Happy New Year! My new year’s resolution for the blog is to post at least one post a week, and multiple posts in a week do not carry over to the next. There, it’s out for the world to know; now I have to stick to it!

Last time we visited the states I asked Fletch to look for flights during the day time so that we could see Palau from the air. I love seeing countries from the air when I arrive someplace new. It’s like seeing the live version of the map. If you google image search ‘Palau’ you will likely get an aerial view of the Seventy Islands and it is quite spectacular. It turned out that there really weren't any flights arriving or departing during the day time. All the arrivals were around 9PM and all the departures were around 2AM. I decided that it was a conspiracy to get tourists to buy the small, hour-long flights around Palau. Because those wouldn’t be nearly as exciting if you’d already seen Palau from the air on your arrival.

You may remember how much trouble we had finding a place to live when we first arrived. A huge influx of Chinese tourists here meant that there wasn’t nearly enough housing to accommodate everyone. That has improved slightly, but not enough to stop everyone and their cousin from asking us when we are leaving and if anyone is lined up for our place after we are gone. Most places you visit, the conversation ice-breakers are questions like, “Where are you from?” “How long are you here for?” Here it’s, “Can I have your apartment after you leave?”

That’s how we met a very nice German couple several months ago and arranged for them to move into our place after we leave. They were so eager for the place that he even offered to call us if there were ever any free spots on his airplane available to go for an aerial tour of Palau. Of course I’ve gotten so used to the Palauan mentality where anyone will say anything to your face right then and there to sound nice, and then nothing ever happens. So imagine my surprise when Fletch got a text yesterday that we should be at the airport at 1:15 if we wanted to go for a ride along!

We loaded into a little plane with six seats and went for a breathtaking tour around the 360 or so islands that make up Palau. It was incredibly refreshing to see such a magnificent view of the tiny country where we’ve spent the past year.

Fletch and I next to the PMA plane. 

Fletch sitting co-pilot. 

It's so cool to be able to see the underwater topography from up above.

Small cluster of islands.

Jellyfish lake, one of hundreds of marine lakes, only six of which are inhabited by golden jellyfish. This is the only one open to tourists. 

One of the more popular beaches where dive trips bring tourists for lunch.

Blue Corner, one of the best dive sites on the planet.

Seventy Islands, the picture that represents Palau. These islands are a nature reserve and can only be seen by air.

Seventy Islands.

One lone little rock island.

So many rock islands.

The island of Meyungs and Palau Pacific Resort, where Fletch and I spent New Year's Eve.

Malakal Island, where you will find Sam's Dive Tours and Palau Royal Resort.

Downtown Koror and Nikko Bay in the background. Fletch and I live a couple inches to the lower left of this photo.

K-B Bridge, connecting Koror to Babeldaob, the big island to the north.