Palau Aggressor Charter September 10th-17th 2017
Water Temp: 80-85 deg F
Air Temp: 85-90 deg F
Crew: Dan, Shea, Kiran, Dustin, Hector, Ronnie, Ripon, Joe
On Sunday at 1630hrs we welcomed aboard 18 divers from the USA. The crew helped to set up the guests dive gear, and make sure everything was ready. We then gave a orientation to the vessel and safety briefing, before sitting down to our first fine meal prepared by Chef Ronnie. After dinner we made some final preparations and then hit the sack to get a good nights rest, ready for the week ahead.
Monday, 11th September. Weather was fine and clear with 5-10 knots from the East. We did our “check out” dive on the Teshio Maru, a Japanese freighter, that was sunk in WWII during the Desecrate One operation. Decent vis, and we found some nudibranchs, twin spot gobies, and some Sake bottles and porcelain from the period. At 1030 hrs we did a second wreck, The Iro, another casualty of the war. Tomato anemones cover the stern king posts, and a bunch of Squid around the mooring line made for some nice photos. 1330hrs; we had finished lunch and the Palau Aggressor was now moored at Ulong Island. Our first dive on the outer reef was at Sandy Paradise, we saw the Leaf Scorpion fish and Mantis shrimp, we also had two Octopus putting on a great show outside of their holes, not sure if they were mating or feeding or both, but it was cool to watch all the same! At 1630hrs we dove at Ulong Coral Garden, and check out some Giant clams, Sharks and Magnificent Anemones.
Tuesday 12th September. Weather mostly sunny with a few light showers in the afternoon. Wind Easterly 5-10knts. At 0700 we did our first dive at Ulong Channel, which was also our first opportunity to ‘hook in’. A few Sharks and Barracuda hung out with us at the mouth of the channel. With super vis and some beautiful sunrays pouring we goods some great photos at the Lettuce corals and Giant clams as we drifted the channel at a easy pace. Dive 2 at 1000 was at Siaes Tunnel. We found a few cool critters inside, like the Decorated Dart fish, and Black and White Butterfly fish. And then had a nice drifty along the wall once we exited the tunnel. During lunch we moved the big boat up to German Channel and at 1330 we went for dive at New Drop Off, another hook in, with Sharks, and lots of Turtles co-operating for photos on the plateau. Our 1630 dive was at Big Drop Off, where we found a little nest of white tip sharks. After dinner at 1930 we did a night dive at German Coral Garden, starting of pretty mellow. We found some Leopard Cowries, then the current picked up and took us for ride down the channel, which was an exciting first for some!
Wednesday 13th September. Scattered showers and sunshine. Wind, light and variable. 0700 we went to Blue Corner and had fun with the Napoleon Wrasse, Sharks and Barracuda at the hook in. We also found Dory, some Turtles and Moray Eels. At 1000 we went for a dive at German Channel and saw a Manta at the cleaning station, and then another showed up, making a great show. After lunch we went to Ngesebus Corner for a nice drift checking out the soft corals on the wall. And at 1630 went to Barnums Wall, and saw more Turtles and Anemones. After dinner at 1930 our night dive was at Ngesebus Garden, which was much calmer then last night and we found some Nudibrachs, Lobster, and Crabs.
Early on Thursday 14th September we made our way south to Peleliu, and with the big boat safely moored in Camp Beck, we went for a dive at Peleliu Express. The dive site certainly lived up to its name, as we made our way to the hook in at a fair clip. We hung around for a bit to see some Sharks, before un-hooking and zipping along again. As we made our to the edge of the plateau on the other side, we were on our safety stop we underneath we looked down to see a huge Bull Shark cruising along! The guests then went on a Land Tour of Peleliu before lunch and we educated on the Islands history. At 1330 we went to Orange Beach for a mellow drift along the amazing hard corals, we found Turtles everywhere, and at the end of the dive saw a Crocodile fish, which was on the wish list! Barnums Wall was or afternoon dive, and we saw some Giant clams and some Lobster. Weather was bright and sunny, wind SE 10knts.
Friday 15th September. We began our day with a dive at Blue Holes, where everyone was keen to see the Pygmy Seahorse, and Disco Clams. We went back to German Channel at 1000, and saw another Manta and had a good look around the channel itself. After Lunch at 1330, we went to Blue Corner again, for more shenanigans with the Napoleon Wrasse, who was trying to pry a Moray out of some coral. Our last dive was at Turtle Cove, where we saw some Eagle Rays and some beautiful soft corals. During dinner the Palau Aggressor II made its way back up to Malakal, and the guests enjoyed the movie of the week that Shea put together. Weather was clear and sunny, with 10knts from the SE.
On Saturday morning we went to Chandelier Caves, checking out the Stalactites and Mandarin fish that hang out there. Our final dive of the week was at the Jake Sea Plane, a Japanese float plane that crashed in the war, mostly intact the wreck is great for photographs. We are so lucky to have such vivid reminders of our past, and it becomes clear that we must respect how delicate these artifacts are if we want to preserve them for others to enjoy. We had a cocktail party on Saturday evening, where I showed my photographs from the week, after which everyone went out for dinner at the Drop-Off bar.
We said our goodbyes that night, as some of the guests were leaving on early flights. The rest departed on Sunday morning. We hope everyone had a safe onward journey or trip home and look forward to seeing you all again soon!
What an awesome time we had on the Palau Aggressor II this week; great weather, great diving and amazing company, what more could we ask for?