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Rock Islands Aggressor :

 

Log Date: Sunday, Mar 19, 2017
Entry By: Rock Islands Aggressor Crew









 



Sunday afternoon we welcomed on board 17 guests from the US all with the Undersea Expeditions. 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 some guests stayed up to watch a documentary on Palau to get an idea of what we could see this week.

 

Around 5:30 am 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 analyzed tanks and loaded up all the gear on the skiff. Our first dive of the charter was at Sandy Paradise. We did our back rolls into the water, checked our weights then descended down to the slopping coral garden. At the bottom while swimming along the edge where the coral garden and the sandy area meet, we crossed by one manta heading to towards the cleaning station. We watched the manta for about 15 minutes while it was circling around the cleaning station and took off. We continued finding the leaf scorpion fish, mantis shrimp and also saw a crocodile fish while exploring the coral garden. 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 then entered the water and drifted along the top of the reef. The current was just mild so we decided not to hook in. We saw some sharks around the mouth and started drifting along the channel then explored the coral garden. There we saw turtles, schooling jacks and giant clams. After lunch our third dive was at Siaes Corner. The current was outgoing so we started the dive from the furthest mooring then drifted along the beautiful wall covered in soft coral, sea fans and saw some sharks along the way. As we were hooked in, off in the blue around the tip of the corner, there were a lot of grey reef sharks circling around. We spent few minutes of our time watching them, then move on to exploring the coral garden were we saw a Frog fish before we did our safety stop. For our last dive of the day we went back to Ulong Channel for the incoming tide. We started the dive from the farthest mooring from the mouth and drifted along the wall, we passed a couple of sharks and also saw the school of jacks and fusiliers. When we arrived at the mouth of channel everybody hooked in and schooling soldier fish were around the divers while watching sharks for about 20 minutes then headed on to the channel until we’ve reached the lettuce corals with plenty of soldier fishes and also saw the giant clams. During dinner we watched a slide show on the common marine life found in Palau.

 

Tuesday morning as we served breakfast the big boat moved out through German Channel to the outside reef. Our first dive was at German Channel and we started off at the Koror Side. We saw the red anemone and continued swimming along the beautiful sloping coral garden until we’ve reached the first cleaning station. There we spent few minutes waiting for some mantas to get cleaned but none came so we moved and approached the second cleaning station. As we were about to leave the cleaning station one big manta came and we spent the rest of our dive watching the manta get cleaned and it circled around the divers. For our second dive we went to the famous Blue Corner. We started off at the outgoing side and drifted along the wall. As we were about to reach the hook in site, the current switched and we started swimming towards the other side of the corner. We saw 2 juvenile Spotted Eagle Rays, a sea snake and Palette Surgeon Fishes as we were approaching the hook in area. Out in the blue there were sharks circling around and we stayed there watching for the rest of the dive. We went back to the big boat and the weather was nice so we had a picnic set up at the bar of the boat. Turtle Cove was our third dive, the tide was just high enough for the divers to swim along the surface and drop down to the chimney entering the cavern. We spend few minutes of our dive time exploring the cavern and saw the disco clam then exited towards the wall outside. At the wall we saw the colorful soft and hard corals, some square spotted anthias, nudibranchs and turtles. For our fourth dive we did the New drop-Off. We started at the outgoing side then drifted along the wall and hooked in around the big cut of the reef. There were sharks, schooling jacks and trevally. After spending few minutes watching we unhooked and explored the plateau and saw some turtles and the schooling blue line snappers while drifting along the edge until it was time to do our safety stop.

 

