Palau Aggressor Charter Aug 21-28, 2016
Water Temp: 79-84 deg F
Air Temp: 78-86 deg F
Crew: Dan, Hector, Ronnie, Ernan, Herence, Ripon and Joe
On Sunday afternoon we welcomed aboard 12 new dive buddies from around the World. 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 we set off for our check out dive at the Helmet Wreck, which is a World War II casualty, this wreck remained undiscovered until well after the war, and as such one casn still find many artifacts from that time. The dive is a good opportunity to Macro photographers to sharpen their eyes as many tiny creatures can be found around the wreck. Dive two was a wreck dive in the harbor, called the Hafa a’ Dai wreck, she is also good for the macro lovers, with heaps of Blue Dragon Nudibranch’s, and if you’re lucky a juvenile yellow box fish. Through lunch we made our way south to the Ngemelis area, and did our first dive on the out reef at Barnums wall, among the highlights we saw a leopard Shark resting on the bottom. Dive four was at German Channel, alas no Mantas this week, but there were a lots of sharks at the cleaning station keeping us entertained. We also spotted and octopus out of his hole.
We had a decent current on Tuesday when we went to Blue Corner, giving us the first chance to “Hook In” lots of action on the corner, Sharks, Barracuda, Jacks, Turtles…..the list seems endless. 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 down too deep for us to get close was another leopard shark! Dives three and four we nice relaxing dives at Ngemelis wall and Big Drop off, so we could take our time and really enjoy looking for the harder to find critters.
We went back to German Channel to look for Mantas first thing on Wednesday, but again no luck. The channel is so beautiful with so much to see, that this disappointment of no mantas soon fades to a memory. We spotted a large ray in the sand and when we stopped to take a closer look, his buddy popped out of hiding just a few feet away. We dived Blue Corner again for number two and we got even more sharks this time, schools of ‘cuda and some sleeping white tips behind us on the plateau. Turtle cove for dive 3 after lunch. 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. This dive was also quite remarkable, as we spotted a very rare Ornate Eagle Ray cruising along below us. Amazing! Our night dive was at German Coral Gardens, and we found pleurobranchs, and three crocodile fish!
New Drop off ,was dive number one on Thursday, is a mini version of Blue Corner, hooking in along the wall we were rewarded with some Blue line Snappers, Moray Eels and some more sharks! The turtles here on the plateau are very friendly and pose happily for photographs. Dive two 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 Motored up to Wonder Channel during lunch, where we spent the night in a truly beautiful anchorage, diving the channel and Clam City is almost ‘Muck Diving” and upon looking one can find the weird and wonderful.
Friday Morning, pre-dawn we made our way over to Ulong Island (where Survivor was filmed) and spent our last full day of diving there. Dive one found ourselves 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. Our second dive was Ulong Channel. We hooked along the mouth of the channel to watch the shark show, and then used the current to ride along the coral coaster to the end of the channel where we checked out the large patch of lettuce corals, and finished up at the giant clams! Dive 3, 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
Saturday morning and we are back in the harbor, our first dive today was at the Jake Seaplane, obviously not a huge dive site, but a great opportunity to photograph an almost intact plane with good vis, In the coral reef around the wreck it’s pretty common to find cuttlefish. 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!