“Swimming in warm, golden Jellyfish Lake, I’m surrounded by friendly intelligent jellyfish,” writes travel journalist and photographer Sharon Spence Lieb. “At first I’m afraid I’ll be stung. But these creatures are different: They caress my body and embrace my face. These gelatinous orbs seem downright curious. If I could laugh underwater I would. Who would ever think jellyfish could be so harmless? I’ll remember this sensational wildlife encounter as one of the most wonderful experiences of my life. You’ve got to experience this for yourself.”

Lieb lives near the Atlantic Ocean and the beaches of Charleston, South Carolina. She knows that encounters with jellyfish can often end in pain. “I once got tangled in a jellyfish’s tentacles,” she recalls. “I was covered in painful welts. But Palau’s jellyfish don’t sting. They’ve evolved without predators, and they’re living peacefully in Palau. Maybe they’re official greeters. Jellyfish Lake is one of the reasons Palau is called the 8th Natural Wonder of the World as well as one of The Seven Underwater Wonders of the World.”


Most have heard of Palau as one of Planet Earth’s legendary dive and snorkel destinations. But for those who wonder where it is, you’re not alone. Located in the westernmost corner of Micronesia, Palau is an archipelago of over 586 islands. Only 20,000 people call this area home. But those willing to travel a to this remote paradise will swim in the translucent Pacific Ocean with over 1400 species of fish, 500 species of coral living underneath the stunning Rock Islands….and incredible jellyfish in Palau’s Jellyfish Lake.

“Jellyfish Lake is a well-known tourist destination,” says Yositaka Adachi, Governor of Koror State. “To swim among millions of harmless jellyfish is an unforgettable experience. Our Government is vigilant about conserving and managing our ecological integrity. We are devoted to preserving our natural environment as part of our heritage and culture.”


The golden jellyfish found only in Jellyfish Lake are called “Mastigias Papua Etpisoni.” Living in their tissues are zooxanthellae, which are symbiotic dinoflagellates. Theirs is a special relationship: the jellyfish rotates in a circle and swims around Jellyfish Lake, making sure the zooxanthellae get enough sunlight for photosynthesis. In exchange, the zooxanthellae provide their jellyfish with energy and nutrients.

The jellyfish capture tiny organisms for food, with stinging cells inherited from their ancestor, Mastigias Papua. But they did not evolve to eat large vertebrates like humans. They bob peacefully in the sun and are completely harmless to snorkelers exploring beautiful Jellyfish Lake.


These unusual jellyfish swim in a migratory pattern seen only in Jellyfish Lake. At sunrise, they swim towards the east shoreline, stopping at the shadow line formed by overhanging trees and rocks. They hover there in the sunlit seawater. As the sun arcs overhead throughout the day, the jellies turn and swim towards the west shoreline, again stopping to bob at the shadow line. Like sunflowers, and tourists snoozing on the beach, Palau’s jellyfish are ardent sun worshippers.


“For twenty years, I’ve traveled the world, publishing articles about my intense encounters with wildlife,” says travel journalist Sharon Lieb. “I’ve kayaked with orca killer whales, snorkeled with beluga whales, swum with forty foot long whale sharks and photographed wild Canadian polar bears. But, never in my life have I been lovingly touched by a creature that is supposedly dangerous. Their curiosity and intelligence is humbling. Holding a jellyfish in your hand is a real The Twilight Zone moment. I suspended my fear, and floated into the Fourth Dimension, where all creatures share the joy of being alive. Open your heart for this life changing experience.”

(Note: for those interested in a little sneak preview, check out this video:

Dive into 2012 with Palau’s Ocean-Based Events

In Palau, the ocean sets the stage for 2012. Known as one of the “Seven Underwater Wonders of the World,” Palau hosts some of the most unique and truly exceptional ocean-based events, including Shark Week; Wrexpedition (featuring World War II dive wrecks); Kids Sea Camp; and Diversity Fiesta.

Shark enthusiasts will enjoy a shark themed week full of adrenalin-packed activities as Fish ‘n Fins together with the Micronesian Shark Foundation (MSF) holds its 10th annual Shark Week at Palau’s Fish ‘n Fins dive shop, from March 14-21, 2012. Between February and April, hundreds of grey reef sharks migrate to the waters of Palau to mate, which generates a great opportunity for shark lovers to dive amongst them and to participate in data collection. Participants will get the opportunity to dive world famous sites like Blue Corner, Peleliu Corner and Shark City without other divers being around. Shark Week features nightly lectures, presentations and documentaries presented by some of the world’s most admired leaders in underwater exploration, conservation and discovery. Hotel/dive packages for Shark Week start at $1,250 per person and include accommodations, multiple days of diving, seminars, participation in studies and research, lunches, transportation, an exclusive T-Shirt and a Gala Dinner.

