9.08pm - All That Glitters
Trip Start Jan 07, 2010
77Trip End Dec 13, 2010
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Thought The First: It's just occurred to me that my country has a new Prime Minister, and I have no idea who it is – I’ve not been online since I got here and the TV doesn’t have BBC World, only Fox News, who couldn’t care less about the UK election. I wonder who won. I bet it’s bloody Cameron, isn’t it? Jesus. Oh, shut up Louise – this is my blog, I’m allowed to dislike the Tories on it.
Thought The Second: I mention sheep a lot more than you’d expect in this one.
I am going to write this as quickly as possible because I’m absolutely shattered. After the late night flight thing, I got up bright and early yesterday to snorkel, figuring that would wake me up. Instead, because I was rained off, I instead went and lay on a couch with my eyes closed for a bit (although admittedly, the sensation of having my eyebrow hair ripped out by the roots prevented me from being fully captured by slumber). Afterwards, finding myself drowsy and at a loose end, I booked my Jellyfish Lake tour for today, and then considered a massage but thought that would definitely send me off, so figured I’d just have a quick nap. I only slept for a couple of hours, but I should have known better – I’ve always been a complete insomniac, and if I nap at any time you can pretty much write off sleeping that night altogether.
I had to be at the PPR jetty at 8.30am today to be picked up for the snorkelling tour, so figured I’d try and be in bed for about 10pm or 11pm so as to give me time to get some breakfast first. At 9.40pm, I finished last night’s blog, and got into bed, flicking through the channels for something to zone out in front of.
"Hey, HBO are showing Iron Man at ten. Cool!"
“Jesus, Downey’s fine. I wish he wasn’t such a hippie.”
“Hmm. I know it’s midnight, but I’m not really that tired. I know, I’ll pack my bag for tomorrow. One less thing to do in the morning.”
“Oh my god, is that Halle Berry and Eddie Murphy? I might watch this til I fall asleep, it’s bound to be hilariously bad. (Bonus points if you can name the movie without IMDbing it.)”
“ Hmm. It’s alright, actually. I might watch the rest.”
“God, what happened to Eddie Murphy? How did he go from Coming To America to Meet Dave? Bloody hell, it’s two o’clock. Okay, I definitely need to sleep now. Lie down, close your eyes. Think sheeplike thoughts.”
“Sheep are wank.”
“Shit, is that the time? How did it get to three o’clock already? I’ve got to get up at 6.30 if I want to have a shower before I go! I need to fall asleep, like, NOW.”
“Okay, I’m still not tired, I’m still bored, and now I’m stressing because I can’t sleep.”
“Maybe I’ll turn the TV on again. No. GO TO SLEEP.”
“Oh God. The Fast And The Furious? Seriously?”
“It’s a sad state of affairs when I’m watching Paul Walker gurn his way through $40million of Universal’s money instead of sleeping. (I had to look those facts up; the perfectionist in me demanded it.)”
“Fuck, it’s four o’clock.”
“Right. RIGHT. SLEEP. Turn the damn TV off, you don’t even like it, you’re just watching it because it’s there and you’re vaguely enjoying taking the piss out of Vin Diesel’s head.”
DING DING DING!
“Okay, it might be time to rethink your alarm, because it’s five to five and it’s due to go off in just over ninety minutes. Bugger the shower, your hair might be a state but you’re only going to be in the water all day anyway.”
BING BONG BING, BING BONG BING, BING BONG BI-
“Oh, it can’t be 7.15 already. Oh bollocks, it is as well. Fuck breakfast then.”
“Shit. It’s ten past eight. Right. Probably best get up now then. I wonder what I look like after all this.”
All in all, not the most successful evening ever. I was very sad that the sole reason I came to Palau – to swim in Jellyfish Lake – was going to be pants because I’d be too tired to enjoy it. Fortunately, my fears were entirely unjustified, because whilst I’m severely wilting now, I was full of beans pretty much all day today, and I’m so pleased, because it was utterly excellent. I don’t know if the pics will do it justice, but I’ll try.
