Good morning from Palau!
Note about pictures: we only have dial-up here so pictures take too long to upload. We'll upload some after we get home.
Yesterday was our first full day here, and we had quite a lot of fun. After pancakes (thanks, Tim!) we headed out to Sam's Dive shop, which is the main shop that Tim has been working with, and took some kayaks out for the day. We kayaked along the shoreline mostly, as the wind was up, making the waves a little choppy. Waters were calm inside the coves, and we were able to see some sunken ships from above. We visited Jellyfish Cover; however the jellyfish must have been shy yesterday, as we only saw one little one toward the surface. We will see far more later this week at Jellyfish Lake, though. We also saw lots of crabs climbing on the rocks and sea snakes, too. We got up close to some WWII Japanese cannons and pillboxes built into the natural caves in the sides of the rocks. At about the halfway point on our kayak trip we stopped at Pinchers Cove, tied up to a buoy, put on our snorkel gear and did some snorkeling and had lunch. The snorkeling here was pretty cool, my highlight being seeing an angelfish.
After we returned our kayaks to Sam's and walked out without anyone asking us to pay (Tim's a regular) we went to Tim's beach club (Palau Pacific Resort - PPR) and had guest passes but once again acted like we belonged and didn't have to use them. The beach club was really nice. I guess there are no natural beaches on Koror (the island where Tim lives) but they trucked in sand to make this one! We got to try out the lounge chairs and the hammocks to recuperate from our kayaking and then hit the reefs for more snorkeling. So, we just put on our masks and walked out into the water...not a bad location! The unique thing about this area was the huge clams. Most of them were open about 20 degrees but they would flinch and start to close if you got too close! My favorite fish was one that was bright yellow and blue and combination of stripes and random spots. They liked to swim around just below us when we were at the surface and when I started to chase them, they stayed just in front of me....it was as if they wanted me to chase them! I eventually got braver and did touch one and he didn't seem to mind!
So all of these islands seem to be really big rocks covered with trees and brush. There are uninhabited islands all over that you probably can't even get on because it's so steep! Well, right near the beach there was an old landing area for Japanese sea planes and the remnants of a control tower on a bit of the island that looked like all the uninhabited islands but it had a trail up it. We climbed up to the top (it wasn't too far) and looked out. It was a pretty cool view of the surrounding area and we waved at Tiff who was trying not to sleep but hadn't really slept yet so she was dragging! We planned to watch the sun set from the beach (to see the sun slip right into the ocean) but the clouds were all along the horizon and the sun disappeared early :-(.
After all this work and sun, some of us (especially Katie) were starving. We decided to try a Korean BBQ. Apparently there are no Palaun restaurants because if the Palauns want Palaun food, they eat at home. If they go out, they want something else! There are a lot of Asian type restaurants, and we did see a Mexican place but Tim says that there are not Mexicans that work there and that there is only a small resemblance to real Mexican food! Anyways, at the Korean BBQ you order a bunch of meat and they cook it at your table. It was really good and hit the spot! A side benefit to this trip may be proficiency with chop sticks since I believe we've used them at least once a day since we left the US!
Well, after dinner almost everyone was ready to crash and we wanted to be rested for diving so we just went home and went to bed. Maybe there will be time for phase 10 tomorrow...
I don't have anything to add except the best part of the day: we passed a cockfight on the way to PPR! As we were driving down the street, I looked to my left and saw to roosters facing each other with a crowd around them. I found myself shouting "Holy crap, is that a cock fight?!" Sure enough, as we passed by we saw the two cocks jump at each other and collide in mid-air about 9 inches off the ground. It was awesome!