I had been to Palau in April/May 2006, when my friends Stef and Joe lived there. In fact, Palau was where I learned to dive! So, I was so excited to go back with Dan and make some memories together.
I knew Palau would be wonderful...the only catch being how long it would take us to get there. Dan and I left Los Angeles on February 4th in the morning and our flights were as follows: LA => Honolulu => Guam => Yap => PALAU! 36 hours later, we finally made it, and lost a day in the process as we crossed over the International Date Line.
We arrived to our hotel room in Palau around 2am the morning of February 6th, and immediately fell asleep. We woke up around 8am the next morning, very jet lagged. I remember waking up and saying that there was no way I would go diving, I just wanted to take a nap and be lazy. Well, 10 minutes later, Dan comes in and tells me that the whole group is going diving and I needed to be ready in 30 minutes...I was definately not a happy camper.
However, as soon as I was up and when the boat arrived to pick us up, I was so excited that I could hardly stand it. We were planning to do five days of diving with Sam's Dive Shop. This was also the shop where I had gotten certified and couldn't wait to see if any of the people I had met before were still there! We got our gear together, and were told that our first dive site of the day would be Virgin Blue Holes.
On a side note, before we left for Palau, I totally geeked out on all the Palau diving info that I could find, and found this awesome dive shop that provides really detailed descriptions of the famous dive sites in Palau. So, for those of you diving junkies, I will include the links here so you can geek out too!!
So, when told we were be diving Virgin Blue Holes, my excitement climbed even more...this was one of Stef's favorite sites to dive, and I couldn't wait to see it for myself!! Meanwhile, we had an amazing drive through the Rock Islands out to the dive site. Some of the things we saw included:
The water was truly the color pictured above. It was amazing! Plus, it was warm, like 85 degrees, which was such a treat considering we were coming from Minnesota! We were all in awe, and believe me, I was very glad I had gotten out of bed for this!
Virgin Blue Holes was a great first dive. We saw beautiful fish and turtles and even a shark. Since this was our first dive of the trip, we didn't bring our newly acquired dive camera, but really wished we would have had it along.
Following the dive, we had a nice lunch on a little island picnic spot.
After a nice lunch of a sushi bento, we got back on the boat, and we ended our first day of diving with a nice easy dive at a site named Ngerchong Inside. This was a gentle dive over a beautiful coral garden, and we saw a lot of fish, including some really neat looking leaf fish and several large schools of fish.
We took the picturesque ride back through the Rock Islands to our hotel, the Sea Passion, which would be our home for the next week. The boat told us they would see us promptly at 8am the next day, and we all meandered off to try to get some much needed sleep.