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Rock Islands Aggressor :

 

Log Date: Sunday, Jul 24, 2016
Entry By: Rock Islands Aggressor Crew









 



Sunday afternoon we welcomed on board 11 guests from all over the world. Nationalities included American, German, Swiss and Austrian. After a quick introduction to their cabins everyone set up their dive gear, got checked in, and headed upstairs for dinner. After dinner we covered the vessel orientation and soon after our last guest arrived from the airport. Everyone else was in bed already; he set up his dive gear and soon was off to bed.

 

Monday morning at 6am we pulled the big boat off the pier and tied up in Malakal Harbor. After breakfast we covered the general dive briefing our first dive of the charter was at the wreck of the Helmet aka Depth Charge Wreck. This is an unidentified Japanese WWII sub chaser that sank in the harbor during the bombing run of Desecrate One. We did our back rolls into the water and checked our weights and descended down the mooring line. We entered the first cargo hold and saw the helmets and depth charges, saw more depth charges in the middle cargo hold with the large search light and the airplane engines in the forward cargo hold. Around the bow of the wreck we found a zeno crab on the wire coral and took photos of the Nippon Brewing Company beer bottles that have been placed on the bow of the wreck. We then turned around and headed towards the stern. The photographers took turns taking photos of the artifacts that have been collected and placed for viewing around the stern gun. After the dive the big boat moved out of Malakal Harbor and into the Western Lagoon. Our second dive was at the Iro, where we saw the colony of tomato anemone fish amongst two clams at 35 feet on the stern king post. This wreck also has two large guns, both bow and stern and a variety of small critters such as nudibranchs, crabs and shrimp. During lunch the big boat moved all the way out to the Ulong Area and our third dive was at Our last dive of the day was at Siaes Corner. We started the dive from the mooring and descended down along the wall, the light outgoing current pushed us slowly along towards the corner. We saw the beautiful sea fans and soft coral. At the corner we hooked in for a short time watching a couple of sharks in the blue, then unhooked and explored the top of the plateau seeing a turtle and a school of yellow tailed barracuda. Our fourth dive was at Ulong Channel. When we got out to the dive site the current was still a little out going, so we decided to start the dive from the furthest mooring hoping by the time we arrived at the mouth the current would be incoming. We made our way slowly along the wall seeing sharks, beautiful anemones, by the time we reached the mouth it was incoming so we drifted into the channel seeing a lot of groupers and ended the dive at the giant clams.

 

Tuesday we started the day with Ulong Channel. This time it was a nice incoming. We started the dive from the moorings and slowly made our way to the mouth of the channel. We hooked in at the mouth and had several grey reef sharks passing by in front of the divers. We stayed for awhile in the current, then unhooked and drifted down the channel passing by the lettuce coral and again ended the dive at the giant clams. For our second dive we headed out to Sandy Paradise. We entered the water and descended down the sloping hard coral to where it bottoms out in the sand and went shallow water on our right. We stopped at the anemone with the cleaning wrasse and some guests got their hands cleaned, we then continued along the bottom to the rock out cropping with all the glassy eyed sweepers and found two leaf scorpion fish. We also spotted a small mantis shrimp sticking its eyes out of its hole. We then turned around explored the coral garden and ended the dive back at the mooring. During lunch the big boat moved to the German Channel area and our third dive was at Turtle cove. We started the dive by descending down the hole on top the reef and found a disco clam, in the chimney. We then went wall on our right towards the corner. The wall is covered with beautiful soft coral and sea fans, we saw a bunch of the square spot anthias on the steep wall and at the tip of the corner we came up on top the reef to explore seeing the school of jacks, a couple of sharks in the blue. Dive four we headed to Big Drop Off. We started the dive close to the ball & chain but the current soon switched and we went the other way. Along the wall we found some nudi’s and on the big bush of black coral we found a long nose hawk fish. We came up into the shallows to start our safety stop and found a couple of leaf scorpion fish. During dinner we had a really bad storm come through with really strong winds and heavy rain. We waited for a while to see if it would pass but it didn’t look like it would stop any time soon so we had to cancel the night dive.

 

Wednesday morning we started the day at German Channel. We started the dive from the Koror side of the channel, entered the water and stopped at the red anemone for some photos. We then descended down for a quick look at the deeper cleaning station but nothing was happening so we came up to the main cleaning station on the Koror side. No mantas came in to get cleaned but we had two eagle rays pass by in the deeper water in front of the cleaning station. Also several gray reef sharks circled around in front of the divers. We then crossed the channel to the Peleliu side cleaning station and sat down and waited but nothing came in to get cleaned so we turned around, came back to the middle of the channel and started drifting into the channel. As we were starting our safety stop, we spotted a large marbled ray sleeping on the bottom. Dive two was at the famous Blue Corner. It was a light incoming current and we started with the wall on our left, we hooked in and watched the show. There were several grey reefs sharks in the blue in front of us and the school of jack’s number in the hundreds. With the good action at the hook in area we stayed for a while, later we unhooked and explored the plateau, finding the eagle ray, a couple of turtles and a giant school of chevron barracuda. After lunch dive three was at Dexters Wall. We drifted along the wall finding a lot of turtles, beautiful sea fans and soft coral. For dive four we headed out to New Drop Off, the current was outgoing and we entered the water and drifted slowly towards the hook in area. We spotted several beautiful anemones, and schools of pyramid butterfly fish. We hooked in and had several sharks in front of us for a while; we then unhooked to explore the plateau. We saw a couple of the resident green sea turtles that hand out on the reef and they let us get close with our cameras. After dinner our night dive was at Big Drop Off. We spotted a couple of white tip sharks out cursing along the wall, nudibranchs, and a lot of crabs. Also we found a twin spot lion fish and a leaf scorpion fish.

 

On Thursday we fired up the engines bright and early and headed down to Peleliu. We secured the big boat in Camp Beck or aka South Dock and our first dive of the day was at Peleliu Corner. We started the dive on the incoming side of the corner but the current had different plans, it switched right away so we turned around and went the other way. We must have seen a couple hundred bumphead parrot fish in several small groups, a couple of turtles and beautiful yellow soft corals. Then the current switched again so we turned around again and came up on top the reef seeing more turtles to end the dive. After the dive four guests went ashore for the Peleliu WWII land tour. They spent 2.5 hours learning about one of the bloodiest battles of WWII and seeing the artifacts left over; Japanese tank, Japanese headquarter building, memorials, museum, and a cave system on the northern end of the island. . For dive two the remaining guests went for a dive at West Wall. The current was outgoing and we started the dive from the mooring and drifted along the wall finding nudibranchs, beautiful yellow soft corals and a scorpion fish. During lunch the wind was switching to the south west and we started to get some swells out there but it was still ok to dive. For the third dive the guests asked to return to Peleliu Corner. This time the current was outgoing and we did the D’Cut side of the corner. The current was light to start the dive but soon picked up. We hooked in around the cut in the reef and held on watching several sharks in the blue. We then unhooked and headed down towards the tip of the corner but soon let the current push us across the plateau. After the dive the wind had picked up quite a bit and there were now some big swells, we took the big boat out of South Dock and started heading back to the German Channel area. We had to take the boat all the way inside German Channel to be protected from the swells. Our fourth dive was scheduled for Barnum’s Wall but when we reached the site the swells were large over the dive site so we moved down the reef to an area that was calmer on the surface. This dive site was an unexplored section of the reef off of Carp Island. We will name it Ripon’s Reef because he was our divemaster leading the dive. The site was nice, we found several nudi’s and some turtles. Also had a couple of white tip sharks swimming around the reef. After dinner we canceled the night dive due to the large swells on the outer reef, it would not of been safe to take the guests out for a dive at night in those swells.

 

Friday morning we woke up to strong winds from the west so dive sites like Blue Corner and Blue Holes were off the table. Dive one was along the protected side of Ngemelis Island at Ngemelis Wall. We entered the water and found some great macro life; leaf scorpion fish, nudi’s and flatworms. The visibility was not the best due to the swells stirring up the sand on top the reef. For dive two we went back to German Channel. We started the dive from the Peleliu side of the channel this time and stopped at the cleaning station. We waited for anything to get cleaned but nothing came in. We then swam across the mouth of the channel to the Koror side cleaning station, sat down and waited in the sand, but still no mantas. We then turned around and in the middle of the channel we found a crocodile fish sitting on the bottom. Wonder how we missed it when we passed by the first time. We then ended the dive by drifting into the channel stopping by the white mantis shrimp for photos then came up to do our safety stop. With the swells, in the channel, it was stirring up the sand on the bottom. After lunch our third dive was at German Drop Off. We started the dive from the mooring in the sand chute and went out along with the wall on our left. We some a turtle and some sharks in the blue. Soon the current switched to outgoing so we turned around. After the dive, with the large swells and limited dive sites we could go to on the outer reef we moved the big boat into the rock islands. Dive four was at Wonder Channel. The current was outgoing and we entered the water and went reef on the right. We found so much macro life it was awesome. We found several types of nudibranchs, and the banded messmate pipefish. Back at the big boat our chef Ronnie treated us to a final supper of a thanksgiving feast as the big boat headed back into Malakal Harbor. After dinner our video pro Jim show his video of the charter and we all watched, enjoying a look back at the week.

 

Saturday morning our first dive was at the Hafa Dai. This wreck sits in the harbor about 60 feet deep. We entered the water and swam around the three levels finding a couple of lion fish, and the pipe cleaner nudibranchs. On top the wheel house are a couple of clams each with different color mantels. For our last dive of the charter we headed out to Chandelier Cave. All the divers surfaced in the four air chambers saw the stalactites and crystal formations. Then on the outside of the cave we saw the mandarin fish and also found a baby cuttle fish. Back at the big boat the guests broke down their gear, washed it and hung it upstairs to dry. Lunch was soon ready and after settling the bills the guests enjoyed their free time. Some went for massages, a helicopter flight over the rock islands, and some just relaxed on the boat. At 6pm we gathered in the salon for the cocktail party while our photo pro showed his slideshow of all the images he took during the charter and all the guests received a CD of all those images to take home with them. Also we had a cake for Martin & Fabia who were celebration their one year annivarsary. After the cocktail party the guests went off to dinner at one of the local restaurants. At 10pm one guest left to the airport to catch a flight going home.

 

Very early Sunday morning two more guests headed to the airport for their flight and at 8am the remaining guests as they headed off to their hotels for another couple days in Palau. We would like to thank everyone for joining us this week on board the Rock Islands Aggressor. Hope to see you all again, until then safe diving…

 

-Rock Islands Aggressor Crew