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Rock Islands Aggressor :

 

Log Date: Sunday, Jun 18, 2017
Entry By: Rock Islands Aggressor Crew









 



Sunday afternoon we welcomed aboard 17 guests from around the world. We started with a quick introduction to the staterooms and then on the dive deck, everyone set up their dive gear. Once everyone was checked in, we headed up stairs to cover the vessel orientation & safety briefing and soon after we sat down to dinner prepared by our chef. After dinner some guests worked on camera gear, the others were heading to bed.

  

   Monday morning we gathered around the TV in the salon for the general dive briefing then headed down to the dive deck. We moved the guests gear out to the skiff and headed out to the Helmet Wreck for our first dive. We tied the skiff up at the mooring and entered the water. All the guests did a quick weight check and descended down the mooring. We swam over to the stern of the wreck and entered the aft cargo hold, we saw the depth charges and the Japanese WWII helmets. We then continued down the deck and entered the middle cargo hold saw more depth charges and the spotlight. We swam through the cargo hold to the front hold and saw the Zero engines. We circled around at the bow and in the wire coral, found a zeno crab. We swam back up the wreck and spent some time viewing the artifacts at the stern before finishing our dive. Our second dive was at was at The Iro. This is one of the biggest wrecks and sits in the Western Lagoon. Starting down the mooring we descended down the bow of the wreck seeing the massive gun on the bow. We then continued along the deck of the wreck past the king posts finding two ringed pipe fish in a bush of black coral. Along the way we found several types of nudibranchs as well. We looked down into the engine room seeing the large single motor, and turned around at the stern gun. We circled up the last king post we call the tripod to the group of red anemones at the top. The photographers took turns getting photos of the anemones and the tomato anemone fish. We then swam from king post to king post back to the mooring at the front of the ship to do our safety stop. During lunch the boat continued on to the Ulong area and after we covered the last briefing on how to use reef hooks. Dive three was at Siaes Corner. We started on the outgoing side of the corner and swam along the wall seeing the beautiful sea fans and soft coral. At the corner we hooked in for a while but the current died off so we unhooked and spent the rest of the dive exploring the coral garden. We saw a turtle and schools of fish. For dive four we went to Ulong Coral Garden. We started at the furthest mooring from the mouth of the channel and explored the coral garden. We saw a giant clam in the rubble area but we didn’t get too close, the trigger fish were nesting this week and were very aggressive. We returned to the big boat, dinner was ready and during dinner a fish ID presentation was playing on the TV. After dinner most of the guests were off to bed to get ready for tomorrow.      

 

     Tuesday morning we started the day with a deeper dive at Siaes Tunnel. We tied the skiff off at the mooring and descended down to the entrance of the tunnel. Through the tunnel we saw the decorated dart fish, nudibranchs and beautiful sea fans. We exited the tunnel and went out along the wall seeing a couple of sharks in the blue and turtles. We came up along the top of the reef to do our safety stop and watch all the anthias dancing on top the reef. Dive two and our last dive in Ulong was at Ulong Channel. We descended down the mooring and headed out to the wall. When we reach the mouth of the channel we hooked in and watched the show. The current nice and we spent some time at the mouth. Later we unhooked and drifted down the channel seeing the lettuce coral and ended the dive at the two giant clams. During lunch big boat moved over to the German Channel. The big boat went through the channel and we dropped the skiff to go out to New Drop Off. The current was outgoing and we did wall on the left. It was a light current and we didn’t hook in for long. We spent the rest of the dive exploring the plateau seeing a couple turtles, a peacock flounder and lion fish, also the blue lined snapper formed into a tight ball and let us photograph them. Dive four was at Turtle Cove. We started by descending down the chimney on top the reef. We saw a disco clam then exited the semi chamber. We drifted along the wall looking for macro life. This wall is covered with soft and hard corals. At the corner, we came up on top the reef to explore. We saw a couple of turtles and some nudibranchs. After dinner our first night dive was at Ngedebus Coral Garden. This is a nice slopping coral garden with great macro life. We found a crocodile fish, shrimp, and a couple of leaf scorpion fish. Back at the big boat the crew brought down hot chocolate for the night divers and soon everyone was off to bed.

