travel writers tales home pagenewslinkscontact Jane Cassie and Margaret Deefholtssign up for travel writers tales newsletter
travel articles
sign up to receive our email newsletter
freelance travel writers


By Jane Cassie
Images by Brent Cassie
For Travel Writers' Tales

I'm not a huge fan of Survivor. But as I prepare to jump into the swarm of jiggling jellyfish, I wish I were. A few tips from their Palau escapades might come in handy right about now.

[1. Sugiyama, guide of Fish n' Fins]

"Just take that leap of faith," Loreen Sugiyama says with a cheeky grin. It's easy for her to say. She's not wearing the snorkel. But, reflecting back over this day there are a couple of things I know about my Palauan guide. She's true to her word. And she's all about the adventure!

Sugiyama does, after all, work for Fish n' Fins, a tour company that offers some of the best ways to check out Palau's treasures. As well as land excursions that loop over the hilly terrain, their aquatic line-up caters to any water-baby-from veteran divers to us senior snorkelers. Either way, it's like dipping into an aquarium-rain or shine!

"No worries," Sugiyama reassures, when we head out earlier under a dome of cloud. "It never rains for long." I give her a questioning glance when monster-size droplets spill from the swollen skies. But instead of seeking refuge beneath the cruiser's sheltering pop-top, I remain riveted to the bow-spellbound by Mother Nature's surrounding beauty.

[2. Riveted to the bow and spellbound by Mother Nature's beauty]

Palau's famous Rock Islands have that alluring effect. The five hundred or so jungle-draped landforms, in the western corner of Micronesia, vary in size from mushroom-shaped mounds to undulating masses and over millions of years, pounding wave action has eroded their undersides, giving each a cute bowl-style haircut.

[3. Rock Islands are like mushroom-shaped mounds]
Thirty minutes after leaving the main hub of Koror, we glide into a tranquil bay where a colourful coral garden is home to giant Tridacnas clams.

"Some are a hundred years old," Sugiyama claims, "and weigh 250 pounds." My heart quickens, when thinking about these yawning creatures that thrive beneath. But after checking them out, it's easy to see that they're totally satiated by their in-house bounty of coral and tropical fish.

[4. We check out giant Tridacnas clams]

Although the display has superseded my visual expectations, after coming up for air, Sugiyama assures there's more to come. "You'll be blown away by the Cemetery," she jests, as we troll into the next snorkeling site. Layers of more fragile organisms enshroud slabs of concrete that were dropped here many years ago. And after planting my facemask water-side down, I discover this ocean graveyard is anything but lifeless. Schools of tiger and parrotfish give me the eye as they breeze on by. Goat, lion and cowfish soon follow. And feeding this frenzied safari are flourishing sponges and eco-rich coral. Some look like mushrooms, others like clumps of cauliflower. Though I'm not tempted to dig in, the riot of sea life sure is.

[5. Schools of tiger-fish give me the eye as they breeze on by]

Our lunch comes a little later. After a quick skim over the turquoise surface we reach an island that could dub as Eden. And living up to her promise, Sugiyama's weather prediction has panned out. While soaking up the rays on this Gilligan Island look-alike, we dine on delicious teriyaki chicken, sticky rice and tiny bananas.

Palau's cuisine is a reflection of its history-a combo of home-grown, Japanese and all-American rolled into one. Past dictators rotated through this country more frequently than London's changing of the guard. Spain, Germany, Japan and the United States all enjoyed a piece of the Palau pie.

[6. Jiggling jellyfish]
But right now, I'm fixated on the present. It's been a day of visual overload and this final plunge is likely going to put me into overdrive. Jellyfish Lake was formed by the rising seas more than 12,000 years ago has been named in honor of its inhabitants. Millions of these swimmers that have a symbiotic relationship with the sun and algae flap their way through the crystal clear water like wavering golden bells. And because they're not threatened by any predators, and have lost their sting, they aren't a threat to us.

"Fear not," Sugiyama encourages, as if reading my mind. "It's an experience you'll never forget." And after submerging into this bath-like ethereal lake and feeling totally connected with nature, I realize my tour guide is, once again, true to her word. Like the rest of this day in "Rainbow's End," it's quite the adventure!


Where to stay:
Palasia Hotel Palau
Phone 680-488-8888

Things to do:
Fish 'n Fins

For more information contact Palau Visitor's Authority:


1. Sugiyama, guide of Fish n' Fins
2. Riveted to the bow and spellbound by Mother Nature's beauty
3. Rock Islands are like mushroom-shaped mounds
4. We check out giant Tridacnas clams
5. Schools of tiger-fish give me the eye as they breeze on by
6. Jiggling jellyfish

Travel Writers' Tales is an independent travel article syndicate that offers professionally written travel articles to newspaper editors and publishers. To check out more, visit


travel articles by travel writers featuring destinations in Canada, Europe, the Caribbean Islands, South America, Mexico, Australia, India, the Middle East, Asia, the Pacific Islands and throughout the United States
travel writers tales mission
partnership process
editorial line up
publishing partners
contributing writers
writers guidelines
travel articles
travel articles archive
travel themes - types of travel
travel blog
travel photos albums and slide shows
travel videos - podcast
helpful travel tipstravel writers tales home page


freelance travel writers Jane Cassie and Margaret Deefholts

All material used by Travel Writers' Tales is with the permission of the writers and photographers who, under national and international copyright law,
retain the sole and exclusive rights to their work. The contents of this site, whether in whole or in part may not be downloaded,
copied or used in any manner without the explicit permission of Travel Writers' Tales Editors, Jane Cassie and Margaret Deefholts,
and the written consent of contributing writers and photographers. Travel Writers' Tales