Water Temp: 79-84F
Air Temp: 78-86F
Crew: Zach, Christy, Dan, Editha, Hector, Conor and Joe
On Sunday afternoon 18 new guests arrived from across the USA. Once they were welcomed aboard the Vessel and helped to set up their gear, the guests were given a safety briefing from the Captain followed by a delicious dinner, prepared and served by Christy. Afterwards it was then time to get a good nights sleep. You need to be well rested before beginning a wonderful week of diving in Palau!
Our first dive on Monday morning, after we departed the dock was on the Helmet wreck, one of the casualties of WWII. Unlike many wrecks in Palau, which were salvaged after the war, the Helmet wreck wasnt discovered until the eighties. As a result the divers can find many artifacts like sake bottles, weapons, cooking pots and gas masks on the wreck. Upon request dive two was on the Jake Sea Plane. Obviously the wreck itself isnt very large, but the surrounding coral garden has much to explore. The Sea Plane takes a very nice photo for those who have their wide angle lens on. During lunch the Palau Aggressor II moved down to Ulong Island, recently famous for being the host of Survivor Palau. The guests had their first taste of the outer reef with a dive Sandy Paradise after lunch. Seeing some cool creatures like Leaf Scorpion fish, had everyone excited for more.
Tuesday morning our first dive was on Siaes Corner, our first hook in dive of the week, and my personal favorite site in Palau. Jumping in the current was moving and we got to the corner at a fair clip. We hooked in and saw a few Sharks, but didnt stay long as the current was too strong to make it comfortable, especially for those who were new to the experience, so we unhooked and drifted the plateau. Dive two was another hook in dive, this time at Ulong Channel. With the current a fair bit milder than on the last dive, we hooked in at the mouth of the channel and hung out and watched the Sharks, Barracuda, Jacks and more. After we unhooked we drifted gently down the channel and spotted some interesting macro life like a beautiful tiny Flabelina Nudibranch. During lunch were moved up to German Channel and did a dive at New Drop off and saw Turtles, Sharks and a Peacock Flounder. Dive Four was at Big Drop off and our night dive was at German Coral Garden.
Wednesday and we moved the big boat down to Peleliu Island in the gentle swell and did the first dive on Peleliu express. Dive Three was on the very beautiful coral garden at Orange beach. The name is not referencing a colorful spot on the island, but rather it was one of the code names for a landing area during the invasion of Peleliu by the US Marines. Peleliu was one of the fiercest battles in the Pacific, and evidence of the fighting can be found on the Island and also at this dive site. Some of our guests decided to explore the Island via the land tour instead of doing the second dive. Dive four was at Barracks Point, which is home to some giant clams and also several Turtles! We did Turtle Cove for the night dive and found heaps and heaps of macro life, plus a Marble ray, Moray Eel and Turtle.
Our first dive on Thursday was on the World famous Blue Corner. Sharks, Barracuda, Jacks, Napoleon Wrasse, and so much more, easy to understand why this dive site has the reputation it does as it never disappoints! Only a mild current today, but plenty of Sharks hanging in the blue water made for an exhilarating start to the day. Blue Holes for number two. Four sink holes on the reef top open into a large cavern, where we found Disco Clams in the wall. There are also a couple of Pygmy Seahorses on a sea fan just outside the exit. As we exited the holes we cruised down the reef on the back of the current, and made it to blue corner again. Not enough air to safely hook in so we just drifted over the Plateau which has so much to see. You could do a hundred dives here and not see it all!
Friday morning and we headed out to Blue Corner for the first dive. We hooked in for a while and there was so much going on it was hard to know where to look. The current went slack so we explored the plateau and found Turtles and sleeping White Tips and some Palette Surgeon Fish. We went to Turtle Cove for the second dive and after exploring the beautiful soft corals along the wall we came up to the reef crest which explodes with color in the shallow water with Anthias and Basselets of all colors, just fantastic. In the afternoon we went to Jellyfish Lake where we swam with the millions of mesmerizing stingless jellies plus checked out the predacious anemones along the shoreline. After an amazing final dinner by Christy, we gathered in the saloon to watch the video of the weeks highlights.
On Saturday Morning, we did a dive on the Iro Maru , a WWII wreck just outside of the harbor. After the dive we boarded the skiff and did a spectacular tour of the Rock Island courtesy of Joe. We then went for our last dive at Chandelier Cave, a must do as it is so different from anything else we dived throughout the week. With a patient eye you can find Mandarin fish and Devil Scorpion fish amongst the rubble at the cave entrance. A slide show was prepared by Hector and included all of the sights from this weeks trip which we watched at the cocktail party that evening, after which the guests enjoyed dinner in one of the restaurants in Koror.
Sunday morning and we helped the guests load the luggage onto the bus and said our goodbyes as they left for their hotels. It’s been a fun week and we hope to see you all again soon aboard the Palau Aggressor II.