Rock Islands Aggressor
Charter Report Oct 1st – 8th, 2017
Weather: Light winds from East, Sunny/overcast
Water Temp: 82 degrees
Sunday evening we welcomed aboard 18 guests from Israel. We started with a quick introduction to the staterooms and back out on the dive deck, everyone set up their dive gear. After checking certification cards and we headed up stairs to cover the vessel orientation/safety briefing. Soon after dinner was ready then most of the guests headed to bed.
Monday morning after breakfast, we covered the general dive briefing and reef hook briefing. Our first dive or check out dive was at Sandy paradise. We started the dive at the mooring line and drop down into the sloping coral garden. We descended down further to the sandy bottom. We first stopped at the big rock out cropping and saw the lion fish on the backside. Then we swam along where the coral and sand meet to another rock out cropping with two beautiful anemones and the cleaner wrasse will come out to check over the divers’ hands. Further along the way we stopped at a rock outcropping with hundreds of glassy eye sweeper. Around and on top of it you can see cleaner shrimp, mantis shrimp, and scorpion leaf fish too. During the rest of the dive we saw barracuda, sharks and a turtle. Our second dive was at Siaes Tunnel. We started at the mooring line and descended down to the opening of the tunnel. We swam along the top of the tunnel until the sandy bottom came up to meet us. We saw the decorated dartfish in the sand and took photos by the sea fans on the side of the exit. When we come out from the tunnel we drifted with the wall on the right seeing some sharks and turtles. When we arrived at the big boat lunch was ready and later dive three was at Ulong Channel. We entered the water and swam out to the drop off, we then drifted wall on the left arrived at the mouth of the channel to hook in. We stayed there for a while seeing sharks in the blue, then unhooked and drifted down the channel. We saw the large patch of lettuce coral and ended the dive at the two giant clams. Our last dive of the day was at Ulong Coral Garden. We started from the furthest mooring from the mouth and went wall on the left. We saw some beautiful anemones and some sharks in the blue. We then entered the coral garden and found the one giant clam in the rubble area. When we got close to the mouth of the channel the current was outgoing and pushed us the other way to end the dive.
Tuesday morning we planned on starting the day with a very special dive, its three days before the full moon and that’s when the red snapper gather to spawn. We jumped on the skiff and headed out to Shark City. The current was already outgoing and we did wall on the left. We drifted along in the light current and finally saw the school of red snapper. There had to of been several hundreds of them. We left the reef to be close to their group and the started to mate. With the red snappers doing their thing, the sharks started to show up. In total we spotted five bull sharks, two silver tips, and oceanic black tip sharks. It was a great dive. After a snack our last dive in Ulong was at Siaes Corner. This is a small corner and we started on the outgoing side. Before we reached the corner the current switched but we swam through it to the corner. We came up on top the reef and swam to the incoming side to hook in, we saw one eagle ray just gliding in the current but the current soon switched back to outgoing. We unhooked and kicked over to the other side and hooked in again but the current soon dies off and we spent the rest of the dive in the coral garden. We ended up seeing about five turtles. Back on the big boat we moved to the German channel area and our third dive was at German Channel. It was a nice incoming current and we started the dive from the Peleliu State side of the channel. We stopped at the cleaning station and waited but no mantas. We kicked across the channel to the other side, sat down but still no mantas. We then noticed the mantas up in the water column starting to feed; we left the bottom and spent the last minutes of the dive with two mantas swimming around us. Dive four was at Turtle cove. We started at the mooring line and we swam over on the surface to the hole on top the reef. We descended down and inside the cavern we found a disco clam. We exited and drifted wall on the right. We looked for macro life and found some nudibranchs, and took photos of the beautiful soft coral that covers the wall. We come up on top of the corner and saw big schools of fish; jacks, snapper and rudder fish. The current then switched on us so we turned around and went the way we came. Dinner was soon ready on the big boat and soon after our night dive was at Ngedebus coral garden. We started from the mooring and swam along the top of the coral fingers seeing macro life and all the crinoids out catching dinner.
