The Outside Blog


Swimming Between Millions of Migrating Jellyfish

If there is a lifelist for snorkeling, Palau's Jellyfish Lake has to be on it. Tourists can swim through the upper levels of the water as millions of golden jellyfish migrate across the marine lake following the sun. They swim east in the morning, west in the afternoon, and then at night they dive down to pick up nutrients for the next day.

At some point, likely 12,000 to 15,000 years ago, sea levels rose enough to bring the larvae of jellyfish into the limestone pocketed lakes of Palau. The limestone allows ocean water to seep through, but prevents larger marine mammals from entering the lake. There are 70 marine lakes through the archipelago, but not all of them are stocked with jellyfish. 

The often told story about Jellyfish Lake—Ongeim'l Tketau to the localsis that the animals in here have lost their stinging capabilities, but that's not entirely true. If you want to feel their poison, simply let a jellyfish drift toward your lips, which are sensitive enough to react to their sting. The jellyfish otherwise use their stingers to feed on zooplankton.

For more on Jellyfish Lake, read "Darwin's Jellyfishes," from The National Wildlife Federation.

—Joe Spring

to Outside
Save Over

Magazine Cover

iPad Outside+ App Access Now Included!






Previous Posts




Blog Roll

Current Issue Outside Magazine

Subscribe and get a great deal! Two free Buyer's Guides plus a free GoLite Sport Bottle. Monthly delivery of Outside—your ultimate resource for today's active lifestyle. All that and big savings!

Free Newsletters

Dispatch This week's featured articles, reviews, and videos. Sent twice weekly.
News From the Field The most important breaking news from around the Web. Sent daily.
Gear of the Day The latest products, reviews, and editors' picks. Coming soon.
Outside Partners Outside-approved deals and special offers from select partners. Sent occasionally.

Ask a Question

Our gear experts await your outdoor-gear-related questions. Go ahead, ask them anything.

* We might edit your question for length or clarity. If it's not about gear, we'll just ignore it.