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Jellyfish Lake

Jelly Fish lake 1

It's pretty hard to believe this picture is real. If you've ever been warned of the perils of swimming with jellyfish, you'd probably steer well clear of a lake infested with them. However, Jellyfish Lake in the Pacific Island of Palau is quite the tourist attraction.

Jelly Fish lake 6

The lake, known as Ongeim'l Tketau locally, contains over ten million jellyfish that evolved from one common ancestor, a spotted jellyfish that wandered in from the ocean many, many years ago. When access to the sea was cut off, the population was isolated.

Jelly Fish lake 7

Over the years, with a constant supply of algae and no predators to fend off, their stingers sort of devolved. And that's the reason it's possible to swim with them. They do still have stinging cells, but they're so small that their touch isn't detectable by human skin.

Jelly Fish lake 5

So much so that snorkelers descend on the lake regularly to attempt the bizarre feat. The jellyfish have even been featured on reality TV, with contestants on Survivor: Palau treated to a swim as a prize.

Jelly Fish lake 4

Far riskier than their stingers is the layer of hydrogen sulfide 15 to 20 meters below the surface. Humans are strongly discouraged from descending that far, and scuba diving is prohibited, due to the risk of hydrogen sulfide poisoning. (Think about swimming in sulfury, stagnant pond water, and you'll get the idea…) However, the jellyfish love it there, and that's where they spend their nights. Check out this link to see what it's like. RM

Jelly Fish lake 2

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  • andrewwwww

    May 1, 2014

    I swam with jelly fish in the chesapeake was not fun and i used a lot of foul language…i hate jelly fish and no thank you

  • Matthew Fine

    January 31, 2014

    This is eerily beautiful, I am not entirely sure how keen I would be to swim in jellyfish infested waters but after this it would be easier to convince me

  • Matthew Fine

    January 30, 2014

    I have a very odd urge to go do this right now

  • Jeff

    February 19, 2010

    Very interesting and excellent photos.

  • Daniel W. Stafford

    October 21, 2009

    it must be relaxing to be floating there

  • Cool, but in an M. Night Shyamalan kinda way !

  • gary

    July 11, 2009

    I don’t know why but these pictures give me a huge boner.

  • Nestor

    July 9, 2009

    That looks awesome though it could get a little creepy.

  • Jonathan Cox

    July 9, 2009

    A layer of poison water and a lake full of harmless jellyfish…sounds like fun. Beautiful pictures, though.

  • Hugging the Coast

    June 22, 2009

    I’ve seen this lake in Youtube videos. If you haven’t seen it…it’s amazing!

    I hope one day to experience it firsthand.

  • Brett S.

    June 1, 2009

    Been there it is amazing, just don’t swim to the bottom.

  • Michael Schmid

    May 11, 2009

    While scuba diving in the ocean nearby, I did stop and hike up here to cuddle with the jelly fish. Once you got used to that fact they couldn’t sting you it was pretty amazing. I wore a dive skin and snorkel even so. There were so many jelly fish in places it was hard not to push them aside as you swam. We divers are taught not to touch stuff, but it was somewhat unavoidable. While in that area (Palau) do also check out ‘Blue Corner’; one of the best scuba diving spots in the world.

  • sir jorge

    April 28, 2009

    I really need to get out of this cubicle and see these things in person.

Any comments?