More than sixty-five years ago, during WWII, Palau was a major Japanese military base. On March 30th and 31st, 1944, US Navy bombers and fighter planes raided the Japanese fleet and sank more than 60 ships and seaplanes in and around the lagoon. Today, Palau is renowned for its beautiful lagoons and thrilling marine action but is also the resting place for the “Japanese Lost Fleet of the Rock Islands.”

The 10th annual Wrexpedition is one of Fish ‘n Fins annual special events, which lasts one week and includes five days of diving; three tanks a day, seminars and tech-diving. Between the dives and during the seminars, participants have the unique opportunity to watch extraordinary documentaries about WWII. Wrexpedition 2012 will be held from June 04-11, 2012. Dive packages are available and include accommodations, multiple days of diving, lunches, transportation, seminars, movie nights, a T-Shirt and much more.

Sam’s Tours’ Kids Sea Camp makes a third appearance in Palau this year in collaboration with Sport Diver Magazine and PADI Diving Society. Scheduled for the week of June 23-30, 2012, this trip “sets the table” for an unforgettable family vacation. With great value in mind, Sam’s Tours offer a variety of packages to accommodate a full family of divers or combination of divers and non-divers.

The basic “Vacation Package” features seven days and seven nights of luxury accommodations; daily meals that consist of seven breakfasts, six lunches and six dinners, including Welcome Dinner, Taj, Beach BBQ, Kramer’s and Graduation “Survivor Day”; round trip airport transfers; transportation for all excursions; Rock Island Tour/Jellyfish Lake; full-day guided Kayak Tour; Babeldaob Island Tour; Ngardmau Waterfall Hike; City Tour; and visit to Palau International Coral Reef Center. Diver packages include all of the above as well as five days of diving at the famed Palau dive sites.

Palau’s “Diversity Fiesta” celebrates the destination’s unique combination of great diving during the day and gourmet cuisine and wine at night. Located in the western pacific and under Japanese rule for decades, combined with culinary influence from Philippines, USA, Malaysia and Indonesia, Palau’s cuisine is a truly Pacific fusion of sea food, fresh fruits and vegetables and spices.

Tova Harel, Fish ‘n Fins and Ocean Hunter owner is an accomplished and innovative chef, cookbook publisher and food and wine lover, and will be the ever gracious host at night with exotic meals. During the day, guests will dive Palau’s best sites and at night there will be a celebration of food and wines from the Pacific Rim. Diners will be served at Barracuda restaurant and on deserted islands under the stars.

The special weeklong fiesta is scheduled from September 3-10, 2012 and the diving program includes a rotation of the following: Day 1- Dancing Sharks: Dive Palau’s blue corners and sheer walls; Day 2- Forlorn WWII Wrecks: explore our 30+ historic wrecks; Day 3- Mysterious Caves: Temple of Doom and Chandelier cave; Day 4- Colorful Coral gardens: Macro heaven and Jelly Fish Lake; Day 5- Majestic Blue Holes: our famous blue holes.


From Palau Island Home!

"Modeled on an African safari lodge, this 1,200 square foot house uses local hardwoods, canvas, and an open plan in order to be as close to nature as possible - at times, a little too close. Salt spray blows through the bedroom. Five-foot long, monitor lizards ander through the living room. Monkeys, including our pet, Gomez, rummage through the kitchen cupboards.

But the little property does have some nice features, including it's own beach, fantastic snorkeling, a water catchment system, and an outdoor shower with views up and down the coast. The closest neighbor is over two miles away.

Building it involved, among other awkward things, mailing ourselves 12,500 screws and digging 44 holes two feet into compacted limestone - without power tools. The holes alone took us a month. Even with the seven friends we imported to help us build.

"Welcome to paradise," was a sweaty refrain as we whacked crowbars into rock, "Welcome to paradise." "


Adventure Girl Visits Palau's Jellyfish Lake!

Check out Adventure Girl Stefanie Michaels as she dives in Jellyfish lake to swim with and hold jellyfish! How awesome is that??

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.