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Rock Islands Aggressor :

 

Log Date: Sunday, Oct 23, 2016
Entry By: Rock Islands Aggressor Crew









 



Sunday afternoon we welcomed on board 4 guests from all over the world Germany and USA. After a quick introduction to their cabins they set up their dive gear, got checked in, and headed upstairs for the vessel orientation and safety briefing, after we sat down to a great dinner prepared by our chef Shea. We had 1 late arrival that arrived at 3 am who had a short briefing and off to bed.

 

Monday morning we had breakfast. Then we covered the general dive briefing and headed out to do our check out dive at the Helmet Wreck aka Depth Charge Wreck. This unidentified Japanese WWII sub chaser sank in the harbor during the American bombing run of Desecrate One. We did our back rolls into the water, checked our weight, and descended down to the wreck. We entered the first cargo hold; saw the three stacks of helmets and the depth charges. In the middle cargo hold we saw more depth charges the large anti-aircraft search light and swam through the old partition to the forward cargo hold with the airplane engines and generator. On the bow of the wreck we saw the Nippon Brewing Company bottles and turned around and headed towards the stern where the divemaster Jim found a crocodile fish. Jim also pointed out twin spot signal gobies and wire coral shrimp before spending the rest of the dive looking at the artifacts that have been collected and placed 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. The Iro one of ten Shiretoko class Japanese oil fleet tankers, a very large ship! We descended down the mooring ling to the bow of the wreck saw the bow gun and swam along the deck of the wreck to the stern and circled up the last king post to see the colony of tomato anemone fish. We then swam from king post to king post back to the mooring line at the front of the wreck to do our safety stop. After lunch, Jim gave a how to use a reef hook lesson as the big boat was heading over to the Ulong area and the next dive we would be hooking in! With the big boat now in the Ulong area, our third dive was at Siaes corner our first outer reef dive of the week. We dropped in on the nice blue water and within 5 min of the dive we saw our first shark and many other reef fish, on the wall to the hook in area we passed lots of very nice big sea fans and soft corals. As we got to the hook in area the current was light but it picked up a little and then the sharks appeared and come nice and close so everyone could get great photos. Our last dive of the day was at Sandy paradise or Andy paradise as it is one of Andy’s favorite dive sites. The dive starts off a mooring just off a small sand bar island as we drop down over a hard coral garden we went shallows on our right heading to the sandy bottom where rock outcroppings hide leaf fish and many other small fish. Looking up in the blue there are schools of barracuda and jacks with sharks cruising around too. As we surfaced we were treated to a nice sun set and headed back to the big boat for a great boat cooked meal from Shea.

 

Tuesday morning our first dive was at Siaes Tunnel. We started from the mooring and headed down to 90ft to the entrance of the tunnel. The tunnel is so big you could fit 2 of the Aggressor boats in side. The great thing in the tunnel we see rare fish we all saw the very rear Blue back Pygmy Angelfish and the Black &White Butterflyfish fish that are not seen often by divers but because the tunnel is a dark environment the fish think that they are deeper than they are so good for divers to see them, we also spotted some nudies on the sandy floor of the tunnel. Our last dive in the Ulong area was the famous Ulong channel the current was a nice incoming as we dropped in we headed over to mouth of the channel where the hook in area is. The mouth of the channel is where the gray reef sharks hang out and where there are lots of schooling fish are too. After the hook in Jim guided the guests down the coral channel and ending up at the 2 GIANT clams. During lunch the big boat moved over to the German Channel area and our third dive was at Turtle cove this dive starts with a decent down a chimney that ends up on the wall on the right dive. Captain Ike was leading the dive and pointed out some great macro and found lots of turtles. The fourth was at Barnum’s wall this is again a wall dive with a coral garden as well meant to be a nice slow dive but the current had other ideas. The current was moving quite well and we just enjoyed the ride. Seeing a few sharks and turtles on the way. We came back to the big boat had w great dinner then at 7:30 headed out for the night dive. The night dive was at German channel only one night diver this week so had a nice one to one dive seeing lots of shrimps crabs and a female crab releasing he eggs in to the current and lots of other night critters. On the return to the RIA a glass of wine and off to bed for a full day diving on Wednesday.

 

