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Rock Islands Aggressor :

 

Log Date: Sunday, Jan 08, 2017
Entry By: Rock Islands Aggressor Crew









 



Sunday afternoon we welcomed on board 16 guests from around the world. We started with an introduction to their cabins and went back out to the dive deck to set up their dive gear. Before heading up stairs, we checked certification cards and in the salon we covered the vessel orientation and safety briefing. After the briefing we moved over to the tables and dinner was served. After dinner one last guest arrived from the airport as most the other guests headed off to bed but some stayed up to watch a documentary on Palau to get an idea of what we could see this week.

 

Early Monday morning the big boat started up and headed straight towards Ulong Island. We had breakfast then covered the general dive briefing and headed downstairs to the dive deck. Our first dive of the charter was at Sandy Paradise. We did our back rolls into the water, checked our weight, and descended down to the slopping coral garden. At the bottom where the coral garden and the sandy bottom meet, we saw two mantas getting cleaned over one big coral head. The two mantas pout on a great show. They did circle after circle around the rock over top the divers. They did this for over 25 minutes. Then they took off so we then continued on finding the leaf scorpion fish, mantis shrimp, even while we were looking at the leaf scorpion fish, the mantas passed by us again probably on their way back to the cleaning station. Before our second dive we covered our last power point on how to use reef hook and then headed out to 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. We crossed the channel and dropped into the protected area with the two giant clams then went back out into the light current to ascend to do our safety stop. After lunch our third dive was at Siaes Corner. The current was a light 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. We reached the hook in area and there was no need to hook in. We just came up on top the reef to explore the coral garden. As we were exploring, we saw the school of Moorish idols pass by heading to the corner, so we turned around and followed them. At the corner they swam back and forth a couple of times and took off. We spent the rest of the dive exploring the coral garden. Our last dive of the day was at Ulong Coral Garden. We started the dive from the farthest mooring from the mouth and drifted along the wall. We passed a couple of sharks; saw the school of horse eyed jacks and a giant clam in the rubble area. When we got close to the mouth of the channel the current was outgoing so we turned around and ended the dive at the mooring. During dinner we watched a slide show on the common marine life found in Palau.

 

Tuesday morning our first 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 and ever saw the black and white butterfly fish. We exited the tunnel and drifted along the wall seeing sharks and a couple of turtles. For dive two and our last dive in the Ulong area we tried to go back to Ulong Channel, unfortunately the current was still outgoing so we went to Sandy Paradise instead. We started a ways down from the mooring and descended down along the coral garden. We saw beautiful anemones, leaf scorpion fish, and mantis shrimp. We saw the bait ball of scads and a couple of sharks chasing them. When the skiff arrived back at the big boat we started moving to the German Channel area. Our third dive of the day was at the famous Blue Corner. To start off the dive the current was outgoing and it was light. We started the dive at the mooring and descended along the wall. At the hook in area the current was still too light, so we decided to explore the plateau. We saw the eagle rays in the sand channel and some sharks cruising across the reef. Above us was the large school of horse eyed jacks and yellow tail barracuda. Our fourth dive was at Turtle Cove. We started the dive by descending down the hole on top the reef and found a disco clam in the small chamber. We then swam out and along the wall to the corner. We found the square spot anthias, and at the corner we came up on top the reef to see the schools of fish and some turtles. After dinner we returned to Turtle Cove for the night dive. We descended down along the wall and saw how different this wall looks at night. All the cup coral comes out to filter feed at night turning the wall into beautiful orange and yellow. We also spotted other macro life including banded coral shrimp, hairy hermit crabs and basket starfish.

 

Early Wednesday morning we fired up the engines and headed down to Peleliu, we dropped anchor in Camp Beck, aka South Dock and our first dive of the day was at Peleliu Corner. There was not much current to speak off so we started from the outgoing aka D’Cut side of the corner. We swam down to the wall and when we got close to the cut in the reef, before the hook in area, we started the see the school of red snapper, they gather this time of the month before the full moon to mate. The school had to be at least a thousand. As we got closer they moved off the wall and into the blue, they didn’t let us get that close. As we continued down towards the corner the current switched on us so we turned around and went back the way we came. We also had a large school of black snapper and jacks. As we went back we again saw the school of red snapper. After the dive 9 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 the island life today. For our second dive the remaining divers went out to West Wall. The current was a light outgoing so we started from the mooring and drifted along the wall. We saw some sharks in the blue, also some nice macro life. We spotted nudibranchs, a flatworm, and ended the dive at the red tomato anemones on top the reef. Before lunch everyone came back from the tour and after, our third dive was at Orange Beach Coral Garden. This dive site is 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 above the three big bombs in the sandy rubble bottom. We then drifted slowly in the outgoing current. We also saw a giant clam, turtles, and some 1944 era Coca-Cola bottles. Back at the big boat we pulled anchor and slowly started heading towards the German area. We dropped the skiff for one last dive in Peleliu at 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 divers all surfaced and we chased down the big boat by skiff. After dinner our night dive was at Ngedebus Coral Garden. We started the dive right in front of the boat and went shallow water on our left. We found a couple of leaf scorpion fish and other macro life.

