Palau Aggressor II Boat Report
Nov. 22-29, 2015
Capt/Photo Pro: Scott
2nd Capt: Casey
Divemaster/Skiff Driver: Joe
Divemaster/Video Pro: Ernan
On Sunday November 22 we had 17 guest board the vessel in the afternoon for the upcoming seven day charter. 10 of the guest were from the USA, four where from Russia, two from Switzerland and one from Canada. After setting up their equipment and getting settled into their cabins, we proceeded with the Captains briefing followed by our welcome dinner. On Monday the 23rd we commenced diving around 8 am and did four dives throughout the day. Dive sites included the Helmet and Iro Wrecks along with Canyons and Ferns Wall. Highlights included several WWII artifacts such as Zero airplane engines, sake bottles, depth charges, gas mask and ammunition. We also observed an array of marinelife, both big and small which included, grey, blacktip and whitetip sharks, turtles, napoleon wrasses, humphead parrot fish, lionfish, several species of colorful angel and butterfly fish along with a couple of lobster, crabs and shrimp. On the two later dives we were diving walls which had pristine soft and hard corals. We wrapped up this day with another excellent meal prepared by Chef Ronnie.
Monday has us outside German Channel so we did our 1st dive at Blue Holes. Here we saw the disco clam, pygmy sea horse and schools of pyramid butterfly fish feeding in the light current. Once on the wall we had several shark sightings including one thrasher shark. For the 2nd dive we went to New Dropoff where the current was running strong. Everyone hooked in on the top of the wall and observed the fish and sharks along with a turtle swimming in the current. Blue Corner was our 3rd dive of the day and the current here was also very strong and required everyone to hook in and watch the reef action from the edge of the wall. Highlights included several sharks and schooling jacks along with a great variety of soft corals on the wall. Dive 4 had us in the water at German Channel. The group saw a couple of manta rays and enjoyed cruising the pristine hard coral garden amongst a variety of colorful reef fish. For the night dive we went to Alexes Garden and enjoyed the shallow hard coral garden which was loaded with small shrimp, hermet crabs and one large plerabranch.
After a late night arrival we welcomed a group of 14 guests from China. Due to this early late arrival time we got a later than usual start in regards to briefings and dive times. Come Monday morning we began our diving on the Helmet Wreck and made sure all guest became properly adjusted in regards to weights and all other dive equipment. This WWII sub-chaser is fairly shallow and since it is well within the lagoon there wasn’t any current. During the dive the group observed the many depth charges, bow gun, sake bottles and lots of fish life. For our 2nd dive we ventured to Big Drop Off and had a great wall dive with lots of sea fans, colorful soft corals, bigeyed squirrel fish and soldierfish hiding in the nooks and crannies of the wall and squirreling fusiliers. The 3rd and final dive of the day was at German Channel which was highlighted by four feeding manta rays, two which had a wing span of over ten feet. In addition there we observed two large jacks feeding on a ball of fusiliers.
On Tuesday the 17th we began our diving at the usual time and started out at Blue Corner where we had a light current and the usual marinelife this site is famous for, such as grey and white tip sharks, napoleon wrasses, schooling pyramid butterfly fish feeding in the water column and a wide variety of other tropical fish. For the 2nd dive of the day we opted for Turtle Cove which had excellent conditions and sunlight. The group entered the cavern there from the top of the reef and exited between 70-80 feet. We then swam along the wall enjoying the abundance of soft corals and sea fans and spotted 3 turtles, one at a cleaning station. This wall is home to a great number of fish and there are plenty of under hangs and holes for them to hang out in. As the dive progressed the group ascended to the plateau and we saw schooling barracuda. Dive 3 was at New Dropoff and the current was mild and outgoing. Here we observed three sharks, several pairs of butterfly fish, a school of blue striped snappers and barracuda along with lots of colorful soft corals and sea fan. In the shallows we found a number of palenose triggerfish about to begin nesting. Dive 4 had us at Ngedbus Corner where we encountered a strong head current about 10 minutes into the dive. Based on that, we switched directions and dove with the wall to our left. This allowed us to float along the edge of the wall and see two turtles, many fusiliers, wrasses, butterfly fish and pristine corals, both hard and soft. Toward the end of the dive we came upon a passing marble sting ray which was close to 5 feet across. For the final dive of the day we did a night dive at Turtle Cove. As always, this is a very good night dive and extremely colorful. The tubastrea corals were in full bloom and made a beautiful backdrop to observe the many fish that were either sleeping or out hunting for the night. As the night dive progressed, we came upon a number of basket stars feeding in the mild current and a lot of shrimp poking their heads out of the many crevices found along this wall.
