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Rock Islands Aggressor :

 

Log Date: Sunday, Jan 01, 2017
Entry By: Rock Islands Aggressor Crew









 



Sunday afternoon we started our pick-ups at 4pm and in total we welcomed on board 14 guests from around the world. After a quick introduction to their cabins they set up their dive gear, checked certification cards, and headed upstairs for the vessel orientation and safety briefing. After, dinner was ready and we sat down to a first nights dinner prepared by our chef Ronnie. After dinner most of the guests headed off to bed to get ready for tomorrow.

 

Early Monday morning the big boat started up and headed straight towards Ulong Island for our first day of diving. After breakfast we covered our general dive briefing in the salon and headed downstairs to the dive deck. We dropped the anchor off the beach in Ulong where they filmed Survivor and went out for our first dive at Sandy Paradise. We did our back rolls into the water, checked our weight, and descended down to the slopping coral garden. Little did we know that this dive would be probably the best check out dive ever in the history of doing check out dives, at least in my time? At the bottom where the coral garden and the sandy bottom meet, we saw three mantas getting cleaned over one big coral head. The three mantas did circle after circle over the rock, and then one would take off while the other two got cleaned. Then the other manta would return coming back to the coral head right over top the divers, this would go on for about 40 minutes, and we stayed there the whole time. We then continued on finding the leaf scorpion fish, mantis shrimp, also saw the bait ball of scads getting chased around by grey reef sharks, a feathertail ray in the sand and a large school of barracuda. What a dive to start the charter. Our second dive was at Siaes Tunnel. We entered the water and descended down the wall to the entrance of the tunnel. While inside we found the blue backed pygmy angelfish in the side of the tunnel and the decorated dart fish in the sandy bottom. Also we saw a bunch of the Notodoris sp nudibranchs. We exited the tunnel and drifted along the wall seeing sharks and a couple of turtles. After lunch we covered our last power point presentation on how to use our reef hooks and headed out to Siaes Corner for dive three. The current was outgoing and we started the dive from the furthest mooring. We drifted along the beautiful wall covered in soft coral, sea fans and saw schools of butterfly fish swimming in the strong current. We hooked in for a while in the light current but the sharks were further off the wall. We then decided to unhook and explore the coral garden finding a couple of turtles. Our last dive of the day was at Ulong Channel. We started the dive from the mooring outside the mouth of the channel. We entered the water and drifted along the top of the reef to the mouth. We hooked in and had several grey reef sharks in front of us. The current was light so we unhooked early and drifted down the channel. We swam through the school of big eyed crescent tails as they changed from silver to a dark reddish color. We drifted past the large patch of lettuce coral and all the small fish were hovering over top in the light current. We swam over the ridges and dropped into the trough with the two giant clams to end the dive. During dinner the photo pro showed a power point slide show on the common marine life found in Palau. After dinner everyone was off to bed.

 

Tuesday morning we decided to do one more dive here in the Ulong Area. The current was again incoming and we wanted to show our guests the beauty of Ulong Channel in the sunlight. We started the dive from the south side of the channel and descended down along the wall. We drifted into the mouth of the channel and hooked in. The sharks put on a great show and there were a bunch. We unhooked and got to experience the channel in all its beauty. We drifted past the lettuce coral and ended the dive around the giant clams. When the skiff arrived back at the big boat we started moving to the German Channel area. After we arrived our second dive of the day was at New Drop Off. The current was incoming and we started the dive at the mooring and hooked in on the incoming side of the corner. We had the school of black snapper off the wall in the shallow water and several sharks swam back and forth in front the group. We later unhooked and explored the top of the plateau seeing some of the resident green sea turtles. After lunch our third dive was at Big Drop Off. We started the dive close to th3e ball and chain left over from the Germans prior to WWI. We saw different types of nudibranchs and a leaf scorpion fish. Our fourth dive was at Barnums Wall. We started the dive above the coral garden and went with the flow. We found some nudibranchs but the highlight of the dive was a leopard shark sleeping on the bottom. Some of the photographers got close, got some photos but the shark moved. It swam off and we continued with the dive but again saw the leopard shark. It only swam 30 feet away from where it was the first time. Again we got some nice photos. 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 the current was incoming so we went for our first dive at German Channel. We started the dive from the Peleliu side of the channel, dropped down and slowly went to the Peleliu side cleaning station. On the way we saw a manta swimming alongside us heading to the cleaning station as well. We got to the cleaning station there were already two mantas getting cleaned. We sat down in the sand and had the three mantas go round and round the cleaning station for 30 minutes. We then left the cleaning station after the mantas slowly swam away and headed to the center of the channel. We then started our drift into the channel to start our ascent to our safety stop. For dive two we headed out to Blue Corner. We entered the water on the incoming side of the corner and hooked in at 45 feet. The current was light so we unhooked and explored the plateau. We saw the eagle rays and several turtles. After lunch our third 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 the square spot anthias along the wall. At the corner we came up on top the plateau and spent some time looking around. We found an octopus, a scorpion fish, and saw the school of reef jacks and rudder fish. For our fourth dive we entered the water right in front of the big boat at Ngedebus Coral Garden. We swam along the slopping coral bottom seeing a crocodile fish and some leaf scorpion fish. During dinner a bad storm moved in and brought heavy wind and rain. We ended up canceling the night dive after dinner. For entertainment we put on a documentary on the battle of Peleliu since guests are interested in going on the land tour tomorrow.

