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Log Date: Sunday, Dec 27, 2015
Entry By: Rock Islands Aggressor Crew









 



     Sunday afternoon we welcomed aboard our 18 guests from Undersea Expeditions and their group leader Greg. A couple of our guests have been here to Palau before with Undersea Expeditions, and most are new faces. We started with a quick introduction to the staterooms and then on the dive deck, everyone set up their dive gear. Once we checked certification cards and checked in we headed up stairs to dinner prepared by our Chef Cameron. After dinner we sat down and covered the vessel safety briefing and soon after everyone were off to bed.  

  

   After breakfast, Monday morning, we gathered around the TV in the salon for the general dive briefing before heading off on our first dive at the Teshio Maru. This wreck sits on her starboard side, and is clasping on herself in the aft section from where she was sunk by a torpedo. All the divers enjoyed this check out dive swimming in and around the wheelhouse, cargo holds, and the bow gun. For dive number two we headed to the wreck of the Iro, a Japanese oil tanker sunk during WWII. The visibility was not so great on this dive which made it kind of a spooky dive. With the bad visibility we looked for macro life. We did find a ringed pipefish. During lunch the Tropic Dancer moved out towards Ulong Island, after which we covered the final slideshow briefing going over how to use reef hooks here in Palau in preparation for our next two dives. Our third dive was at Siaes Corner. The divers rolled in and drifted along the wall to the hook-in area. There were a lot of sharks off the corner and we stayed hooked in for a while. We then unhooked and explored the coral garden finding and octopus and a turtle. Our fourth dive was a dusk dive at the popular Ulong Channel. Here we hooked in for a while and watched the sharks as the sun faded and then unhooked and drifted down the channel, finishing the dive at the two giant clams. We returned to the big boat and soon after, dinner was ready. After dinner we watched a fish ID presentation on the fish we normally find here in Palau.    

 

     Tuesday morning we woke up and the current was again incoming so we went for a repeat dive at Ulong Channel. We started the dive on the wall and drifted to the opening of the channel where we hooked in. It was a nice current and we watched as the sharks passed by right in front of us. We then unhooked and drifted down the channel with a relaxing current spotting a couple more sharks passing the group on their way out the mouth of the channel. We passed by the huge patch of lettuce corral and finished our dive at the giant clams. Our second dive and last dive in Ulong was at Sandy Paradise. We started the dive from the mooring and descended down the beautiful slopping coral garden. We then turned to the right and followed where the sandy bottom met the coral garden. We found the two leaf scorpion fish and saw a couple of turtles to end the dive. During lunch the big boat moved to the German Channel area. The third dive was at Big Drop Off, here divers descended down along the wall and saw the ball and chain left from the Germans prior to WWI. We found numerous macro life, nudi’s and an orangutan-crab as well as lots of fish and a turtle or two. For our fourth dive we had another nice incoming current and went to German Channel. We started the dive from the Koror side of the channel. We stopped at the red anemone and continued to the first cleaning station. We waited for a while but it wasn’t long before three mantas came in to get cleaned. They stayed for a while and took off. We then headed across the mouth of the channel and saw that two mantas were up in the water column feeding on all the plankton being funneled into the mouth of the channel. We ascended from the bottom and spent the rest of the dive with the mantas as they swam in and around all the divers. For our night dive we returned to Big Drop Off to see what it looks like at night. All the cup coral comes out to feed at night and changes the look of the wall. We also found a scorpion fish and some crabs and shrimp.

     We kicked off Wednesday morning with a dive at Blue Corner, the current was incoming and we started with the wall on our right. We hooked in at the 45 feet and watched the show. Several sharks were in front of the divers; we unhooked and explored the plateau seeing the blue lined snapper at the tip of the corner. Our second dive was at New Drop Off. The current was outgoing and we lightly drifted to the hook in area. We hooked in around the cut on the outgoing side and had one grey reef shark swimming by in front of the divers. We then unhooked and explored the plateau. We took photos with some very friendly turtles, the school of blue lined snapper. After lunch our third dive of the day was at Dexters Wall. We did the dive with the wall on our right. During the dive we saw about 10 turtles hanging out along the beautiful wall. Our fourth dive was at Ngedebus Coral Garden. We spotted a lot of macro life and two crocodile fish and also a feathertail ray resting on the bottom in the sand. After dinner we went back to Ngedebus Coral Garden for the night dive. We found one of the crocodile fish we found from the last dive and another scorpion fish.

