BLUE HOLES AND SWIMMING WITH SHARKS IN PALAU
…Sure, like I really want to be anchored to an ocean reef 40ft beneath the surface with schools of sharks swimming around. And, no, I don’t care if they’re asleep! And, what’s that you say? As a warm-up, we’re going to descend 100 ft into a dark, craggy abyss and swim back through a tiny hole in the reef wall?
Despite this introduction to what we’d be doing, I’ve just had a great day beneath the waves – two dives, one on Palau’s Blue Holes and the other on its Blue Corner where you hook yourself to the reef and let the sharks, fish and turtles parade past in the current.
At Blue Holes, you swim briefly along the surface until you’re directly over one of the holes, then release the air in your vest and slowly descend, fins first, about 70ft into the dark abyss. Very spooky for this novice diver but wondrous when you’re down there, looking upwards and watching the silhouette of the other divers moving across the shafts of light before you rise through another hole and move along the reef face.
And, after a pause over lunch, we’re back down again.
Blue Corner is probably Palau’s most popular dive site as you’re assured of seeing schools of sharks and fish. Hook up a securing line to a piece of coral or rock at about 40ft, add a touch of air to your vest for buoyancy to keep you off the reef bed and then just take it all in as the fish (and one particularly friendly Napoleon Wrass) come to you on the current. More fish than I have ever seen in one place, plenty of white and black tipped sharks and turtles – all far more interested in feeding on the reef and cruising the currents than bothering the line of anchored spectators (who, surely, must appear to the sharks as tasty morsels, bobbing up and down at the end of the securing lines like bait on the end of a hook).
It was an overcast day but, as you can see (above), the visibility was fine. We return to the site in five days to do the same on the incoming tide when conditions and marine life I’m told will be even better.
And there’s still Jellyfish Lake to come. Yahoo.