Palau Aggressor Charter May 1-8th 2016
Water Temp: 82-86 deg F
Air Temp: 78-86 deg F
Crew: Dan, Hector, Ronnie, Ernan, Jun, Casey, and Kirin
On Sunday afternoon we were joined by 17 new dive buddies from Japan, Russia, USA, UK, Switzerland, and Germany. After a welcome drink we showed the guests to their individual cabins, and helped them set up their dive gear. Chef Ronnie had cooked up a tasty feast for dinner. And Captain Dan gave his boat orientation and safety briefing. Everyone went to bed early to catch up on sleep after their long flights before embarking on another wonderful week of diving in beautiful Palau.
Early on Monday morning we departed the dock and headed in to the harbor. First dive of the week was a check out dive on the Helmet Wreck, one of the many WWII wrecks here in Palau. On the wreck we saw some Saw Blade Shrimp, we also saw Nudibranchs, whip corals and hydroids. This Wreck also has many artifacts left from her wartime days, such as helmets, gas masks, riffles, depth charges and fighter plane engines. Dive two was another wreck dive called the Iro. Schooling Scads and Fusiliers, and plenty of tiny crustaceans for the critter hunters were all over the wreck. Dive three was at Ferns Wall, the first reef wall of the week. Our divers were excited to see Reef Sharks, Crocodile fish and Grouper. The last dive off the day was at Barnums Wall where we capped the day off nicely with a couple of Green Turtles and some beautiful Nudibranchs.
Tuesday and we kicked off with our first hook in dive at Blue Corner. We saw Clown Trigger fish, Red Tooth Trigger fish, Grey Reef Sharks and Barracuda at the hook in, and some Turtles and a couple of Octopus on the Plateau. Next up was Blue Holes, dropping in to one of four large holes on the reef top which all open up into one large cavern, where photographers can get some great shots of the light pouring in from above. Inside the cavern Fire Clams, Moray Eels and Nudibranchs are among some of the critters that we found hiding in the corners. Dive three was at Turtle Cove, which starts with a swim down through a hole in the reef top and opens out on the reef wall. We drifted along in the lazy current spotting all sorts of tiny creatures. Turtle Cove was also the spot for the night dive. As soon as we jumped in we spotted a massive Green Turtle drifting along the wall in search of his next bite to eat. We cruised along going in and out of the cuts in the wall exploring all that the site offered. Many Hinged Beak Shrimp were spotted as well as a Moray Eel. The bioluminescence was ever present and we enjoyed a few minutes with our lights off.
Wednesday morning. The engines fired up early and we motored south in the gentle swell towards Camp Beck, on Peleliu Island. Peleliu was the site of some of the fiercest fighting in the Pacific, and the island still bears some of the scars that serve as a reminder to that time. With the Palau Aggressor safely at anchor we headed out for dive number one, Peleliu Express. Drifting along the wall we saw huge numbers of Sailfin Snapper that are aggregating to spawn at this time. As we hooked in, Grey Reef Sharks and White Tips rested in the current. After we un-hooked, we drifted across the plateau with schooling Snapper, Trigger fish and Palette Surgeon fish (or Dory as you might know her better!).
West Wall produced a couple of Turtles, Clown Trigger fish and some Nudibranchs. Orange Beach was the site for dive three, more Clown Trigger fish, Moorish Idols, and buried in the corals, some .50 Caliber rounds, and Mortar and Artillery shells. Dive four was at Barracks Point, where we found some more Turtles and some large Giant Clams.
On Thursday dive one we went to New Drop Off, a mini version of Blue Corner, where we found more Sharks and Barracuda, Octopus and Turtles. Dive two was at Canyons, with interesting nooks and crannies to explore, swim thoughs and amazing hard corals. Dive three back to Blue Corner. Good current and plenty of Sharks. White Tip Sharks resting on the sand, Leaf Scorpion Fish, Moray Eels and Turtles, along with Clown Trigger fish, Barracuda and schooling Jacks kept every ones eyes darting back and forth. Dive three was at German Channel where we were lucky enough to encounter Manta Rays at the cleaning station! We had to wait a while, but patience is a virtue, and after about 20 minutes one of our more common locals, Kau Sekool, showed up.
Friday and we motored down to Ulong Island (where Survivor was filmed). Dive one at Sandy Paradise was a truly amazing dive. We were fortunate to witness Bumphead Parrot Fish Spawning. Thousands of these underwater Buffalo aggregate here just before the new moon and put on a spectacular show. Dive two at the beautiful Siaes corner. A stunning reef wall and plateau, where we saw many reef sharks. Siaes Tunnel, was our third dive where we found the rare and shy Helfrichs Dart fish and found a new Pygmy Seahorse. Ulong Channel was our last dive of the day. A beautiful reef with a hook in spot to watch some Shark action; and if the current is right a super fun drift down the channel were you can see more sharks, a massive patch of Lettuce Coral and some huge Giant Clams.
Saturday and we found ourselves back in Koror, and did our first dive on the Jake Seaplane. The wreck is only small, but is host to some small creature and the wreck itself makes for some good photos. 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!