Palau Aggressor Charter December 4- 11 2016
Water Temp: 80-89 deg F
Air Temp: 85-90 deg F
Crew: Dan, Beau, Hector, Ernan, Ronnie, Ripon, Edith
This week we had the great fortune of welcoming 14 new guests aboard the Palau Aggressor II. We had 4 guests from Spain, 1 Italian, 1 Australian, 1 New Zealander, 2 Swiss, 3 Americans, and 2 from China. Their excitement to begin diving was electrifying. We helped the guests get their gear set up and settled into their rooms then it was supper time. After a delicious dinner prepared by Chef Ronnie, we served the guests beer and wine to drink while they listened to a delightful briefing by Captain Dan.
In the morning we awoke and listened to an informative and entertaining dive deck briefing by one of our stellar instructors then we dove the Helmet Wreck. On the Helmet Wreck the guides were able to find a crocodile fish, parrot fish, a couple lion fish and a few nudibranchs to show our guests. Next we dove the Iro where we found a massive octopus hiding amongst the coral growing on the wreck. Our next of the day was Barnum’s wall where we saw numerous nudibranchs, a lionfish, a hawksbill turtle, and a shark resting on the sand on the bottom. Following Barnums wall we hit the big drop off, right away we spotted a few green turtles, lazily cruising along searching for their next item to munch on. We also saw a few black tip sharks in addition to the grey reef sharks swimming amongst us.
On the second day of the charter we started our day properly by diving blue corner first thing. We were blessed with about 100 feet of visibility and over 80 degree water. We saw many grey reef sharks swimming easily against the current, making passes at the smaller fish. We also saw a green turtle, a school of massive jacks, and a few black tip sharks. Afterwards we came back to the big boat for a quick sweet snack then we were off to German Channel. German channel failed to disappoint us we saw grey reef sharks, turtles, scorpion fish, and after a short wait at the cleaning station we were lucky enough to encounter a manta ray at the cleaning station. We had to wait a while, but patience is a virtue, and after about 20 minutes one of our more common local mantas showed up. Next we went to new drop off, which is like a smaller version of blue corner. The current was mild and the visibility was outstanding. We found more Sharks and Barracuda, Octopus and Turtles. The following 2 dives were at Ngedebus Coral Gardens; we finished one near sunset and did the next one at night. We saw much life on both dives. The night dive in particular was notably fascinating. We pointed our lights up and watched translucent shrimps dance in the water inches from our noses.
On Wednesday we dove barracks point shortly after breakfast. We saw three giant clams, numerous turtles, anemone fish, and a few cruising grey reef sharks. Afterwards we motored down to Peleliu, which was the site of some of the heaviest fighting in the pacific theatre during the Second World War. Our second dive near the island was at purple beach. The current was running at an easy pace and sharks were everywhere along the wall. Turtles were seen several times well. Schooling barracudas also joined us and we saw a lot of huge sea fans along the deeper area. It was a magical dive. Next dive on the list was West wall where we spotted a couple more sharks and turtles. Our next dive at Orange beach was a welcome relief from the heat of the island, the 83 degree water felt cool and refreshing on our skin when we back rolled into the water. We slowly drifted over a pristine hard coral garden which stretched for acres and acres. Our final dive was at turtle cove. Highlights on this dive included a massive crayfish, a few turtles, a lionfish and barracuda of various species.
On the following day of diving we began at German Channel. We were blessed with optimal conditions and as fate would have it, a lone black manta entered our view; it soared silently through the water collecting the plankton in its gaping mouth. Afterwards we went to blue corner for round 2 for a second helping of awesomeness. We were able to spot a leaf scorpion fish, half a dozen grey reef sharks, and schooling barracudas. We went to Blue holes after lunch and were able to see a disco clam, large great barracuda that was approximately 5 ½ feet in length, about 20 grey reef sharks, and a pod of spinner dolphins in all their glory on our way back to the big boat. We dove Ferns wall and the German Channel Coral Gardens later in the day, where we saw a large school of Moorish idols aggregating to spawn.
On our last full day of diving we motored up to Ulong. We dove Siaes Corner first for a bit of early morning shark action. We then did a drift dive up Ulong Channel where the current was mild and the soldier fish were plentiful. Next we dove Ulong Coral garden and then Sandy’s Paradise. At Sandy’s paradise 2 leaf scorpion fish were spotted by our expert guides as well as a few sharks having an afternoon snooze on the sand below the amazing tabletop hard corals that stretch as far as visibility permits. The show left us awestruck, the guides and guests alike.
Our last full day with the guests was a special one. Due to popular demand we went to visit the famous Milky Way and had a bit of a Rock Island tour by boat. We dove to the bottom and collected the white clay to rub all over our bodies, making us look and feel 11.3 years younger. Our final dive of the trip was Chandelier Cave. We paused briefly before entering the cavern to have a look at the resident mandarin fish shyly hiding out in a coral head then we entered the caverns gloomy innards. We surfaced in the different “rooms” with breathable air to share ghost stories and make each other laugh before swimming on to the next room. Upon descending from the final room we held our lights against our chests as we swam towards the ambient light of the outside. It was a perfect way to cap off another amazing week of diving here in Palau. 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 another wonderful week aboard the Palau Aggressor II with fantastic guests that we look forward to diving again with soon!