PALAU is located in the west Pacific Ocean approximately 597 miles east of the Philippines and is the most westerly archipelago of island groups that make up the Caroline Islands. The archipelago consists of over 200 islands and atolls which vary in size from small islands of coral limestone formation to Babeldoab, the 36 km2 main island, which is also the second largest Micronesian island after Guam.
Babeldoab was formed from volcanic activity, rises to an elevation of 200m (656 ft) and is surrounded by mangrove swamps. A 181 km (112 miles) reef surrounds the main island group and encompasses a lagoon on the western side that reaches 20 km (12 miles) across at its widest point. Most of the islands are also covered in thick vegetation.
Palau’s most important islands are Angaur, Babeldaob, Koror, and Peleliu. The latter three lie together within the same barrier reef, while Angaur is an Oceanic Island several miles to the South. About two-thirds of the population lives on Koror. The coral atoll of Kayangel is situated north of these islands, while the uninhabited Rock Islands (about 200) are situated to the west of the main island group.
A remote group of six islands, known as the Southwest Islands, some 375 miles from the main islands, are also part of the country and make up the States of Hatohobei and Sonsorol. The Palau lagoon and its many picturesque islands provide one of the most beautiful cruising grounds in the Pacific. One of the most interesting places there is the Rock Islands, which are over 200 islets covered in jungle growth.
Three major ocean currents meet in this area bringing food to nourish the rich marine life. The sea is teeming with turtles, manta rays, moray eels, fish of all descriptions, giant clams and dugong. Diving is exceptional and probably one of the most rewarding places in the world to explore the undersea marine life and sunken World War 2 wrecks. This is a first class superyacht destination.
Captain’s log: The Rock Islands