Palau Aggressor Charter 30th Oct to 6th Nov 2016
Water Temp: 80-89 deg F
Air Temp: 85-90 deg F
Crew: Scott, Andy, Ernan, Hector, Joe, Ronnie, Herence
On Sunday afternoon we greeted 10 new divers from around the World (USA, Switzerland, South Korea, and Italy). 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 Ronnie and Herence. We had a few late arrivals to make up the boat 1 came in 8:45pm and picked up after spending a week on the Kona Aggressor. Then we had a even later arrival of 4 from South Korea. The late arrivals were given a short briefing then time to get a good night’s sleep. You need to be well rested before beginning a wonderful week of diving in Palau.
The Weather on this charter as been predicted as bad a low pressure system coming from the coming from the east by Guam, this means high winds towards the end of the week so we are starting on the outer reef diving and then to go to sheltered inner reef dives for when the weather gets worse.
Monday morning, 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 breakfast and the dive deck briefing. From a mooring line we descending over a wonderful coral garden seeing some cool creatures like Leaf Scorpion fish, mantas shrimp and lots of schooling fish had everyone excited for more. After a short break dive Two was at Siaes Tunnel. Here is a huge tunnel in the reef at 90ft so a deep start of the dive. As you enter you stay close to the roof where you see fish swimming upside down. As the tunnel bottom gets higher you can see some rear fish hang out the rare Helfrichs and Decorated dart fish. On the sandy bottom of the tunnel very colorful fish! Then it’s a wall on the right to end the dive in the shallows. Time for lunch from chef Ronnie, after lunch Ernan gave the reef hook briefing to tell the guests how, when and where we use or reef hooks in Palau. The Third dive of the day was at Siaes corner the first hook in dive of the week. We started wall on the right the wall covered in soft coral and big sea fans. Scott lead the divers to the hook in area lucky the current was mild so a nice intro to hooking in. At the hook in area sharks and barracuda were seen. The Fourth and last dive of the day was at Ulong Channel. On reaching the dive site we could see the current was moving or strong as one of the moorings was under water at a 45 degree angle. So we did a live drop in the blue. This means we drift with the current to the wall avoiding swimming agents the current. As we go close to the mouth of the channel or the hook in area Andy could see many sharks and hooked the guests in a line spread out across the channel as we were the only people there. We stayed at the hook in for 35min seeing sharks coming nice and close. When we unhooked we had a fast drift down the channel! After the dive the guests said how fun the drift was! We arrived back to the PAII had a great dinner, during dinner Capt Scott was driving the PAII to the German channel area for our next days diving!
Tuesday morning, now in the German channel area we went out for our first dive Blue corner at 7am. We arrived and it was a incoming current wall on the right. As we reached the hook in area at 45ft/12m there was 100s of jacks, snappers and sharks cruising by. The current was mild to medium just right for a great blue corner dive, again we had the dive site to our self so we were able to use both hook in areas the 45ft and the 60ft hook in area. About 30 min in to the dive a huge dog tooth tuna was seen it’s a huge fish bigger then some of the gray reef sharks. We spent most of the dive at the hook in area then towards the end of the 60 min dive we explored the top of the corner as well. Back to the PAII for a snack and a change off batteries in cameras. Dive two we headed back to the blue corner area to 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, then the exit of the cavern wall on the left to blue corner a 2 for 1 dive! Back to PAII for lunch, after lunch dive three, New Drop off. The swells and wind now picking up a little bit. The current was a mild incoming wall on the right. We headed down the wall covered with nice soft coral and approached the hook in area at 45ft -12m to watch the sharks. The current was mild so we could also explore the top of new drop offs coral garden seeing flounders and many green turtles, nudies and eels and many other coral fish clown trigger fish blue line snapper to name a few! On the return to the PAII a nice hot coco was waiting to warm up the divers. Dive four Big drop off. A very nice wall dive on Ngemelis Island starting on a large Ball and chain left over from the German era of Palau. This is a more maco dive seeing many nuides leaf fish and some baby white tip sharks on a ledge on the wall. Back to the PAII for dinner as the wind and rain has picked up the night dive was canceled for safety.
