According to the story, at the end of the rainbow, there’s a pot of gold. But in reality, there’re lovely Pacific islands, surrounded by crystal clear water glistering in the sun, with the bottom full of shipwrecks and coral reefs.

Far from Europe, between the Philippines and Indonesia, there’s an island nation called Palau. The archipelago covers a total of over 250 islets and islands, formed from volcanic rocks and coral reefs. It’s famous for its magnificent diving sites – real enthusiasts of fauna and flora of the Pacific Ocean come here from all continents.

Only 8 of the islands are inhabited. The population mainly uses the language of Palau, but the official language is English. The international airport is located on the main island, Babeldaob, which is connected with Koror (second biggest) by a bridge. Unlike the other islands, this one is very mountainous – and here is located the highest peak of Palau, Ngerchelchuus.

Palau - a paradise for divers

The fame of Palau, as a place ideal for diving goes back to the times of Jacques Cousteau. This French traveler and explorer of the seas recognized a 300-meter fault, Ngemelis, the world's best diving wall. While gliding along it, you can watch the fabulously colorful fish and other sea creatures, including sharks, jellyfish, which don’t sting, and soft corals.

It’s worth mentioning that all the sharks of Palau (also called. man-eaters) are protected. Illegal fishing has contributed to the depletion of their numbers, and all this just for their fins. Shark fin soup is a real rarity for tourists from Asian countries, and the fin itself is considered an aphrodisiac. Fishermen mutilate the fish and then release it back into the water, where, unable to swim any longer, it dies in torments. The best way to fight against the greed of poachers is resignation from this delicacy.

Underwater miracle number 1

The water around the islands is so crystal clear that you can lose a sense of depth – the visibility reaches up to 60 meters. No wonder that Palau has the title of underwater miracle number 1, given by the Association CEDAM, focusing oceanologists and marine biologists.

Divers can also lose the track of time, swimming through dozens of underwater tunnels connecting the ocean with inland lakes. At the bottom, gently wrapped in the mud, lie hydroplanes, warships and aircrafts of World War II - a huge treat for fans of wreck diving.

A popular place for diving would be one of the five lakes of the island Echerchar, the famous Jellyfish Lake, also called the Medusa Lake. As the name implies, it’s inhabited by a large population of jellyfish, among which you can swim like among golden flowers. Their daily mass migrations are a unique phenomenon that can be observed in the lake. As the only one in the entire archipelago, it’s accessible to tourists and you can dive in it as well (without scuba). Besides jellyfish, it’s also a home for rosary crocodiles, but they aren’t dangerous for swimmers either.

A blissful laziness in paradise

People, who will visit Palau, quickly realize that time flows more slowly on the island. The inhabitants of the archipelago have discovered that it’s worth investing in tourism, because a happy tourist equals a customer, who comes back again and leaves the money.  That doesn’t change the fact that anyone here is in a hurry. A worker, who supervises a particular attraction, and is sleeping instead of working, isn’t a rare sight whatsoever. Tourists get used to it, and moreover, it helps them to find the inner peace and rest properly.

Palau islets resemble gold coins scattered around the sea. And not without the reason the slogan “Rainbow’s End” is the country’s motto.

Translation: Karolina Strzałkowska

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