April 26, 2018
Back in February, team rider Lance Ostrom crossed off one of his top bucket list activities: an eight-day self-supported SUP trip through the Rock Islands of Palau.
Palau is a small island complex located in Micronesia, between Guam and the Philippines. My friend Terry Ostrom and I landed at the airport situated at the southern end of the island, grabbed our Hala Nass boards, and headed into town. With our backcountry rolling backpack, we had zero mobility issues; getting around town with all our gear was a breeze. Next, we arrived at our outfitting company, Paddling Palau, to get our rental camping gear and to finish some last-minute planning.
Finally, it was time to paddle. Local guide Kabray Fraser, Terry and I loaded up two Nass SUPs and one double closed kayak, andcrossed the island to our put-in (located near the main city of Koror) and pushed off.
Unparalleled views dominated the entirety of the trip - we’re talking glassy waters, umbrella-shaped limestone rock islands, World War II remnants, and green vegetation. Whether paddling in the crystalline back lagoons or in the open ocean crossings, we regularly received greetings from curious green sea turtles or blacktip reef sharks.
The weather varied during our trip to Palau. The bluebird days only enhanced unbelievable water clarity, further revealing the reefs below the waterline. The rainstorms provided a very appreciated break from the heat, while the wind created experiences we are all too familiar with on the water.
My absolute favorite part of this trip was spearfishing every evening to get fresh fish for dinner and sipping on as many fresh coconuts as your heart desired. We actually ended up sending back a good majority of our food and water rations at the resupply locations since dinner and drink were occasionally provided by the bounty of the islands.
The real uniqueness of Palau exists beyond the water. If the views are not enough then you will be overjoyed by the neighborly vibe present among the people. The locals are helpful, enjoyable and curious. They truly care about the well-being of visitors, making us feel like family. Upon speaking with locals, they informed us that is no real bad time to visit Palau. However, there is a better chance of sunshine from January to early April.
Lance Ostrom is a team rider for Hala Gear.