Log Date: Sunday, Apr 12, 2015
Entry By: Tropic Dancer Crew
After 4pm on Sunday, we welcomed on board 17 guests, 12 guests from the US, 3 from Germany, 1 from Russia, and 1 from England. We started with a quick introduction to their cabins. Then on the dive deck, everyone set up their dive gear. We sat down to dinner and after we covered the safety briefing and vessel orientation. We handed out the nautilus lifelines and watched a documentary on Palau.
Early Monday morning we moved the big boat into Malakal Harbor. After breakfast we covered the general dive briefing and our first dive was at the Helmet Wreck. We entered the water did our weight check and descended down to the wreck. We checked out all three cargo holds, seeing the WWII helmets and depth charges. On the bow we found the banded messmate pipe fish and signal gobies. Back at the stern we spent some time looking over the WWII artifacts that have been collected from the wreck and placed by the bow gun. During our surface interval the big boat moved out of Malakal Harbor and into the rock islands. Our second dive was at the Iro. Everyone enjoyed diving along the deck of this massive ship, going through the wheel house and around the king posts. At the aft king post we saw the red anemones and tomato anemone fish. After lunch we covered the last power point presentation on how to use the reef hooks. Our third dive was at Siaes Corner. We entered the water and drifted towards the hook in area. We made it to the hook in area and hooked in. We stayed there for a while and had several sharks in the blue. We unhooked and spent the rest of the dive exploring the plateau. For dive four we headed out to Ulong Coral Garden. We started the dive from the furthest mooring from the mouth of the channel and drifted along the wall. We had some sharks in the blue and a couple beautiful anemones that were balled up feeding. Dinner was soon ready when we arrived at the big boat, after we watched a fish ID presentation on the most common fish we see here in Palau.
On Tuesday morning we started our day with Sandy Paradise. We entered the water and stopped at the cleaning station and let the cleaner wrasse clean our hands for a while. Then we checked out a patch of coral with hundreds of glassy sweeper around it, and found the four leaf scorpion fish hidden in the coral. We saw a school of barracuda and jacks and all the photographers liked how the big eyed crescent tail posed for photos. Our last dive in Ulong was at Ulong Channel. We had an incoming current, we entered the water and swam out to the wall. We drifted to the mouth of the channel and hooked in and watched the shark parade. We unhooked, drifted inside the channel, passed the lettuce coral and ended the dive at the two the Giant clam sitting side by side with soft coral growing on them. During lunch the big boat moved over to the German Channel area. Once we arrived, dive three was at Big Drop Off. All the guests enjoyed the drift along the wall we saw a lot of macro life, nudis and a couple of turtles. For dive four we went to New Drop Off. The current was outgoing we entered the water and drifted along the wall to the hook in area. We hooked in around the big cut in the reef and enjoyed the show. There were several grey reef sharks and about a lot of little baby sharks. They were fun to watch because they really didnt know how to maneuver in the current. We then unhooked and explored the plateau. After dinner, the night dive was at Big Drop Off. We found several shrimp, nudis, a small scorpion fish and some other macro life.
Wednesday morning we started the day with Blue Holes. We entered the water on top the plateau, and descended down into the chamber. We took photos saw the disco clam and the pygmy sea horse on the sea fan by the exit. We exited and made it down to Blue Corner. Once we passed through the eddy current, the outgoing pushed us down the hook in area. Some of the guests were able to hook in and see some sharks in the blue, others just drifted across the plateau. For dive two we headed to Dexters Wall. During the dive we saw over 10 turtles, both green sea and hawksbill. We also found several nudis along the wall. After lunch we set out to Blue Corner. The current was incoming and it was moving. We entered the water and traveled along the wall to the hook in. We hooked in at 60 feet and enjoyed the show. We had a lot of sharks in the blue and the napoleons were checking out all the divers. With the strong current we stayed hooked in for most of the dive. When we unhooked we started ascending to do our safety stop. For the fourth dive it was still an incoming current so we went to German Channel. We started the dive from the Peleliu side of the mouth. We stopped at the Peleliu side cleaning station but nothing came in to be cleaned. We then headed across the mouth of the channel to the Koror side cleaning station and waited, but nothing came in to be cleaned. As we were waiting, the current switched to outgoing, so we headed out the Koror side of the mouth of the channel. As we got to the red anemone we had a close encounter with a large lemon shark. After dinner we went to Alexys Coral Garden for the night dive. We swam along the coral garden finding nudis and a decorated crab, lobster and lion fish.