On Wednesday we started the day Blue corner. We started the dive on the outgoing side of the corner and started towards the hook in area. We saw several sharks and a giant barracuda. It just swam alongside the divers for a while letting us get close for photos. Just before we reached the hook in area the current switched, we came up on top the reef and kicked towards the incoming side. The current then switched back to outgoing, but was light, so we kicked over to the corner to spend the rest of the dive. The napoleon wrasse were with us most of the dive swimming in and out of all the divers, We saw the large school of jacks and snappers and on the tip of the corner we took photos of the school of blue lined snapper. Dive two; we headed back to the Blue corner area for Blue Holes. We started from the mooring and swam over to the holes, descended down into the chamber and explored. In the chamber we posed for photos with the ambient light streaming down from above, found disco clams and hermit crabs. When we left the holes we went wall on the left towards blue corner, saw several sharks and schooling fish. The great barracuda was in the same area and posed for more photos. It was late in the dive so we just drifted up on top the reef, past the hook in area and started coming up for our safety stop. For our third dive we went to Dexters Wall. We started above the slopping sand chute and went along the wall. In total we saw about 12 turtles and other macro life. The guests really enjoyed the wall covered in soft coral and sea fans. Our next dive was at New Drop Off. The current was outgoing to start but that didn’t last very long. We started on the outgoing side and at the hook in area it switched to incoming. We did see a couple turtles and sharks in the blue but soon kicked across the top of the plateau to the incoming side. Some of the guests hooked in on that side for a couple minutes but the current switched again back to outgoing. Instead of trying to kick back to the other side we just went with it away from the corner along the wall. We saw some more turtles and anemones. After dinner our night dive was at Turtle Cove. We started from the mooring but didn’t go down the hole on top the reef. We saw how beautiful this wall is at night with all the cup coral coming out to filter feed, turning the wall into orange and yellow colors. We saw basket star fish out filter feeding as well as other macro life.
Thursday morning we made the trip down to Peleliu. We tied up in South Dock and our first dive was at the famous Peleliu Corner. The current was outgoing and it was nice. We did a live drop in the blue and let the current push us to the wall and towards the hook in area. As we approached we noticed a large school of red snappers around the cut, they mate here too just like Shark City. Mixed in with the snappers were a big school of horse eyed jacks. We hooked in around the cut and held on. There were sharks in the blue and barracuda. After a while we unhooked and shot along the reef coming up to start our safety stop. After the dive we took 6 guests ashore to go on a WWII Peleliu land tour. They were taken around by bus to see and learn the history of one of the bloodiest battles of WWII. They saw the airfield, bloody nose ridge and the museum as well as other relics from the war. For the remaining divers, dive two was at West Wall. It was an incoming current so we did wall on the right. We started by the skylight arch, and then dropped down along the wall. The wall is covered with beautiful yellow soft coral; we searched for macro life and found some nudibranchs. Off in the blue we also spotted several grey reef sharks and some white tip sharks along the wall. Back at the big boat we had lunch, and our third dive was at Orange Beach Coral Garden. This was the landing beach the Americans landed on September 15th 1944. We dropped into the water above the three bombs and went shallows on the left. We saw several turtles, a school of snappers and jacks. We stopped at the collection of 1940’s era coca cola bottles and took photos. Further down the reef we saw piles of bullets and a couple more bombs. After the dive the tide was high enough and the big boat left South Dock and slowly made it’s was up Peleliu. We lowered the skiff for dive four at Barracks Point. We entered the water above the wall and drifted along to where it turns into the slopping coral garden. We saw 7 giant clams and a bunch of turtles. The coral garden itself is covered with beautiful hard and soft coral. After the dive we caught back up with the skiff in the German Channel area and after dinner our last night dive was at Big Drop Off. This wall comes to life at night with all the beautiful cup coral out filter feeding. We also watched as the marble groupers used our lights to hunt at night. We found a bunch of macro life; nudibranchs, flatworms, twin spot lion fish, and a decorator crab.
