Pacific Partnership 2010 Kicks off in Palau

KOROR, Palau (NNS) -- U.S. 7th Fleet command ship USS Blue Ridge (LCC 19) kicked off Pacific Partnership 2010 at the Ngarachemayong Community Center in Koror, Palau with an opening ceremony July 26.

"Pacific Partnership is a mission that I am particularly excited about, and proud to be a part of," said Commander, U.S. 7th Fleet, Vice Adm. John M. Bird. "Unlike most missions the Navy does which are military in nature, this mission works by, with and through host and partner nations, non-governmental organizations and other U.S. government agencies to provide humanitarian and civic assistance. It is a chance for our men and women in uniform to give something back to the people of this region."

The Republic of Palau President Johnson Toribiong attended the opening ceremony and spoke about the special relationship Palau has with the U.S.

"Your visit today is outstanding. It will provide many forms of assistance through humanitarian projects and programs including medical care, clean-up, and painting of some of the schools here in Palau," Toribiong said. "We are most grateful for that expression of goodwill and friendship to our people."

At the end of the ceremony Capt. Rudy Lupton, commanding officer of Blue Ridge and Capt. Salvador Aguilera, chaplain of U.S. 7th Fleet, presented Project Handclasp materials, which are educational, humanitarian and goodwill goods, to Bilung Gloria Gibbons Salii.

Faustina Rehuher-Nargg, Minister of Community Country Affairs, who was also in attendance at the opening ceremony, said she was glad to see Pacific Partnership 2010 in Palau because humanitarian exercises help different cultures come together as one for a good cause.

"We need to understand each other. We need to understand each other's cultures. So if I understand you and you understand me then communication is for you open and we're not saying I'm better then you you're better then me, we're equal partners," Rehuher said.

During the five day visit Sailors and Marines from the Blue Ridge and Commander U.S. 7th Fleet will participate in several community service projects around the country. The renovation projects will take place at the following facilities: Ngchesar Elementary School, Melekeok Elementary School, Aimeliik Elementary School, Palau High School, Peleliu Elementary School, Angaur Elementary School and the Bloody Nose Ridge World War II Monument.

Blue Ridge and 7th Fleet medical and dental teams will also visit the Belau National Hospital in Koror, the Southern Community Health Center in Peleliu, and the Angaur Medical Clinic in Angaur, and provide free primary care and prescriptions.

Pacific Partnership 2010 is the fifth in a series of annual U.S. Pacific Fleet endeavors aimed at strengthening regional relationships with host nations and partner nations. The visit marks the first time Pacific Partnership has come to Palau.

For more news from Commander, U.S. 7th Fleet, visit



Pacific Islands Development Program/East-West Center
With Support From Center for Pacific Islands Studies/University of Hawai‘i

Monitoring program to track 149 species

By Bernadette H. Carreon
KOROR (Palau Horizon, July 14, 2010) - Palau is getting assistance from the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Enviornment Programme (SPREP) to save endangered bird species in the island-nation.

During the thirteenth meeting of the Pacific Islands Roundtable for Nature Conservation in Apia this week, BirdLife International presented a compendium of Important Bird Areas in the Pacific, to the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP).

Australia, Fiji, French Polynesia, Palau, New Caledonia, New Zealand and Samoa are the SPREP members featured in the compendium with studies now underway to highlight the Important Bird Areas in the Cook Islands.

Bird Life International’s Pacific Programme Director Don Stewart in a statement said, "This is just the first stage in doing something to address the crisis facing the birds and biodiversity, the second stage is to use those sites that are demonstrated to be vital for bird and biodiversity conservation to actually start conservation action on the ground."

The compendium of Important Bird Areas for seven of the SPREP member countries has taken over four years to complete.

The compendium will assist and guide bird conservation programs in the Pacific to recover the population of birds that are now on the verge of extinction.

Now that BirdLife International has highlighted some of the important bird areas in the Pacific region, work is underway to assist the formation of conservation areas to help the bird numbers grow, Stewart said in a statement.

There are a total of 149 bird species in Palau.

In May, an executive order was issued creating a bird monitoring program for Palau to help preserve Palauan culture by protecting species from extinction.

