Government advice from the UK saying don’t travel due to the rapidly advancing Covid-19 pandemic, coincided with us leaving The Philippines. Rather than heed the advice (which we weren’t actually aware of until we got home!!) we stuck with our plans and headed to Palau. The flight times are not too friendly and we landed in Palau at 02.40, were quickly through immigration, having signed "the pledge" and were duly transported to our home for 5 nights. DW Motel proved accommodating and comfortable and quite well located with a few restaurants nearby. Most activities picked you up so it was all good. The first day was spent scooting around to sort out our activities. We chose a boat trip with snorkelling and lunch and a days kayaking. I also sorted a day’s diving, alone, as Jonna had a dodgy ear. Food was expensive and the local rum was pure firewater at 75%. 

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Our boat trip was a huge success in the truly stunning Palau area, allowing scenery spotting, snorkelling, a visit to the Milky Way (below) for a clay face pack, an island beach lunch and Jellyfish lake, which was probably the singular reason we were in Palau. 

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Time for a dip after my clay pack session

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My diving day involved 2 dives at Blue Wall and German Channel, 2 of the best dives I’ve done anywhere in the world. So many sharks, barracuda, turltes and Manta Rays. Awesome. On the way back rumours were swirling that Palau was about to shut. We were due to leave the next day anyway so I would check when I got back. Jonna had taken herself to a hotel with a pool so I was left to digest the news myself. We were royally screwed. Our flight out was with China Airlines to Taiwan where we were due to spend another couple of weeks, before heading back to Tokyo. Taiwan was stopping all foreign arrivals and we could only board the flight if we had an onward flight to connect to. That was it, we were in a cul-de-sac with no choices. Heading to Japan wasn’t an option as we could not guarantee be able to land there. I sourced some flights home via Frankfurt from Taiwan. That was it. The flight wasn’t until early evening so we still had a day to utilise. Kayaking it was.

A full day around Nikko Bay was to be the final act of our trip and it was brilliant. Good, comfortable sit-ons and great scenery was the order of the day with snorkelling, beaches, caves and lunch. Back in time to return to the hotel, shower and be picked up for the start of a long journey home.

© Paul Hyland 2012