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While downtown Kuror may be somewhat lacking in charm, Palau's fabled Rock Islands offer some of the most beautiful ocean scenery in the world. The majority of international tourism comes to Palau for one reason, world-class scuba diving. This is not a new discovery, Palau has been known for decades. At this point there are a great variety of lodgings, dive shops, and live-aboards ready to serve divers of every budget and temperament. The best dive sites, while clustered together in a few regions, are relatively a long boat ride (30-90 minutes) from shore. Thus Palau is a particularly good place to dive from a live-aboard.
Diving Truk Lagoon is famous to anyone with a reasonable knowledge of WWII or a serious interest in some of the world's absolutely finest wreck diving. During a pivotal battle in WWII, more than 80 ships and 400 planes were sunk inside Truk Lagoon. Now 60 years later, these implements of war are covered in soft corals and home to a cosmos of marine life. It is a myth that all the wrecks are deep, and a delightful fact that some can even be explored while snorkeling. Truk Lagoon is nothing sort of an awesome scuba diving destination.
Though Micronesia weather patterns seem to be changing, typically its rainy season is July through November and the dry season is January to June. Divers will be glad to know that Micronesia's water temperature hovers around 86 degrees Fahrenheit all year round. Shark mating season is February to April. Moorish Idol migration is in March. The Groupers spawn in May and June. Manta Rays are expected December through February, but may be seen at other times of year as well. There is something special for scuba divers in Micronesia all year round.
The Federated States of Micronesia are a group of islands in the middle of Pacific, west of Hawaii, and east of the Philippines. Located just north of the Equator, the warm waters of Micronesia support excellent coral formations and a broad diversity of marine life. The major islands for Micronesia diving are Guam, Palau, Truk, Yap, Pohnpei, and Kosrae.
It is the variety of scuba diving that makes this destination worth the trip. Palau scuba diving is justly famous for its big fish activity, schooling sharks, manta rays, the amazing Jellyfish Lake, a great Mandarin Fish dive, some awesome cavern dives, and even a few excellent WWII shipwreck dives. The frequent sightings of sharks, rays, Napoleon wrasse, bump head parrot fish, big pelagic tuna, giant-sized snapper and other major denizens of the deep make Palau a true divers' delight. That's why Palau is at the top of many experienced scuba diver's lists of all-time favorite dive sites.
A snorkel in Jellyfish Lake is a truly memorable part of any trip to Palau, Micronesia. In a unique, secluded lake, two species of non-stinging jellyfish have evolved. They inhabit this lake by the millions. Between scuba dives near by, one climbs a steep hillside (don't touch the trees, some of them sting), and down into the lake. Put on your mask, fins and snorkel, slip into the bathtub warm water, and you will be transported into another galaxy of pulsating life. It may sound weird, but it's really fun and a great photo opportunity as well. If you visit Palau Micronesia, don't miss Jellyfish Lake.
With everything from manta rays to mandarin fish virtually guaranteed, Yap is an increasingly popular destination for scuba diving adventure. One Yap resort, Manta Ray Bay Hotel and Yap Divers, has proved to be particularly dive savvy and accommodating. Recent exploratory dive safaris by ace fish-finder Larry Smith have made Yap an even more appealing opportunity for serious divers and underwater photographers. I recommend it highly.
Up until the 20th Century, the Micronesian islands were important only to the natives who lived their simple lives as fishermen and subsistence farmers. This changed as the Japanese began to build military bases through these islands in an attempt to gain tactical superiority in the Pacific. Places like Guam and Truk Lagoon came to international attention during WWII, as U.S. forces battled the Japanese through these remote South Pacific islands on their way to Tokyo. Located in Guam, the Museum of the War in the Pacific is an excellent place to learn more about this captivating history.
Due to the wide range of dive sites, Micronesia is a particularly good spot to explore via a live aboard dive cruise. Durations of seven to ten or more days aboard the liveaboard cruise will make for world-class diving opportunities. The M/V Big Blue Explorer, the Palau Aggressor, and the M/V Ocean Hunter provide excellent live aboard dive services in Palau. The Truk Aggressor is an excellent platform to make the most of diving Truk Lagoon. Divers with a couple of weeks to spend, can book back-to-back seven night trips in Palau and Truk, experiencing the very best of both islands.
The island of Guam is the capitol of the Federated States of Micronesia, and the main gateway for entering this interesting island group. Recently renovated, Guam's airport serves international arrivals from around the world, and has become a major hub for Continental Airlines. There is some scuba diving in Guam itself, but the outlying islands have even more to offer scuba dive travelers.