Palau: Eil Malk, the Jellyfish Lake – where the jellies are friendly
Diving into the waters in Jellyfish Lake is like drifting through space with strange alien beings. The Jellyfish explosion that this lake experiences is alien-like and dangerous, not because of the stingers that these killer fish have; they are too small to be felt by humans, it is dangerous because of a layer of poisonous hydrogen sulfide 15 feet below the surface.
The lake is 12,000 years old.
There is no scuba diving allowed but snorkelers report that the beauty of this migration is unbelievable.
There is a mystery, however, attached to the jellyfish as they died completely off in the lake in 1998 with a zero population. In 2000, the mysteriously reappeared and science has no explanation.
Twice each day, the jellyfish in the lake swim from one side to the other. The jellyfish do this to get sunlight through the lake water.
Jellyfish Lake (Palauan: Ongeim’l Tketau, “Fifth Lake“) is a marine lake located on Eil Malk island in Palau.
It is one of Palau’s most famous dive (snorkeling only) sites. It is notable for the millions of golden jellyfish which migrate horizontally across the lake daily.
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.
Jellyfish Lake-Ongeim’l Tketau
Eil Malk or Mecherchar is the main island of the Mecherchar Islands, an island group of Palau in the Pacific Ocean. In a more narrow sense, just the southeastern peninsula of Mecherchar is called Eil Malk.
It is located 23 kilometers southeast of Koror near the fringing reef of Palau.
This densely wooded island has the shape of a letter Y, is up to 6 km long and 4.5 km wide. There are more than 10 small lakes on the island.
Most well known is the Jellyfish Lake in the east of the island.
Eil Malk is uninhabited, but there has been at least one village, perhaps three villages in the period between 1200 and 1450.
Eil Malk Island
Palau (i/pəˈlaʊ/), officially the Republic of Palau (Palauan: Beluu ęr a Belau), is an island nation in the Pacific Ocean, 500 miles (800 km) east of the Philippines and 2,000 miles (3,200 km) south of Tokyo.
In 1978, after three decades as being part of the United Nations trusteeship, Palau chose independence instead of becoming part of the Federated States of Micronesia; a Compact of Free Association was approved in 1986 but not ratified until 1993. It was put into force the following year, making it one of the world’s youngest and smallest sovereign states.
In English, the name is sometimes spelled Belau in accordance with the native pronunciation. It was formerly also spelled Pelew.
- A jelly good swim: Incredible images capture divers in Jellyfish Lake (mirror.co.uk)
- What it’s like to swim with the jellies in remote Jellyfish Lake (io9.com)
- Kakaban Island, Berau, Kalimantan (haveanicetripp.wordpress.com)
- News of Jellyfish Takeover Unfounded, Scientists Say (livescience.com)