Getting to your destination is part of the fun when diving in Palau, and carving your way through remote uninhabited islands on one of Fish n' Fins 225 HP speed boats is definitely not a hardship. The trail to Jellyfish Lake, however, may be just that. The rope-lined trail is a steep 15 minute climb for most. Be sure to take the opportunity to catch your breath by reading the informational signs about Jellyfish Lake on your way up.
Everyday, a pulsating mob of over one million jellyfish follow the sun from the west end of Jellyfish Lake to the east. This daily sun migration is done to sustain life-giving algae in the jellyfish's body. Their need for sunlight is so strong that when the waters hit a shadow from overhanging trees, the jellyfish stop as if there were an invisible line. The sun also plays a pivotal role in highlighting its subject matter, and sun rays reflect up through the water, casting accentuating beams of light around and even through the jellyfish. It's a rather psychedelic sight to see.
In addition to the abnormal amount of jellyfish, here they are even more unique because they don't sting. Over 12,000 years ago, sea levels rose to a point where water began to form marine lakes through basins and tunnels in Palau's Rock Islands. Over the years, Jellyfish Lake became isolated, and in turn the jellyfish evolved without a need for self defence.
Snorkeling Jellyfish Lake is like joining a bizarre dream world. Jellyfish bob into you, ranging in size from the tip of your pinky finger to bigger than your head. Their constant pulsing is mesmerizing, as if they are in sync and random all at once. Snorkelling Jellyfish Lake will give you a whole new sense of surrealism.
When to Go to Jellyfish Lake
A few years ago, all the jellyfish in the lake were killed by extreme and sustained hot weather. Luckily the eggs survived, and the next year the jellyfish were back in even greater numbers. If you're flying all the way to Palau for this particular experience, it might be worth emailing Fish n' Fins ahead of time to check in on the status of the lake.
Odds n' Ends
You are not able to use sunscreen before entering the Lake, as it is harmful to the jellyfish. If you burn easily, bring a light t-shirt to wear while snorkelling.
Jellyfish Lake is visited by most in the middle of the morning or afternoon. To avoid the crowds and have the lake all to yourself, make sure to go around lunchtime.
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