 

On Thursday morning we still had a nice incoming current so we did another dive at German Channel before going down to Peleliu. This time we started from the Koror side of the channel. We entered the water and went right to the red anemone for some photos. We then continued to the first cleaning station and one manta came in for a couple of passes over the cleaning station. After it took off we crossed the channel to the Peleliu side and had two more mantas put on a nice show for a while. We then turned around and drifted into the channel to start our safety stop. Back at the big boat, we fired up the engines and headed down to Peleliu, we dropped anchor in Camp Beck, aka South Dock and our second dive was at Peleliu Corner. The current was incoming and we did the “express” side of the corner. We did a live drop over top the sand chute and once everyone gathered we went out along the wall. The current lightly pushed us along the wall and once we started seeing the sharks, came up on top the reef to hook in. There were a lot of sharks, but after a while they moved down so we did some advance hooking and moved down to another place to hook in as well. We enjoyed all the action and later unhooked to drift across the plateau and start our ascent. Right after lunch 5 guests went ashore for our Peleliu WWII land tour. They spent a couple of hours on a guided tour of one of the bloodiest battles of the Pacific, learning about the war and Peleliu then and today. For our third dive the remaining divers went to 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 in the middle of the dive site and drifted slowly in the outgoing current. We found some big bombs lying in the rubble bottom and bullets as well. Throughout the dive we saw around 8 turtles, both hawksbill and green sea. Before dive four, the big boat pulled anchor and left south dock as we dropped the skiff and headed out to Barracks point. The current was still outgoing and we descended down to the slopping coral garden seeing a bunch of turtles and giant clams. The big boat stayed close to pick us up after the dive because another strong storm came in and brought heavy rain and wind. After dinner the storm wasn’t as bad so we decided to do a night dive 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 7-11 crabs, slipper lobster, shrimp and basket star fish feeding in the light current.

 

Friday morning we started the day with a repeat dive at Blue Corner. The current was a light incoming current and we started the dive from the far hook in area. When we reached the hook in area the current was too light to hook in. We came up on top the reef to explore. We saw some turtles, and at the tip of the corner is where all the marine life gathered. School of reef jacks, blue lined snapper, and squirrel fish. We were lucky to see a large school of morrish idols, they come together this time of year to mate and that’s when the sharks always chase them. We saw the school of horse eyed jacks and but didn’t see the eagle rays. For dive two we headed For our second dive we went to 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 and inside the cavern we had a nice encounter with a great barracuda. We then exited the cavern headed 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 for dive three we went for one last dive at Blue Corner. The current was outgoing and we started from the far mooring. We made our way along the wall and started seeing sharks. We came up and hooked in around 60 feet. The action was nice, we had sharks, a school of snapper and jacks. We spent most of the dive hooked in watching the show. We then unhooked and started exploring the plateau. We went and saw the eagle rays and some turtles. During the surface interval the big boat moved to the inside of German Channel and for our fourth dive we set out to Ngemelis Wall. We entered the water in the middle of the dive site and just went with the flow. We found some macro life like leaf scorpion fish, nudibranchs and in the shallows on top the wall saw two turtles and a black tip reef shark. Back at the big boat we started heading back into town and for dinner the guests sat down to a final supper that consisted of a traditional Thanksgiving feast. We served turkey, ham, potatoes, veggies, and cranberries. After our bellies were full we watched our video of the charter put together by our video pro Andy. Everybody enjoyed this look back at the weeks diving.

 

Saturday morning back in Malakal Harbor we set out for our first dive at the Iro. We descended down from the mooring to the bow of the wreck and the visibility was really bad. We swam along the deck of the wreck hoping the visibility would get better but it didn’t. We decided to turn around and head back to the bow of the wreck. We did find to rare nudibranchs before doing our safety stop on the mooring line. 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 some guests went ashore to try to check emails. 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 and one guest left early to go to his hotel. After the rest finished dinner we picked them up from the dock and later 1 guest went to the airport at 10pm for his flight.

 

Very early Sunday morning two more guests were dropped ashore to catch a ride to the airport for their early morning flight and later the remaining guests woke up to continental breakfast. Just before 8am we started loading luggage on the skiff and said our goodbyes as we took the guests 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 week on board the Rock Islands Aggressor. Hope to see you all again, until then safe diving…

 

-Rock Islands Aggressor Crew