Wednesday morning our first dive Blue corner! As we arrived we saw it was out going current and started wall on the left. The currents were not playing ball this week as we arrived at the hook in it switched. You can tell this when you see all the fish turn and head over to the other side of the corner. Lucky for us the current was not to strong and there be a sand channel where we can get down in out of the current and get to the other side of the corner. In the sand channel is where 3 baby spotted eagle rays play in the mild current. On reaching the other side of the corner the current change again. This did not matter as there is so much to see. So dive 2 was New drop off, a mini blue corner this time a outgoing current wall on the left. It’s a very nice wall on the way to the hook in area lots of sea fans and soft corals. At the hook in again sharks in the blue and behind the hook in on the reef is where 2 large green turtles like to sleep and very used to divers so you can get close to take photos. Again the current switched and the divers headed back past where the skiff had dropped them. Dive 3 German Channel. We do usually try to do the channel either early morning or late afternoon so less day boat are there but it has to be dived on a incoming current so we had to dive it after lunch. We reached the channel and started at the less busy side called the Peleliu side. Went down the mooring line and headed over to the shark cleaning station so see the gray reef sharks getting cleaned. After a few minutes Jim lead the group cross the channel and looking up spotted 2 mantas just cruising, he then lead the divers to the main cleaning station where big fish come to get cleaned, after a few minutes they were joined by one of the mantas she put on a great show coming inches over the divers heads. She made a few passes then she headed up in the plankton to feed. Jim then took the group up shallow to watch the feeding manta next to the big bait ball of fish to end the dive! The fourth dive of the day was at Dexter’s wall, a dive known for lots of turtles but only one was seen as the current was quite strong, a few nice colorful anemones were seen towards the end of the dive. During the safety stop we watched the top of the reef alive with so many fish everywhere. After dinner. Dive 5 the night dive at Big Turtle cove. Again only one diver had a great dive at Turtle cove is a very colorful a lot of yellow cup corals and basket stars to be seen as wall at the soft corals. On return to the RIA glass of local beer and off to bed for our Peleliu day!

           

On Thursday Captain Ike woke at 5am to start the big boat and start the one and three quarter hour journey to the southern end of Peleliu or South Dock Camp Beck. At around 6 am the guests woke to the sound of the boats air horn it meant we found dolphins a large pod may be 50 to 60 they stayed playing in the bow wake of the boat for 15 minutes. Just after 6:45 the big boat pulled in to south dock aka Camp Beck. And the crew secured the boat. 7am dive one was the Peleliu corner the dive that we all say is the most unpredictable dive we have on the trip. So when we arrived the current was mild incoming the express side wall on the right. Having a mild current on the corner is rear but also very nice as all the small fish are out and the reef is alive with activity there where sharks in the blue and lots of turtles on the top reef Andy spotted a rear juvenile emperor angelfish towards the end of the dive and as we did no hook in we made to the very corner of Peleliu the tip is where the Philippine sea meats the Pacific ocean! A nice relaxing dive the one that was meant or is said to be the most advanced! In the break Andy flew his drone from the big boat over to Peleliu corner to show the guests where they had just dived and where the next few dives were going to be look out for footage on the Aggressor facebook! The second dive was at West wall when we arrived the current was a strong wall on the left a dive that should be a nice relaxing but ended up being a bit more of a ride. Dive three was at Orange beach, the beach the US Marians landed on Sept 1944 a wonderful coral garden and lots of left over from the war. Parts of landing craft, bombs, bullets and anchors were all seen and for sea life a big spotted eagle ray and crocodilefish was spotted. Just before the fourth dive the big boat started to leave camp beck. Just after we left we again were greeted by a very large pod of dolphins. The fourth dive was at Barracks point here there was a strong current too. But many turtles were spotted and giant clams. After the dive there was a nice sun set so Ben took some great shots of the crew and guests with the sunset. After dinner the one night to Big drop off Jim guided and found a camouflaged decorator crab and a very large nudi called plorabranch. On the return a glass of beer and off to bed!

 

Friday morning we woke to a nice calm day time for diving. The first dive of the day headed back to Blue corner, it was outgoing current this time the guests got to hook in and see all the sharks and the 3 baby eagle rays ant the end of the dive. The second dive was at Blue holes this is a great place where Ben the photo pro takes some great photos of the guest with the light streaming down the 4 holes on the top a large cavern. Inside the cavern disco clams can be found or electric scallops. The third dive was at Big drop off Captain Ike lead the dive finding no less the 5 leaf fish all different colors and many other macro critters. The fourth dive back to German channel from the start we could see the current was a strong incoming. This time the dive was started on the Koror side of the channel and started at the red anemone and headed to the main cleaning station here the current was strong and Andy spotted the a manta feeding. As the current was strong we just watched it from the sandy bottom on the channel and waited for the current to die down before joining it. But from the ground there was plenty to see a large feeding ball of fish and sharks cruising around with some big GTs out hunting. After 45min the current died down so we could go shallower to see the manta a bit closer had some good passes, we extended the dive a little as it was a good way to end the dive!! For dinner the guests sat down to a final supper consisting of steak and shrimp, prepared by chef Shea and after dinner we watched our video of the charter by our video pro Jim.

 

Saturday morning our first dive was at the Jake sea plane. The Jake sea plane sits at 45ft and is very complete, makes for a very nice photo of a sea plane underwater. 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 a sea snake, 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. At 6pm we gathered in the salon for the beer and wine 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. After the party, the guests went into town for dinner at one of the local restaurants. At 10pm we took guests 2 ashore and to the airport to catch their flight back home.

 

Sunday morning we work up to continental breakfast and our last remaining departed at 8 am to their hotels 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