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Rock Islands Aggressor :

 

Log Date: Sunday, Dec 25, 2016
Entry By: Rock Islands Aggressor Crew









 



Sunday afternoon we started our pick-up run and welcomed on board 13 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 to the salon for the vessel orientation and safety briefing. After the safety stuff dinner was ready and we sat down to a great dinner prepared by our chef Ronnie. After dinner most of the guests went to bed and some stay up chatting with others up stairs on the sun deck.

 

Very early Monday morning, we departed Malakal Harbor Area and straight out to the Ulong Area. On the way we had breakfast and covered the general dive briefing. We secured the big boat in Ulong and loaded all the diving equipment on the skiff and headed out to do our check out dive at Ulong Coral Garden. We did our back rolls into the water, checked our weight, and descended down to the coral garden. We swam along the wall seeing sharks in the blue, some beautiful anemones and left the wall and entered the coral garden to find the giant clam in the rubble sandy bottom. As we approached the moth of Ulong Channel the outgoing current started picking up so we turned around and finished our dive. Our second dive was at Siaes Tunnel. We descended down the mooring line down to the wall and then to the entrance of the tunnel. While inside we looked for the rare fish that can be found inside the tunnel, such as decorator dartfish, and found him in the sandy bottom, Also the blue backed pygmy angelfish in the side of the tunnel. We exited the tunnel and took some photos along the side of the exit with the beautiful seafans. We continued drifting along the wall seeing sharks and a couple of turtles. Lunch was ready at the big boat when we arrived and after we covered our last power point presentation on how to use our reef hooks because dive three was at Siaes Corner. The current was incoming and we started with the wall on the left. We drifted along the beautiful wall covered in soft coral, sea fans and saw schools of butterfly fish swimming in the strong current. At the hook in area the current was strong we saw what we were looking for, a big school of orange spine trigger fish being chased by at least 20 sharks. We spent some time watching the show until it was time to unhook and do our safety stop along the top of the reef. Our last dive of the day was at Ulong Channel. We started the dive at the mooring aright at the mouth of the channel. We entered the water and went straight down to the hook in area and hooked in for a while. We decided to unhook and swim to the channel itself because we notice the incoming current was slowing down. We saw school of big eye crescent tail, big marble grouper and napoleon wrasse. Right before we reached the lettuce coral the current switched so we turned around and drifted right back out the channel. Back at the big boat dinner was soon ready and after we watched a Palau fish ID presentation on the common fish here in Palau.

 

Very early Tuesday morning we did one last dive in the Ulong area. This time of the month, three days before the new moon, the bumphead parrot fish gather at Sandy Paradise to spawn. So at 6am we headed out to see if we could witness this mass spawning. We started the dive from the mooring and descended down along the coral garden to the sandy bottom. We started this dive as any other dive at Sandy Paradise, we traveled along the sandy bottom saw some beautiful anemones, found three leaf scorpion fish around the rock out cropping and towards the end of the dive we found the bumphead parrot fish. The school had to be upwards of a couple hundred. We watched as they swam around above the reef but only saw a couple groups of the spawning before we surfaced. Back at the big boat breakfast was ready and the big boat started heading towards the German Channel area. After we arrived our second dive of the day was at Big Drop Off. We started the dive with the wall on the left, and even though the current switched on us two times, we had a great dive. We saw the ball and chain left over from the Germans prior to WWI and in a small crack in the reef we spotted several juvenile white tip sharks. Also nudibranchs and a leaf scorpion fish. After lunch we went out to New Drop Off. The current was outgoing and it was strong. We started the dive from the furthest mooring and drifted swiftly along the wall to the hook in area. We hooked in around the large cut in the reef and held on, watching sharks and barracuda. Some of the guests did some advance hooking to the second hook in area to see the school of black snapper and some more sharks. With the strong current we spent most of the dive at the hook in area and once we unhooked we started our ascent to do our safety stop. After a short break our fourth dive was at Turtle Cove. We swam over on the surface to the top of the chimney and descended down and out along the wall. We spotted some sharks in the blue and found some macro life along the wall. At the corner we came up on top the plateau and spent some time looking around. We found two octopus, two devil scorpion fish, and a banded sea snake. After dinner we returned to Big Drop Off for the night dive. The current was light and we drifty lightly through the dive site seeing macro life, some groupers out hunting, a white tip reef shark and some crabs and shrimp.

 

