The beach on Ulong Island is as beautiful as they come. A quarter of a mile of powdery white sand bor¬dered on one side by warm, clear waters and some of the best diving the world has to offer. Behind it, sway¬ing coconut palms give way to a thick veil of jungle. But few visi¬tors are aware of the historic events that have occurred on this very spot some of them hundreds of years ago.
The island of Ulong is uninhabited now, but in the jungle just a few metres from the beach you can find pottery shards and other artifacts evi¬dence of early Palauan hunters and fishermen. Behind the beach a rope ladder stretches up the cliff wall, inviting you to make the arduous climb to another treasure: ancient rock paintings inside a deep ledge. The age and mean¬ing of these sites remain a mystery.
In 1783, Ulong Beach received its most famous visitor: Captain Henry Wilson’s ship, the Antelope, was wrecked here. A monument on the beach commemorates the Palauans’first encounter with the West — and their future. Having traded with the visitors, the Palauans helped them build a new boat to complete their voyage. The visitors and trade that followed have shaped the island’s future.
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