Palau Aggressor Charter Mar 15-22, 2015
Water Temp: 82-86 deg F
Air Temp: 78-86 deg F
Crew: Zach, Cameron, Dan, Jay, Ernan, Maria, and Hector,
On Sunday we greeted our guests from around the World. This week our new dive buddies come from The USA, and The Netherlands. Upon arrival they were introduced to their cabins and then assisted as they set up their dive gear and camera equipment followed by a tasty dinner turned out by Chef Cameron. After dinner Captain Zach gave the vessel orientation and safety briefing and then the guests were off to bed early to rest up before beginning an amazing week of diving in Palau.
On Monday morning we departed the dock early and made our way out to the first dive site of the week. Our first dive was on the Helmet or Depth Charge Wreck, one of the Japanese transport ships sunk during WWII. Unlike many wrecks in Palau this one remained undiscovered until the 80s and as such was largely un-salvaged. A variety of cool critters were spotted including Whip coral Gobies, a Saw Blade Shrimp, Barramundi Cod and some Spot fin Lion Fish. The wreck has many artifacts left over from the war for the exploring diver to find. Our second dive was on the Wreck of the Iro, another victim of the war. More cool critters found along the wreck, along with schooling snappers around the kingposts. After lunch we went for a dive on Ferns wall and our fourth dive was at Big Drop Off. We saw some Nudibranchs, Clown fish, Moray Eels, Banded Shrimp and got a glimpse of our first Shark of the Week!
Tuesday began with a dive at Blue Holes, we descended through the holes in the reef top into the large cavern below. Exploring the cavern we found some disco clams and then made our way along the reef wall. With a good current pushing us along we made it all the way to the Plateau at Blue corner, giving our divers their first taste of a hook in and the action was good! We didnt stay at the hook in area too long so we drifted over the plateau, and found a couple of Leaf Scorpion fish, Turtles and sleeping White Tips. Dive two was at Dexters Wall. Dive three was at German Channel, unfortunately we didnt see any Mantas at the cleaning station, but we did see a few Sharks, a Ghost Pipefish, and some Garden Eels. Dive four was out to New Drop Off where we got to hook in properly for the first time, and the action and vis was great. Lots of Grey Reef Sharks, including a few babies, Turtles, Morays and a spotted Eagle Ray seen; to name a few creatures as we drifted along the Plateau.
On Wednesday we headed south in the gentle swell to Peleliu and started the day with a dive on Peleliu Express. During dive two half the group went on the Peleliu land tour to learn about the WWII history of the Island, and visit some of the relics of one of the fiercest battles in the Pacific. The rest of the group did their second dive at West Wall, and with a strong current made it all the way down to Peleliu Corner! Dive three was at Orange Beach. Divers can find ammunition and other WWII artifacts as this was one of the beaches that the US Marines landed on during the invasion of Peleliu. We also saw a Crocodile fish, Turtles and a few White tips. Barracks point was the last dive of the day down in the south and we saw several Turtles, and three giant Clams!
We kicked off Thursday morning with our first dive at Blue Corner. This time we dove the corner from the other side. The action at the hook in was plentiful, and as usual the guests enjoyed playing with the large Napoleon Wrasse that hangs around the area craving attention. It must be one of the most photographed fish in Palau! We did dive two at Virgin Blue holes and dive three at New Drop Off. With beautiful canyons filled with hard and soft corals there are plenty of photo opportunities here! Our last dive was back at German Channel, where we did glimpse a couple of Mantas above the cleaning station, as well as Sharks and Tuna and schooling bait fish.
We headed to Ulong Island on Friday morning, which is where a season of Survivor was filmed. Apart from passing trade ships it was also where the first Europeans had a prolonged stay in Palau, by way of a shipwreck! Our first dive was out at Siaes Tunnel, where we saw got to find a few decorated Dart Fish in the Tunnel and some Sharks and Turtles along the wall! We then came up along the reef crest to finish off the dive and like most of the reef walls in Palau the Crest is covered in Anthias, Anemone Fish and many other pretty reef creatures. For dive two we did Sandy Paradise, which is a great place to see some of the more interesting creatures like Leaf Scorpion fish, and Peacock Razor fish, Garden Eels and much more. On dive four we dove the famous Ulong Channel. The Action at the hook in was good and the current was strong as we did a super fun drift down the Channel to see the large patch of Lettuce Coral and Giant Clams. After dinner we gathered in the lounge to watch the weeks video, shared a few memories and a few laughs.
On Saturday morning we went for a snorkel at Jellyfish Lake where we swam with the millions of mesmerizing jellyfish. It is a very tranquil and unique experience floating in the lake, and a great way to relax after a week of exciting diving. Upon returning to the skiff, the driver took us on a tour through the Rock Islands before meeting up with the big boat in Koror. Our last dive was at nearby Chandelier Caves where we explored the four chambers and interesting stalactite formations inside surfacing for a breath or two in the air pockets along the way. On the reef just outside the cave entrance we watched mandarin fish scurrying around along with pajama cardinal fish between the shallow corals for the rest of the dive.
We said farewell on Sunday morning and helped our guests with transfers to their hotels and flights. It was yet another wonderful week aboard the Palau Aggressor II with fantastic guests that we look forward to diving again with soon!