Executive Order No. 280 establishes a National Program for Monitoring Forest and Coastal Birds.

For National Program for Monitoring Forest and Coastal Birds, permanent stations on Babeldaob Island will be designated for the monitoring of forest and coastal bird populations. Monthly monitoring will be done at designated sentinel stations to collect population and ecosystem data, including the monitoring of indicator species such as the Palau Fruit-Dove and Micronesian Imperial-Pigeon which are highly valued for the role they play in Palauan legends and traditions.

Scientific data obtained from the monthly monitoring activity for indications of ecosystem change, bird population trends and other information will be analyzed. Other ecosystem-based management activities will also be done from time to time.

Marianas Variety: www.mvariety.com
Copyright © 2010 Marianas Variety. All Rights Reserved


From American Way Magazine

Off the Deep End

by Jordan Rane
You’ve skied on it, surfed over it and dived in it. Think you’ve enjoyed water in every possible way? Think again.

Image about Jellyfish Lake
Water. It’s everywhere. Covering 71 percent of the planet. Making up at least 60 percent of our bodies. Falling from the sky in Forks, Wash., in 121-inch annual buckets. Supporting an entire whale-watching industry. Chilling your beverages in frozen cubes. We could go on, but you already know the many wonders of water, right? Wrong.

What follows are four refreshingly unique ways to enjoy everyone’s favorite hydrogen-and-oxygen hybrid. These aquatic adventures are surreal and perhaps a little bizarre — but they’re also fantastically fun and cool on a scorching summer day. Best of all, they’re ready when you are. You don’t even need to add water.

Where: Jellyfish Lake, Rock Islands, Palau

Normally, wading into a colony of bobbing jellyfish would sound about as enticing as frolicking barefoot through fields of wasp-infested clover. But at Jellyfish Lake, which is locked inside a tiny isle in the heart of Palau’s otherworldly Rock Islands, it’s not such a daunting proposition.

For it is in this peaceful, secluded marine lake that millions of benign
Mastigias papua etpisoni (aka golden jellyfish) and a smaller population of equally congenial Aurelia aurita (moon jellyfish) have been residing in relative isolation for millennia — and where thousands of visitors now come to swim with them in painless wonder. Jellyfish Lake, Palau’s famous lake full of “stingless” jellyfish, first reached a wider, international audience in the early 1980s when marine biologists discovered the place and National Geographic came knocking. Today, the site has become one of the most mythic — and slightly myth-fueled — marine wildlife attractions on either side of the Pacific.

The jellyfish in Jellyfish Lake aren’t technically stingless, as travel brochures and guidebooks are known to misstate. Nor did they lose their sting by being isolated in a landlocked lake with no natural predators — another widespread inaccuracy. That said, the difference between myth and reality is largely academic.

“The species of jellyfish in this marine lake feeds on very small prey, so they don’t need the volumes or types of venom nor the type of stinging cells that would cause a painful sting in humans,” explains Michael Dawson, Ph.D., assistant professor of evolutionary biology at the
University of California, Merced, who heads a study at Jellyfish Lake. “Hundreds of thousands of people have swum with the jellyfish in Jellyfish Lake for almost two decades and there has never been any report of a problem.”

So, what exactly does it feel like to bask in a colony of millions of golden jellyfish?

“Absolutely surreal, in the most wonderfully indescribable sense of the word,” says Molly Blaisdell, a San Francisco–based
spokesperson for the Palau Visitors Authority who has swum at Jellyfish Lake several times. “You feel like you’re being held afloat and carried along by this mass of soft, gentle creatures. If you’re really paying attention, you may feel a slight tingling sensation — about half the strength of a feather on your cheek — when rubbing against them. I’d say it’s about as close as one can come to floating on a cloud.”

Several outfitters from Palau’s main hub, Koror, which is about a two-hour flight from Guam, offer half- or full-day boat excursions to Jellyfish Lake. Most trips to the lake incorporate other Rock Islands attractions en route, including some world-class snorkeling stops and a visit to the Milky Way — a cove lined with a “natural spa” of white limestone mud.

For more information: www.visit-palau.com

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.