Palau’s northernmost island Ngurangel and it’s southernmost Helen Reef are separated by little over 400 miles of island peppered ocean but are remarkably similar. Both are low lying sandy features surrounded by huge atoll reefs which makes them a haven for both marine and bird life. Their isolation is what makes them so special.
Helen reef is a long thin spit of land, sparsely vegetated. It has a resident population of 4 rangers, 3 dogs and about 5000 sea birds. The rangers have their own accommodations and keep an eye out for illegal fishing activities. It lies closer to Indonesia than it does Palau’s capital Koror.
It’s inner reef is calm with huge hard coral formations and large numbers of stingrays of various species, Tiger Sharks are also known to be there.
Ngurangel Island and Velasco Reef
Ngurangel Island 405 miles to the north is less welcoming. It’s the size of a football pitch with no vegetation, no shade, no water, nothing but broken corals and sand. Whale bones, a wrecked boat and parts of a crashed plane only add to the feeling of isolation. Birds however love it and they nest there in their thousands.
The surrounding reef of Velasco has been a Marine Protected Area for over ten years and is incredibly rich in marine life.
It’s welcome relief to get in the water after even only a few minutes on the island such is the heat reflecting off the bleached ground, what you find there is nothing short of spectacular.
See this post about what else we found on another filming trip to the Atoll of Kayangel.
Contact Lightning Strike Productions to organize an expedition to these remote atolls.
Watch out for exciting news regarding visiting these remote islands and their amazing wildlife this year.