Water Temp: 79-84 deg F
Air Temp: 78-86 deg F
Crew: Scott, June, Ronnie, Joe, Ernan, Editha and Dan
On Sunday afternoon we welcomed aboard 10 new dive buddies from the US, and four from Russia. After an orientation to the vessel and helping them to set up their dive gear, we headed upstairs for a delicious dinner by Chef Ronnie. With appetites satisfied, we gathered in the lounge for a vessel safety briefing and then it was early to bed in order to rest up before beginning a wonderful week of diving onboard the Palau Aggressor II!
Monday morning the Palau Aggressor left the dock before the Sun came up and we headed straight down to Ulong Island. After breakfast we set off for our check out dive at Sandy Paradise, this is one of the most beautiful coral gardens in Palau, and makes for a nice relaxing first dive. Lots to see on sight and for those with a good eye Mantis Shrimp, Leaf Scorpion fish and Octopus can be found. Dive two was our first opportunity to ‘Hook in’ at the famous Ulong Channel, where we had almost no current at all! We hooked in for the practice and then made a nice gentle swim down the channel, checking out the beautiful hard corals along the way. Dive three found us at Siaes Corner, a hook in dive on a very beautiful reef plateau. We had a mild current here and swam gently to the hook in. The Moorish idols are spawning at the moment and we had larges schools swimming all around us which was very cool, what was even sweeter was that the spawning brings in the Sharks and that’s what we got…..lots of them! Truly amazing diving!
Tuesday morning dive one was at Siaes Tunnel, which you may have guessed is a large swim through! Inside we found Blue Back Pygmy Angel fish, and the rare Decorated Dart fish. Along the wall we saw Sharks and Turtles, to name but a few. We moved the big boat to the Ngemelis area after dive two and dived at Barnums Wall and Turtle cove in the afternoon. Turtle Cove, is one of the best places to see soft corals, which look spectacular as they all come out to feed in the fading sun.
On Wednesday morning we motored down south in the gentle swell to Peleliu. Peleliu was the location of one of the bloodiest battles of WWII, when the US Marines came to take the Island from the entrenched Japanese Army. With the Palau Aggressor safely moored at Camp Beck, we headed out for our first dive at Purple Wall, an especially spectacular site with massive Sea Fans along the wall, and a beautiful coral garden bustling with life drenched in the morning sun. Dive two took us to West Wall, a very beautiful wall dive with everything from the big to the tiny! Some of the group opted to go on the optional land tour instead of dive two, to take in some of the islands history. Orange Beach is so named from its code in the Peleliu invasion, the dive site just out from the beach is an amazing hard coral garden bursting with color, and hardly a square meter of sand is visible between the corals. With great visibility and so much to see, everyone was all smiles when they came back to the skiff. After dive four at Barracks Point, where we saw several Turtles and some Giant Clams, we headed back up to the German Channel area, and did a night dive at Ngedebus coral Garden.
Our first dive on Thursday took us to World Famous Blue Corner and another opportunity to “Hook In”. A few Sharks and Jacks were putting on a show, but the current was mild so we hung around for a while and then we explored the Plateau. Dive two was at Blue Holes. Dropping into the sink holes on the reef plateau which open up into a large cavern below, we saw the Fire or Disco Clams, and then spent some time checking out the Pygmy Seahorses. Heading along the reef wall with the current we spotted some Sharks, Turtles and Barracuda. Dive three was at the Canyons, which is another stunning hard coral garden, this one has deep cuts into the reef, forming canyon-like swim throughs and holes to explore. We went to German Channel for dive four, but alas, no Mantas this time L
Friday! Dive one, was back to Blue Corner, more Sharks putting on a show, Blue Corner never disappoints! Dive two Dive two was New Drop Off, a mini version of Blue Corner, odd current had us turn around along the wall, but we were rewarded with some Turtles, Moray Eels and some more sharks!. Dives three and four we nice relaxing dives at Ferns wall and Big Drop off, so we could take our time and really enjoy looking for the harder to find critters. We Motored up to Wonder Channel after dive four, where we spent the night in a truly beautiful anchorage. After dinner we sat down and watched the Video of the Week and recapped some of our amazing experiences form the week.
Snorkeling with the millions of Jellyfish at Jellyfish Lake, where we went on Saturday morning, is a truly surreal and mesmerizing experience. After a short hike, a swim in the tranquil waters of the lake is a great way to relax after a week of diving. We ambled back to the Skiff, where Joe was waiting to take us on a tour of the Rock Islands before meeting up with the big boat in Koror. Our last dive was at nearby Chandelier Caves where we explored the four chambers and stalactite formations inside, surfacing for a breath or two in the air pockets along the way. On the reef just outside the cave entrance mandarin fish scurry between the shallow corals posing for the final photographs of the week. After that, it was back for lunch and time to assist our guests with rinsing their gear. Later that evening, we all met for a few cocktails to look back on the week and share some diving stories before heading out to dinner at the nearby local restaurants.
We said farewell on Sunday morning and helped our guests with transfers to their hotels and flights. It was yet another wonderful week aboard the Palau Aggressor II with fantastic guests that we look forward to diving again with soon!