Diving in the Philippines’ Palau Island
Story by Amber Arbucci
Jeb Corliss and I traveled to Palau where we had planned some shipwreck & shark diving. Although sunken Japanese active war heads were fun for a minute, what we really were amazed by was one particular deep cave dive. Since it was at aproximately 160-170 feet down we didn’t have a whole lot of bottom time, which meant we had to get in the cave as quickly as possible, take the photos we wanted, and surface without depleting our tanks first. This left zero time for any mistakes with navigation.
Exploring these pitch black, extremely small crevices in the depths of the ocean was thrilling, but when a little light was cast by our video lights, what we found was haunting. Complete skeletons from sea turtles! Turtles would swim their way into the labyrinth of this cave to sleep; however, with no light they would get lost, and ultimately suffocate trying to find their way back out.
Free Diving with 5 Million Jellyfish
As if all of that wasn’t enough, our trip was not complete until I got to experience the true reason I was there, 5 million Jellyfish. I’ve always enjoyed the mysticism of the deep, and the folklore tails of mermaids. Usually in those stories where there were mermaids, there were jellyfish. Pulsating, and fluctuating with charm, they rely only on movement for the sustenance of their life. So powerful, and yet so fragile all at the same time.
After the first day of specking it out, I went back a 2nd day. I filmed myself solo for 7 hours with jellyfish. Self Portraiture for the first time is not easy, but now try holding your breath underwater, wrangling jellyfish, controlling exposure & light with no assistants, and trying to maintain an on camera face. Wait, then the cherry on top, being in the nude. There was no better way to push the envelope, accepting complete vulnerability, and demonstrate the ultimate picture of harmony & connection to nature. Aesthetically the visuals of glowing Medusa (jellyfish), jade green water, and the golden light of sun-rays kissing both me and the jellyfish was all I needed to see, and from that I created my collection “The Girl At Jellyfish Lake” -Palau