From Palau 4: Constitution Day weekend

This summer, Inger is working with the Health Policy and Research Department at the Ministry of Health on the island of Palau. She will blog about her experience here at OHSU StudentSpeak. Learn more about Palau here.

Alii and Greetings from Palau!

I hope you all had a great Constitution Day weekend! About 35-40% of Palauans work in the government sector which means 35-40% of Palauans had a 3-day weekend. As a Ministry of Health “employee,” I was happy to celebrate the national holiday as well.

Friday after work, I went down to Fish ‘N Fins—“Palau’s leading dive and tour center.” There I met with Hiro Tatebe—Palau’s finest PADI instructor.

That night, I did about 4 hours of classroom work. I was relieved to see that Fish ‘N Fins had the ‘I heart Oregon’ stamp of approval!

Saturday, we completed confined dives in the pool and finished the classroom work. Sunday we went out for 2 open-water dives. I didn’t get any pictures from the dives but hope that you can check them out here: German Channel and Ngerchong Inside.

At the first site–German channel—Hiro and I spent some time working on my SCUBA skills like taking off and clearing my mask underwater; taking off the BCD; and doing an emergency swimming ascent. I was such a good student that we got to spend some time at German Channel exploring the reef. At one point, Hiro pulls me behind some brain coral and we watch as a manta ray glides 10 feet over our head like a UFO. Another couple with us (from England) had said they had just spent a week in the Maldives looking for manta with no luck. I’m a lucky girl 😉

Sunday was raining off-and-on, but an enjoyable day all the same. Lunch was served at one of the state park shelters on the Rock Islands.

Monday was my second, and final, day of instruntion. We went out to Blue Corner and Turtle Wall. Both of these sites were drop-offs with lots of reef sharks and turtles. There were also several Napoleon (Humphead) wrasse which are some of the biggest and ugliest fish I have seen. Also, a little too friendly for my comfort.

Monday, we ended the trip with a quick stop at the world-famous Jellyfish Lake for a refreshing swim.

I had to shed my wetsuit to get the full-experience.

Hundreds and thousands of (sting-less) jellyfish!!!

It was awesome!!

I’ve decided that Dr. Dever coerced me into getting SCUBA certified as a human resource strategy. I really do have to come back to Palau now. I don’t think I can go diving anywhere else. Octopi, moray eel, bigeye barracuda, sea turtle, manta ray, reef shark, shrimp goby…Palau sets the bar pretty high.

My new alias is SCUBA Stinger. As Hiro says, now I need to get out and “Dive, dive, dive!”…and I plan to 🙂

Until then,
a.k.a. SCUBA Stinger