“Sting? What Sting?” This Jellyfish Lake is a Favorite Snorkeling Spot in Palau
A private party is happening in one of Palau’s lakes and you’re invited. Who are you partying with? Well, just with millions of jellyfish that’s been living here for thousands of years. But before you get all itchy from hearing the word “jellyfish” and question the safety issues in this lake, don’t you find it strange that there are jellyfish living here in the first place?
Palau’s Jellyfish Lake, also known as Ongeim’l Tketau in Palauan, is connected to the sea via tunnels and fissures in the limestone that encase it. However it is isolated and the jellyfish in here aren’t the same as its relatives that swim in the outside waters. The lake is 30 meters deep and is believed to be 12,000 years old.
There are two kinds of jellyfish living in the lake: the golden jellyfish and the moon jellyfish. The golden jellyfish, which is the most populous and the first you’ll see visible from the surface of the lake, is related to the spotted jellyfish but evolution made it lose its spots and clubs. The fragile moon jellyfish on the other hand, can be seen in the deeper waters of the lake.
Snorkeling is only allowed and scuba diving is banned because the air bubbles the divers exhale can be trapped inside the delicate tissue pockets of the jellyfish which can kill them. Divers are also prohibited to go to the bottom of the lake because of the hydrogen sulfide at the bottom layer which is deadly, so don’t you dare go extreme.
If you’re worried about jellyfish stings, the jellyfish in this lake do still have their stinging cells but these are not powerful enough to cause any harm. It is undetectable unless one kisses you on your lips – that’ll be a problem.
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