Jellyfish Lake

Updated: Nov 23, 2020

There is a large section of Palau known as the rock islands. These island are limestone towers that shoot straight out of the water, they are somehow capable of growing a fairly thick jungle on every flat surface creating a landscape of giant green mushroom islands. A main component of the limestone is calcium and after so many millions of years the salt water erodes the calcium creating channels and undersea rivers into the island, some of these became lakes within the islands. Sometimes the river collapses, yet water is still allowed to sieve into the lake from the ocean, but not large enough to let any fish in. One of these lakes is home to a particular species of Jellyfish, after millions of years of isolation from the sea or any other marine life these Jellyfish are stingless as they have no natural predators. These Jellyfish have flourished and populate this small lake literally in the millions. Jellyfish lake is one of the most popular destinations to snorkel in Palau, and one of the most popular things to do in all of Micronesia, so when I found out the dive boat I was going on today was making a stop there first I was pretty stoked. To get to the lake there is a fairly step and rough climb into the interior of the island. The lake itself seemed more like some kind of lagoon. There was a dock at the end of the trail, we were instructed to swim out to the middle. We were also told that although the jellyfish don’t sting they do have a little prick and it might be felt if anyone was freshly shaved. I remember thinking about why I would let one touch my face in the first place. As I started the swim I noticed a rouge jellyfish here and there, but after about 100m I was surrounded thousands of jellyfish. They varied in size from being as large as my head down to the size of my finger nail on my pinky. I took a deep breath and dove down a little bit, in a second I was surrounded on every side by small pink pulsating umbrellas. The experience was unlike anything planet earth can offer and was something truly not from this world, or it was at least straight out of some kind of science fiction novel. I took a kick with my fins and glided through endless jellyfish in what appeared to be a bottomless lake, they carelessly bumped off of my face mask and skin. Suddenly I felt a prick on my lip and I remembered thinking about how ridiculous I thought the shaving comment was from before.

After about an hour I kicked back to shore onto the rest of the day’s dive feeling somewhat sure that I had just experienced one of the more surreal and amazing things I will ever do. The underwater housing I bought for my point and shoot camera just paid for itself.

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