Casey Mahaney & |
Astrid Witte Mahaney
Operating Blue Kirio Travel and Photography, this photographic
team specializes in underwater photography and exotic dive travel
and have co-authored 10 books on marine life identification
and dive travel, along with a vast number of articles for periodicals.
Through the years, they have developed a special interest in
exploring marine life habitats and identifying and photographing
unusual and uncommon species of fish and invertebrates. While
spending several months every year traveling on various assignments,
they also specialize in organizing and escorting a limited number
of live-aboard dive tours to select remote and exotic destinations
around the globe.
we are flying out tonight we have to forego diving, Ethan
is taking us on a kayaking tour through the Rock Islands.
The weather could not possibly be any better. It's windy
again, probably making for rough conditions on the outside
reefs, but we are tucked tight into the sheltering mushroom-like
isles. While the wind drives the scattered puffy clouds
across the blue sky, all we receive is a gentle, cooling
kayak, we explore mangrove forests, caves, WWII relicts
and shallow coral gardens. We discover that there is a whole
other world nestled within the jungley Rock Islands that
can only be explored by kayak. Tarzan Cave and Bat Cave
are just some of the amazing limestone formations with dripping
stalactites and stalagmites and unique flora and fauna.
Deep inside the Tarzan Cave, we discover skeletal human
remains said to be from Japanese or Korean soldiers from
WWII. There are many reminders of the war still hidden under
dense foliage ranging from canons, machine gun nests and
Japanese pill boxes.
takes advantage of the spectacular view from one of the
pill boxes and manages to get some great shots of us kayaking
over the turquoise water. In a particularly calm area, a
loud splash draws our attention and Ethan rushes over to
the source. It turns out to be a school of jumping baitfish,
but Ethan tells us that small saltwater crocodiles have
been spotted in the area recently. I'm not sure if we should
consider ourselves lucky or not, but in any case, we don't
get to see one.
the next couple of hours, we decide to play a little bit,
snorkel the shallows and photograph some juveniles while
Ethan dons his scuba gear and tries to find some vivid iridescent
urchins. Finally, once the sun is high in the sky, we decide
to work on some split level images. Normally, this is a
tedious, frustrating process, but with today's mirror-like
surface, clear, shallow water and blue skies, it's a blast.
Sadly, with the last shot exposed, we realize our Palau
expedition is coming to an end. While Sam's Tours was able
to give us an excellent sampling of Palau's diverse marine
environment, we now realize there's still much more to explore,
besides there are so many wonderful places to return to.
So we'll be back. Real soon!
The Palau Pacific Resort
Considered one of Micronesia's most luxurious resorts, the
Palau Pacific Resort features 160 guest rooms and suites nestled
within a lush tropical landscape. Located along a beautiful
white sand beach, just 25 minutes from the international airport
it provides a vast selection of leisure and recreational activities.
The 5 Star PADI Dive Center "Splash" offers instructional programs
as well as guided scuba and snorkeling tours. "Photo Palau"
provides a full-service photo and digital video center, while
"The Poolside" is the center for watersports such as windsurfing,
kayaking, sailing and snorkeling. The resort also offers a fitness
center, outdoor tennis courts, nature trails as well as fine
dining at the Meduu Ribtal Restaurant and the alfresco Coconut
Sam Scott has been exploring Palau's vast reef system, hidden
waterways and forgotten jungles for more than 18 years and knows
the best locations below and above the surface. An endless enthusiasm
for showcasing Palau's diversified ecosystem for every visitor
and a willingness to go the extra mile have earned Sam a reputation
for unique and personalized service. With his first-class team
of PADI instructors, marine biologists and trained naturalists,
Sam's Tours offers an array of watersports, including diving,
kayaking, snorkeling, overnight sailing and environmentally
friendly sportfishing tours. In addition, Sam's offers thrilling
land tours to towering waterfalls, ancient Palauan monoliths,
prehistoric cave paintings and fascinating Yapese stone money
For more information,
go to the website at: