Palau Aggressor Charter July 3rd-9th 2015
Water Temp: 82-86 deg F
Air Temp: 78-86 deg F
Crew: Zach, Hector, Christy, Joe, Ernan, Jun and Herence
Friday afternoon 10 guests boarded the Palau Aggressor II after making the trip from South Korea. The crew briefed the guests on their room amenities, safety equipment and then proceeded to help set up all of the diving kit. After all equipment was set up Captain Zach gave the guests their safety orientation as well as the dive deck briefing before all sat down for a delicious dinner of BBQ sesame & ginger spare ribs with trimmings that was prepared by Chef Christy. The group stayed up for a bit to watch a movie on the big screen and then slowly drifted to their cabins in preparation of Saturdays diving.
Saturday morning and all the guests were up and ready to start their day of wreck diving. Our check out dive this week was on the Hafa Adai wreck which is an old communications boat. Sitting in approximately 40-65 ft of water this wreck is teeming with Nudibranchs, flat worms and all sorts of other little critters. Dive number two brought us out to the Depth Charge wreck which is aptly named as there are dozens of depth charges that scatter this wreck. Located just outside of the marina it only took us ten minutes to get there and get into the water. Numerous artifacts can still be found for the diver with the keen eye. Small morphine bottles lie undisturbed in the silt and bottles of Saki are spread along the topside. Dive three today was on the Choyu Maru. A larger wreck which offers plenty of exploration both outside and in makes for a great dive for all. The last dive of the day was on Buoy number 6. This site is located in the Lighthouse Channel area and is known for its heavy current. A swift moving incoming current took the group down the channel with ease. Out in the blue an Eagle Ray was spotted gliding effortlessly against the current while schools of Moorish Idols and Big Eyes danced along the banks.
We started up the big boat and made our way to Wonder Channel first thing Sunday morning. The first dive today was to be on Neco Wall. An easy sloping wall dive tucked in from the outer reef along the east side, Neco Wall is a great place to find juvenile marine life and Nudibranchs. Dive 2 brought us to the Wonder Channel. From the surface we could see that the incoming current was moving at a good pace so we dropped in a bit further up the reef. There wasnt a lot of time to search for small critters on this dive as the current carried the divers through the channel at a very quick pace. One of the Divemasters, Hector, did manage to spot a Stonefish as the group rounded the corner. This was a very good find as the Stonefish was perfectly camouflaged into his surroundings. We made our way over to the famous Clam City for dive number 4 today. Clam City is a gentle sandy sloping wall that leads down to a field of Giant Clams. Dozens of these clams dot the sea floor. This is a great place to also find Nudibranchs and stingrays. Caroline reef or Rose Garden, which ever you prefer to call it, was our fourth dive of the day. We jumped into the water just north of Fantasy Island and the current quickly swept us away. This site is home to some of the most beautiful Sea Fans in Palau. After about an hour the group surfaced clear on the other side of the island and one of the Divemasters came up with an old camera that must have fallen off a snorkeling skiff. After cleaning it up we turned it on and to our surprise it still worked! The group had a good laugh going through the photos that were taken a year ago! The night dive this evening brought us back to Wonder Channel. The current slowed down so the group was able to take their time and search for the smaller things. One diver even found a large Crocodile fish sitting motionless on the sea bed.
Monday morning Captain Zach fired up the engines and we motored over to the German Channel area. There was an incoming tide around the time we were gearing up for dive one so we decided to do German Channel. We jumped in and made our way towards the cleaning station. There were numerous Grey Reef sharks gliding back and forth in the current just off the sloping wall. A resident Napoleon Wrasse came in to have a quick clean and we were able to snap a couple of photos off him before he drifted down the beautiful channel. Dive two was on Ngemelis Wall. More of a shear drop this wall provides good hard corals and is a sanctuary for Nudibranchs. The visibility was outstanding on this dive, easily 150 ft +. Dive three was on German Wall which is just a hop, skip and a jump away from Ngemelis Wall. The visibility remained good for this dive and we were able to spot an Eagle Ray off in the distance. The last dive of the day was on one of our favorite sites, Big Drop Off. Home to some beautiful hard and soft corals, one could spend multiple dives here and find something new every time. Flatworms, Nudibranchs and juvenile turtles are almost always spotted here. A few juvenile White Tip Reef sharks swam by during this dive. There are a few Sea Anemones scattered throughout the wall that made for great photos as well.
Today the wind seemed to subside a bit so we tried our hand at Blue Corner for the first dive of the day. Plenty of sharks were swimming about just off the corner and our resident Napoleon Wrasse showed up to take a few photos with the guests. The second dive of the day brought us back to German Channel. The divers dropped in on top of a beautiful red anemone and there was a Hawksbill turtle waiting for them just off to the side. A massive school of Black Snapper was drifting into the current while the Grey Reef sharks darted in and out of them. Dives three and four brought us out to Ngerchong Island. This site is a sloping sandy garden with Nudibranchs, Gobys, Garden Eels and the like waiting to be discovered.
The anticipation is over. Wednesday morning and the first event on the menu is Jelly Fish Lake. The guests have been amped up all week to go swim amongst the millions of stingless jellies. With the wind dying down the big boat made its way out to Ulong Island in the hopes of getting in just a couple more dives on the outer reef before the charter was finished. We started in Ulong Channel. The current was mild so we were able to take our time and scour the coral garden. We spotted multiple Grey Reef sharks, Potato Cod, snappers, Nudibranchs and more. We made our way to the Lettuce Coral patch and were able to pose for a couple of photos. Just past that we visited the Giant Clams. The sun was just coming through the clouds and lit up the mantle of the clams to show their iridescent blues and purples. Dive three was on Sandy Paradise. The visibility on this site was unparalleled. We dropped in and there were schools of Big Eyes and Barracuda hovering over the coral heads. Tucked up a bit towards the shallows one of the divemasters spotted something amazing, mating Octopi. What a lucky encounter. The group swam along with the pair for probably half an hour before having to surface. After this dive we made our way back towards Koror. The final dive of the day was to be in Chandelier Caves. We waited until the sun was starting to set and slowly worked through the cavern. Everyone loved to see the stalactites hanging down. The best part of the dive wasnt the cavern itself but the Mandarin Fish waiting outside. Just before the sun sets each evening the Mandarin Fish come out of hiding to mate. After getting back to the big boat we helped the guests wash up their gear and presented them with awards and the slideshow of the week.
Thursday morning and with a heavy heart it was time to say goodbye. We had a great week with our guests from South Korea and hope they come back and see us again soon. Farewell until next time.