Log Date: Sunday, Jun 14, 2015
Entry By: Tropic Dancer Crew
After 4pm on Sunday, we welcomed on board 16 guests, all currently living in the US. 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 and watched a documentary on Palau.
Early Monday morning we picked up the last two guests from the airport and showed them to their cabins. At 6am we moved the big boat into Malakal Harbor. After breakfast we covered the safety briefing and vessel orientation for our late arriving guests then covered 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 as the big boat moved to Ulong, we covered the last power point presentation on how to use the reef hooks. Our third dive was at Ulong Channel. We had a nice incoming current, but had divers that entered the water before us. WE decided to start the dive from the furthest mooring from the mouth and take our time to the hook in area. Along the coral garden we saw a marbled ray and some sharks in the blue water. By the time we arrived at the hook in area all the other divers were gone. We hooked in and watched the show. There were several sharks hanging out in front of all the divers. We then unhooked and enjoyed the drift into the channel. For dive four we headed back out to Ulong Channel. We started the dive from one of the moorings close to the mouth and drifted to the hook in area. The sharks put on another great show. We then unhooked and drifted into the channel, this time the current was not as strong as last dive so we got to see the lettuce coral and the two giant clams. 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 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 two and our last dive in Ulong we headed out to 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. We had a great end to the dive when we found three crocodile fish. 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, nudi’s and a couple of turtles. For dive four we went to the famous German Channel. We started the dive from the Koror side of the mouth and first stopped at the red anemone. After the photographers took their images, we moved to the Koror side cleaning station. We sat down in the sand and waited, no mantas. We then crossed the mouth of the channel to the Peleliu side cleaning station and still no mantas. We headed back across the mouth and saw the mantas up in the water column feeding. We ascended to spend the rest of the dive with the mantas. In total we saw five mantas feeding on the plankton. After dinner, the night dive was at Big Drop Off. We found several shrimp, nudi’s, a small scorpion fish and some other macro life.
Wednesday morning we started the day with Blue Holes. We entered the water for 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. It was the start of the outgoing current and the eddy current was not strong. Most of the guests were able to hook in and see the sharks in the blue water, others just drifted across the plateau to start their safety stop. For dive two we headed to Blue Corner. The current was outgoing 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 headed across the plateau and did our safety stop on the other side of the corner. After lunch dive three was at Turtle Cove. The tide was too low for us to descend down the hole on top the reef so we went down the mooring to the cavern. We drifted along the wall to the corner. We spotted a couple of nudi’s and saw the schools of rudder fish and butterfly fish. We drifted around the corner and saw a large school of barracuda in the blue water. For the fourth dive it was still an incoming current so we went back 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. We headed back into the middle of the channel and were about to finish our dive by drifting into the channel when we saw mantas above us feeding in the shallow water column. We ascended to be with the mantas for the rest of the dive. In total there were 4 mantas feeding on the plankton. After dinner we did the night dive at Turtle Cove. We swam along the wall finding nudi’s 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 outgoing current. So we did the “D’Cut.” We entered the water and went wall on the left to the hook in area. We hooked in and the current was moving but not too strong. We had some sharks in front of us but they soon moved down the wall. We then unhooked and rode the current further down the wall and hooked again where all the sharks were. Right in front of us was a marbled ray. Dive two was at Orange Beach Coral Garden. We had a light current and drifted along the coral garden. We spotted some beautiful anemones and a crocodile fish. We could hear dolphins during the dive but they never got close enough to see. Dive three was at Barracks Point. We started the dive along the wall and when we arrived at the sloping coral garden. We drifted 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. Our last dive in Peleliu was West Wall. We started the dive with the wall on our left and half way through the dive it switched and we turned around. We saw several turtles and two marbled rays. The second one turned around and did another pass by at the end of the dive. After we arrived back to the big boat, we left Peleliu and during dinner, we made it back to the German Channel area. After dinner the night dive was at German Coral Garden. During the dive we saw three crocodile fish, lion fish, and other macro life.
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; we drifted along the wall to the hook in area and hooked in to watch the show. They were a bunch of sharks in front of all the dives and the napoleons swam in and out of the group. We then unhooked and explored the plateau seeing some turtles and blue lined snapper. The weather started getting really bad so we had to change dive two to a protected area from the west wind and swell. We headed out to Ngemelis Wall. We spotted some macro life and in the big black coral bushes we found the two long nose hawk fish. After the dive we decided to move the big boat, the weather was getting worse and there were big swells coming in with the west wind. During lunch we entered Wonder Channel this is where Dive three took place, Wonder Channel. It was a nice outgoing current so we started on the shallow reef outside the channel entered the water and followed the slopping reef towards the channel. We found several banded messmate pipefish and nudi’s. One turtle came really close to the group. For dive four we went to Clam City. We dropped in the water above one group of giant clams, found several types of nudi’s. We checked out all three groups of giant clams mixed in the coral garden. Once we arrived back to the big boat everyone got showered off and met upstairs for cocktails and soon we sat down to chef Cameron’s final supper. After, Jon showed his video of the charter and we all enjoyed the look back of our time on the charter. Then we watched a short documentary on Jelly Fish Lake for everyone to have an idea of what happens at the lake.
We woke up Saturday morning and 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 Palau’s 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 5pm for the cocktail party and watch a photo slideshow of the week and soon after all the guests headed off into town for dinner. Two of the guests wanted to try the local delicacy here in Palau, so we pointed them to Carp Restaurant to go try the fruit bat soup (See photos). The bat came out in the soup and it looks like its smiling. They said it tastes like chicken.
Sunday morning the guests woke up to continental breakfast and at 8am we said our goodbyes as they headed off to their hotels and land tours. 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