Friday, January 28, 2011

Koror, Palau

When David was little, he watched Man with the Golden Gun. James Bond chasing the bad guys in a speedboat, racing through islands of rock. He sat through the credits to see where this spectacular place might be-- Palau!

David fulfilled his childhood dream of visiting these emerald islands and crystal clear water.

And we got to go too! Eeeeeeeeee!!!

{All of these photos were taken with David's Droid phone or with a cheapy underwater camera that we rented (cheap as in quality but not in price. Oi!).}

The water was inky with deep blues and bright turquoise, yet clear to the bottom. I can't even explain how that is possible.

Can you see why they call them the Rock Islands?

So many shades of blue and green...

Our first stop was a cove that the locals call the Milky Way.

We couldn't snorkel here as the water was too cloudy blue to see. David dove down to the bottom and brought up a handful of white limestone mud to smear over our face and body. (Kicking myself for not having a picture of my mud smeared boys!). The mud is supposed to be very good for your skin and is even sold in spas.

It was bluer than the fake blue of a swimming pool!

The Big Drop-off on the southern corner of Palau was our next stop. This vertical reef wall is popular for both snorkeling and diving.

We opted to snorkel. :) I am so proud of my boys! They weren't scared a bit!

The Big Drop-off is as close to diving as you can get with its bright coral and colorful fish. The pictures just don't do it justice! Picture the gray coral down there as vibrant yellow and red.

The water over the top of the wall ranges from 10-20 feet deep. But the side of the wall? The water turns midnight as the depth of the floor drops 1000 feet!

The day just got better and better...

We had lunch and then swam a short distance from shore to snorkel with black tipped SHARKS!

These guys look far away, but they were literally right below us!

The only advice our guide gave us was to not reach our hands out to the sharks. Uhhh... okaaaay, I guess I can resist that urge.

We still can't decide what was the most exciting adventure in Palau.

Was it the brilliant colors of the Big Drop-off?

Swimming with sharks?

OR swimming with these guys?

Oh man, Jellyfish Lake was SO COOL!

I love this shot of Austin holding one in his hand. (Ack, where is Noah? He loved the jellyfish too.)

Don't worry, these guys don't sting!

CLOUDS of them.

They follow the sun through the lake, constantly brushing up against you. The boys showed NO FEAR.

Me? It made me jump as if a big roach had run across my hand! But when the water is that thick with jellyfish, you just can't avoid it.

So I held one in my hand and realized that it wasn't so bad, quite fun actually! They feel like Jello. :)

Even in the rain, Palau was the most beautiful place I have ever been. I kept thinking WOW, when God created the piney woods of East Texas, He also made this place!

Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? there is no searching of his understanding.
-Isaiah 40:28

His understanding and ways are so much greater than my ways. And His creativity and imagination render me speechless.

It sounds so cliche but words and pictures could never do justice the breathtaking splendor of Palau. What a gift and blessing to behold it with my own eyes, to etch the landscape into my memory!


Annemarie said...

Those are some amazing pictures! I look forward to the day when we can travel and see some places like that. I am glad that you are guys are having such a good time there. Though the jellyfish pics made me a little nervous. :-) Boys without fear...yup, I have one of those.

Beckypdj said...

God is so cool!!! He makes the most amazing stuff :)

Glad you guys are getting to experience this, I think I've experienced it too..........on a season of "Survivor" LOL

Hugs to you all, and yes we will meet this side of Heaven. :)

Gwen T said...

From someone who has lived in the Midwest her whole life - I can't even imagine color like that! That's amazing!

Jellyfish? I've seen Finding Nemo too many times - I don't know if I could have handled that one. :)

So glad you're having a wonderful time!!

Jac said...

Amazing! Don't know if I could do teh swimming with sharks. Brave boys indeed! Love the picture of Austin with the little jellyfish! So glad to hear you're all gaving so much fun! :)

Jamie {See Jamie blog} said...

That is A-MA-ZING!!!!!

So glad y'all are having these awesome experiences! I think the jellyfish would have given me the creeps BIGtime!

Debbi said...

I WENT THERE, TOO!!! I saw the title to your post and just about jumped out of my chair, lol. We have very dear friends that are missionaries to Palau, and my dh and I went to visit them.
We experienced many of the same things there that you did. I kept reading thinking, I wonder if they went to Jellyfish Lake. YAY! That is a sight/experience NOT to be missed. I'm with you...they feel like jello. SO cool!
We would love to go back someday and take our kids. It is truly a magnificent place that speaks of God's creation.
Thank you so much for sharing!! You brought back many wonderful memories to my mind. God is good!

Stephen, Terri, Caden said...

Holy cow... David's got a jellyfish on his head!... oh never mind... that's just his head! Love ya, sis!

Becky said...


Tracy said...

WOW!!!! I would so swim in those! What an awesome experience.

Susan said...

Oh Marsha, I have tears in my eyes looking at these photos and this experience. What a true Gift from God. Such an amazingly beautiful place. Beautiful doesn't even quite do it justice. I love the pictures. What a blessed thing to behold.

Danielle Leigh said...

Those are great pictures! It looks like Nemo in real life! lol I love those! It looks like a great vacation.

Christine said...

BEAUTIFUL! WOW! So glad you got to experience that and that you took pictures so we could share a little. :) I love you!

Anonymous said...

Wow! So gorgeous! What an incredible, memory-making trip for your family. Thanks for sharing it with us!

Unknown said...

How beautiful Marsha! I am living through you girl! Thanks for sharing!

Debbie said...

Incredible! I am so jealous (I want to go!!!) But also so happy that y'all got to experience that. What a fun adventure! I'm also very impressed with you for getting all up in the jellyfish's business. And getting so close to the sharks! I hope our family can go there someday--so cool! I love you!

RaD said...

Wow! Great pictures. So much beauty! You're blessed!

Leticia said...

Beautiful pictures and what an awesome experience!!! I'm not sure I'd be brave enough, but my husband would be thrilled since he's a diver and thinks I need to become certified too! ;) Definately looks like you got a full day of school in! LOL! :)

Unknown said...

Absolutely magnificent Marsha. I love that you had this adventure and were able to explore such a beautiful part of God's creation. Beautiful in every way!

Michelle said...

{sigh} beautiful! just beautiful! these pictures are amazing!!! my girls would totally LOVE to do something like this {i would love to watch from far, far away ha!}

FHL said...

So amazing! The pictures are just gorgeous. Now the shark part! way! But the rest...I'm ready to contact a travel agent!

Hope you are doing well Marsha! :o)

Nancy said...

What a gorgeous place. That beautiful water almost took my breath away. It all just looks so serene. Our God is such a wonderful Creator. Sigh . . . Enjoy!

5 Boys and a Princess said...

In my botany class this morning we watched a video and this lake was featured on it and how the jellyfish colonize algae, etc. It's really very cool and its fun watching my professor tie herself into knots trying to explain how it evolved while defying all the rules of nature, I'm thinking she's going to hurt herself with the contortions it takes to believe in evolution

Anyways... it was neat to be able to think about you guys having just been there.

Rachel said...

How spectacular! I sighed and oohed and ahhed over the pictures... what an amazing place to see!