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Atlas Obscura by Joshua Foer

Atlas Obscura by Joshua Foer

Author:Joshua Foer
Language: eng
Format: mobi, epub
Publisher: Workman Publishing Company
Published: 2016-12-28T08:00:00+00:00


PALAU

JELLYFISH LAKE

EIL MALK

A million golden jellyfish spend their days softly pulsating in a small saltwater lake in eastern Palau, their sting too soft to harm snorkelers. About 12,000 years ago, water from the Pacific Ocean flowed into the lake basin, bringing jellyfish with it—but not their predators. As a result, the golden jellyfish multiplied without restraint.

The jellyfish do have one nemesis—anemones that lurk in the shadows of the water, ready to eat them. The jellyfishes’ consistent daily migration pattern helps keep them safe and well fed. They spend 14 hours bobbing up and down to gather plankton before chasing the sun from the east to the west, crisscrossing the lake each day.

Snorkeling is welcome in the lake, and the cnidarians will do you no harm as they waft past your body. The only danger is 50 feet (15.2 m) below the surface, where high levels of ammonia and phosphate may cause fatal skin poisoning. For this reason, scuba diving is prohibited.

East Eil Malk, also known as Mecherchar, is one of the southern islands in the Palau archipelago. United Airlines flies to Palau via Guam. Getting to the lake involves a boat trip and a steep 10-minute hike. Do not wear sunscreen, as it pollutes the lake.

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