Wednesday morning we started the day off again with the famous Blue Corner. This time the current was incoming and we entered the water between the last two moorings. We drifted along the wall seeing sharks in the blue and hooked in at the 60’ hook in area. The current was nice and there was a massive schooling fish of Horse Eyed Jack just above our heads as we were hooked in. We also enjoyed the action as the sharks were swimming back in forth in front just close to the schooling jacks. Big Drop-off was our second dive and we started off were the ball and chain was located and head on wall on the right. There were sharks, nudibranch, flatworm, scorpion fish, anemone and barramundi as we were drifting along the wall. We headed back to the big boat and had had our lunch then went on our third dive at Blue Holes. We entered in one of the holes leading to a big cavern and spend some of our bottom time exploring. Inside we saw a disco clam and nudibranch then we proceeded to the wall outside the cavern. We drifted along the wall covered with soft and hard corals and saw plenty of sea fans along the way. There were turtles, schooling black snappers, fusiliers, and sharks as well. Ngedebus Coral Garden was our fourth dive. At the beginning of our dive we crossed by a Feather Tail Ray swimming passed us. We explored the beautiful coral garden and saw an Eagle Ray. Our night dive was at Turtle Cove; we explored the beautiful wall and saw how the colors are different from daytime. All the cup coral comes out to filter feed at night turning the wall into beautiful orange and yellow. We spotted the big Nudibranch Pleurobranch Grandis and also the Mariona Sp. There were some turtles, white tip sharks and macro life like shrimps and coral crabs as well. After the night dive we had our dinner back in the dive boat and watched a documentary about the island of Peleliu during the World War II

 

Early Thursday 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. 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 was not too strong but it did push us along the wall. There were some gray reef sharks out in the blue as we were drifting along the wall. We decided not to hook in and continued drifting up to the tip of the corner where we saw thousands of Sailfin Sea Brims and some of them were spawning. There were also schooling Giant Trevally on the other side of the corner. 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 dive two the remaining guests went out again for another dive at Peleliu Corner. This time we dropped down straight into the hook in area and watched the massive schooling of Sea Brims for the second time. Before lunch everyone came back from the tour and after lunch 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 did the dive with the shallows on the left and dropped down just about where the 3 bombs are located. We saw a bunch of artifacts left over from the war, bombs, bullets, coke bottles and a landing craft. Also during the dive we spotted some turtles and a crocodile fish. Back at the big boat we pulled anchor and slowly started heading towards turtle cove, we dropped 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. 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. There were turtles and other macro life then we tried using the black light brought by one of the guests and saw the beautiful corals glow.

 

Friday morning the guests wanted to do one last dive at Blue Corner. The current was a light incoming current and we started the dive from the far mooring. We reached the hook in area and first hooked in at 45 feet, the action was just as good as the other day, sharks, jacks and snapper all made the hook in area great. We again unhooked and went down to the 60 foot area to see more sharks. We then unhooked and spent awhile exploring the plateau where we saw some turtles, anemones and more. We saw the two eagle rays again and finished the dive. For dive two we headed out to Dexter’s wall and did wall on our right. We explored the beautiful wall and saw plenty of turtles and macro life. There were three Glossodoris Nudibranchs sitting close to each other and we also found 2 Flabellinas mating. We went back to the big boat and had our lunch then did our third dive at German Channel. We started from the Peleliu side of the channel, dropped down and slowly went to the Peleliu side cleaning station. No mantas came so we moved on to the Koror side cleaning station. There we saw one manta get cleaned and spent the rest of our bottom time hanging around with it. Dive four was at Burnam’s Wall for our fourth Dive. We entered the water and started exploring the sloping coral garden. There were turtles, devil scorpion fish some sharks, a balled up anemone and a crocodile fish. After the dive 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. Then moved over to the couch to watch our video of the charter put together by our video pro Jim. Everybody enjoyed this look back at the week of diving.

 

Saturday morning we headed out to Sandy Paradise hoping to see bumphead parrotfish spawning. There were already other boats in the area as we arrived. We entered the water and checked out the cleaning station hoping for some mantas but didn’t see any. We continued swimming along and approached the rock were we seen some scorpion fish, mantis shrimp and a moray eel being cleaned by a shrimp. Then we headed on to the coral garden where we saw thousands of bumphead parrotfish spawning. All of the divers were amazed by how the bumphead parrotfish were all together in one area and witnessed some mating. We spent the rest of our bottom time watching the bumphead parrotfish even while doing our safety stop. After the dive, we had out hot breakfast while the big boat was heading back to Malakal Harbor Point. 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 and explored the rest of the coral garden then saw some Razor fish, Nudibranch, and a cuttle 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, some went for massages and at 6pm we gathered back 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 copy on the flash drives given to them as a gift from the boat at the beginning of the week. 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 to bring them back to the boat. At 10pm we took two guests ashore to catch a ride to the airport for their flight.

 

Very early Sunday morning 2 more guests were transferred to the airport for their flight. The remaining guests had their continental breakfast and just before 8am we started loading luggage on the skiff and said our goodbyes as we took the guests 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