Thursday, June 3, 2010

AND... WE'RE BACK!!! Part I

Hello Blogging World!

I've missed you terribly

It's definitely been a WHILE but guess what? I have some good stories for you!

Ok, I'll be honest, this post is going to be mostly for me (I think this entire blog is probably for me if I'm really honest with myself). I think I have maybe 3 or 4 "faithful" readers total but hey, it works for me!

Ok first off... things didn't work out with our last minute roommate...

Rach's face says it all

Well... maybe his face says it better...

Overall, getting rid of him was a great way to wrap up the semester! I was pretty excited to move out and move onto new adventures.

This post is about the biggest adventure I've had in the past month...


So, as my faithful readers, I'm sure you've seen most of the photos on facebook, but like I said, this post is for me, so I'm sorry about the miles and miles of photos.

I've recently developed this fear of having my computer crash and loosing all of my favorites so I might be storing most of my favorites here... good news is now you get to hear the stories behind them!

First off... Palau is incredible. I'm not sure if words could actually describe how beautiful it is. Officially my favorite place on this planet. The only problem is, the 30 or so hours it took to get there... not fun. But I'd say this view is worth it.....

This is the view from our balcony at the place we stayed at our first 2 nights in Palau. We'd wake up and have our breakfast delivered to us here... not a big deal.
Another view in front of our bungalows

Well, our first day we just spent exploring the island, and in the process of... I took lots of photos... here's some samples

Gorgeous right? It is just so lush! I probably would have been happy just sitting on the beach for a week or so... but that wasn't the purpose of the 30 hour trip... we had bigger things in store, after all, it was a SCUBA TRIP. :)

We did our live aboard trip through a little place called Fish 'n Fins and stayed on the Ocean Hunter I. If the 3 of you guys that actually read this ever in the area doing some diving go with them. They were awesome. The crew was friendly and SO funny, the food was great, we definitely got taken care of. Here are some of the sights as we headed out of the harbor on our great adventure...

Yah, it definitely looks like something out of Avatar. The colors in the photos don't even begin to do it justice. Seriously, just go see it yourself.
Here are my fellow divers (minus the crew). A pretty seasoned group. From right to left-Shawna Chamberlin, Daddio, the grizzled old man of the sea, Doug Jex, and David Chamberlin

Dive. Eat. Dive. Eat. Dive. Eat. Dive. Dive. Eat. Sleep. Repeat.

That was pretty much our schedule with the exception of a day or 2 so that's what the bulk of my photos are going to be. Yes, it was amazing. Unfortunately I think that blogger kind of diluted the colors a little bit but you get the general idea
This Anemone glowed bright neon red. Isn't the world amazing?
Scorpion fish. Pretty dang poisonous
Probably my favorite photo from the trip. Clown fish!

Alright, that's the first round. We did do some other pretty cool stuff on shore as well

Here's Ocean Hunter I, AKA home sweet home
I didn't know this before we were in Palau but on one of the islands that make up the country, one of the bloodiest battles of the Pacific during WWII was there so we gave up one of our dives *gasp!* to go see some of the artifacts and pay our respects to the incredible men that gave their lives for us.
Here's dad next to a Japanese fighter plane that got shot down in the jungle.
I think this tank was a Japanese one as well
The tracks from the tanks are still left in the cement for all to see
Here's the Japanese headquarters that had a bad run in with the US of A. Notice the large holes in the ceiling.

Ok this next one is pretty cool. So when the marines stormed the island they thought it would only take a few days to clear out all of the Japanese soldiers. It ended up taking months because the Japanese were held up in these caves all over the island.

We happened to encounter one of the current residents of those caves while we were checking them out...
Nasty stuff. What was really cool was the caves are still riddled with the Soki (No clue if that's how you spell it) bottles that the Japanese were drinking out of and other artifacts like that! Pretty amazing.
This is an American aquatic vehicle.
This still moves after over 60 years!

Well, after the short shore excursion it was back to diving!
Lil octopus I found
Another Nemo!
School of Barracuda
GIANT clam! I wish you could see it in the picture but those blue dots all over it are neon blue
Ok this one is from one of my favorite dives of the trip, "The Blue Corner"

All I have to say is Holy Cow.

There are very few things in life that live up to and surpass your expectations and this is one of those times.

You are completely surrounded by THOUSANDS of fish. Schools and schools of them. The current is bookin so you have to hook into the reef and just kind of float there like a kite (see below) but all of these fish are being rounded up by sharks. Lots and lots of sharks. It was like being thrown into the middle of an animal planet show X100 and guess what? We got to do this dive site TWICE. AMAZING
Lots and lots of fish
Coming up after blue corner round I
Blue Corner round II. Just imagine being SURROUNDED by this
Up close and personal-Palau Style
Hooking into the reef like I mentioned... super fun
2 Different kinds of sharks, the one in the background is a grey reef shark, the other one is a white tipped reef shark.

Well, you wouldn't think that the day could go any better after diving The Blue Corner twice... guess what? It did.

We had heard that we could possibly see some Manta Rays while in Palau which of course made me WAY too excited. We had gone to where they usually find them and didn't have any luck, so our dive master (Richard) decided to try one more time...

Yep. We found one! This is a manta ray cleaning station so you'll see a bunch of little fish going into it's gills and mouth
Out of all of the animals I've ever seen in my life, I think that manta rays have to be the most graceful. It's amazing sharing the same water with them. If you'd like to get a better idea of what it looks like to be hanging with manta rays check out THIS video. Yep, that's me with the manta! Another highlight of the trip that's for sure.

One of my other favorite animals in Palau-a Turkey fish. Once again, these guys are poisonous but isn't he just ridiculously photogenic?
Not sure why this pipe fish enjoyed this grouper's company so much, but I thought it was pretty funny.

Alright, onto another highlight of the trip JELLYFISH LAKE!

Side Note: I'm a firm believer that any profile picture that you put on facebook should have a good story behind it, hence why I'm sure most of you have seen this one. :)
So this is one of the only Jellyfish Lakes in the world. Way back when, some jellyfish floated inland and ended up getting cut off from the ocean. They've lost their ability to sting and live on what the algae in their bodies produce so they follow the sun across the lake every day
As you can see, they're doing pretty well
Adventure continued bellow...


Aubrie said...

These pictures are amazing! I hope you don't mind I just blog stalked you. I saw your link on facebook. You are so cute! What a fun adventure! You blog is really fun, by the way.

Anonymous said...

Just discovered this post. I am probably going to have to have a moment of silence after it. These pictures blew me away. Did you pinch yourself after to make sure you weren't dreaming?