Wednesday was spent at Pelelliu Island where we did the first dive at Pelelliu Corner. This dive has all the makings of an action packed experience and today it did not disappoint. Highlights included over 50 sharks, 5 turtles, schools of humphead parrotfish spawning, jacks hunting, barracuda and many schooling fish squiring in the water column. It was the kind of dive that no matter where you looked you saw something of interest. West Wall was our 2nd dive on this day. Starting in the shallows the group swam along this steep wall and saw lots of schooling fish such as the black and yellow tail snappers, butterfly fish of various species and humphead parrot fish. This site is encrusted with yellow soft corals and made for a great wall dive. Dive 3 was at Orange Beach which is an expansive hard coral garden which has some of the largest table corals found anywhere in the pacific. It also has some WWII ammunition, a large anchor chain and other WWII artifacts. On our dive we had a mild current which had the group drifting amongst the large mounds of coral growth where we saw crocodile fish, 5 green sea turtles, schooling bigeye solderfish, one large humphead parrot fish and a five foot sting ray resting one of the few sand patches found here. Barricks Point is where we went for the 4th dive of the day. Highlights from that dive included several turtles, five grey reef sharks, three moray eels and one giant clam. After diner the majority of the group went to Ngmelis Wall for the night dive where they experienced a mild current that allowed them to gently drift along this very colorful wall and observe shrimps, crabs, sleeping parrot fish and several hunting jacks and other night feeders.
Thursday had us back at German Channel for the 1st dive of the day. The group dropped in just as the tide began to come in and had an excellent dive. Highlights included a sting ray, two sleeping turtles, schooling parrot fish and one large manta ray. Dive 2 was at Blue Corner. Though we had little to no current, the sharks were plentiful and the group hooked in at about 60 feet to also see schooling bigeye jacks, great barracuda, pyramid butterflyfish, feeding parrot fish and many other colorful reef fish swimming close by. Blue Holes was our 4th dive on this day and as always, it was an excellent dive that included a lot of variable marinelife. Highlights were three large napoleon wrasses, one pygmy seahorse on a sea fan, one disco clam in the cavern and dolphins playing around the skiff as the divers returned to the Palau Aggressor II. The next dive was at Barnums Wall where the soft corals are colorful and prolific. These make a great backdrop for the schooling snappers and squirrel fish. We also saw several turtles, white tip reef sharks, mating tritons triggerfish and a few lionfish.
For Friday we ran to Ulong Island and did our 1st dive at Ulong Channel. This is a “hook in” dive where we saw a good number of grey reef sharks patrolling the mouth of the channel along with barracuda and schooling jacks. After about 25 minutes we all unhooked and drifted down the channel where the marine life is quite prolific. Lots of species of tropical fish were observed along with two giant clams. Dive 2 was at Siaes Corner which is a sheer wall that has a plateau at around 60-70 feet. Here the group swam along the wall and saw several sharks, turtles and a large manta ray. We also observed colorful soft corals and sea fans along with active reef fish activity. Dive 3 was at Sandy Paradise which was more of small fish and critter dive. The first part of it was spent in a small area where we saw garden eels, 2 scorpion leaf fish, one octopus, a mantas shrimp and some shrimp on the sea cucumbers. The rest of the dive was spent drifting with the current amongst the pristine hard coral garden. Dive 4 had us at Ulong Coral Garden where the highlights included grey and white tip sharks, schooling jacks, big eyes squirrelfish, filter feeding tuna and humphead parrot fish.
For Saturday we got an early start to Jellyfish Lake and enjoyed the solitude of having the whole lake to ourselves and the millions of jellyfish who inhabit this unique habitat. The final dive was at Chandelier Cave which as always was a great way to wrap up a fabulous week of diving. We would like to thank all the guest from this week and hope to see you again soon.