SHARK WEEK 2018 IN PALAU
Situated out in the Wester Pacific, in the westernmost corner of Micronesia, is Palau. This island-nation comprises 340 individual islands and is home to just over 20,000 people.
The Palauan economy, culture, society, traditions and identity are all deeply entwined with the oceans. And a love of the sea, a gratitude for its gifts and sense of responsibility for its wellbeing are all pervasive in Palauan culture.
A glance at this pristine paradise – its white sands and turquoise waters, and lush tropical landscapes – are enough to infect any traveller with the same love of the natural environment.
Widely considered one of the world’s best diving destinations, Palau’s waters are home to 1,400 species of fish and 500 species of coral. Around 160,000 people travel to Palau annually, mainly for diving, snorkelling, and other watersports. And there are an array of unique ocean-based events hosted here each year, the two most important being Shark Week and Wrexpedition to Palau.
Shark Week 2018
March 2018 saw the 16th Annual Shark Week in Palau, drawing shark enthusiasts from around the world to Palau’s shores.
Hosted on the island every year since 2001, Palau’s Shark Week is a world-class combination of high adrenalin diving, fun day tours, eye-opening evening lectures for scientists and conservationists, and other presentations and documentaries.
And all hosted in one of the most beautiful locations in the world.
A genuinely educational, entertaining and exhilarating way to spend a week!
The week is run by the Micronesian Shark Foundation in partnership with Fish ‘n’ Fins.
Meet The Sharks
Sites like Blue Corner, Peleliu Corner and Shark City are routinely named the best dive sites in the world. Attendees at Shark Week have the opportunity to dive here without any other divers around, exploring the breathtaking channels, corners and reefs, and encountering astonishing marine life.
Shark Week is scheduled in March each year to coincide with the mating season of the Grey Reef Shark. These beautiful predators arrive in Palau’s waters to mate, affording Shark Week participants a rare opportunity to see them up close and contribute to ‘citizen scientist assisted shark counts’.
And it’s not just Grey Reef Sharks. During the five days of daily guided scuba dives, visitors are likely to encounter other shark species, including blacktips, whitetips, silvertips, blues, tigers, and hammerheads. Extra (optional) dives are also available, as are visits to the famous Jellyfish Lake.
Celebrating And Learning
Shark Week is also an educational event, with a stated aim of introducing visitors to the world of shark conservation and protection efforts.
Each nights, events are hosted by filmmakers, scientists and marine enforcement officials – including seminars, expert lectures and film screenings. On the final day of Shark Week, participants are invited on a cultural tour on land.
The educational programme allows participants to contribute to shark monitoring, whilst studying shark biology, behaviour, and conservation efforts. The material celebrates the different shark species, with nightly lectures, documentary screenings, and more.
Shark Week Itinerary
On Day 1 on Shark Week, visitors arrive on the island and are transferred to their hotels and accommodation. Everyone has a chance to settle in and get comfortable. There are no dives on the first day.
In the evening, there is an opening night event. Snacks and drinks are served, and there is an opportunity to meet other people and get full details of the week’s itinerary. The opening night’s lectures are hosted by the Micronesian Shark Foundation.
Day 2 is the first real day. A typical theme would be ‘Grey Reef Shark nurseries’. Visitors leave the accommodation in the morning and head to the German Wall dive site. After a session here, divers move onto the New Drop Off site. And for those who want more, there is an optional third dive.
There is then an evening lecture with a shark conservationist expert or other representative in the field.
The theme of Day 3 is ‘data collection’. Today, participants will be involved in ‘citizen scientist assisted shark counts’, with observations of shark movement patterns in the Blue Corner dive site.
Divers will leave early in the morning for a diving session at Blue Corner; and enjoy two dives. They can then choose to have some free time or a third dive in the afternoon.
There is then another evening lecture with an expert.
On Day 4, participants explore the shark populations of the Ngemelis and Peleliu Reefs. Following an early morning departure, there are two dives at Peleliu and Ngemelis Wall. In the evening, there is a lecture.
On Day 5, visitors explore themes around ‘shark congregation behaviour during incoming and outgoing tides’. There is a morning departure to dive sites at Saies Corner and Ulong Channel, and a lecture in the evening.
On Day 6, there will be observation of the Silvertip Shark and/or East Coast Shark populations. Divers will leave in the morning, and enjoy dives at the Short Drop Off and Ngerchong Outside sites. In the evening, a movie night is hosted, where participants will get to see a shark-themed documentary or other film.
Day 7 is the final day of Shark Week, and participants can enjoy a Palau Cultural Tour on land, somewhere on the island. For this, the final day of the programme, there is also an evening gala event, with a range of festivities and food, drinks and a raffle.
Visitors then leave the island on Day 8 and fly home.
Wrexpedition To Palau
The other very popular ocean-themed event on Palau is Wrexpedition.
Palau was used as a strategic military base for the Japanese during WWII, and in 1944 the US Navy raided a Japanese fleet and sank 60 ships in the lagoon. 65 years later, the wrecks remain, and the lagoon is the stunning final resting place of the ‘Japanese Lost Fleet of the Rock Islands’.
If you enjoy wreck diving, Wrexpedition is for you.
This annual event takes place over a week, and comprises five days of diving. Participants see three tanks per day, and can enjoy seminars and informative documentaries about WWII in the evenings.
To keep participation costs as low as possible, event packages are available. Packages include multiple dive days, accommodation, meals, transportation, seminars, and other events. More information is available online at the Fish ‘n’ Fins website.
Find Your Accommodation
Palau is an extremely popular tourist destination, attracting annual tourist numbers eight times greater than its native population. As such, there is an array of hotels to choose from. Prices vary, and the best are of course likely to get booked up quickly – especially during popular events, such as Shark Week and Wrexpedition.