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Log Date: Sunday, Nov 29, 2015
Entry By: Tropic Dancer Crew









 

     Sunday afternoon we welcomed aboard our group of 15 guests from the Ukraine. We started with a quick introduction to the staterooms and then we set up all the dive gear. Once everyone was all checked in and dive gear was all set up we headed upstairs for our first of many fabulous dinners prepared by Chef Cameron. After dinner our Cruise Director Ben covered the General Vessel Orientation & Safety Briefing, then the guests shared a drink or two before heading off to bed to get a little rest before our week of diving here in beautiful Palau.

  

   Monday we fired up the big boat and left the dock bright and early as we started our way out to Ulong Island stopping at Helmet Wreck along the way for our checkout dive and first dive of the charter. An easy check out dive divers did their weight checks and descended down to the wreck or also known as the Depth Charge Wreck. This wreck is so named due to the stacks of WWII helmets found in the first cargo hold as well as the depth charges in the first two cargo holds. We entered the water and everyone did a weight check and soon started their descent. We stopped in the first cargo hold, saw the helmets, and continued down towards the bow of the wreck. In the middle cargo hold we saw more depth charges we swam through the cargo hold to the forward cargo hold and saw the airplane motors. At the bow of the wreck we found the banded messmate pipe fish around the anchor wench. On the way back to the stern we found a couple of signal gobies on the deck of the wreck. We then spent the rest of the dive looking over the artifacts that have been collected and placed out on the stern. For dive 2 we went to Sandy Paradise a beautiful sloping coral garden. On the dive we spotted Leaf Scorpionfish, Lion fish and white tip and grey reef sharks. For the third dive divers headed out to Ulong Channel. When they arrived at the mouth of the channel there was a very mild current we did not hook in but spent about ten minute at the mouth of the channel watching the action. Schools of Jacks, Barracudas and sharks darting back and forth from one side of channel to the other. Afterwards we drifted down the channel to explore all that Ulong Channel has to offer.

     Tuesday we started out with our first hook-in dive at Ulong Channel. The current was no too strong but we hooked-in anyways just for practice as this was the first hook-in of the week. We had some grey reef sharks patrolling the mouth of the channel as well as barracuda and jacks. After about 20 minutes we un-hooked and began to drift down the channel where we spotted triggerfish, turtles schooling jacks. The second dive of the day was at Siaes Corner. There was not too much of a current but the gray reef sharks were there in force there must have been 30 or more. We stayed hooked-in for about thirty minutes before un-hooking and continuing on to explore the top of the shallow reef. The shallow reef at Siaes Corner is one of the most beautiful reefs in Palau full of hard and soft corals and just teaming with life. Third dive of the day was at Turtle Cove, We started the dive by descending down a hole on top of the reef that opens to a large window on the side of the wall. Inside the cavern we found a couple disco clams as we worked our way out on to the wall. As we cruised down the wall we spotted turtles, sharks and a dogtooth tuna. As we finished the dive we surfaced to a heavy downpour, we were happy to get back to the big boat where we were greeted by crew with warm cups of hot chocolate.

 

     Wednesday’s first dive we ventured to German Channel. We began the dive at the red anemone. We then worked down the channel until we got to a cleaning station in hopes of spotting some manta rays. After about 20 minutes and no action a manta is seen above us feeding. We proceeded, as a group, and ascended up to about 20’. We were greeted by 4 mantas and what appeared to be a juvenile, as well. 30 minutes later we returned to the skiff with great enthusiasm, excited about the encounter everybody had just experienced. After the first dive the big boat headed down to Peleliu. Our second dive was at Peleliu Corner which turned into more of a ride then a dive. It was an incoming current so we headed to the express side and it lived up to its namesake. We dropped in and began to move down the wall at a very quick pace spotting sharks, jacks Giant Groupers and Napoleon Wrasse. From start to finish the dive was about 25 minutes, WHAT A FUN DIVE. Third dive was at Ngemelis Corner was a much more of a relaxing dive. We leisurely cruised down the wall spotting turtles, sharks, nudibranchs and schooling reef fish galore.

 

     On Thursday morning we started off with a dive at Blue Holes, We entered the water and swam over on the surface to the holes and descended down into the chamber. We saw the disco clam, then exited and made it down to Blue Corner where we hooked-in while the sharks put on a show for us. After about 20 minutes we unhooked Drift across the plateau with the napoleons following us for the rest of the dive. For dive number two we headed to New Drop Off, the current was incoming it was flowing nice. We hooked in and watched the show as 15 grey reef sharks passed by only inches from the divers. We spent most of the dive at the hook in area because the show was great and when we unhooked we had a little time to explore the plateau. As we drifted we saw several turtles, then we started our ascent to do our safety stop. After lunch we headed to Back to Blue Corner. The current was mild and outgoing. We enjoyed the slow drift along the beautiful wall and at the hook in area; we hooked in and enjoyed the show as a lot of sharks were off in the blue. Also off the wall was a large school of chevron barracuda. There had to be over 500 of them. One napoleon wrasse was swimming in and out of all the divers. After we unhooked we decided to take the group to the corner to see the lettuce coral formation and the school of blue lined snapper. We started our ascent to do our safety stop with the napoleon. . For the fourth dive of the day we headed out to Barnums wall, starting with a slopping coral garden and then moving down the wall to solid wall finding nudi’s, turtles, and anemones all along the way. After dinner for the first night divers went back to out to Big Drop Off for some great macro life and got to see several large groupers out hunting on the wall as well.

 

 

     Friday was a fantastic day of diving; we started the day out at Blue Corner where we had a perfect incoming current. When divers hooked-in they saw tons of sharks, a huge school of jacks as well as giant trevally, black snapper, dogtooth tuna, wahoo and much more. When the dive was over divers returned to have breakfast before heading out to German Channel for dive two. As soon as divers entered the water there were two turtles swimming about. We spent most of the dive hanging out at the two cleaning stations waiting for the mantas to show up. After about 40 minutes it appeared that the mantas were not going to corporate today so we headed up into the bait ball for our safety stop. After 1 minuet hanging out with the Blue Line Fusiliers four mantas showed up at the last minute. Three adults and one all black juvenile it was just great the guests were just ecstatic. Dive three well actually it was not a dive the guest decided to go to the beach for dive three, so we dropped them off for a couple hours of fun in the sun at the beach. For dive four we headed over to Ngemelis Wall for a leisurely drift down the wall. We spotted sleeping white tips in the sand, turtles, Gray reefs and tons of schooling tropical fish of all sorts. Once back on board the Tropic Dancer we had a delicious final dinner before watch our video pro Jon’s movie 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. All the divers 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 watched a Conor’s photo slideshow of the week and soon after all the guests headed off into town for dinner.

 

     On Sunday morning we said our goodbyes to the remainder of our guests as they headed off to their hotels. We would like to give everyone special thanks for joining us on this spectacular charter. Sulang and ‘Til next time, Safe travels.

 

         -Tropic Dancer Crew