Coral Diving in Palau

After a few days’ diving in Palau, there is the bizarre possibility that you may become bored of looking at endless grey reef sharks patrolling the blue waters. It may only be a tiny possibility, but you can rest assured that Palau, home to the world’s largest shark sanctuary, has plenty more to offer its visiting divers. The small island nation sits in the Pacific Ocean, sandwiched between the Philippines and Micronesia, just outside the Coral Triangle, and its dive sites are bathed in colourful corals that provide shelter for the smaller denizens of the deep. And with at least 500 miles of uninterrupted, deep ocean surrounding Palau in every direction, its waters are clear and free from coral-inhibiting pollution. With endless walls encrusted with vibrant soft coral and purple and red gorgonians, the coral diving in Palau is almost as engaging as its shark diving...

Big Drop Off

Big Drop Off is a great place for a first dive in Palau; the current is usually gentle, there are good chances of grey reef sharks and eagle rays, and the vertical wall is festooned with brightly coloured soft corals. It's purported to have been Jacques Cousteau's favourite wall dive in the world and can be found in between two of Palau's best-loved sites, German Channel and Blue Corner.

Not only does Big Drop Off house some of the best coral diving in Palau, but as a more gentle drift, you will have the time to stop and admire it and maybe even find a few cool critters hiding among its nooks and crannies. While you can expect a shark or two to cruise by, you can also spot soft-coral crabs and feather star shrimp blending into their backgrounds on the rainbow-hued wall.

Ulong Channel

While every diver aboard a flight to Palau dreams of Blue Corner, those leaving the Pacific archipelago often reminisce about their Ulong Channel dives just as much. The channel, officially known as Ngerumekaol Pass, is often touted as being one of the best drift dives in the world, and with manta rays, grey reef sharks, and white-tipped reef sharks pretty much guaranteed, it's not difficult to understand why.

Those looking to experience the best coral diving in Palau will not be disappointed either; the channel is lined with corals and is home to one of the largest known patches of green lettuce coral in the world. The dive begins at the mouth of the channel, where you may need your reef hook to keep your position in front of the swooping manta rays and patrolling grey reefs. Once you unhook, you'll drift along the channel, past white-tips and the impressive lettuce coral, until you reach the end, where the channel expands into a fish bowl, often with bait balls under attack by jacks and juvenile sharks!

Blue Holes To Blue Corner

Blue Corner is by far Palau's most requested dive site. Known for its surfeit of sleek sharks and its exhilarating reef hook action, Blue Corner seldom disappoints. But if you want to check out the stunning coral growth on the site, it may be better to jump in at its neighbouring site, Blue Holes, and drift down to the corner itself.

Blue Holes gets its name from the four gaps in the reef plateau that serve as an entrance to a mesmerising underwater cathedral. The huge cathedral is impressive and boasts excellent photography opportunities, and after leaving the large chamber, you can then drift along the wall down towards Blue Corner. The trick here is to train one eye on the sharks in the blue and the other on the colourful wall, admiring the coral. Diving in Palau may be all about the sharks for some, but its coral diving is not to be sniffed at either...

Our team of dive travel experts are on hand to assist in putting together your dream Palauan adventure. Whether you wish to spend your entire holiday enjoying the shark and coral diving in Palau or to split your time and also visit the neighbouring Philippines or Micronesia, we are happy to help your diving dreams come true...

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Emily C, Eleanor and Jacqui are our 'Coral Diving in Palau' experts and as seasoned travellers they have the inside track on the most memorable adventures.

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