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Rock Islands Aggressor :

 

Log Date: Sunday, Nov 13, 2016
Entry By: Rock Islands Aggressor Crew









 


Air 84F
Water 82F

Sunday afternoon we started our pick-ups at 4:15pm and welcomed on board 17 guests from all over the world. 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. Dinner was soon ready following the briefing and we sat down to a great dinner prepared by our chef Andy. After dinner we watched a documentary on Palau, showing the guests what they could expect this week and soon everyone was off to bed.

 

We woke up early Monday morning, had breakfast, 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 in March 1944. 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. We spent 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. 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, we covered our last briefing on how to use reef hooks and our third dive was at Ulong Channel. We started the dive from the south side of the mouth, descended down and drifted slowly along the wall to the hook in area. We hooked in and had several sharks in front of the divers. We then unhooked and drifted down the channel. We swam through a school of big eyed crescent tail fish, saw the lettuce coral and ended the dive at the giant clams. Our last dive of the day was at Sandy Paradise. We entered the water and descended down along the coral garden. We saw some beautiful anemones, and then stopped at the rock with the 3 leaf scorpion fish and also found 4 mantis shrimp peeking out of their holes in the sand. We also spotted a couple of sharks in the blue and a school of yellow tail barracuda.

 

Tuesday morning our first dive was at Siaes Tunnel. We entered the water and descended down to the entrance of the tunnel at 90 feet. We spent some time exploring the sides of the tunnel and found the decorated dartfish in the sandy bottom by the exit. We exited the tunnel and swam along the wall seeing a couple of sharks in the blue and a turtle. Our second dive and last dive in Ulong was at Siaes Corner. We started from the mooring and drifted along the wall to the hook in area. The current was light but we still hooked in for a while seeing some sharks in the blue. We then unhooked and explored the coral garden for the rest of the dive seeing a couple turtles. During lunch the big boat moved over to the German Channel area and our third dive was at Big Drop Off. We started the dive close to the mooring and let the current push us along the wall. We saw the ball and chain left by the Germans during their occupation of Palau from before WWI and continued along the wall seeing a lot of macro life. Our fourth dive was at German Channel. We started the dive from the Koror side of the channel, entered the water and swam over to see the beautiful red anemone. After we got our photos we continued on the cleaning station. We sat down and waited and had 1 manta do a pass by but didn’t come into get cleaned. We then went across the mouth of the channel to the Peleliu side cleaning station and sat down and waited but no mantas. We then headed back across the mouth of the channel to the middle of the channel and saw two mantas feeding above us, it was late in the dive and some guests were already heading into the channel, but some of the guests ascended into the shallows to see the mantas do another quick pass by. We then turned around and started drifting into the channel. After the dive we sat down to dinner and after, 4 night dives headed out to German Coral Garden for the night dive. They started the dive at the furthest mooring from the mouth of the channel and headed out along the coral garden seeing crabs, shrimp, lionfish and more macro life.

 

Wednesday morning our first dive was at the famous Blue Corner. We started the dive from the incoming side of the corner and drifted along the wall to the hook in area. We spotted several sharks in the blue and the big school of snappers. We came up on top the plateau around the hook in area. Some guests hooked in at the 60 foot site and saw a bunch of sharks but most of the guests explored the plateau in the light current. We saw the three juvenile spotted eagle rays, a couple turtles and the large school of horse eyed jacks. For dive two we headed back out to the Blue Corner area but this time did Blue Holes. We entered the water and descended down one of the holes on top the reef into the large cavern. We spent some time taking photos of the guests with the ambient light streaming down from above. We saw the disco clams in their cracks along the side of the walls, then left the chamber and headed out along the wall towards Blue Corner. The current was very light and we came up on the top of the plateau and spent the rest of the dive on the plateau of Blue Corner. After lunch dive three was at Turtle cove. We entered the water swam over to the hole on top the reef and descended down and into the small cavern. We again pointed out a disco clam to some of the guests and exited out along the wall. We drifted all the way to the corner and came up on top the plateau finding a leaf scorpion fish and some turtles. This corner is a place to stop and see all the marine life that hangs out there, jacks, rudder fish, and tropical fish and more, it’s a perfect spot to end the dive. For our fourth dive we headed back to German Channel. We started the dive from the Peleliu side of the channel this time, entered the water and swam over to the Peleliu side cleaning station. We sat down and waited no mantas came in to get cleaned, we then headed across the mouth of the channel to the Koror side cleaning station and sat down and waited, but still mantas. We then turned around and started drifting into the channel some of the guests in the back of the group saw a manta do a really quick pass by, before ending their dive. After dinner 3 guests went for the night dive at Turtle Cove. We started the dive further down the wall from the mooring and descended down to the wall. This wall come to life at night with all the orange and yellow cup coral coming out to filter feed at night. Also the divers saw banded coral shrimp, basket star fish and more macro life.

