Rock Islands Aggressor
Charter Report Oct 8th – 15th, 2017
Weather: Wind switching from every direction, Sunny/overcast
Water Temp: 82 degrees
Sunday evening we welcomed aboard 13 guests from around the world. 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. We have 2 late guests that we welcome after the dinner.
Monday morning after breakfast, we covered the general dive briefing. Our first dive or check out dive was Ngedebus Coral Garden. We did back roll entry while the boat is hovering on top of the dive site. We started shallow water on the right. We did stop to rock out cropping with lots of sweepers with bunch of leaf scorpion fish in different colors. We saw pink, black and white. Continue along shallow on the right and we saw turtles and anemones. We did our safety stop on the shallow water only 20 feet and once the safety stop is over we swam into the blue water so the boat can pick us up. Our second dive was at Big drop off we start at the ball on chain and go wall on the left. A beautiful wall with lots of sea fan, soft coral, nudibranchs anemones, hawk fish, and anthias on the wall. In the blue we saw free swimming turtles, Napoleon Wrasse and Sharks hunting. When we arrived at the big boat lunch was ready and later dive three was at Turtle Cove. We entered the water and swam to the surface and swim through the hole from the top of the reef. Inside the small cavern we show the disco clam. We then come out and head to the corner. On the way to the corner we saw nudibranchs, anthias, school of snappers, and bunch of turtle on the top of the reef. Our last dive of the day was German Channel. We started the dive at Koror side. We check out the red anemone first before stopping at the first cleaning station. We kneeled down several minutes and swim across the other side to check out the second cleaning station in Peleliu side. No manta shows up except for Gray reef shark getting clean on the top of the cleaning station. We did swim back to the mouth of the channel and drifted inside. On this dive we saw Mantis shrimp, school of barracuda, nudibranchs and anemones as we drifted inside the channel to end the dive. Come back to the big boat and dinner was waiting. After dinner we covered on how to use reef hooks.
Tuesday morning we planned on starting the day to dive the famous Blue Corner. We start the dive on outgoing side and head down to the hook in area. When we reach the hook in area there is no need to hook in because lack of current. We just hang out and play the Napoleon Wrasse that like a puppy dog to our guest. After, we explore the plateau seeing lots of fish and turtles and sharks. Blue holes were our second dive. We enter to the holes and swim into the cavern. We play with the hermit crab and look at the disco clam. When we swim out to the wall we saw a big great barracuda that let us take picture and video real close. Continue wall on the left looking at the wall with lots of sea fan and anemones and fish getting clean on the side of the wall the current take us to outgoing side of blue corner. Divers end the dive at the top of the plateau. Back to the big boat for lunch and after we head over to another hook in dive called New Drop Off. Still out going current so we did a live drop entry on outgoing side of the wall. It was nice and slow current, we saw bunch of sharks getting clean alongside the edge of the wall as we drift to the hook in area. Current did not pick up so we come up to the plateau and explore. We so more sharks, turtles and school of blue line snappers. We also see juvenile rock mover wrasse mimicking a leaf as the current swing him back and forth. For our forth dive we come back to blue corner vicinity and dove Dexter’s Wall. A beautiful wall with lots of turtles. And on shallow water lots of variety of tropical fish we saw. We swim away from shallow water after the dive. Come back to the big boat for dinner and after our first night dive was Big drop off. We start at the ball and chain and head wall on the left hand side. It was a very nice dive at night with lots of soft coral attached to the wall. We saw nudibranchs, lots of shrimp, decorator crab, eels and slippers lobster.
Wednesday 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 incoming we enter the water and drifted wall on the right. Mild current so we did not hook in when we reach hook in area. We position our self to the edge of the drop off. Turtles cruising, school of rainbow runners, Bump head parrot feeding the algae and corals, barracudas and more. When we run out of reef we drifted in blue water to do safety stop and end the dive.. After the dive we took 8 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 so that the big boat can go out the lagoon so we release the line of the big boat and lowered the skiff for dive four at Barracks Point. The big boat motor up to German channel area as we going for forth dive in barrack’s 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 night dive was at German Coral Garden. We enter the water and go shallow on the left. Stop at the red anemone. Saw couples of nudibranchs, lots of lion fish and shrimps. As we go closer to the channel the current pick up and the current takes us really fast inside the channel to end our dive.
