The pacific rim of fire refers to a region formed by volcanic activity that occurred in Micronesia over two million years ago. An immediate result of this volcanic activity was the 343 islands that currently make up what we now know as the Island state of Palau. This activity also formed the limestone rock basis for the Palau reefs. The area is home to 1500 species of fish, 550 hard and soft coral species and 300 species of sponges.
Palau has been under American, Japanese, British, German, and Spanish rule. However, the Island state of Palau is currently an independent region that enjoys a huge amount of tourism mainly because of its gorgeous reefs. The reefs in Palau occurred as a result of millions of years of growth and development.
Formation of the Palau Reefs
It is believed that the reefs began forming over 2 million years ago. They started out in a basic way and slowly developed into the bio diverse and rich environment they are today. Despite the fact that the Palau reef is significantly smaller when compared to Australia’s Great Barrier Reef; its remarkably diverse number of species is what gives it the competitive edge in becoming a wonder of the world.
The Palau reefs were nominated by CEDAM (Conservation, Education, Diving, Awareness and Marine research) to be one of the Seven Wonders of the Underwater World in 1989. The Association based their nominations on the quality of marine life and whether or not it should be preserved as a protected site. The Palau Reefs were mainly considered because they are home to several endangered animal and plant species and the increasing level of coral bleaching marked them as in need of conservation.
How to See Palau
Tourism is currently one of Palau’s top industries; this means that you can easily visit the region. In most cases, reaching Palau includes a lot of plane hopping. There are bi-weekly flights from Manila and daily flights from Guam’s airport. You can also get chartered flights from the airports in Taipei, Tokyo, Japan, Nagoya, Japan and Korea. Flights from Guam take about 1 hour 45 minutes and it is the closest to Palau.
There are several tour operators in Palau that offer daily diving excursions from Koror where you will be able to see attractions like Jelly Fish Lake or swim with the dolphins. If you are not too keen on diving, then you can also opt for snorkeling tours and canoe tours that allow you to view the reefs from the water surface.