Wednesday morning our first dive was at Blue Corner. We started the dive on the outgoing side of the corner and the current was moving. We drifted along the wall and hooked in around 60 feet. We saw several grey reef sharks off the wall and a large great barracuda hang out in the blue as well. On our left a school of reef jacks came up and hung out close to the divers, and all of a sudden the great barracuda charged and caught one of the reef jacks. We later unhooked and drifted across the plateau and saw the eagle rays that have been hanging out here for the last couple months. We ended the dive drifting into the blue. For our second dive we went back to the Blue Corner area but this time we started at 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. We saw another great barracuda again; it was probably the same one from the last dive. This time it let some of the guests get really close for some photos. On top the plateau on the other side of the corner we again saw the eagle rays. After lunch our third dive was at Dexters Wall. We started the dive above one of the slopping sandy bottoms and the first thing we found was a leopard shark sitting on the bottom. We got some nice photos and then continued along the wall. We saw about 10 turtles, hawks bill and green sea, a very big lobster and some anemones. Our fourth dive was at German Channel. We started the dive from the Koror side of the channel and stopped at the red anemone for some photos. We then continued to the first cleaning station and waited but no mantas. As we headed across the mouth of the channel to the other side we saw the mantas feeding above us in the shallow water. We started to ascend and spent the rest of the dive with 6 mantas as they swam in and around us feeding on the plankton being funneled into the channel. After dinner the night dive was at Turtle Cove. We started the dive from the mooring and descended down along the wall. The wall at night is so beautiful; all the cup coral comes out to filter feed at night. We also spotted other macro life including crabs, shrimp and basket star fish.

 

On Thursday morning we fired up the engines bright and early and headed down to Peleliu, we secured the big boat in Camp Beck, aka South Dock and our first dive of the day was at Peleliu Corner. The current was incoming and it was moving. We entered the water above the protected sand chute, descended down to get out of the current and waited for everyone to meet up, then headed out along the wall. The current was strong but we were able to hook in around 70 feet deep and held on tight. There was a parade of sharks in the blue and barracuda as well. The current was too strong to try advance hooking to move down to the other hook in area so we just stayed here until it was time to leave. When we unhooked, we drifted quickly across the plateau and started our ascent to do our safety stop. For dive two we went out to West Wall. We started the dive from the mooring and enjoyed the nice drift. We saw sharks off the wall, turtles, dog tooth tuna and schools off fish. Once we reached the red anemones on top the reef the current switched so we turned around and went back the way we came. Our third dive was at Orange Beach Coral Garden, a beautiful sloping coral garden that was the landing beach during WWII so artifacts can be seen mixed in the coral garden. We started the dive right outside the entrance to Camp Beck and saw the groups of bullets and bombs and even the coke bottles. We continued along the coral garden and ended the dive at the three large bombs lying on the sandy bottom. After the dive, the big boat pulled anchor and left south dock and headed back to the German Channel area. We lowered the skiff for one last dive in Peleliu at Barracks point. The current was outgoing and we descended down to the slopping coral garden seeing a bunch of turtles and giant clams. After dinner our night dive was at German Coral Garden. 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, lions paw sea cucumber and other macro life.

 

Friday morning we started the day with a repeat dive at Blue Corner. The current was a light outgoing and we started the dive close to the hook in area. When we reached the hook in area the current was slack so we came up on top the plateau to explore. We saw the school of horse eyed jacks and the eagle rays. Then the current started to pick up from the incoming side of the corner so we headed over to that side. We did hook in at 60 feet and had a bunch of sharks in front of us. For dive two we headed out to a dive site we don’t do all that often known as Virgin Blue Hole. With the full high tide the skiff was able to go on top the reef and drop us above the hole on top. We descended all the way down the chimney to the bottom at 100 feet. We then explored through the tunnel seeing some disco clams and some nudi’s. Along the wall we went into the canyons and the archway. After lunch for dive three we went for one last dive at Blue Corner. The current was again outgoing and we did a live drop between the last two moorings. We made our way along the wall and started seeing sharks. We came up and hooked at the end of the hook in area around 60 feet. The action was nice, we had sharks, a school of snapper and jacks. We spent most of the dive here. Later we unhooked and started exploring the plateau. We went and saw the eagle rays in their normal area then at the tip of the corner we swam through the school of blue lined snapper to end the dive. For our fourth dive we returned to German Channel. This time we started the dive from the Peleliu side of the channel dropped down and went to the Peleliu side cleaning station. We stayed there for about 10 minutes with no manta action so we kicked across the channel to the Koror side cleaning station. We sat down amongst the rock outcroppings and waited. No mantas came in to be cleaned. Then we noticed the mantas again above us feeding. The current was strong at this time so we decided to wait a little while before ascending to be with them. Then we went up to be with the mantas as they swam around and around feeding in the current. Back at the big boat we started heading back into town and for dinner the guests sat down to a final supper of roasted potatoes, roast beef, Yorkshire puddings and veggies. After we watched our video of the charter by our video pro Jim.

 

Saturday morning we set out to the Iro for the first dive. We descended down from the mooring to the bow of the wreck and saw the large bow gun. We swam along the deck of this large Japanese oil fleet tanker. We made our way all the way to the stern of the wreck and some guests dropped into the engine room to see the large motor and off to the side of the engine room and into one of the cabins and saw a bed and bathroom with toilet and bath tub. We circled up the last king post to the top covered with the red anemones. And swam back from king post to king post back to the mooring. Our last dive of the charter was at 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 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. After dinner some of the guests went into town to celebrate the new year and other guests stayed up on the boat playing cards until after the new year.

 

Sunday morning everyone woke up to continental breakfast and at 8am we took them ashore to transfer them to their hotels so they could spend a couple extra days in Palau. We would like to thank everyone for joining us this New Years week on board the Rock Islands Aggressor. Hope to see you all again, until then Happy New Year and safe diving…

 

-Rock Islands Aggressor Crew