Palau Aggressor II
Captain’s Log September 18-25 2016
Water Temp: 80-89 deg F
Air Temp: 85-90 deg F
Crew: Dan, Ripon, Andy, Kiran, Hector, Joe
On Sunday afternoon 10 new dive buddies from around the World. Once they were welcomed aboard the Vessel and helped to set up their gear, the guests were given a safety briefing from the Captain followed by a delicious dinner, prepared and served by Andy and Kiran. Afterwards it was then time to get a good night’s sleep. You need to be well rested before beginning a wonderful week of diving in Palau.
Our first dive on Monday morning, after we departed the dock was on the Helmet wreck, one of the casualties of WWII. Unlike many wrecks in Palau, which were salvaged after the war, the Helmet wreck wasn’t discovered until the eighties. As a result the divers can find many artifacts like sake bottles, weapons, cooking pots and gas masks on the wreck. . Dive two was at yet another famous wreck in Palau the much larger Iro, meeting its fate in the outer lagoon after heavy fire from both US submarine and airstrike attacks. Upon this massive five hundred foot tanker divers found can find octopus and on top of the massive king posts tower a large colony of tomato anemones and clown fish. During lunch the Palau Aggressor II moved down to Ulong Island, recently famous for being the host of Survivor Palau. The guests had their first taste of the outer reef with a dive Sandy Paradise after lunch. Seeing some cool creatures like Leaf Scorpion fish, had everyone excited for more. We topped up the excitement with our first hook in dive, at Ulong Channel. We hooked in at the mouth of the channel and hung out and watched the Sharks, Barracuda, Jacks and more. After we unhooked we drifted gently down the channel and spotted some interesting macro life like a beautiful tiny Flabelina Nudibranch.
Tuesday morning, and our first dive was at Siaes Tunnel. The highlight on this dive is to check out the rare Helfrichs and Decorated dart fish. They hang out in the tunnel where it’s dark, thinking that they are deeper than they really are, maybe they’re marked! During lunch we moved up to German Channel and did a dive at New Drop off and saw Turtles, Sharks and a Peacock Flounder. Dive Four was at German Channel, where we were fortunate enough to see a Manta Ray at the cleaning station.
Our first dive on Wednesday was on the World famous Blue Corner. Sharks, Barracuda, Jacks, Napoleon Wrasse eagle rays, and so much more, easy to understand why this dive site has the reputation it does as it never disappoints! Only a mild current today, but plenty of Sharks hanging in the blue water made for an exhilarating start to the day. After we moved the big boat down to Peleliu Island in the gentle swell and did the first dive on purple beach. Dive Three was on the very beautiful coral garden at Orange beach. The name is not referencing a colorful spot on the island, but rather it was one of the code names for a landing area during the invasion of Peleliu by the US Marines. Peleliu was one of the fiercest battles in the Pacific, and evidence of the fighting can be found on the Island and also at this dive site. Some of our guests decided to explore the Island via the land tour instead of doing the third dive. Dive four was at West Wall, a very beautiful wall; with some of the best visibility we had this week.
Thursday and we went to dive Blue Corner again! A good current at the hook in produced several sharks to keep us occupied as well as three eagle rays. Dive 2 was out at Turtle Cove dropping in though a hole in the reef and then making our way out along the wall seeing some of the best soft corals in all of Palau. For dive 3 we ventured back out a little past the corner to the Blue Holes, were divers descended down four large holes at the top of the reef into a massive cavern. Inside divers had great view with the ambient light coming in the holes and found several disco clams on the cavern wall. Our fourth dive was Barnums wall.
On Friday we went back to German channel by popular demand. Unfortunately no mantas we saw a couple of large Sting Rays, Sharks, and Long nose Hawk fish. Second dive was at Ngerchong outside where we saw a Manta and a few Eagle Rays and loads of Sharks. Ngerchong inside was the third with the highlight being a large, curious Cuttlefish. We moved the big boat up into Wonder Channel for the fourth dive and spent the night anchored in a very beautiful spot amongst the Rock Islands.
Saturday morning we did a rock island tour, including a swim at the Milky Way and snorkeled a small wreck covered in Soft Corals. Then after a quick break we loaded the skiff back up and the guests were shuttled over to Chandelier Caves. A small cave with three air pockets inside allows the guest to dive down into the dark but then surface every few minutes to take photos of the beautiful stalactites that hang from the ceiling. After exiting the cave we had a bit of time to explore the area just underneath the skiff. Mandarin Fish swim around in the coral rubble and the Scorpion Devil Fish slowly trudges along the bottom. Not a bad way to end a week of diving and relaxing aboard the Palau Aggressor II. The guests were quite famished after the morning excursion and were presented with a delicious lunch to fuel back up before heading to town for a few hours of exploring. Just after six o’clock the guests turned up in the salon and sat down for a drink with the crew. We all exchanged stories from the week and enjoyed a slideshow put together by the crew. After about an hour the guests were on their way to town for an evening of dinner and dancing off the boat.
Sunday morning at eight o’clock. Some of the guests will be returning home while others will continue their travels throughout the Pacific. Either way we wish everyone a safe trip and we cannot wait until you return to dive with us again. Thanks for the great week!!