Trip Report (August 6 – 13, 2017)
Water Temp: 80-85 deg F
Air Temp: 85-90 deg F
Crew: Scott, Editha, Herence, Ernan, Hector, Joe, Shea
This week we had 16 dive buddies all from different parts of the world joined together in Palau Aggressor II. The crew members gladly accommodated everybody as they got on board, briefed with the rooms and helped set up their gear. Once everybody was settled they continued on to the salon for a Captain’s Briefing then afterwards it was time for a delicious dinner! The guests had the rest of the evening for themselves and there was one late comer due to the flight schedule that was also welcomed by the crew.
The following day everybody was very excited to go diving! We did our first dive at the Helmet Wreck as our check in dive to see if everybody had enough weights and it’s also an easy dive to get comfortable in the water. The divers explored the wreck checking out the depth charges, Japanese Helmets, Sake bottle and Mitsubishi plane engines. As soon as we got back to the big boat the engines roared to life and started moving, while we were underway the skiff was dropped down to have a dive at another ship wreck called the Iro Maru. We explored the massive deck seeing plenty of artifacts that are now covered with corals and beautiful marine life. The highlight of this wreck is the kin posts that are covered with corals with lots of anemone and giant clams. Then it was time for lunch! The boat continued making its way to German Channel and as we got there it was almost time for our third dive of the day at Barnum’s Wall. There were plenty of friendly turtles as we drifted along the wall, groupers and schooling fusiliers were everywhere as well. The fourth dive was one of the famous dive sites in Palau the German Channel and it’s were the mantas have their cleaning stations. As the skiff was heading to the site we saw a manta swimming at the surface which made everybody even more excited to jump in. Once we were in the water we headed on to the cleaning station and saw one big manta feeding ahead of us, so we decided to come up and join at the surface having a closer encounter with it. Few moments later the manta came back with friend and two of them were swimming graciously pass the divers. After the manta dive it was time to head back to the big boat have dinner and one last briefing on how to use a reef hook that we will be using on the next day of diving.
On Tuesday, we started the day by having breakfast and went diving into one of the most famous dive site in the world called the Blue Corner! The weather was very nice and as we jumped into the water the current was not very strong but there were plenty of cool stuff to see out in the blue. Sharks, massive schooling of Horse Eyed Jacks, Fusiliers, Barracuda, and Snappers were hanging around the hook in site. Thirty minutes into the dive we decided to unhook and explored the rest of the plateau and got some close encounters with more turtles and sharks. It was followed by a dive at Blue Holes just a bit farther away from our first dive site. We descended down into one of the holes leading into a massive cavern were we spent most of our dive time exploring the area. On a sea fan at the deeper part of the cavern we spotted the pygmy sea horse and on the other side there were disco clams that have an electric pulse when we shine our lights into it. Back in the big boat it was time for our buffet lunch and afterwards we continued diving at another hook in site called New Drop-Off and saw the Peacock Flounder, Blue Lined Snappers and Turtles as well. Turtle Cove was our next stop and there we saw the beautiful wall covered with colorful corals. Then after eating dinner we went on a night dive at Ngedebush Coral Garden and spotted a crocodile fish, pipefish, a big puffer fish and slipper lobsters.
The engines started early morning the next day and the guests were having breakfast while the boat was entering the lagoon of Camp Beck at Peleliu Island. Our first dive was at Peleliu Corner and we started off at the incoming side called the “Express”. As we dropped down the sloping wall the current was not that strong so we spent almost all of our bottom time drifting before we got to the tip of the corner. This gave the divers enough freedom to check out the blue watching sharks, napoleon wrasses and big turtles swim by. On the second activity of the day the group was divided into two. Others went on a guided land tour at the island and got to explore the areas where the bloodiest battle of the pacific happened. The remaining guests went on a dive at West Wall and had a chill dive just drifting along and seeing marine life. At lunch time everybody gathered back in the boat and had lunch together then it was time to go diving at Orange Beach. The divers checked out the sloping coral garden that had plenty of WWII artifacts scattered everywhere like ammunition, landing craft and coke bottles from 1940’s. Next dive was at Barracks Point where the divers enjoyed seeing the giant clams and plenty of big turtles throughout the dive. After dinner we went back to Turtle Cove but this time for a night dive. The beautiful wall transformed as the cup corals started feeding at night making the wall bright yellow.
Fourth day of the charter we came back to Blue Corner for the incoming tide and without any disappointment we watched a great show from the sharks, schooling horse eyed jacks and barracudas swimming in front of us. It was followed by a nice drift dive at Dexter’s Wall and after lunch Big Drop-Off was our third dive of the day were we checked out a small cave that had baby white tip sharks inside. Then we went to German Channel for the second time hoping for another manta experience. This time we started at the Peleliu Side of the channel waited for a few minutes at the cleaning station then saw five mantas feeding at the surface. Some of the divers decided to drift and explore into the channel were they saw milk fishes, beautiful formation of table corals and schooling unicorn fish. After an awesome Manta experience, dinner was ready as we got back to the boat and afterwards night dive was at German Coral Garden. The divers spotted some lobsters, shrimps and colorful sleeping reef fishes tucked into the corals.
Friday morning the boat started making its way to Ulong area and as we got moored the guests had breakfast then our first dive of the day was Ulong Channel. We dropped down the wall then started heading towards the mouth of the channel. The current was mild so there was to need to hook in, we drifted into the channel instead and spotted lots of species of macro life, nudibranchs, flatworms, and 25 minutes into the dive we arrived at a big patch of lettuce corals that had plenty of soldier fishes tucked in every leaf. At the end of the dive we saw two giant clams then did our safety stop. Siase Tunnel was our next dive, everybody entered the tunnel and spent few minutes exploring inside. Some divers spotted the decorated dart fish at the exit then we spent the rest our dive outside the tunnel drifting along the beautiful wall. Back in the big boat it was time for our Mexican lunch and after few moments of resting and digesting we headed on to Siase Corner. The current was not strong so we decided not to hook in and just hang out on top the plateau spotted an eagle ray and looked around the beautiful corals. Our last dive at the area was at Sandy Paradise, we descended along the mooring line and started swimming until we reached the area where the sloping coral garden and sandy area meet. Then we turned right and went swimming along the edge looking for stuff in the sand, there were sleeping white tip sharks and one particular rock had cleaner wrasses that attempts to clean the hand of the divers and another rock has Leaf Scorpion Fish and Mantis Shrimp living in it. At dinner the captain talked about the things that are going to happen for the next 2 days and afterwards it was time to watch the video of the week.
The next day after having breakfast we went on a dive at Jake Sea Plane. It was a Japanese spy plane that crashed during the World War II and is now covered with corals and home for marine life. Then our last dive of the week was at Chandelier cave, we divided the divers into groups and went inside while the other group was waiting outside 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. We had our buffet lunch as we got back to the boat then the guests settled bills, afterwards everybody had the whole afternoon for themselves. 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 some 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!