Palau in Micronesia, is home to some world class diving. It offers an abundance of dives with sea walls, caves, sheer drop-offs and a vast variety of marine life for all Palau divers.
The beautiful island of Palau (also known as Belau), is a 100 mile long archipelago and is located on the south east of the Philippines in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. The archipelago stretches over 650 km (400 miles) from the atoll of Kayangel, which is in the north of the Islet of Tobi, located in the South. There are eight main islands which make up the bulk of Palau and are all inhabited, however the archipelago itself, includes more than 200 islands. This is part of the larger Caroline Islands chain which includes the Federated States of Micronesia.
The majority of the islands represent two geological formations and are located within a barrier reef. The biggest islands are rugged with jungle and are filled with grass terraces. The Floating Garden Islands, formally known as the Rock Islands, are made of a limestone formation. While at the northernmost tip of the island Kayangel is made of a classical coral atoll.
The Scuba diving Palau has so much to offer to all divers who take a dive trip there. Palau is host to around 20 dive centres which mainly use small speed boats in order to get around. Palau scuba diving has to be a must visit on your scuba wish lists. Read on to find out why.
Research shows that Palau approximately hosts around 41,000 dive visitors each year, many of which stay in liveaboard accommodation. Around 8,000 of these visitors visit the island specifically to dive with sharks.
It wasn’t until 1994, when Palau became a nation state. Soon, it is to be established as the world’s first nation-wide marine reserve, labelling its entire ocean as an underwater sanctuary.
Officials of Palau hope that with the new reserve, tourism revenues as well as fish populations will increase sustainability. Palau is located by a deep trench which attracts large pelagic species such as manta rays, bigeye tuna, silky sharks, swordfish and marlin which Palau divers are often lucky enough to encounter, it's no wonder that Palau scuba diving is so popular.
Scuba diving in Palau, Blue Corner Wall is without doubt one of the most famous and most popular requested dive destinations in Palau. Other popular Palau dive sites such as the Ulong Channel, are located south west of the barrier reef that surrounds Babeldaob, the main island of Palau. Although Palau itself has a lot to offer, the rich diversity of marine life and the vast range of large pelagic species, Palau diving, Blue Corner in particular, is the place to visit and should be towards the top of your dive wish lists.
It is said that Blue Corner is not for the faint hearted and the novice divers. This is an advance dive destination with some unpredictable and strong currents. These currents in particular are known to be the exact conditions that attract many different sharks, mostly towards the ridge that fades out into the open ocean and then suddenly drops to thousands of feet.
Dependent on the currents, this dive normally starts along either side of the wall where Palau divers typically drop to about 90 degrees and where they will be greeted by anemones, eels, gorgonian fans and an array of soft corals along the side of the wall. Here it is possible to meet the odd reef shark or a cruising ray but they would normally keep their distance at this point.
As you move closer to the coral shelf you will see that it drops at around 35 degrees to 60 degrees depending on what side you are on. This is where you will begin to see even more beautiful soft coral. In this location the currents will get stronger and you will start to see more cruising sharks up above you head. If you are not prepared, the upcoming current can easily take you over the wall, so make sure you are ready to hook onto it with your reef hook.
Sit tight and get ready for the ride of your life! On a good day the upwelling swirls from the depths cause these strong currents and the currents are what carry the smaller organisms which attract smaller fish, these smaller fish then attract the larger fish, who then attract the even bigger fish which bring the eagle rays, sharks and the very large Napolean Wrass.
All of a sudden, the tranquillity is disturbed by a feeding frenzy... This gets the entire reef jumping, including the odd and unsuspecting diver who may be too relaxed during the ride. Unless you have your camera on standby and ready, you will miss the best shots as everything here moves so quickly! And the best thing is, is that you are right in the middle of all the action!
Blue Corner really is one of those dive spots that seems different each time you dive it and you will most certainly want to come back and visit again and again.
Blue Corner Palau is an action-packed scuba dive location and promises at least 13 different species of sharks which circle just beyond the reef wall. Diving at the Blue Corner location are usually in very strong currents, especially where the sharks are known to swim off of the edge of the slope. It is common for divers to enter the water up current and then attach themselves by hook and line to the reef upon arrival at the sharks. Once you are using the reef hook, you will be able to effortlessly float away with the current as easy as a feather in the wind. Once you are settled and remain still, you will be able to see the sharks begin to swim by. The stiller you remain, the closer the sharks will come! Grey reef sharks, white tips and large schools of black snappers and jacks swirl slowly in the areas around you.
Palau Blue Corner is where the magic happens. Whilst Palau diving, you will not believe the abundance of marine life surrounding you, it will be overwhelming.
Another great dive that this location boasts are the Blue Holes in Palau. These Blue Holes are what is known as a huge cavern. This cavern offers the perfect backdrop of ambient light and bright blue water. For divers wishing to return home from Palau with an epic picture of themselves enjoying the splendour of the ocean, then look no further than Blue Holes Palau. There is no doubt that you will have the best time Palau scuba diving. The Palau diving reviews really do speak for themselves. This dive location is out of this world!
It goes without saying that Palau scuba diving offers us a lot of variance when it comes to marine life. Seeing Clown Triggerfish at Blue Corner is just half of the excitement of this unique dive spot. The other half lies within the sandy channels that cross the shelf, a little further back from the drop off. As you unhook yourself from the ridge, usually exhausted from all of the excitement, you will drift back and the strong currents will subside. On the hard coral covered shelf you will be able to find hundreds of different species of fish. Manta rays, eagle rays, turtles and Napoleon wrasse are not uncommon in this area. If that isn't enough to persuade you to take a trip to Palau you can also find here clown triggers, triggerfish, jacks, large dogtooth tuna, schooling barracudas and many different species of butterfly fish. Don't get to close to the king triggers, as they are known to become very aggressive when it comes to defending their territory and in some cases chase divers all the way up to the surface.
When you move towards the sandy pathway, you will often come across white tip sharks sleeping on the bottom of the sea bed. During certain times of the year in Palau, you are able to encounter enormous schools of moorish idols. Huge spawning aggregations of Bohar Snapper are another thing that Palau is well known for. And remember to look out for large schools of barracuda during your safety stop past the coral ridge looking over into the open ocean.
This splendid wall dive is a favourite by many pelagic. Expect to see marine life of all different kinds and ensure you take your camera! If you manage to tear your eyes away from the array of different fish, the wall is also host to thick corals, home to nudibranch, mantis shrimps and morays to same just a few attractions. This is one of the main reasons that so many people visit Palau.
Palau's wet season is know to be from May to November. The best time to dive Palau and to see sharks would be during the months of March and April, with fewer sharks turning up in May, October and November. The currents and temperature are the key environmental factors which affect the shark numbers, the faster the current and the cooler the water the more sharks will be around.
Palau is an all year round diving destination and offers a number of liveaboards which operate every month of the year.
Water temperatures are know to be very stable throughout the year with most months averaging between temperatures of 29°C and 30°C. It is only likely to dip below that range slightly in the months February and March. Divers most commonly wear 3mm full length wetsuits and hoods during the cooler months.
Air temperatures are normally within the 20s (70 to 85F). Surprisingly for a destination with such nutrient rich water and a strong current, the visibility is quite often magnificent. It can drop to 15 metres - 20 metres during July to September, but otherwise it if usually in excess of around 40 metres. During heavier rains and stronger winds the visibility drops a little. Although it is always a good time to dive in Palau, general wisdom shared is that the very best conditions exist between the months of November and May. What are you waiting for? Go dive Palau!