 

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. The current was incoming and it was nice. We entered the water and drifted along the wall and hooked in at 60 feet. We had several grey reef sharks passing by in front of the divers, we decided to move down so we unhooked at drifted down further towards the corner but decided not to hook in again. We started to drift across the plateau and saw a huge school of chevron barracuda and the school of giant trevally. We slowly started our ascent to do our safety stop. After the dive two guests went ashore for a Peleliu WWII land tour seeing the sights of one of the bloodiest battles off WWII. For dive two the rest of the divers we went out to West Wall. The current was outgoing it was light. We started the dive from the mooring and drifted along the wall finding nudibranchs, beautiful yellow soft corals and saw some sharks in the blue. After lunch the third dive was at Orange Beach Coral Garden, a beautiful sloping coral garden with tons of fish we saw some artifacts; bombs and bullets. The current was incoming and we drifted along the coral garden seeing the parts of the landing craft down at 70 feet and found a 1940’s era Coca-Cola bottle. We also saw turtles and anemones. After the dive the big boat moved out of South Dock and started heading back to the German Channel area. Our last dive in Peleliu was at Barracks Point. We entered the water and drifted along the slopping coral garden seeing a bunch of turtles and 5 giant clams mixed in with the hard coral. After dinner our last night dive of the charter was at Big Drop Off. During the dive we saw a lot of macro life and a large grouper out using our lights to hunt.

 

Friday morning we woke up and did a repeat dive at the famous Blue Corner. The current was a light incoming and we started from the middle mooring closer to the hook in area. With the light current we didn’t have to descend down along the wall we stayed on top the plateau and went to the hook in area. We hooked in at 45 feet and had several sharks in front of the group and the school of horse eyed jacks. Since the current was so light we decided to unhook and explore the plateau. First we hung out in the sand channel that goes across the top of the corner with the eagle rays. Then we headed to the tip of the corner with the school of blue lined snapper and sharks off in the blue, then back towards the incoming side to the 60 foot hook in area to see again the eagle rays and more sharks in the blue. What an awesome dive. With the full high tide we went to Virgin Blue Hole, the skiff was able to go onto the reef all the way to the hole and drop the guests. They descended down the chimney all the way down to the bottom at 100 feet then made their way out the tunnel to the wall. We ended the dive in the canyons around the natural arch. After lunch dive three was at New Drop Off. The current was outgoing and it was light. We spent some nice time exploring the wall before the hook in area: soft corals, sea fans, and schools of pyramid butterfly fish. We reached the hook in area and hooked in for a while but there was not much action so we unhooked and explored the plateau seeing a couple of turtles on top the reef. We also found a dragon wrasse aka juvenile rock mover wrasse. We made it to the incoming side and the current switched and pushed us back the other way. Our fourth dive was at Barnums Wall. We started the dive above the wall and went wall on the right. The current was able to push us all the way through the whole dive site. We saw some anemones, nudibranchs, and a couple of turtles also a crocodile fish. For dinner the guests sat down to a final supper consisting of roast beef, Yorkshire pudding, and roasted potatoes and after dinner we watched our video of the charter by our video pro Jim.

 

Saturday morning our first dive was at Light House Channel. It was an incoming current and it was moving. We started the dive from the mooring and drifted fast into the inner lagoon. We saw a bunch of macro life, crocodile fish, and the old fishing wreck at the bottom of the channel. 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. 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.

 

Very early Sunday morning we took 3 guests to the airport to catch their flight and at 7am the rest woke up to continental breakfast and at 8am we took them ashore to their hotels to spend a couple extra 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