Thursday morning we started the day with Blue Corner. When we arrived at the dive site the current was outgoing and we started from the last mooring, descended down along the wall, and drifted to the hook in area. The current was slowing nice and we hooked in and watched the show. We finally had some great shark action while hooked in. We spent most of the dive hooked in as several sharks came in close to the guests. After about 40 minutes into the dive we unhooked and explored the reef. We saw a turtle and the school of horse eyed jacks and even two of the three eagle rays made an appearance. For dive two we went out to Blue Holes. From the mooring we swam over to the four holes on top the reef and descended down into the chamber. We spent some time looking for the disco clams, some nudibranchs, and saw a couple of lion fish. We then exited the chamber and swam along the wall to Blue Corner. Some of the guests surfaced due to being low on air, but some guests were able to hook in for a short while with the same kind of shark action as the last dive. We then ended the dive after unhooking and drifting across the plateau. After lunch our third dive was at Big Drop Off. We started the dive close to the ball and chain left over from the Germans prior to WWI. We saw different types of nudibranchs and a leaf scorpion fish and some white tip sharks in a small hole in the wall. For our fourth dive we had an incoming current and went to German Channel. We started from the Koror side of the channel, entered the water and went right to the red anemone for some photos. We then continued to the first cleaning station and didn’t see any mantas at the cleaning station but we did start to see two mantas above us feeding in the water column. We decided to ascend to where they were feeding and spent the rest of the dive with the two mantas swimming in and around us. It turned out to be a great dive. After dinner we returned to Big Drop Off for the night dive. The current was light and we drifted lightly through the dive site seeing macro life, some groupers out hunting, a white tip reef shark and some crabs and shrimp.

 

Friday morning the guests wanted to do one last dive at Blue Corner. The current was a light outgoing current and we started the dive from the far mooring. 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. The current started to switch to incoming so we crossed the plateau to the 60 foot hook in area and did hook in for a while we had several sharks in front of us off the wall. We then unhooked and spent the rest of the dive on top the reef. The three eagle rays stopped by to say hello. For dive two we headed out to Virgin Blue Hole. With the full high tide the skiff was able to go on top the reef and drop us above the hole. We descended all the way down the chimney to the bottom at 100 feet. We then explored through the tunnel out to the wall seeing some disco clams and some nudi’s. Along the wall we went into the canyons and the archway to end our dive. After lunch for dive three we went to New Drop Off. The current was outgoing, and we drifted along the wall and hooked in around the cut in the reef. At the hook in we didn’t see many sharks so we decided to unhook because the current was light enough. As we were exploring the plateau we saw a large school of the orange spine unicorn fish being chased by the grey reef sharks. No wonder we didn’t see any at the hook in area. Also to on top the reef we saw some of the resident green sea turtles. For our last dive of the day we headed back out to German Channel. We started this time from the Peleliu side of the channel, dropped down and slowly went to the Peleliu side cleaning station. We arrived at the cleaning station, sat down and waited, but no mantas. We then noticed that the current had switched to outgoing but we still cross the mouth of the channel to the Koror side cleaning station, again sat down in the sand but no mantas. We decided to turn around and swim out the Peleliu side of the channel to be pickup by the skiff. 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 prime rib feast. We also had some great extras, roasted potatoes, mixed veggies, and Yorkshire puddings. For dessert we had a banana and lime cheesecake. We then moved over to the couch to watch our video of the charter put together by our video pro Shea. Everybody enjoyed this look back at the week of diving.

 

Saturday morning back in Malakal Harbor we set out for our first dive at the Teshio Maru. This wreck sits out far from the harbor so we hope it has better visibility then some of the other wrecks we’ve done the last couple of weeks. We tied up the skiff to the mooring the visibility looked great from the surface and after we entered the water it was much better. We could see almost the whole wreck from the bottom of the mooring. This wreck sits on her starboard side and we swam in and out of the front cargo holds but the aft cargo holds are collapsing on them self, so we didn’t enter them. We saw some lion fish around the wheel house and some nudibranchs on the top of the wreck or the port side. 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 after they finished dinner we picked them up from the dock and at 10pm 4 guests left for the airport to catch their 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