On Friday we started the day out with a repeat dive at Blue Corner. We started the dive close to the hook in area on the incoming side of the corner. Dropped down and hooked in for awhile, saw some sharks and the school of horse eyed jacks. Then the current switched so we kicked over to the outgoing side of the corner but the current was light so we didn’t hook in again. We spent the rest of the dive exploring the plateau. At the tip of the corner we took photos of the blue lined snapper and the napoleon wrasse was with us most of the dive. Our second dive was at Big Drop Off. This is a beautiful vertical wall with lots of the macro life. We saw the long nose hawk fish, leaf scorpion fish and inside a small cave, there were 4 small white tip sharks sleeping. We also saw the ball and chain left over during the German occupation before WWI. After lunch our guests asked for one last dive at Blue Corner, so we headed out to dive Blue Corner. The current was light and with our luck lately with the changing current we dropped in the middle of the plateau. On the corner the current started to pick up from incoming so we swam over and hooked in for a while. We saw the jacks, sharks, and the black snapper. For the last dive of the day we went for a repeat dive at German Channel. It was a nice incoming current and we were hoping for the mantas to be feeding. We started from the Koror State side of the channel and first stopped at the red anemone. We continued on to the first cleaning station and waited but no mantas. We left headed across the mouth of the channel to the other cleaning station but still no mantas. We turned around and kicked back to the middle of the channel. We sat down for a while watching the blue streak fusiliers and black snapper above us in the water column. The fusiliers were swimming around feeding but the black snappers were just sitting there in the current. We could see that there was barely any plankton coming in with the current. We left the bottom to be close to the schools of fish and slowly drifted into the channel. We returned to the boat and gave the guests a little time for sit back and relax, get a drink and dinner was ready. It was our special final supper prepared by our chef Ronnie. The guests started with a salad then served themselves to a buffet that consisted of two choices of mixed veggies, prime rib, Yorkshire puddings and a desert of blueberry cheese cake. After dinner the guests sat down on the sofas in front of the television set to watch Jim’s video of the charter while the Big boat was motoring back to Malakal harbor.
We woke up Saturday morning with the big boat in Malakal harbor and our first dive was at The Iro. We tied the boat to the mooring line and descended down to the wreck of the bow. The first thing we saw was the big bow gun totally encrusted with coral and clams. We continued along exploring the top deck of the wreck passing several king posts and super structure. In some black coral bushes by the middle king posts we found four ringed pipe fish. When we reach the stern, we pause there for a while for some picture of the stern gun then turned around and circled up what we call the “tripod.” This is three posts that come together at the top forming a “tripod.” When we got to the top of the tripod we stayed there for a while photographing all the red anemones and tomato anemone fish that completely cover the top. We then kicked back towards the bow of the wreck going from one king post to the next to end our dive. Our last dive of the charter was at Chandelier Cave. The divers surfaced in all four air chambers to take photos of the stalactites, and then outside the cave we found the mandarin fish some nudibranchs and razor fish. Back at the big boat the guests broke down their gear wash it and hung it to dry. Soon after lunch was ready and then it was time to settle the bills. Next it was an afternoon of relaxation, shopping in town and whatever else the guests wanted to do. At 6pm we gathered in the salon for the cocktail party and watched a photo slideshow of all the photos our photo pro had taken during the week at 7pm the guests went ashore for dinner and came back to the boat at 9pm.
On Sunday morning the guests woke up to continental breakfast and before 8am we started loading their luggage on the skiff to drop them on shore to spend at least an extra day in Palau. We would like to thank everyone for joining us this week and hope to see you all again soon.
-Rock Islands Aggressor Crew