I’ve been still trying to catch up, still trying to write about everything we saw and did in those two weeks on the road/water/trail. And you know? There’s just too much. Too much to write about paddling and snorkeling around Palau, working our way from Nikko Bay on Koror to Ngeruktabel and Ngermaus and Euidelchol and Mecherchar and other islands whose names I can’t pronounce and some that may not even have names. Getting shuttled to the next place, getting in and paddling and snorkeling there. The afternoons stretch on to eternity and I’m lost in the geography of the place, the endless repeating, but not repeating patterns of coastlines, island-after-island crossing after crossing.
I already told you about the giant clams, the mangroves, about snorkeling and diving in Jellyfish Lake, about the rain, the rain, the rain. But there was also paddling to the Milky Way, another “there’s weird stuff on the bottom.” This one is supposedly benign – beneficial, even, or so they say. It’s a shallow bay where a kind of goopy, almost Pay-Doh-like limestone mud aggregates on the bottom. The ritual is to slather yourself up with it, let it dry, then jump back into the water to wash it off, and the promise is that it will take ten years off your age. For Steve and me, it seemed to take much more, but alas, only off our senses of humor.
There were little hikes inland, too. To the site of an ancient Rock Island village, replete with a marauding coconut crab (we ate him that night), and to a piece of defective Yap Island currency. They apparently liked their money big in Yap, and sent stone-cutters to Palau to carve it out of the quartz here. To Japanese pillboxes to… oh dang, I don’t even know how to write about our day on Peleliu, site of some of the worst land battles of the Pacific. Amid all that natural beauty, we spent the day learning how the Americans and Japanese so completely slaughtered each other for two and a half months over an island about half the size of Port Townsend. I’m just, well, I’m not even going to try to write about that.
But there were also sunny interludes drifting among the impossibly-colored fish of the outer reef, diving after sea turtles receding in the depths. Quiet moments at dusk when the sun shone sideways and created shadowed illusions of arches and islands that were even more impossible than the ones we knew to be real. Good nights, and peaceful mornings. Honestly, I’m going to give up trying to write about it all; the moment has passed, and I’m back in another world now, and there are stories to tell about it that I don’t want to let slip by.
But here, here’s at least a first pass at the “A Roll” of pictures from the trip. Enjoy!