At breakfast, we noted a bit of a Groundhog Day vibe going on. As we thought might happen, every day was basically the same, just with minor differences, and they all could have been the same day, over and over. Except instead of being in rural Pennsylvania, we were in paradise. Too bad it was the last day. Today was fat noodle day, so we enjoyed one last bowl of that. Captain Bacon picked us up, and it was a bit early. The other pick up at PPR was on our tour today, a couple from Colorado. At Sam's, we met the rest of our group, and it was 9 people, plus Bacon, Mac and Fonzie. Three of them were US servicemen, and two of them were in bad shape, not even hung over, but in their own words " still drunk." When we got on the boat, Bacon gave them some life preservers.

Our first stop was to see a crashed US plane. Apparently there had been a lone survivor, but he was tracked down a few days later and killed. There was a major anti-Japanese vibe on our boat, and it was a little odd given that some of the people on the boat had Japanese heritage. But suffice it to say, Palauans are not huge fans of the Japanese and what transpired in World War II. We went snorkeling by the Rembrandt coral garden, and saw lots of colorful stuff - perhaps even moreso than on the previous dives - plus a couple jellyfish. One was a moon jellyfish, related to the jellyfish in Jellyfish Lake (video below). The other was a "normal" jellyfish, and thankfully Mac alerted Justin to it's presence, as he was swimming very nearby.

After the snorkel, we kayaked for awhile around Nikko Bay. Immediately after getting in the kayaks, one of the drunk guys started kayaking full bore, ran into one of the other kayakers, and flipped his kayak. He was fine, but dropped his GoPro - thankfully Mac dove down and retrieved it. The kayaking was nice, but unlike our previous kayak day, the sun was out in full force, and it was much hotter. Just before getting to the boat for lunch, we mistakenly went left when we were supposed to go straight, and got caught in a pretty good current, taking quite a bit of effort to get back out. At lunch, we saw Captain Bacon's version of plate lunch, with a bunch of rice, tuna, and spam, with soy sauce since apparently it wasn't salty enough as is. The servicemen had brought Chex Mix, which Mac was ecstatic about - for whatever reason, Chex Mix is hard to find on Palau.

After lunch, we walked up the hillside near where we were moored, and checked out some of the "Pill Boxes" (hidden firing stations) from WW2. Then some of the people dove off the cliff near one of the pill boxes into Pillbox Channel, down into the current we had gotten caught in before lunch. We just stayed at the top and filmed, in case relatives needed IDs. ;-) After climbing back down the hill, we got in the kayaks, and kayaked some more to the east, seeing some caves. For one of them, we hauled our kayaks onto the beach and looked around for awhile, but when we came back one of the kayaks had disappeared, so Mac had to go hunt it down. [He got it, but never got a good story as to how it left the beach.] After finishing our kayaking - and exhausting our arms - we were supposed to go to the "Disney" area for some snorkeling, but we were running late, and Mac was worried we'd run out of light before we finished.

So instead we went for Lolita's Garden, where we'd snorkeled a couple days previously, at the end of our other kayak trip. But Lolita's Garden was full of people, so we went to Bouys Sink instead (just to the south), and it was pretty good, but not as nice as Lolita's. We got a couple of drinks and then dinner at Sam's - something different for once! We also returned all of our rented gear and got some t-shirts to commerorate our trip. We got back to the hotel around 7, and it did not take long to pack. We were absolutely exhausted - perhaps from the sun, perhaps from the kayaking, and/or perhaps from the 7 days of non-stop action.

We tried our best to stay awake at the beach bar, but everyone could see we were dragging, including the bartenders. Somehow we made it to 10:30, checked out, and then boarded a shuttle to the airport. We fell asleep almost instantly on shuttle, getting a cat nap to tide us over for a bit. Nobody was at the airport, in fact we were one of the first in the waiting area. We read and listened to music at the airport, patiently waiting our flight. We slept most of the way to Guam, and landed right at dawn. In Guam, we realized there is a stupid set up with Guam and Honolulu for customs/immigration. Apparently Guam has its own "customs zone" for the U.S., so all arriving people from outside the U.S. need to clear customs, even if just on transit. So we had to leave the secure area, then come back in, then head back right to where we had been. We did get 30 minutes or so at the United Lounge, however, which helped temper things.


But because Guam is not part of the U.S. as it comes to immigration, however, we had to clear immigration (and customs) in Honolulu as well, and leave the secure area - again. This would have been much easier had we just gone LAX to Manila to Palau and back - maybe next time. We grabbed dinner and a drink at Kona Brewing Company in Honolulu, watching highlights of the Pro Bowl. Given that we were flying HNL-LAX, we kind of expected we might see some people affiliated with the Pro Bowl on our flight, but we did not. We stayed awake for a bit, but then fortunately got some sleep on this flight as well. We landed in LAX around 5am, connected to Carlsbad around 7am, and were at work by 9am. The end of vacation always sucks. But for taking only 5 days of vacation from work, we certainly got our money's worth out of this trip. On to the next trip...