     Wednesday morning we woke and started the day with our first dive at the world famous Blue Corner, the current was outgoing and we started with the wall on our left. We saw a couple of sharks in the blue before the hook in area and we hooked in for a while. There were sharks in the blue, a friendly napoleon wrasse swim in and out of all the divers and some guests had a big nose unicorn fish shaking in their bubbles when they exhaled. We unhooked and spent a short time exploring the top of the reef before heading up to start our safety stop. Dive two was at Blue Holes. We tied up the skiff to the mooring and did a surface swim over to the 4 holes on top of the reef. We picked the closest hole and descended into the chamber. We enjoyed the chamber with all the ambient light streaming in from above, found the disco clams and played with the hairy shrimp in their holes at the bottom. We headed along the wall towards Blue Corner and once there we came up on top the plateau to explore before ending our dive. We didn’t make it all the way to the hook in area at Blue Corner. After lunch dive three was at German Channel. We started the dive from the Koror side and our first stop was at red anemone, we took photos and video and continued on the Koror side cleaning station. We kneeled down in the sand and waited but no mantas came in to be cleaned. We then swam across the mouth of the channel towards the Peleliu side cleaning station. In the middle of the channel we had one manta swim along side of us and we followed it to the Peleliu side cleaning station. We kneeled down in the sand and watched the manta do several passes over the cleaning station. It then left and swamk out into the blue, we turned around and went back to the middle of the channel and as if to say goodbye the manta swam by again and off into the blue. We started to drift in to the channel to end our dive. Dive four was at Ngedebus Corner. It was a nice dive; the wall is covered in soft coral and sea fans. Around the corner we spotted a couple of sharks and schools of fish. We found three different types of nudibranchs and a couple of turtles. After dinner we went to Turtle Cove for the night dive. All the cup coral comes out to feed and turns the wall into a beautiful mixture of orange and yellow. We also saw a turtle swimming along the wall, nudibranchs and a scorpion fish. The basket stars were also out filter feeding in the light current. Back at the big boat a couple of guests stayed up viewing pictures then headed to bed.

 

     Early Thursday morning the big boat started up and headed down to the island of Peleliu. We secured the boat in South Dock aka Camp Beck and after breakfast, went to Peleliu Corner for our first dive. The current was outgoing and it was light. We did a live drop over the reef and descended down to the reef. We swam along the wall and hooked in around the cut. We saw a couple of sharks in the blue but soon unhooked and drifted across the plateau finding “Dory” before doing our ascent. After the dive 11 guests went on the Peleliu WWII land tour. They spent 3 hours exploring the island. They saw the museum, Japanese head quarters, Japanese tank and memorials. They also explored a cave on the north end of the island. For dive two the remaining 6 divers went back to Peleliu Corner for dive two. This time the current was incoming and we did wall on the right. We hooked in for most of the dive seeing sharks and barracuda in the blue. They then unhooked and drifted across the plateau to start their safety stop. After lunch our third dive was at Orange beach coral garden, it was an outgoing current but it was light. We started the dive above the three bombs drifted along the slopping coral garden. We saw the 1940’s era coke bottles and bullets and parts of a landing craft. We also saw turtles, white tip sharks, and beautiful anemones. The current was pushing us along well and we ended the dive at the mooring for West Wall. After the dive, the big boat left South Dock and started heading back up to the German Channel area. We dropped the skiff for one last dive in Peleliu at Barracks Point. This is a beautiful coral garden with both hard and soft corals. We saw schools of snapper, jacks and barracuda. Also 10 turtles but at the first giant clam the current switched so we turned around and went back the way we came. After the dive we noticed the large pod of dolphins, so we spent about 20 minutes playing with them on the skiff. They were jumping all around us and riding the bow. During dinner the big boat moved back to our mooring at Turtle Cove and our last night dive was at Big Drop Off. We started from the mooring and checked out the sand chute on top the reef, we saw a leaf scorpion fish tucked in along the side and then went out to the wall. We saw other macro life and a white tip shark out hunting along the reef.

