also known as Jellyfish Lake, is a 30 m deep basin filled with seawater indirectly connected by cracks and crevices to the lagoon. Typically the lake hosts 13 million golden jellyfish. While this is the only lake open to visitors, there are over 50 marine lakes in Palau, at least five of which contain golden jellyfish.

What are marine lakes? Marine lakes are isolated bodies of seawater, surrounded by land. All marine lakes retain connections to the ocean via channels through the encircling limestone rock. The number, size, and length of channels determine the degree to which water and organisms exchange between the lakes and the ocean. Each marine lake is unique in characteristics such as depth, size, shape and volume of the lake, number and positions of tunnels and vertical profiles of salinity, temperature, and dissolved oxygen. These and affect the types and amount of habitat, and therefore the numbers and kinds of marine species each lake supports. In fact, each lake is distinguished by a unique suite of habitats and species. Marine lakes occur in two main types: mixed and stratified. In mixed lakes, temperature, salinity, and the amount of dissolved oxygen do not change significantly with depth. The opposite is true in stratified lakes, and the deeper regions of these lakes lack oxygen and have high concentrations of hydrogen sulfide. Like most jellyfish lakes, OTM is stratified with the anoxic (oxygen-less) lower layer beginning at 12-14 m (40-45 ft). This transition is marked by a pink bacterial layer 1 meter thick.

Why call it Jellyfish Lake? Two species of jellyfish inhabit OTM: the golden jelly, Mastigias papua etpisoni, and the less common moon jelly, Aurelia. Fragile, transparent moon jellies are graceful swimmers that often hang suspended, unmoving in the water. These animals generally spend daylight hours 5m (15 ft) below the surface feeding on plankton. Golden jellies, in contrast, are a mutualistic union of jellyfish and microscopic algae. As in corals, the algae provide energy for themselves and the jellyfish by converting sunlight into sugars, some of which they share with their host. Golden jellies also acquire energy by capturing zooplankton with stinging cells located on their frilly oral arms. Like their ancestors in the lagoon (Mastigias papua), the sting of OTM’s Mastigias is mild and often undetectable. This has given rise to the myth that the jellies have lost their ability to sting due to isolation in a predator-free lake. However, you may feel their tingly sting if an oral arm comes in contact with sensitive skin like that around your mouth.

Is the lake really predator-free? The myth that the golden jellies lack predators is also discredited by the presence of the endemic white-sea anemone Entacmea medusivora (medusa-eating). Although immobile, these animals are capable of capturing and ingesting a passing jellyfish larger than themselves and can often be seen doing so on the rocky point 50 m from the dock. In fact, these anemones are likely responsible for the evolution of the remarkable, daily migration of the golden jellies


Join Us In Palau!

Join PADI Diving Society for nine adventurous days and eight magical nights in Palau at the Palau Royal Resort and enjoy five days of three-tank boat diving with PADI Five Star Dive Center Sam's Tours.

Your package will also include:

  • Rock Island Tour with Jellyfish Lake
  • Welcome Party
  • Breakfast each morning
  • Lunch each day
  • Roundtrip airport transfers
  • Daily hotel transfers
  • Free Enriched Air Nitrox
  • Special guests, including Sport Diver's Ty Sawyer

Reserve your space today by contacting your localPADI Dive Center or Resort or contact PADI Travel Network at 800 729 7234 (US and Canada) or +1 949 858 7234 ext. 2555 or ptn1@padi.com for more information.

Check it out!

Video taken during a 10 days trip around Palau....

Micronesia’s natural beauty and remoteness makes it one of the richest locations in the ocean realm.

The islands of Micronesia are scattered over three million square miles of the North Pacific. Palau alone has more than 700 species of coral and more than 1,500 species of fish. Below the surface, divers experience a paradise of incredible walls, blue holes, breathtaking reefs and crystal caves. Vast numbers of pelagic predators, sharks, turtles, dolphins and many species of migratory fish gather at this unique crossroads where three of the world’s major currents converge. Palau is home to the famed Rock Islands, a collection of rounded, foliage-covered isles perfect for kayaking. The seas around Micronesia are dotted with the remains of more than 75 World War II military ships and Japanese seaplanes, making it not only a great dive destination for reefs, but also a haven for wreck and history buffs.

Palau has a number of liveaboard diving boats of various sizes and styles. Most of the vessels operate seven-night cruises that include unlimited scuba diving. Special 10- and 14-night excursions on liveaboard dive boats also operate at certain times of the year.

When to Go
You can dive year-round in Palau, although January, February and March offer lower humidity and slightly cooler temperatures.

Dive Conditions
Visibility ranges from 50 feet to more than 100 feet and water temperature varies slightly from about 78-82°F.