Thursday morning we woke up early and moved the big boat down to Peleliu. After we tied up the big boat in South Dock, our first dive was at Peleliu Corner. We checked the current and it was an incoming current. So we did the “Express.” We entered the water and went wall on the right to the hook in area. We hooked in and the current was light. We saw some sharks in front of us. We then unhooked and rode the current all the way to the corner. At the corner we saw the large school of sea breams, there had to be at least four of five hundred. They come up from the deep water to mate this time of year. As we started ascending, below us a large spotted eagle ray swam along the plateau. When we got back to the big boat five guests went on the Peleliu WWII land tour to check out the sites of one of the bloodiest battles of WWII. Dive two we went Orange Beach Coral Garden. We had a strong current and drifted along the coral garden. We spotted a big hawksbill turtle laying down amongst the hard coral and when we got closer we found a small cuttle fish next to the turtle. After lunch dive three was at West Wall. Lets just say that the current made the dive interesting. It switched a couple of time on us, and was strong. The highlight of the dive was a 12 foot tiger shark that came pretty close to some of the divers. After the dive the big boat left south dock and slowly headed back to German Channel. We dropped the skiff for one last dive in Peleliu at Barracks Point. We started the dive along the wall and when we arrived at the sloping coral garden. The current was strong here as well. We drifted swiftly along the sloping coral garden and into the eddy current at the end of the dive site. We did see some turtles and the giant clams. After dinner the night dive was at Turtle Cove. During the dive we saw a turtles, nudis, and some basket stars out filter feeding in the mild current, also a white tip reef shark cruising along the wall.
On Friday morning we woke up and started the day with Blue Corner. The current was light and incoming. We started the dive from the furthest mooring and as we entered the water, we spotted a leopard shark. All the photographers got really close to get some great photos. At the hook in area the current was too light to hook in so we just explored the plateau seeing some turtles and blue lined snapper. For dive two we headed to Turtle Cove. We descended down the hole on top the reef and out along the wall. At the bottom in the sloping sand bottom there was another leopard shark. After we took some photos we continued along the wall to the corner. The current was pushing us good the entire time. We drifted around the corner and saw a large school of barracuda in the blue water. After lunch for dive three, we went to Barnums Wall. We started the dive above the sloping coral garden and found a crocodile fish, the current soon changed and we turned around and went the other way. For dive four we had another incoming current so we went back to German Channel. We started the dive from the Koror side of the mouth and stopped at the red anemone for photos. The current was moving and we sat down around the Koror side cleaning station. We sat there for a while but nothing came in to be cleaned. We did have a large dog tooth tuna circle around us a couple of times, trying to use us as cover before chasing after the bait ball above us. Once we arrived back to the big boat, it moved into the rock islands to get ready for Saturday Morning. Soon we sat down to chef Camerons surf and turf final supper. After, Andy showed his video of the charter and we watched a short documentary on Jelly Fish Lake.
We woke up Saturday morning with the big boat in the rock islands. Our first excursion was Jelly Fish Lake. We tied the skiff up on the outside and started our hike over the hill to the lake. We entered the water and after a short swim into the middle of the lake we were surrounded by millions of jelly fish. Everyone enjoyed this time in the lake, with an estimated 13 million jelly fish. After the lake we traveled by skiff on a rock island tour. We stopped for photos at Palaus famous limestone archway and some WWII sites on the way back to the big boat. We did a quick turnaround and headed out to Chandelier Cave. We surfaced in all four air chambers to take photos of the stalactites and outside the cave we found the mandarin fish. After an afternoon of cleaning, drying and packing scuba gear, we gathered in the salon at 6pm for the cocktail party and watch a photo slideshow of the week and soon after all the guests headed off into town for dinner
Sunday morning the guests woke up to continental breakfast and at 8am we said our goodbyes as they headed off to their hotels. We would like to thank all of our guests for joining us this week aboard the Tropic Dancer, hope to see you all again soon…
-Tropic Dancer Crew