Log Date: Sunday, Feb 28, 2016
Entry By: Rock Islands Aggressor Crew
Rock Islands Aggressor - Palau - Charter Report
Charter Dates: Feb 28th- Mar 6th, 2016
Sunday afternoon we welcomed aboard 16 guests 14 from the US and 2 lucky Germans. 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 fished gear setup we headed up stairs for the first of many excellent dinners prepared by our Chef Pat. After dinner we sat down and covered the vessel safety briefing and soon after everyone was off to bed.
Early Monday morning the Rock Islands Aggressor left the dock and after breakfast, we gathered around the TV in the salon for the general dive briefing before heading off on our first dive at the Hafa Dai. The Hafa Dai made for a great check out dive with no current and good visibility divers explored around this old Taiwanese fishing boat finding tons of seahairs, nudi, flatworms and a giant clam atop the wreck.
For dive number two we headed to the wreck of the Iro, a Japanese oil tanker sunk during WWII. Here we found several ringed pipefish, a turtle, squid and tons of tomato anemone fish with two giant clams in the middle. During lunc66h the Rock Islands Aggressor moved out towards Ulong Island, after which we covered the final slideshow briefing going over how to use reef hooks here in. Our third dive was at gorgeous Siaes Corner, here divers hooked in for the first time and watched as a dozen or so sharks chase around a school of surgeon fish and once unhooked found a pair of octopus and a turtle. The for the last dive of the day we went to the popular Ulong Channel, spending the first part of the dive exploring the lush coral garden and then for the second half we had fun doing a superman drift down the channel its self.
Tuesday morning we went back to Ulong Channel this time hooking in at the mouth of the channel to watch the sharks circle around and then with a light current finish the dive by drifting into the channel passing tons of fish, a massive patch of lettuce coral and finishing the dive at two giant clams sitting side by side. Then dive 2 was at a site know as Sandy Paradise a sloping coral garden that tunrs into a sandy bottom around 80’ here divers found tons of awesome little critters such as garden eels, leaf scorpion fish, an octopus, crocodilefish and schools of barracuda and jacks. Then during lunch the Rock Island Aggressor moved down through German Channel and moored in-between Ngemelis & Crap Islands. For dive 3 we went to Turtle cove where divers descended down a hole in the shallow reef into a large cavern below, inside of which they were able to check out several disco clams. Then as they exited the cavern everyone made their way down towards the corner to see lot of schooling fish, a shark or two and of course several turtles. Dive 4 was Barnums Wall a slopping coral garden in the middle of two sheer walls with great macro life, turtles and crocodilefish. Then after dinner for the first night dive of the charter we went out to German Coral Gardens, here divers found a baby cuttlefish, plourabranch, nudi, an octopus and the rare twin-spot lionfish.
On Wednesday we started the day with German Channel with the hopes of seeing mantas but no such luck was to be had instead divers did see two feathertail ray laying in the sand, several sharks and a banded pipefish. Then dive 2 we were off to the world famous Blue Corner, when we arrived the current was being really wonky switching back and forth so no one hooked in and instead explored finding two octopi, watched two massive bumphead parrotfish munching on the coral and several turtle roaming about. After lunch dive three was New Drop Off The current started as incoming and we went along with the wall on the right and had a huge marble ray pass by. When we made it to the hook in area the current switch so we traveled up a let further to the other side and hooked in and watch as all the sharks came into to ride the current, the only down side to this dive was that water was cold 66degress compared to our average water temp of 80 degrees. Dive four was Ferns Wall and easy dive with great soft corals and tons of turtles. Then our night dive was Turtle Cove with some excellent macro life.
Early Thursday morning the big boat started motoring down to Peleliu and pulled into Camp Beck a nice protected lagoon built by the army during WWII. Our first dive in Peleliu was what else Peleliu Corner on the incoming side known as “the Express”. The current was strong but not to strong and the divers were able to hook-in and watch as the sharks pass by as well as a large eagle ray. Then once back to the big boat 10 of the guest went on the Peleliu WWII land tour to view sites of one of the bloodiest battles in the war. While everyone else was on the land tour the remaining 6 guest went to Orange Beach Coral Garden, a beautiful sloping coral garden with tons of fish life. After the dive and land tour everyone met back on the big boat for lunch before dive three at West Wall. At West Wall divers saw schools of large dogtooth tuna, turtles, and an eagle ray as well as Leopard shark. On the four at Barracks Point dive guest saw at least ten turtles and about five different giant clams. For the last night dive of the charter guest went to Ngemelis Wall for one of the best macro dives in Palau.
For Friday we started the day back at the Blue Corner with a light incoming current divers hooked in for a short while before going and exploring the top of the plateau checking out sharks, a massive dogtooth tuna, barracuda, an octopus and several large bumphead parrotfish. Then dive 2 was back out that way at Blue Holes, here divers enter into one of four holes in the shallow reef down into a massive cavern for some cool ambient light shots and some disco clam along the wall. After that every one mad etheir way back down to blue corner for another hooking in and had tons of sharks cruising in close to all the divers.
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. At 6pm we gathered in the salon for the cocktail party and watched Conor’s photo slideshow of the week and soon after all the guests headed off into town for dinner. At 10pm we said our goodbyes to 6 guests as they headed to the airport for their flight.
Very early Sunday morning one more guest left to the airport for his flight home and at 8 we said our goodbyes to the rest of the guests as they headed off to their hotels. We would like to thank everyone for joining us this week and hope to see you all again soon.
-Rock Islands Aggressor Crew