 

     Early Thursday morning the big boat started motoring down to Peleliu. The tide was too low for the big boat to enter South Dock so it just drifted outside Peleliu. The first dive was at Peleliu corner. The current was incoming so we started the dive at the sand channel on the express side and drifted down the wall to the corner. The current was pushing us along nice to the hook in area. We hooked in and watched several sharks pass by in the blue. After about twenty five minutes we unhooked and cruised across the top of the plateau. After the dive the tide was high enough for the big boat to pull into South Dock. We secured the boat and 11 guests went on the Peleliu WWII land tour to explore the sights of one of the bloodiest battles of WWII. The remaining guests went to West Wall where we cruised down the wall with a mild current spotting sharks, schooling Pyramid butterflyfish, and a couple of turtles sleeping in cracks in the reef. All the guests came back from the land tour and we sat down to lunch. Our third dive was at Orange Beach Coral Garden. It was outgoing and we drifted along the coral garden with the shallow on our left. This is one of the most beautiful coral gardens in Palau. This site is just covered with schools of tropical fish. We spotted turtles, a couple reef sharks and artifacts from WWII. When we arrived back at the big boat we left South Dock and dropped the skiff for one last dive in Peleliu at Barracks Point. We saw some big schools of snapper and jacks, and barracuda. We also saw three giant clams and around 8 turtles. After the dive we caught back up with the big boat in the German Channel area and after dinner the night dive was at German Coral Garden. We found shrimp; lions paw sea cucumber, and lots of other macro life.

 

     On Friday we started the day out at German Channel. The tide was a light incoming current and again we started the dive from the Koror side of the channel. Our first sight was the red anemone, and then we went deep to check out the deep cleaning station on the Koror side, no mantas. We turned around and went up the slopping sandy bottom to the normal Koror side cleaning station, again no mantas. We then headed across the mouth of the channel to the Peleliu side cleaning station, no mantas but a couple of grey reef sharks were getting cleaned. We then went back across the mouth of the channel and one big female manta passed over top the group heading towards the Koror side cleaning station. We followed it and sat down in the sand as the manta did several passes over the cleaning station. We then ended our dive by drifting into the channel. For dive two we headed out to Blue Corner. We checked the current and it was slack, we started the dive on the outgoing side of the corner. The current never really picked up, so we spent the whole dive on top the plateau with turtles, anemones, schools of snapper, jacks and so much more. After lunch we headed back to Blue Corner but this time we did Blue Holes. We entered the water and descended down one of the holes on top the reef into the cavern. We saw the disco clam and also found two pygmy seahorses on the seafan at the bottom of the cavern. We then exited the cavern and traveled down the wall to Blue Corner. We did not hook in, just drifted over top the plateau and started our safety stop. For dive four we went to Barnum’s Wall. We started the dive with the wall on our right, we were finally lucky enough to see a leopard shark. It stayed on the bottom around 80 feet and all the photographers were able to get really close to it. We returned to the big boat where we enjoyed another fine meal prepared by our chef and after dinner we watched the video of the charter.

 

     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. After an afternoon of cleaning, drying and packing scuba gear, we said our good buys to 2 guests at 5pm as they headed to the airport for their flight. At 6pm we gathered in the salon for the cocktail party and watched a photo slideshow of the week and soon after all the guests headed off into town for dinner. At 10pm we said our goodbyes to two more guests as they headed to the airport for their flight.

 

     Early Sunday morning we said our goodbyes to another two guests as they headed to the airport at 3am. After continental breakfast we said our goodbyes to the rest of the guests as they headed off to their hotels. We would like to thank Greg and Undersea Expeditions for joining us this week and hope to see you all again soon.