National Geographic : 1978 Jul
Photographs by DOUGLAS FAULKNER Text by THOMAS O'NEILL NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC STAFF Dazzling Corals of Palau Ngaruangl Reef Kayangel Islands Kossol o Reef o / s'e O Possible sites for a supertanker port in Palau to serve the tanker route to Japan (above). PHILIPPINE Ko SEA Augulpelu Reef Seventy Islands Preserve, Barnum Bay [D Peleliu Angaur Ei Malk PACIFIC OCEAN 0 KILOMETERS 20 I I,I ', I 0 STATUTE MILES 20 DRAWNBYELIE SABBAN COMPILEDBY MARGUERITEB. HUNSIKER NATIONALGEOGRAPHIC ARTDIVISION LUNG OUT along a 93-mile line in the western Pacific, the Palau Is lands have seldom attracted wide spread attention. In the past few years, however, like gulls flocking to a fish ing boat, an assortment of scientists, skin divers, oil executives, and environmental ists have been showing up at this isolated island chain east of the Philippines. Their common interest: the spectacular coral reefs. Their common question: What effect would a supertanker port have? To scientists, the reefs of this United Na tions Trust Territory present one of the richest marine environments in Oceania. The profusion of animal and plant life rivals that of Australia's Great Barrier Reef.