Psychedelic mandarinfish, robust and ornate ghostpipefish, and
languid crocodilefish will reward those who forgo their wide-angle
lenses to focus on the macro diving in Palau.
While Palau's signature sites-Blue Corner and German Channel-are
best suited to wide-angle photography, the gentle wall dives and
night dives reveal a delightful array of crustaceans and other
If you are looking to give your macro lenses as much of a
workout as your wide-angle lenses, we recommend staying on land
(rather than a liveaboard) while in Palau. Staying in and around
Koror and Malakal Harbour will put you on the doorstep of some of
the best macro diving in Palau-Mandarinfish Lake, Helmet Wreck and
the Jake Seaplane Wreck-while you will also have the option of
heading out on a day trip through the Rock Islands to Palau's more
famous and more sharky sites.
As dusk approaches, a short boat ride from your hotel brings you
to one of the most famous macro dives in Palau.
As the day's light begins to fade, the mandarinfish begin their
mating ritual, and patience can reward macro photographers with the
chance to snap the Holy Grail of macro photographs: a pair of
mating mandarinfish cheek-to-cheek above the reef.
One way to ensure the mantas come out in force is to dive German
Channel with a macro lens. But fear not; after watching the mantas
at the cleaning stations, the shallow sandy areas leading to the
channel are a great place to spot spearing mantis shrimp, robust
ghostpipefish and feather star shrimp. Keep an eye out for a
resting crocodilefish in the channel, as their intricate eyelids
make stunning macro subjects.
The Jake Seaplane Wreck is a unique dive close to Malakal
Harbour. The former Japanese Armed Forces plane is five minutes
away from the harbour and sits in around 14 metres of water. The
shallow water around the plane is good for nudibranch spotting, and
you may be lucky to find a crocodilefish lazing on the wing.
Big Drop Off
Big Drop Off is one of the most beautiful wall dives in the
world. The vertical reef faces are covered in a rainbow of soft
corals, and the eagle-eyed can spot myriad shrimp hiding among the
cracks and crevices. Check out the whip corals growing out from the
wall for whip coral shrimp and xeno crabs, while feather star
shrimp can be spotted loitering at the base of the many
multi-coloured feather stars.