Palau, Micronesia: a Sharks’ Haven

Palau, Micronesia is one of the places on my wish list that I’ve always wanted to visit . Not only because of the beauty of the islands and pristine water, but mainly because of its fame among scuba-divers around the globe!

I remember two years ago I bought a book titled “Passport to diving the world: Limited Edition” by Australasia Scuba Diver and saw some photos of grey reef sharks that were taken in Palau, Micronesia. I flipped through the pages and marked some pages with my yellow sticky-notes. Those pages with the sticky-notes would be my next scuba-diving holidays targets 😀 .. and Palau was one of them! 🙂

And here I am… in Palau, Micronesia! Yeahhh!!! I spent a week in this beautiful place and spared a few days for scuba-diving. Among some of the famous dive sites of Palau that I went: Turtle Cove, German Channel, Sias Tunnel, Blue Holes, Blue Corner…. Ulong Channel was my favorite. I had such a great diving experience in this dive site!

Do you want to know why? Watch the video I recorded in Ulong Channel today:

See? Lots and lots of grey reef sharks!

Visibility was around 20 meters, water temperature was warm – 30 degrees Celcius. We went down to 21.4 meters below the surface and marveled around. At one spot, we hooked on a big rock and watched the ‘show’. Here’s some quotes on my log book:

“So many sharks!!! Wow!!! I LOVE this dive site! 🙂
Lots and lots of grey reef sharks, white tip and black tip sharks. Probably around 30 sharks or so. They’re just cruisin’ around…
We put our reef hook and enjoyed the show. That was really cool! The sharks were EVERYWHERE. It’s like watchin’ a TV show. Reminded me of the dive at Castle Rock, Komodo National Park, Indonesia. But this one was better since there were lots of big grey reef sharks!

I couldn’t even decide where to look. I looked to the left, but suddenly there was a shark swimming right above me :D. It was such a really cool dive. Loved it! So many small fish, too. At one point, they looked like a big cloud and so tiny compared to the sharks who swam in between them! So damn cool!!!”

I loved grey reef sharks. Their size is bigger than black tip and/or white tip sharks. They look fatter :p. But sadly, the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) has assessed grey reef sharks as Near Threatened. Why?

Sharks have a slow reproduction cycle. A shark will need 12-15 years to be ready to mate!
And with this slow cycle, sharks have to face a lot of threats. The biggest threat is being hunt by humans and used for various products, such as shark fins soup! Bummer!!!

By the way, do you know that Indonesia is the main supplier for sharks fins for the world’s demand, such as Hongkong, Singapore and China? How humiliating! And it is also known that Indonesia catch the most sharks compared to other countries in the world. In 2004, Indonesia caught 122,000 sharks! OMG!

What can we do to protect them?

If we’re not sitting on the fancy chair in the authority and don’t have the power to change the policy of this nation, perhaps we can start by telling everyone to stop consuming SHARKS FIN SOUP and other sharks dishes!!!

Anyway, back to my amazing dive in Palau, Micronesia… swimming with plenty of grey reef sharks, I only wish that none of them got caught and ended up in a soup bowl at a fancy restaurant… *sigh*

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