So despite the events of the previous eight hours, at 8.25am I was waiting patiently on the dock for the Sam’s Tour boat to pick me up. I thought it was just going to be a Jellyfish Lake tour, but it was actually a few sites around the Rock Islands, which are, oddly enough, islands made of rock near Koror. Specifically, limestone. Our guide today was a lovely Palauan girl called Emerald (I know, right?) who led the intrepid snorkelling team of myself and a Californian woman called Tami through the day’s activities.
After the Milky Way, we moved on to Turtle Cove. Tami jumped in first, and when she surfaced, she immediately yelled “HOLY MOLY!” (Aw. Americans.) I could see there were some corals down there from the boat, because the water in Palau is as clear as glass and almost as
We broke for lunch on a small beach and hung out with a few scuba divers who were doing similar tours of the islands. Tami is thinking of doing her PADI, so she chatted to one guy about NitrOx and neutral buoyancy whilst I made sheep eyes at his rather attractive friend and rocked my Cute British Accent (© Colin Frizzle) in his direction.
A brief aside: alternate titles I considered for this blog were “I Don’t Think You’re Ready For This Jelly” and “Golden Showers”.
Tami did the lake yesterday and had not enjoyed the steep hike up there, so declined to join us. Instead, she snorkelled around the dock, where there were yet more corals. Eddie, the skipper, stayed with her, and Emerald and I set off into the woods.
Now, if you’re wondering how jellyfish spontaneously evolved in a lake – well, they didn’t. It was once an inlet, but millennia of shifting plates threw up a few limestone barriers to the inlet entrance and cut both the water and its inhabitants off from the ocean. There are only three species living in there today – a kind of sardine, some brown thing with white stripes that looks like an angelfish that’s the size of a clownfish (Emerald told me the name but I can’t remember
The jellies follow the sun, so at different times of day they can be found in different areas of the lake. When we arrived in the afternoon, they weren’t too far from the dock, so we jumped in and began to swim towards them. At first, I couldn’t see anything (not even the bottom of the lake, which was a shock after the crystal clear waters in Turtle Cove). Then I saw one little yellow blob in the distance that looked far too round to be a leaf, and seemed to be moving. I got closer and yes, it was – it was a jellyfish! Wait, there were ten of them! No, a hundred! Then, as I slowly followed Emerald’s lead, trying hard not to kick any of them with my fins (which was becoming more difficult by the second), I found myself surrounded.
Well, needless to say, I fell completely in love with them. I want one. I want a dozen. It actually made me feel bad about eating jellyfish in Manila (I’m still on my “Eating Weird Things” kick). I could have stayed there all day, or all year, but we had to move on to the next site. So reluctantly, after far too short a time gently tormenting the little creatures by creating little currents with my hands to confuse them or stopping their progress by putting my hand over their bell, I began to gradually extricate myself from the midst of a jelly sea.
Our final stop was somewhere Emerald said most people didn’t go, because a lot of people didn’t know about it.
“This is the wreck,” she said casually.
Thinking of the small wrecked boats in Stanley and South Georgia, I presumed this would be something similar. When we got in the water, my jaw would have dropped if I hadn’t had it clamped around my mouthpiece.
According to Emerald, it’s Japanese, although she didn’t know when it sank or why. I’m guessing that judging by the coral growth all along the hull, it’s been down there for a while – a souvenir of World War II, perhaps? Whatever the circumstances of its arrival, it was magnificent. To be honest, I thought to see a proper shipwreck I’d have to start diving, but this again was just two or three metres below us. See? Snorkelling is fun too, you PADI people.
After circling the wreck a few times and snapping the still intact prop, mast, and forward cabin (NB: snap as in photograph, not snap as in snap), Tami and I reluctantly climbed back onto the boat for our trip back to the dive shop. A truly exceptional day all round, I thought, and tomorrow I’ll do it all again off the beach of the hotel. Then a nice massage before I have to haul my ass to the airport! Excellent!
If I was a sheep this shit just wouldn’t be an issue.
* Melly, this is the reason for my rather curt reply. I apologise wholeheartedly, but as you can see, I was sleep-deprived and your timing was most unfortunate. I’d managed to drop off by the time you texted back, which is probably for the best as I might not have been able to control the entirely undeserved vitriol bubbling up inside me if you’d woken me a second time.
** It was. There was one in Hawaii about the right time.