Monday, September 07, 2009

palau sights

Sharing some of the sights on Palau...

One place we visited was the Palau Aquarium a.k.a. Palau International Coral Reef Center. This aquarium is tiny but houses many interesting exhibits.

It was interesting to learn about mangrove--trees that grow in salt water.
Did you know that there is a "sacrifice leaf"?

Since the water it grows in is salty, there is a leaf that takes all the salt from the water to let the rest of the plant grow. You can tell which leaf it is, it is the one that is yellow.

Also, when the plant is ready to die, it erodes until it can "melt" into the sea, you'll never see chunks of this tree floating in the sea.

I was also impressed at how the tanks look out into the harbor.

There are a tiny group of islands called Palau Matsushima...Apparently, a Japanese in Palau saw these islands and it reminded him of the group of islands covered with pine in Miyagi prefecture and called the area "Matsushima".

On one of our walks, I found this house with a tree full of mountain apple (syzygium samarangense).

This was my first time to see them on the tree, usually I have only seen them after they were picked....these need a couple more days...mmm!

There were remains of a pineapple packing factory, the building has long since disintergrated, but the machinery were still left.

Up in the hills, near the Northern tip of Babeldaob, were these stone monoliths, there is no explanation of why they were there or what they were used for...it was kind of creepy walking around them.

Teeny tiny pitcher plants...this one was only about 2 inches in length.

And this finch...it stayed pretty still while I photographed it...the beak looks a little blue.

One thing I didn't realize was that chickens can fly!....there were several at one of the hotels we stayed at.

There was an episode when Satoshi had a piece of banana chip in his hand and before he could break off a piece to throw down to the chickens (he was on the 2nd floor), the chicken "jumped" up and made Satoshi scream...instead of being scared that Satoshi would be attacked, I was more afraid the chickens would jump up to our balcony and demand more banana chips.

We also visited the Etpison Museum, this houses many artifacts collected from Etpison family, a wealthy and influencial family on Palau. One interesting display was of the money made from stone.

Our guide said that many people from Yap would travel by canoe to use the advanced carving equipment and carve their stone money on Palau, then load their canoes and sail back to Yap...one "coin" was 4 meters (13 feet) in diameter! We wondered how the heck they put that thing on their canoe to travel back to Yap...

Palau Aquarium
near M-Dock
Phone: 680.488.6950

Etpison Museum
Phone: 680.488.6730

13 comments:

Rowena... said...

I had seen a program on tv about the mangrove trees, and yep, heard about the sacrifice leaf. Isn't that such a cool thing about nature?

The chickens in Palau sound so "gangsta" with the way they jump/fly at you! The wild chickens on Kauai must be distant relatives.

jalna said...

So, so interesting post, Kat!! I never heard of the "sacrifice leaf" . . . that's so neat. I've always been intrigued by monoliths, especially the Easter Island ones, and I wonder about them and the people who erected them. The pitcher plants are so cute. And Satoshi screaming made me laugh. It reminded me of the time a dragonfly flew into our living room with this weird fluttering sound and me, Wendell and the dog all frantically trying to get away. GREAT JOB documenting your trip!

Lori said...

That info on the mangroves was so interesting!

K and S said...

Rowena, Nature definitely rules...ooh, the chickens on Kauai sound "ka-ray-zee"!

Jalna, glad you enjoyed this post :)

Thanks Lori :)

Take care everyone.
Kat

KirkK said...

Hey Kat - Sacrifice leaf...gives new meaning to the saying "taking one for the team"! ;o)

Debinhawaii said...

Such a beautiful place and an interesting post too. I had no idea about how mangroves grow.

Suze said...

Wow, that chicken was so bold. People must feed them. It sounds like they are not afraid.

I guess I didn't realize that not many people see mountain apple trees anymore. We had one in our backyard when I was little. I was able to pick the fruit and eat it. It got knocked down when my parents built the house they now live in. :(

K and S said...

so true Kirk :)

Take care.
Kat

Mikuru Hirai said...

Kat, Palau is really a beautiful place. We have a Philippine version of the Survivor reality show and it was shot in Palau.

K and S said...

Thanks Debinhawaii, the mangrove lesson was definitely unforgettable!

Too bad about that tree Suze, the fruit must've been delicious though.

I think the American Survivor was shot on Palau a couple of years back too, Mikuru.

Take care everyone.
Kat

Pandabonium said...

Great post. So much interesting information about Palau flora and fauna. The monoliths are an interesting mystery.

Paz said...

What an interesting-sounding place to visit. I'd love to see the aquarium.

Paz

K and S said...

Thanks PB!

I think you would like it Paz :)

Take care you two.
Kat