Palau Aggressor Charter November 5th – 12th, 2017
Water Temp: 80-85 deg F
Air Temp: 85-90 deg F
Crew: Dan, Shea, Herence, Dustin, Hector, Ernan, Joe
On Sunday we welcomed aboard 13 divers from the different places. 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 Shea. After dinner we made some final preparations and then hit the sack to get a good night’s rest, ready for the week ahead.
Monday we did our “check out” dive on the Helmet wreck, a Japanese sub chaser that was sunk in WWII during the Desecrate One operation. Decent vis, and we found some Crocodile fish, twin spot gobies, and some Sake bottles and other artifacts from the period. At 1030 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 and an octopus made for some nice photos. We had finished lunch and the Palau Aggressor was now moored at German channel. Our third dive was Barnums wall then it was the famous German channel for some manta ray action, we saw Camy and a two others feeding near the surface.
Tuesday morning began with our first dive at the world famous Blue Corner for our first hook-in dive of the week. As we cruised down the wall on the way to the corner we passed quite a few reef sharks and just before arriving to our hook in spot we were greeted by the ever curious and friendly resident Napoleon Wrasse. 3 of them showed up to have a look at our divers this week. After hooking in we sailed in the current and enjoyed the schooling jacks and snappers being eyed by the numerous sharks that patrolled up and down the wall. Dive two was just past Blue Corner to a site called Blue Holes. A very large cathedral like cavern with holes looking up to the sky and out to the blue. Light streaming in from all around makes for a magical feeling in the cave. After spending some time poking around in the cave with our lights we headed out and cruised back down the wall to have a second helping of Blue Corner to end the dive. Dive three at Turtle Cove didn’t turn up any turtles but there were hundreds of schooling jacks and snappers and a very large school of barracuda hanging around the edge of the very colorful soft coral covered wall. Then it was back to German channel for more manta rays but this time we were more than fortunate because now we had five manta rays feeding and was just and amazing, spectacular dive. Then for the night dive we went back to turtle cove.
Wednesday, the engines fired up early and we motored south in the gentle swell as the sun came up over the islands. With the big boat safely anchored at Camp Beck, on Peleliu Island we headed out for dive number one, Peleliu Cut, there is usually some current running here. As we hooked in, Grey Reef Sharks and White Tips rested in the current. After we un-hooked, we drifted across the plateau with schooling Snapper, Trigger fish and Palette Surgeon fish (or Dory as you might know her better!). Dive two at West Wall, produced a couple of Turtles! Orange Beach was not only the site for dive three, but also the code name for one of the beaches that the US Marines assaulted during WWII. Peleliu was the site of some of the fiercest fighting in the Pacific, and the island still bears some of the scars that serve as a reminder to that time. Those that are interested can join the land tour which takes in the Museum, and the cave system that the Japanese soldiers took refuge in while the Island was shelled. Dive four was at Barracks Point, and while the guests enjoyed the reef wall, Captain Dan moved the big boat back north. Then we did our night dive at Lobster valley.
Our Thursday trip to Blue Corner had a nice current and even more sharks than the previous day. After watching the sharks put on a show we drifted across the plateau again to find a few turtles and the school of barracuda…again…with the added bonus of having two eagle rays swimming around in the school. Next up was Virgin Blue Holes for a look around the massive cavern for some disco clams. Our third dive at New Drop Off had a mild current so after a brief hook in we drifted across the huge plateau where we found some cute little fire dart fish and some industrious little rock mover wrasse…moving rocks. Moving on to our last dive of the day, Big Drop Off where we drifted past bushy corals and soft coral as far as the eye could see down the reef. A few little long nosed hawkish were found in the bushes as well as square spot Anthias schooling all up and down the wall.
Having made our way over to Ulong Island in the night we awoke on Friday with a new view from the boat. The days diving began with an exhilarating drift along Ulong Channel which ends with a spectacular patch of Lettuce Coral and some Giant Clams. We then went to Siaes Tunnel to try and find some of the rare critters that call it home, including Frog Fish, Pygmy Seahorses and Decorated Dart Fish. Then it was to shark city for some shark action then ended it with a nice relaxing dive at sandy paradise.
Our 1st dive Saturday morning was at the “Jake” sea plane. Once used for aerial reconnaissance this Jake now sits in a coral garden in about 50ft of water making it ideal for the last advanced dive of Peak Performance Buoyancy, which was a lot of fun playing games to hone the skills. It is also great for Photographers as the plane is largely intact and would have to be one of the most photographed underwater plane wrecks anywhere. Our 2nd dive on the last day of the charter was at Chandelier caves which comprises of a series of air chambers running back into the rock islands. Surfacing inside the air pockets divers can take out their regulators and breathe while checking out the stalactites and crystals. Out the front of the caves is a good spot to see Mandarin fish darting around the coral rubble and a spiny devi8l scorpion fish.
After breakfast on Sunday we said our farewells as the guests departed for their various hotels, and onward journeys. We have had a good week of sightings with Mantas and heaps of Sharks, and everyone had a good time. We wish everyone safe travels and hope to see ya’ll again soon on the Palau Aggressor II. Keep blowing Bubbles!