Trip Report (July 30 – August 6, 2017)
Water Temp: 80-85 deg F
Air Temp: 85-90 deg F
Crew: Scott, Editha, Shea, Hector, Joe, Dustin, Herence, Ernan
On Sunday afternoon we welcome aboard 18 divers all from United States joined together to have an exciting week diving with the Palau Aggressor II! As soon as everybody was on board we started by briefing the guests about their rooms and went on setting up their gears with the help of the crew members. Then it was time for the captain’s briefing and afterwards we had a delicious dinner prepared by Chef Shea and Editha. After dinner another briefing was done about the dive deck and more information about the boat then everybody had the rest of the evening to themselves.
The following morning everybody woke up excited to do their first dive of the week at Helmet Wreck as the check in dive. Once in the water, the divers made sure that they are properly weighted then descended down the mooring line approaching the bow of the wreck. We explored the wreck checking out the depth charges, rifles, helmet, sake bottles, and the Mitsubishi plane engines. After the dive, we headed back to the big boat had our hot breakfast then did our second dive at another World War II Japanese Ship Wreck called the Iro Maru. At the massive deck we spotted nudibranchs, octopus, crocodile fish and the highlight of the dive was the kin post filled with colorful corals, giant clams and anemone fishes. We had a delicious buffet lunch after the dive then had some time to digest while we were underway to German Channel. As soon as we got to the mooring it was time for our first wall dive at Turtle Cove were we saw the beautiful wall filled with colorful soft and hard corals. We spotted two eagle rays, gray reef sharks, a massive school of fusiliers and black snappers swimming passed us as we drifted along with the current.
Tuesday morning was getting more exciting as we did our first dive at the very famous Blue Corner. Everybody hooked in on top of the plateau and spent the whole dive just watching a great show out in the blue. There were schooling fishes of Horse Eyed Jacks, Snappers, Fusiliers, Barracuda, and plenty of sharks swimming back and forth in front of the divers. After our hot breakfast we went on the next dive at Dexter’s wall. We drifted along the wall and saw plenty of friendly turtles swimming towards the divers and giving everybody good photo opportunities. After lunch it was time to check out Blue Holes, we entered one of the holes leading into massive cavern. The divers spent some time exploring the place and spotted the pygmy sea horse on a sea fan. Last dive of the day was at Big Drop-off and everybody had a relaxing time just drifting along the wall and afterwards went back to the big boat to have dinner.
On the third day of the charter, we went back to Blue Corner and without any disappointment everybody had a great time watching action from the sharks and schooling fishes out in the blue. We went back to the big boat had breakfast then did our second dive on another hook in site called New-Drop Off. The divers spent few minutes hooked in then explored the plateau for the rest of the dive. After our delicious burger lunch, next stop was another known dive site the German Channel, we went on to the cleaning stations but no Mantas came in to get cleaned. This didn’t stop us from having a great dive since the natural part of the channel is beautiful itself. There was a big schooling fish of horse eyed jacks and beautiful formation of hard corals. It was followed with a very easy and relaxing dive at German Coral Garden then we went back to the big boat had dinner and called it a day.
We woke up to a rainy morning the next day but everybody was still happy to go diving at Barnum’s Wall. We drifted along the sloping coral garden looking at the beautiful coral formations and saw some sharks swimming along; there were turtles and fusiliers as well. Afterwards we went back to German Channel but still didn’t see any mantas so we drifted into the channel once more. Our lunch was followed by a dive at Big Drop-Off and everybody just loved the colorful wall and the white tip sharks inside the cave and this time we saw five. At dusk we went diving at Alexis Coral Garden and spotted a Marble Ray swimming passed the divers. We had a delicious dinner after the dive then some of the guests watched a documentary about muck diving and the others went to get some rest.
The engines started early on Friday and made its way to Ulong Island. Everybody woke up to a new view as the sun was shining on the beautiful rock island where the boat was moored in front of it. After the continental breakfast we went on a dive at Sandy Paradise were we descended down the mooring line and started swimming along the sloping coral garden until we reached the area where the coral garden and the sandy part meets. We were swimming along the edge and checked out a patch of corals were there are friendly cleaner wrasses and another big rock that has Leaf Scorpion Fishes and Mantis Shrimp. Back in the big boat it was time for our hot breakfast and made our next dive at Siase Corner. We drifted along the colorful wall and approached the approached the hook in area. The current was mild but there were plenty of sharks and schooling Barracuda. Thirty minutes into the dive we decided to unhook and explore the rest of the plateau were we encountered lots of friendly turtles. After our delicious curry lunch we went diving at Ulong Channel, it was awesome seeing a bunch of gray reef sharks swimming back and forth as we were hooked in at the mouth of the channel. Then we unhooked and let the current pushed as into the channel and explore a little bit more and got to see the big stacks of lettuce corals and the giant clams and the end of the dive. We ended the day of diving at Ulong Coral Garden just swimming around the beautiful formation of hard corals and a giant clam at the sandy patch and a big Feather Tail Ray as well. As soon as we got back to the big boat the safety gears were collected back and everybody showered up then went to the salon for a buffet dinner. While the boat was underway going back to Malakal Harbor it was time to watch the video that put together Ernan showing the whole week with the guests on board.
Saturday morning after having continental breakfast we went on a dive at Chandelier Cave. We divided the divers into groups and went inside while the other group was waiting outside and checking out the Mandarin Fish. Inside the cave we went up to three different air chambers, took our regulators out and talked to each other. Back in the big boat we had out hot breakfast, went on a tour at the rock islands and into a lagoon called Milky Way. The guests enjoyed swimming in the lagoon rubbed some white mud into their skin and took some photos. We had lunch and the guests settled their bills afterwards everybody had the whole afternoon all to themselves. Some went off shore and had a massage the others stayed on board organizing and packing their stuff. At 6 pm everybody gathered once more in the salon for a cocktail party exchanging great stories and recapping the great moments while the photos throughout the week were being shown on the big screen. Few moments later the captain did a speech thanking everybody for a wonderful week and hopes to see everybody again. Afterwards everybody said their farewell to the crew then it was time for dinner off the boat at a restaurant of their choice. Late night most of the guests were dropped off to the dock for their transport to the airport.
The next day, the remaining guests went up to the salon for continental breakfast then gathered their luggage to be put on the skiff. At 8 am they were dropped off to the dock and picked up by their transfer to their designated hotel. Until then safe diving and hope to see you again!