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ROCK ISLANDS AGGRESSOR
CAPTAINS LOG 3/31/16 – 4/10/16
AIR TEMP 87F
WATER TEMP 83F
Thursday afternoon we welcomed aboard 16 of our 17 guest from all over the world including the USA, France, Germany, Australia, Switzerland and the UK. Once aboard we went over a quick room briefing and then headed out to the dive deck to start prepping everyone’s gear for the week. After that everyone headed up stairs for a tasty BBQ dinner prepared by our Chef Matt, once everyone had a full stomach we gathered around the TV for the General Safety and Vessel Orientation. Then everyone meandered off to bed for a little shut eye before 10 days of diving in Palau.
Friday morning we left the dock bright and early and after breakfast and the dive deck briefing we started off our ten day charter with a day of diving some of the many wrecks found here in Palau. Our check out dive was at the Helmet Wreck. Once weights and equipment were all checked we moved along the deck of this ship and checked out WWII artifacts such as Japanese boots, bullets, depth charges and stacks of helmets. We also found a sawblade shrimp and an octopus towards the stern. We then moved in to the adjoining lagoon coral garden where we found a few nudibranchs. Our second dive was on the Iro were divers admired the massive kingpost and swam through several chambers of the wreck. Another highlight of the dive is the anemone covered masts with several large tridacna clams being swarmed by anemonefish. We then came back to the Rock Islands Aggressor for a nice lunch and then made ready for our third dive at the Hafa Dai our third wreck of the day. Our fourth dive of the day was on at the Jake Sea Plane. At this unique sight our divers were able to view a Japanese sea plane that was used in bombing raids and makes for some nice photos. Planes being a rarity in the wreck diving world.
Early on Saturday morning the Rock Islands Aggressor moved down through German Channel and moored in-between Ngemelis & Crap Islands. For our very first dive in these area we headed out to the world famous Blue Corner. With a strong incoming current divers hooked in for the first time this charter and watched a massive school of big-eyed trevally swam about with several gray reefs cutting in and out as the rode the current. Dive two was another hook-in dive at New Drop Off; here divers watched multiple sharks and schools of barracuda and jacks as well as sighting a flounder, several turtles and some baby anemone fish. Dive 3 was an excellent macro dive at Big Drop Off. Dive 4 was at Barnums Wall, starting on a sheer wall divers moved along and watched as it turn into a beautiful sloping coral garden finding crocodilefish, scorpionfish, turtles, whitetip reef sharks and much more. The first night dive of the charter was back at Big Drop Off to view all the little critters out and about as well as a turtle and moray eel hunting along the wall.
On Sunday we started the day at Blue Holes, dropping into one of four holes in the shallow reef that all lead into a massive cavern for an excellent view with the ambient light coming in through the holes. Once divers exited the cavern everyone made their way down to Blue Corner to watch the parade of sharks, barracudas, jacks, and tuna. Dexters Wall was the second dive of the day here divers found more than a dozen turtles both green and hawksbill hunkered in amongst the coral. Dive 3 was a Turtle Cove, like Blue Holes dives entered into a carven from a hole on top the shallow reef after exploring the cavern divers made their way down to the corner where they gazed upon tons of different fish life, turtles, a giant clam, and corals. Then dive 4 we made the short trip to Ngedebus Coral Garden, here divers explored around finding two octopi, scorpionfish, nudis as well as both white and black-tip reef sharks. The night dive was back at Turtle Cove amongst the excellent macro life the divers marveled at the small cup corals covering the wall that blossom at night to filter feed.
Monday morning we moved the Rock Islands Aggressor down to Peleliu into South Dock for the next day and half. Our first dive here was Peleliu Corner on the incoming side know as “The Cut”. Although there was a nice current we didn’t see tons of sharks so instead of hooking in we drifted down to the corner where we got to see a massive school of Seabreams spanning and event that only happens once a year and very cool to see. Before dive two 5 guest went on a Peleliu WWII land tour to view sights of one of the bloodiest battles from WWII. Dive 2 was West Wall and easy drift dive with lots of macro life and a few sharks. Everyone then met back on the big boat for lunch before dive 3 at Barracks Point, here divers saw several dozen turtles and several giant clams. Both dive 4 and the night dive where at Orange Beach Coral Garden here amongst the beautiful hard coral garden dives found crocodilefish, turtle and artifacts from the war.
Tuesday we started the day at Peleliu Corner again to check out the seabreams one more time we also so a eagle and marble ray. Dive two by request was back at Barracks Point. We then made our way back up north for dive three a German Channel where divers got to see 5-6 mantas feeding in the shallow water. Dive 4 was Ferns wall also know as Turtle Wall and of course dive found tons of turtles as well as lots of macro life. Night dive was at Ngedebus Coral Garden with lots of little and one big octopus, a squid, Lionspaw seacucumber and lots more.
Wednesday was all repeat dive first a Blue Corner with an excellent outing current and tons of sharks. Then dive 2 was at Dexters Wall once again finding more than a dozen turtles. Dive three was back to Blue Corner once last time, although almost no current divers explored around checking out all the schooling fish, turtles, eels and octopus and so much more. Dive four was back to German Channel this time only getting to see one manta four a short period of time.
Early Thursday Moring the Rock Islands Aggressor moved up to Ulong Island. Our first dive here was at Sandy Paradise and divers got to see the Bumphead parrot fish gathering all around to spawn as well as leafscorpion fish and a mantis shrimp. Dive 2 was at the excellent Siaes Corner, no current mint no hooking in and instead exploring around finding turtles and 4-5 octopus in one of the best coral gardens in Palau. Dive 3 was at Ulong Channel were divers hooked in and watched as sharks past by then finished by drift down the channel p[ass tons of groupers a giant patch of lettuce coral and finishing the dive at two giant clams sitting side by side. Divers had such a good time then went back to Ulong Channel again for dive 4.
Friday was the last full day of diving starting at Siaes Tunnel where divers were able to find several rarely seen fish by recreational divers including B&W butterfly, pygmy blue back angle and decorated dartfish. Dive 2 was back to Siaes Corner this time with a good current and lots of sharks. Dive three was back to Sandy Paradise once again find scorpion fish, mantis shrimp and a large manta getting cleaned. Then for the last dive we went back to Ulong Channel for one more awesome drift down the channel.
Saturday morning came early on the boat, with the sun breaking over the picturesque rock islands and the birds chirping their cheerful songs. First location of the day was Jelly Fish Lake. With over an estimated 13 million resident jellyfish, everyone was impressed by this incredible snorkel. The sun was out and it provided a great background for the photographers. Once all had hiked back over the hill to the awaiting skiff, Ben began his famous rock island tour, whizzing in and amongst the islands, stopping for a photo opportunity at Palau’s Famous Archway and then some WWII sites as we made our way back to the big boat. The last event for our guests this charter was Chandelier Caves. With multiple air chambers, to surface in and view the stalactites, then outside the caves, we found mandarin fish, razor fish, signal gobies. We returned back to the big boat at the dock and helped our guests break down their gear and then after lunch they enjoyed some free time, going into town for shopping and relaxing on the boat. In the evening we all gathered in the salon for the cocktail party and reflected on the week and raised glasses in cheers. Ben presented his slide show and we laughed and smiled with a twinkle in our eye as we enjoyed the wonderful photos he captured for our guests. They then headed into town for dinner among the many wonderful restaurants found in Palau, then we said goodbye to our. In the morning we said goodbye to the guests as they headed to their hotel. We again would like to thank everyone for joining us this 10 day charter and hope to see you all soon, until then we wish you safe diving and good times.
-Rock Islands Aggressor Crew