 

     On Friday we started the day with our first dive at Blue Corner. It was a light outgoing current but before we reached the hook in area the current switched. We swam along the sand channel to the incoming side but the current was not strong enough to hook in. We spent the rest of the dive exploring the plateau finding turtles, blue lined snapper and schools of fish. We noticed two groupers that were fighting for space and neither one backed down. They were looked together at the mouth and let the divers get close. After a while the broke apart in a very violent sounding tearing sound, that had too of hurt. Dive two we went to Dexters Wall. We descended down and on the sandy bottom we found a rare leopard shark. We were able to get close for some photos but it soon took off. We continued the dive swimming along the wall seeing several turtles and nudibranchs. After lunch dive three was at Big Drop Off. We entered the water close to the ball and chain and went wall on the left. We saw a bunch of macro life along the wall. Leaf scorpion fish, crabs, shrimp, orangutan crabs and much more. For our last dive of the day we returned to German Channel. We started this time on the Peleliu side of the channel first stopped at the Peleliu side cleaning station but no mantas. We headed across the channel to the Koror side cleaning station and waited for a while before seeing two mantas above us feeding in the shallow water. We left the bottom and spent the rest of the dive around 20 feet deep as the mantas, black snapper and fusiliers all fed on the plankton rice water being funneled into the channel. Back at the boat the guests had a few drinks at the boats bar, and soon sat down to our final supper of prime rib, potatoes, mixed veggies, Yorkshire puddings, and salad. After dinner we moved over to the TV and watched our video pros movie of the week. All the guests enjoyed the look back at the week of diving. During dinner the big boat moved back over to the Ulong area to get ready for the next day of diving.

 

     Saturday morning the first dive was at Sandy Paradise. During this time of the month the bumphead parrot fish gather here to spawn. We started the dive from the mooring and descended to the big rock at 80 feet. We then went along where the coral garden and the sand meet to the next rock out cropping. We took some time looking at the two anemones and some guests put out their hands and the cleaner wrasse came out to give them a quick touch up. We continued along to the next rock cropping where we found three leaf scorpion fish and mantis shrimp. We swam further along the reef looking for the bumpheads; we saw a couple small groups of them but no mating. During our surface interval we returned the toys that were checked out to the guests because they don’t need them for the last dive, later we met up stairs for a group photo and our last dive of the charter was at Chandelier Cave. All the divers surfaced in all four air chambers to take photos of the stalactites and crystal formations that formed on the roof of the cave. Outside the cave we found the mandarin fish, signal gobies, and some nudi’s we only see on the inner reef. We were very lucky to find a spiny devil fish as well. Back at the big boat the guests washed and hung up their gear to dry, lunch was soon ready. After lunch we settled the bills and started free time. Some guests went ashore to check email and at 6pm we gathered in the salon for the beer and wine party and watched a photo slideshow of the week of all the images our photo pro took this week and the guests received the images to take home with them. We wrapped up the party and all the guests went ashore for dinner at a restaurant of their choosing. We picked them up at 9 from dinner and some guests stayed up editing photos and chatting. At 10pm we took 4 guests ashore to be transferred to the airport to catch their flight home.

 

Very early Sunday morning we took another 4 guests ashore for their ride to the airport and later, 7am, the rest of the guests woke up to continental breakfast. Just before 8am we loaded up the skiff with luggage, said our final goodbyes and skiffed the guests ashore to transfer them to their hotels for a least an extra day in Palau. The weather was great this week, we had some sunny days and some overcast days with rain. The water temperature was around 80 degrees all week but that changed slightly with the currents and how deep we dived. We would like to thank everyone for joining us this week and hope to see you all again soon.

 

         -Rock Islands Aggressor Crew