Jake Oiterong was born on the remote island archipelago of Palau in 1979. While most of his peers flocked to the urban life in the developing capital of Koror, Jake preferred the outdoor lifestyle of his father and uncles in the traditional village of Peleliu. He spent his youth climbing coconut trees, chasing land crabs, and learning the ancient fishing arts for which the Palauans are world renowned. He spent his summers on the uninhabited beaches of Ngemelis (now a marine preserve) and Ngerchong Islands, refining his free-diving techniques and becoming the master fisherman of his clan (in Palauan, this prestigious position is awarded with a title known as sechal buik). After graduating high school, Jake needed to provide more to his clan than just fish and lobster, so he took a job with the Koror State Rangers and helped monitor turtle nesting sites and marine protected areas. He's had a particular affinity to an endangered species related to the Florida manatee known as a dugong or mesekiu in Palauan. Jake has since grown into a superb Trip Leader, combining his perspective as a native hunter with that of a Western scientist. In addition to leading our Palau journeys and sharing his knowledge, he is presently embarking on a new career path as author and lecturer. Jake is now co-authoring Reef Fish of Palau and Plants & People of Palau, both of which will illuminate Palau's bio-fauna and flora while highlighting the traditional use of each species in his native culture.
Jake is a delightful person and, being a native Palauan, it is really special to hear his insights about the culture of his country.
Absolutely stellar group leader. Best I have ever experienced. Unbelievable knowledge base, and fantastic personality. You are lucky to have him!
Jake was fantastic, and his enthusiasm was evident throughout the trip.
Jake was outstanding. His knowledge of tides, currents, wind, and temperature put us in the right place at the right time every day.
It was wonderful to have a trip leader who was born and grew up there. Very helpful and wanted everyone to experience everything.
We were delighted with Jake's cheerful disposition, his helpfulness, his sense of humor and playfulness, as well as his excellent handling of the trip.
Jake is one of the most knowledgeable, enthusiastic leaders we have had. He interacted with all of us with care, concern, and joy.
Jake was endlessly enthusiastic and knowledgeable, and really seemed to go out of his way to make sure each trip member was having an amazing experience. Two huge thumbs up!