Wednesday morning. The wind still picking up to about 20knots we have kept the diving close to German channel area. The first dive of the day German channel as the current is a incoming the best way to dive the channel. We started on the Koror side of the channel. The red anemone a nice photo and video stop from there Scott lead the group to the cleaning station and before they could get to it they were passed by a manta ray just cruising by. As the group reached the cleaning station there no manta rays but many other fish around including, golden trevally, gray reef sharks and schools of barracuda and jacks, when the group left the cleaning station the saw the manta ray again not bad for the first dive of the day. Weather still windy and raining the second dive of the day was at Ngemelis wall it’s a extension dive from the Big drop off the divers did the day before. Joe aka (Bubbles) guided the dive looking for more macro subjects. On the return the PAII started to head for shelter in the rock islands. For the Third dive we went to Wonder Channel, this was a great dive for macro lots of banded messmate pipefish and lots of nudibranchs were seen. The fourth dive of the day was at Clam city. Clam city was a old clam farm for giant clams and there are still lots of giant clams sitting in 45ft/12m on a sandy bottom. After dinner we went back to clam city for the night dive we found some swimming shrimp, crabs hermit crabs.
Thursday morning wind and rain still with us we moved the PAII in to the Malakal area. The first dive of the day was light house channel one of the main shipping channels in to Palau. On the incoming we saw a few turtles and mudibranchs. In the channel is a old fishing boat covered with soft coral and sea fans, with long nose hawk fish, many lobster were seen too. The second dive was a WWII wreck of the Chuyo Maru which was a coastal freighter. On mooring is attached to the ships king posts that are covered with corals and lots of small fish the ship lies at 85ft/25m at the stern of the ship there is a small 4inch short gun and a place where lion fish hunt on the small fish in the area. Making the way over the deck to the bow of the ship many black corals can be seen with lots of shrimp inside. On the bow you can see the old anchor winches and schooling fish. The third dive of the day was Haifa Dai wreck a old fishing research boat. The wreck lies on the reef at 80ft. it’s a smaller boat as we dived around the wreck we found many lion fish and crocodile fish was found on the deck schooling snapper was seen off the boat. Dive fourth dive the Helmet or Depth charge wreck. One of the last of the WWII wrecks to be found here in Palau so has many artifacts on the ship still. We started the dive going in the first hold at the stern of the ship were the ship was hit by a bomb. This hold if full of depth charges and 3 stacks of helmets where the wreck got its name as it name is unknown. Diving towards the bow the 2 front holds have more depth charges and the bow hold has 4 radial aircraft engines in side. At the very bow a collection of beer bottles have been placed to make for a great photo. On the way back to the stern of the ship where most of the artifacts are we spotted the twin spot gobies. On the stern where the stern gun is where you can see cooking pots, gas mask, guns and a sink with the eagle on the crest. For the night dive the divers went back to the helmet wreck. On the dive we saw lion fish hunting and banded shrimp as well as some crabs.
Friday morning the first dive of the day the Iro. The Iro is one of the Japanese oil fleet tankers in WWII so a very large ship as the divers went down the line attached to the bow on the ship the big bow gun came in to site. From there we headed on the deck towards the stern on the way seeing so nudis and 6 stripe angle fish. The high light of the dive is on the king post on the stern covered tomato anemone fish and a giant clam. The second dive was at the Amatsu Maru or known at the black coral wreck even longer then the Iro! At 507ft. on the wreck Joe found a crocodile fish and a beautiful nudie. The third dive after lunch was at the Jake sea plane a 3 man reconnaissance seaplane. This plane sits in 45ft/12m of water. It’s in great condition for being over 70 years under water made for great underwater shots. Around the plane we hound 2 octopus one hiding in the coral and the other out and about hunting so we could get nice and close. The fourth dive a dive we don’t get to do that often was at Mandarin fish Lake. We went to this site at 5pm just before dusk hoping to see mandarin fish spawning. We tied up the dive boat and swam in the lake it’s a marine lake. When we got there we all found our own coral head with mandarin fish inside then it was a waiting game to see the spawning. We were lucky we all saw them doing their thing! When got back to the PAII chef Ronnie had a dinner of roast turkey and ham ready for us to enjoy. To end the day Video pro Ernan showed the video he had been filming all week!
Saturday morning we the first dive at short drop off on the east side of Palau. The dive started with a large school of barracuda then a drift wall on the right we were lucky to find a cuttlefish and 3 spotted eagle rays a very nice dive. Then after a quick break we loaded the skiff back up and the guests were shuttled over to Chandelier Caves. A small cave with four 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!!