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  • After a quick stop in Guam, we arrived in Palau around 9 PM to 86 degree weather. Brittany's hair immediately doubled in volume, due to the drastic increase in humidity. We arrived at our hotel about an hour after landing, thanks to the small airport and our prompt hotel shuttle. After preparing our dive gear, we quickly feel asleep and got some much needed rest for the first day of diving.

  • We headed to Ngemelis Island for the second day of diving. We joined dive guide Sergi and several new people including Ron and Brigitte (from Guam) and Jim from SF.

    The first dive was German Channel, a passageway dredged when Palau was under German rule. We saw a scared octopus, white in color, being chased by a fish. Brittany also spotted a mantis shrimp and a leaf fish. The visibility was relatively poor and unfortunately we didn't get to see any manta rays at the cleaning stations.

    During the break between dives, we were joined by a pod of dolphins swimming and jumping just in front of the boat.

    The next dive was at Dexter's Wall. This was a very relaxed dive and provided lots of great photo opportunities. Brittany got pictures of sparkly shrimp in anemone, and we saw several turtles.

    For dinner, we headed to the nearby Carp restaurant, specializing in local, Filipino and Japanese cuisine, per recommendation from our Tasmanian friends, Marguerite and Peter. In fact, we unexpectedly met said friends at the restaurant and they joined us for dinner. We exchanged some fun stories and learned about their sailing journey halfway around the world.
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  • On the last day, we joined some diving friends for a kayaking tour through the Rock Islands with our dive shop. We got an early start and arrived at Risong Bay around 9 AM. We jumped into the kayaks and paddled into a shallow bay which serves as a nursery for baby black tip sharks - we saw a few of them from a distance. In addition, the lush limestone island are home to an abundance of vegetation and birds (13 endemic species!). We also explored a bay, home to several dugongs, Micronesian sea cows similar to manatees. Unfortunately we didn't see any.

    After the customary bento box lunch, enjoyed in a small cavern, we were met with another tropical rain storm. Given the doctor's orders to not get the stitches wet, we improvised by tying a plastic bag around Nico's head to keep the wound covered. The last stop was Mandarin fish lake in which those that were able partook in some snorkeling. Overall, it was a nice relaxing experience, paddling through the secluded Rock Islands hearing only the sounds of the birds and ocean, though probably not quite worth the (discounted) $120 price tag.

    After exchanging farewells with the dive friends and crew, we grabbed dinner at the Drop Off Bar (the fresh seafood doesn't get old) and then tried to rest up before our 1:45 AM departure (though the mosquitoes weren't cooperating).
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  • The trigger fish attack, although rather annoying, happened at the best possible time during the trip. With no more diving ahead of us, we welcomed the dry day to relax and spend some time out of the water.

    We enjoyed lunch at a spot closer to town specializing in Italian food. The restaurant offered free pick up and drop off which was very convenient. Afterwards, we had the driver drop us off in town so we could look into a few shops and walk around.

    We stopped to get massages at a place recommended by Lureen and Peggy. It had to be a good spot - Peggy got daily massages. We're not sure how they found it because you had to go between some buildings, up some stairs, then down some stairs to find the door.

    The shop was nothing glamorous, but at $20 for an hour body massage, no complaints were made. Our hotel's "special" was $135 for the same. Granted it would be a little fancier, but probably not better.

    After looking in a few shops (we rarely buy souvenirs) we walked back to the hotel, because no trip of ours would be complete without a long walk through the city we're visiting. It was hot. And sweaty. We had to buy ice cream midway to cool down.

    We rounded out the afternoon by the beach and pool, reading our books.

    Almost every person that we encountered and talked to mentioned the Taj. The Taj is an Indian restaurant in town - it also offers free pick up and drop off! Wouldn't it be nice to have that option back home? You wouldn't have to worry about parking and everyone could drink! Anyway, we heard the same thing from everyone, "Great food, kind of pricey." We figured since everyone mentioned it, we should at least give it a try and add it turns out, we'd say the same - great food, kind of pricey!
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