Log Date: Sunday, Mar 22, 2015
Entry By: Palau Aggressor Crew
Crew: Zach, Cameron, Dan, Jay, Ernan, Ripon, and Hector
On Sunday we greeted our new dive buddies, who this week all came from Russia. 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. 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 which sunk during WWII. Unlike many wrecks in Palau this one remained undiscovered until the 80s and was l un-salvaged, as such 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 at Big Drop Off and our fourth dive was at German Channel. Very nice to have this site to ourselves this afternoon, which is one of the benefits of a live aboard, as we dive after the day boats have gone home! A couple of Mantas came to the cleaning station while we were there, and then we did a gentle drift into the channel.
Our first dive on Tuesday was at the world famous Blue Corner, our first hook in dive of the week. The current was mild this morning but the action on the hook was outstanding. Schooling Jacks, Barracuda, and many Grey Reef Sharks kept us entertained for pretty much the whole dive. Dive two was at Virgin Blue Hole, a large chimney on the reef top turns into a tunnel that exits along the reef wall. We saw several Turtles and anemone fish as we cruised along the reef. Dive three was at New Drop Off where we got to hook in again as it is like a mini version of Blue Corner. Dive four was a very lovely dive at Turtle Cove, beautiful Sea Fans and Soft Corals adorning the reef wall and brightly colored Anthias up along crest make this place an explosion of colors!
On Wednesday we headed south in the gentle swell to Peleliu. A large pod of Spinner Dolphins greeted us with the rising sun shimmering out over the water as we lowered the skiff for our first dive on Peleliu Express. After breakfast 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 second dive 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, many Turtles and a few White tips. Dive three was at Barnums wall where we spotted a 10ft Leopard Shark, and the night dive was on Turtle cove.
We kicked off Thursday morning with our first dive at German Channel. Hoping to see more Mantas we waited patiently at the cleaning station. The wait paid off as we were able to see seven mantas around the cleaning station. After about forty minutes we drifted down the Channel and saw some sleeping White tips, and right at the end of the dive a juvenile Manta came down the channel! Dive two was at the Blue Holes and dive three at the Canyons. After lunch we went to Jellyfish Lake to swim with the mesmerizing jellyfish that migrate across the lake every day, which is a very tranquil and unique experience that shouldnt be missed on a visit to Palau.
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 went to the famous Ulong Channel. We waited for the tide to be right as the preferred way to dive this site is with reasonable current which makes for a super fun drift down the Channel to see the large patch of Lettuce Coral and Giant Clams. We did Sandy Paradise for dive three, 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 Saturday morning we went for an early dive at Siaes Corner before heading back to Koror on the big boat. 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!