Swim With Manta Rays on an Excursion to Palau’s Rock Islands

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Photo: Michael Dunker/Getty

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As soon as I put my head under the warm waters of Indonesia Bunaken National Marine ParkI hear a strange noise that I have never heard before. snorkeling. I quickly beat my flippers to get up. When my ears are broken above, I hear a Lindblad Expedition the leader explains to the other passengers a National Geographic Resolution that the symptoms of the disease are very difficult healthy corals.

I am on a 12 day trip Vietnam to Palau on board 138 passengers Disagreementdesigned for the purpose of accessing water systems that would not have been possible without it international technologythe construction of X-bow, and a group of traveling leaders who discuss “ports” like this, floating in protected areas of the sea without other ships.

I also know under the same sea as Tokyo Shibuya Crossing. Several green and hawksbill turtles dart in and out of the beautiful coral reef with a myriad of species, from sculpins to suns and everything in between. I close my eyes and encourage my brain to know everything and put everything in my memory bank. Often I repeat the characteristics of the sea life alone when snorkeling so that later I could identify the species that came back, with the help of the expedition team and the dedicated scientific center. One push is to see fish that I never thought I would see outside of natural documents: on the left are clown fish in their anemone houses, including lionfish, porcupinefish, octopus, a school of thousands in Niger. Fish with fins like butterflies.

After what seemed like hours of playing the pirate version of Where’s Waldo, I realized I was out of the loop. I decided to turn around and float on my back before making one last effort to get inside. The heat of the sun felt like slow motion all of a sudden, distracting me in a way I hadn’t felt since I was a child. child.

The Coral Triangle area of ​​the western Pacific is home to approximately 600 species of coral reefs and over 2,000 species of reef fish.

The Coral Triangle area of ​​the western Pacific is home to approximately 600 species of coral reefs and over 2,000 species of reef fish.

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Brett Garner, one of the marines said: National Geographic Resolution Board a walking group, as we board the zodiac back to the ship. This is information from a marine biologist who has spent many years of his life in a shell and fins. In fact, most of the traveling group had never snorkeled before Coral Triangle because of its remote nature, and was similarly disturbed.

As I curled up in a hammock on the balcony of my room that night, eating home-made parrot fish cakes, I was glowing. I grew up as a water baby, splashing and splashing in the water in the Caribbean and my family—almost every vacation was somewhere that would take us underwater. But since then I haven’t been on the lake for about 16 years. Looking at the formations of mushroom rocks that have come out of the sea, each one covered with green plants, it is painful to realize that my new wonder of this work was probably the best I could have. .

After breakfast the next morning, I saw the marine biologist, Heather Denham, and the deputy commander of the squadron, Alexandra Kristjánsdóttir, and sat down in an empty seat. I share my frustration – that I have a new passion but I feel like I’ve seen the snorkeling guide before. They both laugh and assure me that there are always surprises underneath.

Boy was he right. A few hours later, inside Palau’s Rock Islands, I’m swimming with people in their 20s to 70s, seeing black sharks, psychedelic brain coral, giant clams, and playing with stingless jellyfish. At one point, a speedboat driver sees a manta ray. Although we were snorkeling all day, we move faster than I have seen in the last 11 days, quickly put on our masks and fins and jump into the blue cloud. The storm immediately pulls us in as we try to stick together on the ray hunt. “HERE!,” Heather shouts, and I turn to see the light of manta 11 straight ahead of me. I walk very coldly as it rises above the main square, showing me the floor, before I dive deep.

I am greeted silently with screams and shouts of unexplained joy at seeing such a fascinating creature in its natural habitat. Heather leans into me on the boat ride back to the ship, “See, it doesn’t get any better than this, does it?” And as someone who struggles to exist, I smile and realize that I haven’t felt that way in years.

He appeared first Condé Nast Traveler

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