On Thursday we started the day Blue corner. We started the dive on the incoming 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. When we get close to the hook in, we came up on top the reef and hook in. Lots of sharks, big school of jacks and black snapper mix up with tons of fusilier and red tooth trigger fish in the blue. After the hook in we unhook and explore the plateau. We saw turtles, grouper, school of barracuda and play with the Napoleon wrasse as we drift to the other side of the wall and does our safety stop in the blue. Second dive was German Channel and this time we start at the Peleliu side. Not much of a current we swim to the cleaning station kneeled down for a while and sharks start to get clean. As we are waiting for mantas to come and clean we saw feather tail ray resting behind our group of divers. No luck for mantas so we swam to the other side to check if the mantas are cleaning there. We stop for a while and hope for mantas but again no luck so we continue our dive with shallow on our right. Just before our safety stop we get lucky of seeing octopus and crocodile fish. We come back to the boat for lunch and after lunch our dive was Fern’s wall. We start the dive at the buoy and drifted wall on the left. Very beautiful wall covered with soft coral. We saw 2 chromodoris coi sitting side by side, long nose hawk fish, moray eel and bunch of anemones along the wall. In the blue we saw tons of pyramid butterfly fish filters feeding together with fusiliers and red tooth trigger fish. We did our safety stop right at the edge of the drop off and soon after safety stop we swam in the blue so boat can collect us. For our fourth dive it was Barnum’s wall. Live drop right in the blue water we did swim to the wall drifting wall on the right. When we get to the sloping coral garden we saw 2 notodoris sp, bunch of turtles both swimming and resting and couple sharks swimming in the blue as well. We come back to the boat for dinner and after dinner our night dive was Alexis Coral garden. Sloping coral garden mostly hard corals. Lots of lion fish, tiger cowries, nudibranch and sleeping parrotfish.
On Friday early morning Captain Ike motor the boat to Ulong Island. When we secured the boat at the mooring we dive Ulong Channel. We jump on top of the coral garden and swim to the wall. As we drift to the mouth of the channel we saw couple sharks swimming in the blue water. We hook in at the mouth of the channel and we saw small number of barracudas, fusilier being chase with hungry Trevally in the blue. Several sharks swimming in front of the mouth of the channel as well. We did not stay long at the hook in because the current is pretty mild, as we drift inside the channel the current pick up and we enjoy the ride passing the sand shoots, beautiful coral formation, big patch of lettuce coral and two giant clams to end our dive. Second dive was Siaes tunnel. We enter the water and take the divers to the entrance of the tunnel. As we swimming through the tunnel we stay at the ceiling and checking all the fish swimming upside down. When we get close to the exit we drop down to the bottom to check the decorated dart fish and nudis down there. We take some photos of the big sea fans just at the exit of tunnel which really nice photo op cause of the blue water background. We then exit and drifted wall on the right. Working our way to the top we saw lots of anthias, bump head parrot and turtles along the way. Third dive after lunch we head over to Siaes corner. It was a hook in dive, the current was not expected instead of outgoing it was incoming so we start the dive doing a live drop on the other side. Jump on top of the coral garden we then drifted to the hook in area as we were drifting we enjoy the beautiful coral garden on top and we saw bunch of school of fish swimming in the blue water. The water was so clear I can see the bottom of the wall maybe down to over 200 feet. We hook in and stay there several minutes. Sharks are too deep but lots of fish free swimming in the blue water and the baby eagle ray pass around the divers like trying to greet us. After the hook in we continue our dive drifting wall on the right. We saw anemones, crabs and lots of anthias and lion fish to end the dive. For our last dive in the outer reef we did Sandy Paradise, another beautiful coral garden meets down to sandy bottom. We start the dive at the mooring and check the cleaning station. On the cleaning station we saw bunch of lion fish hunting small fish. We then check out another cleaning station but this one more exclusive for diver. We sat down and have pedicure with cleaner wrasse. We swim to check another rock out cropping and on our way there saw school of jacks and barracudas and sharks free swimming. We did stop at the rock covered with lots of glassy sweeper. We saw leaf fish, mantis shrimp and cleaner shrimp in one place. We then come up to shallow water to end our dive. 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 and at the front king post we spotted a small sea snake. We took photos then swam to the mooring line to start our safety stop. 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 and at 7pm the guests went ashore for dinner and came back to the boat at 9pm. At 10pm we took two guests ashore to catch a ride to the airport for their early Sunday morning flight.
Sunday morning at 2am we took two more guests to the airport for their flight and later, the rest of 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