The Pacific nation of Palau was honored as the world’s first shark sanctuary during the United Nations General Assembly in New York last September. And now, The Maldives join forces with Palau to further the conservation of the worlds’ shark population.

These pro-active and increased efforts come as a result of the diminishing shark population, which is in danger of collapse because of limited protective measures. As a matter of fact, shark

fishing has grown rapidly since the mid-1980s, because of the rising demand for shark fin soup, a highly coveted expression of wealth. Sharks, in general, have a long life span and low fertility rates making them vulnerable to extinction.

Palau, with 20,000 inhabitants and an archipelago of more than 500 islands, formally established a protective zone to help preserve the predatory fish and support local tourism, protecting its 136 species in its 237,000 square miles of ocean, an area nearly the size of Texas.

And just last week, The Maldives announced it was making its territorial waters a shark sanctuary as well and has banned all imports and exports of shark fins.

In addition to the ethical and economic impact of protecting the shark population, sharks are an apex predator that are critical for maintaining the health of the oceans and the health of the population of fish and other species that are a mainstay of the human diet.


PALAU…NATURALLY ECO-FRIENDLY And is making great strides in preserving its natural resources

With so many tourism entities intent on implementing new environmentally-friendly programs, procedures and strategies, the destination of Palau needs not enhance what is already an ingrained custom in this North Pacific paradise. It is the culture’s instinct and primary concern to preserve nature’s wondrous resources, which are in abundance in this Micronesian eco-sphere. However, with that said, old customs are merely a springboard for this eco-centric and naturally “green” island nation as several Palauan entities are indeed further enhancing the “cause.”

To begin, according to Palau’s former President, Tommy E. Remengesau, Jr., The Pacific nation of Palau recently created the world’s first officially-recognized shark sanctuary, a biological sanctuary to protect great hammerheads, leopard sharks, oceanic whitetip sharks and more than 130 other species fighting extinction in the Pacific Ocean.” He continues, “Our objective is to end all commercial shark fishing in our waters and provide a sanctuary for sharks to live and reproduce unmolested in our 237,000 square miles of ocean.”

With a great deal of focus and resources devoted to maintaining the health and well-being of sharks in the Palauan waters of Micronesia, the destination was internationally and officially recognized as the first official shark sanctuary in the world, at the last United Nations General Assembly in New York.

Additionally, President Remengesau developed the Micronesia Challenge, which is a regional inter-governmental initiative in the western Pacific region that facilitates more effective conservation of marine and forest resources in Micronesia. In November 2005, President

Remengesau, Jr. called on his regional peers to join him in conserving 30% of near shore coastal waters and 20% of forest land by 2020. In addition to Palau, the following destinations have joined the initiative, the Federated States of Micronesia, Republic of the Marshall Islands, the U.S. territories of Guam, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. These nations and territories represent nearly 5% of the marine area of the Pacific Ocean and 7% of its coastlines. Since its inception, the Palau-inspired program has been recognized internationally and the President Remengesau, Jr. received an award from TIME magazine as one of the Heroes of the Environment in 2007. For more, visit www.palaugov.net/PalauGov/Executive/thePRES.

To complement these efforts, the Palau Conservation Society (PCS) has been a leader in conservation of Palau’s environment. Dedicated to the protection of biodiversity, Palau’s natural resources and to local communitiesthat use those resources, PCS supports the establishment and management of conservation areas, the development ofsustainable resource use policies and an increase of environmental awareness. For more information, visitwww.palau-pcs.org.

The Palau-Taiwan Agrotourism Project was recently inspired by the Taiwan Technical Mission with the goal to promote both agriculture and tourism in Palau. The Palau-Taiwan Agrotourism Farm, located in Nekken, Aimeliik State, is now open 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. from Monday through Saturday. This relatively new site is not only an educational facility but also serves to demonstrate how local plants are grown, harvested and processed and cultivates 21 species of tropical fruits, such as soursop, breadfruit, jackfruit, carambola, mangosteen, jujube, rambutan, wax apple, pili nut, lanzones, noni, pitaya, giant grandadilla and tree cucumber as

well as such common fruits as pineapple, papaya, guava, lemon and sour orange. Processed fruit and vegetable products are also available and include taro wine and noni juice.

Adjacent to a tropical forest, the farm leads to a nature trail with beautifully-colored birds, some of which are endemic to the Palauan islands, including the biib, Palau’s national bird. No website currently available, call (680) 544-5804.

In addition to the aforementioned government initiatives, Palau is also home to some of nature’s most spectacular wonders of the world, namely: the plethora and variety of coral, which is featured at the Coral Reef Center; Jellyfish Lake; Micronesian Shar

k Foundation’s Shark Week; the (new) River Boat Jungle Cruise; and Dolphins Pacific.

