Jellyfish Lake is one of the famous tourist attractions on the Pacific island of Eil Malk in Palau. This type of jellyfish is not dangerous for humans and tourists like to swim among them.....
Jellyfish lake is around 12,000 years old. This age estimate is based on the depth of the lake (about 30 meters), an estimate of the thickness of the sediment (at least 20 meters) and the rising sea level since the end of the last ice age. About 12,000 years ago, the sea level had risen to the point that sea water began to fill the Jellyfish Lake basin.
Jellyfish Lake is connected to the ocean through fissures and tunnels in the limestone of ancient Miocene reef. However the lake is sufficiently isolated and the conditions are different enough that the diversity of species in the lake is greatly reduced from the nearby lagoon. The golden jellyfish, Mastigias cf. papua etpisoni, and possibly other species in the lake have evolved to be substantially different from their close relatives living in the nearby lagoons.
Two species of scyphozoan jellyfish live in Jellyfish Lake, moon jellyfish and the golden jellyfish.
Snorkeling in Jellyfish Lake is a popular activity for tourists to Palau. Several tour operators in Koror offer trips to the lake. Eil Malk island is approximately a 45 minute boat ride from Koror.The lake is accessed by a short trail from the beach on Eil Malk to the lake.
Tourists require a pass to access to Jellyfish Lake. The Rock Islands/Jellyfish Lake pass is $35 and is good for 10 days.Scuba diving by tourists in the lake is not allowed.
Two reasons are put forward for this.
- The bubbles from scuba tanks can harm the jellyfish if they collect beneath their bell.
- The anoxic layer that begins at about 15 meters contains high concentrations of hydrogen sulfide which can be absorbed through the skin of a diver which can lead to death.Jellyfish Lake is currently the only one of Palau's marine lakes open to tourists.
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