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Log Date: Sunday, Sep 20, 2015
Entry By: Tropic Dancer Crew









 



Around 4:30 on Sunday afternoon we welcomed aboard our 18 guests for the week all from or working in Saudi Arabia. We started with a quick introduction to their cabins and then on to the dive deck were everyone started to set up their dive gear in anticipation of a wonderful week of diving. Once their gear had all been set up we all enjoyed a fabulous BBQ dinner prepared by Chef Cam followed a the Captains Safety Briefing before heading off to bed.

     Early Monday morning we moved the Tropic Dancer to our mooring in Malakal Harbor. After breakfast we covered the general dive briefing before the first dive at the Jakes Seaplane. Divers jumped in the water did their initial wait checks and headed down to the plane. Divers examined the plane for a while checking out the cockpit, wings and the front propeller that had snapped in half, afterwards everyone explored the coral garden surrounding the Jakes Seaplane finding nudi’s, razor fish and an octopus. During our surface interval the big boat moved just outside of Malakal Harbor. Our second dive of the day was the Iro Maru a 500ft Japanese oil tanker also sunk during the war by US forces. After we entered the water we followed the mooring line down to the bow of the wreck as the large bow gun came in to view. We continued down the wreck exploring the wheelhouse and then the engine room. We worked our way down to the stern of the Iro seeing schooling jack, a turtle and a couple batfish. We turned around at the stern gun and circled up the king post. We spent some time with the Tomato Anemone Fish before swimming from king post to king post and back up the mooring line to do our safety stop. During lunch the boat moved to the inside of German Channel. For dive three and our first dive on the outer reef we went to Big Drop Off for a beautiful wall dive, along with numerous fish life and great corals dive saw the massive ball and chain form an old morning line left by the Germans pre WWI. The fourth dive of the day was a dusk dive just as the sun was going down at German Coral Gardens, divers saw several turtles, a purple leaf scorpion fish and several white-tips starting their hunt for food in the night.

 

     Tuesday morning we started the day with a dive at German Channel. We started on the Koror side as we headed toward the cleaning station we found four different rays, 3 feathertails and a marble ray but no mantas to be found so after waiting we started towards the Peleliu cleaning station. On the swim there divers came across a large octopus out hunting flaring up over rocks and changing colors almost instantly as it look for its prey. Once we made it to the other cleaning station we waited a while but with not much happening we started to drift down the channel for the last few minutes of the dive. Dive two we attempted to make it out to New Drop Off but the swell was just too rough to be safe so we settled for a nice easy dive a German Wall seeing turtles, shark, nudi and lots of great fish life. After lunch we went to Ferns Wall for the excellent soft corals that cover this wall. Dive four guest ventured out to Barnums Wall, a great dive starting on a sheer wall that turns into a beautiful sloping coral garden where divers were able to find several crocodile fish, turtles and spotted a ray passing bye. Unfortunately with the rough weather we had to cancel the dive but no seemed to mind to much just meant that everyone could dip into the wine and beer at diner.

 

     On Wednesday for dive one we went to Turtle Cove, starting at a large cavern were divers found several disco clam, named for when divers shine their light on them they can see an electrical pulse running through the clam. After exploring the carven we made our way out a cruised the wall. Dive two we went back to German Channel this time divers were lucky enough to see a manta although only for a short minute as it just cruised by and out of sight, afterwards divers drifted down the channel seeing sharks, a giant clam and a mantis shrimp. After lunch all the guest decided to forgo a dive to go on the Peleliu WWII land tour, where they saw many different sights and artifacts from one of the bloodiest battles of WWII. After the land tour we went out for one more dusk dive at Ngemelis Wall to finish the day. As the sun faded divers saw the wall change before their eyes as the yellow hard cup corals came out to filter feed covering entire sections of the wall.

 

Thursday the winds have come down enough so we were finally able to make it to Blue Corner and what a great dive it was! The guests were ecstatic to say the least, all the normal players were there sharks, barracudas, jack, tuna and of course our friend the Napoleon Wrasse but the big show stopper was the gorgeous black manta came across the top of the plateau and sailed by as it headed over the corner and into the blue. The 2nd dive of the day was at New Drop Off, the currents was almost no existent so divers explored the plateau seeing more the a dozen turtles, a peacock flounder and moray. During lunch the Tropic Dancer moved up into the rock islands for a couple of muck dives for the macro life. The first was at Neco Channel where divers found tons of nudi, flat worms and pipefish. The fourth dive of the day was at Wonder Channel one of the best dives for macro life in Palau divers also saw a couple of turtles and an octopus. After dinner a brave few went for a night dive at Clam City were there were patches of more than forty giant clams sitting side by side.

 

Early Friday morning we moved the Tropic Dancer out to Ulong Island for our last full day of diving, starting out at Siaes Corner for a hook-in dive but the current was light so after only hooking in for about fifteen minutes divers unhooked and explored the top of the plateau finding several turtle, an octopus and several magnificent sea anemones. Four dive two we went to a sight known as Sandy Paradise a sloping hard coral garden the bottoms out at 70feet or so, on the dive we saw several lionfish, tons of garden eels poking the heads up out of the sand, five leaf scorpion fish that hang out on one particular coral head and finished the dive at beautiful red magnificent sea anemone. Dive 3 was at the world famous Ulong Channel, a three part dive staring with a drift along the wall the hooking in at the mouth of the channel watching as the sharks swim back a fourth and then finish by drifting down the channel checking out all the great marine life including tons of groupers, shark, turtles, a huge patch of lettuce coral and then finishing the dive with two giant clams side by side. All the guest decided to take it easy and pass on the fourth dive and just relax and enjoy each other’s company. For the final meal we had a Thanksgiving day feast prepared by Chef Cameron and before everyone went into a food coma guest watched the Video of the Week.  

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 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 and three spiny-devil fish so ugly their cool. 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. We said good bye to all our guest that night around ten as they headed off to the airport to head home   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 Captain and Crew