Palau International Coral Reef Center

The Palau Aquarium is the interpretive division of Palau International Coral Reef Center, a non-profit organization which opened in January of 2001 and has become one of the best land based attractions for tourists and locals alike. It offers enlightening, first hand experiences to inspire understanding and respect of Palau’s natural marine ecosystems. Comprised of ten (10) sub-themed aquariums that convey details of 17 specific habitats, the exhibits recreate the

breathtakingly beautiful marine environments and animal species found in those environments. Visitors can experience the wonders of the sea without even getting their feet wet. The adventure begins with a look at the many geological wonders found in Palau, including the famous Rock Islands. Next, observe the tentacle-like roots of the mangroves where life in the sea begins. The, one can look closer to see a school of archerfish stunning their prey by spitting beads of water, or the pulsating rhythms of an upside-down jellyfish. Further along the winding path, past the Seagrass Bed to the Inner Reef, reside a green sea turtle, white-tip shark,

groupers, giant trevally and the Aquarium’s resident napoleon wrasse. Lastly, a diversity of corals and polyp-feeding butterflyfish in the Reef Crest await at the end of this journey. For

more information, visit www.picrc.org.

Jelly Fish

Natural preserves most can only dream of also include the daring and the unusual – like Jellyfish Lake, where two types of jellyfish can be found, namely the golden jellyfish known as Mastigias and the moon jellyfish known as Aurelia. This intriguing lake departs radically from convention for it is an enclosed body of water wherein, over the course of millennia, resident jellyfish have a mild almost unnoticeable sting because they haven’t had to fight off predators, allowing adventure seekers a rare opportunity to swim amongst these truly unique water creatures.

In order to access this unique adventure, visitors will need to enlist the transport of a local tour guide at one of the tour shops operating in Palau. The Rock Island and Jellyfish Lake entry permit is $35 per person in addition to the tour package. It’s recommended that visitors sign up for the full day excursion, which includes snorkeling, lunch in the Rock Islands and a trip to nature’s spa…the Milky Way. For more information on activities, visit www.visit-palau.com.

Diving/Shark Week

Shark enthusiasts are invited to enjoy a shark themed week full of adrenalin-packed activities as the Micronesian Shark Foundation (MSF) holds its 8th annual shark week at Palau’s Fish ‘n Fins dive shop from March 12-19, 2010. The Micronesian Shark Foundation is a Palauan-based, non-profit foundation whose goal is to research and monitor the many sharks of Palau as well as scientific shark data collection.

Between February and April, hundreds of grey reef sharks migrate to the waters of Palau to mate. This generates a fabulous opportunity for shark lovers to dive with the world famous sharks of Palau and to participate in data collection, which is invaluable in the study of migration and behavioral patterns of the sharks in these waters. For more information, contact info@fishnfins.com.

River Boat Jungle Cruise

Palau’s newest attraction is the River Boat Jungle Cruise. Located in Ngchesar State, the Jungle River Boat Cruise is one of Palau’s eco-friendly tours, providing visitors with the ideal opportunity to relax and enjoy the island’s natural attributes firsthand. The cruise takes one hour on an all-aluminum boat that can carry up to 40 passengers. The five-mile tour starts at the main dock and goes upstream coming out to a beautiful ocean vista. During the tour, visitors get a chance to see crocodiles; Palauan Fruit Dove Bird, or Biib; Palauan Fruit Bats; Kingfishers; Archer Fish; and several other wildlife and fauna. Additionally, passengers might get a glimpse of locals collecting their catch of the day, big mangrove crabs, along the river banks. Contact rivercruise@palaunet.com.


Dolphins Pacific is the world’s largest marine mammal interaction, educational and research facility. “Dolphin Bay,” located on the northern side of Ngeruktabel Island in Palau, is situated in a 200-million-gallon saltwater lagoon. The modern impoundment provides an expansive,

healthful marine environment for the resident population of dolphins, as well as a relaxing eco-friendly venue for visitors. The objective of this local outfit is to preserve the integrity of these popular mammals, educate visitors about their unique place in the environment and to study their behaviors and abilities. The facility offers several public encounters, including everything from a basic one-hour interactive program to fantastical wedding ceremonies. For more information, visitwww.dolphinspacific.com.


Check out our first dive in Palau's Shark Sanctuary

The Path to Palau

For those who happen to be Survivor fans, there is no need to introduce the incredible destination of Palau. Consistently ranked as one of the world's best dive destinations, Palau is the ultimate paradise for outdoor enthusiasts and adventurous travelers.