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Rock Islands Aggressor
Republic of Palau, Micronesia
Charter Report Dec 3rd – Dec 10th, 2017
Weather: Winds from North East, Sunny/Overcast/Rain
Water Temp: 82 degrees
Monday: Sandy Paradise, Siaes Tunnel, Ulong Channel, Sandy Paradise
Tuesday: Shark City, Siaes Corner, Big Drop Off, German Channel, German Coral Garden
Wednesday: Blue Corner, Blue Holes, Turtle Cove, New Drop Off, Turtle Cove
Thursday: Peleliu Corner, West Wall, Orange Beach Coral Garden, Barracks Point, Big Drop Off
Friday: German Channel, Blue Corner, Neco Channel
Saturday: Jake Sea Plane, Chandelier Cave
Sunday evening we welcomed aboard 18 guests, from Thailand. Some of the guests are our friends from Sea Paradise and have traveled with us several times before. We started with a quick introduction to the staterooms then back out to the dive deck to set up their dive gear. We handed out weights, safety equipment and after checking certification cards and went upstairs for the Safety briefing and Vessel orientation. Soon after, dinner was ready and the guests sat down to a nice dinner prepared by out Chef Christian. After dinner some guests stayed up setting up their cameras and shortly after went to bed.
Early Monday morning we started moving the big boat towards Ulong. We had our breakfast then covered the general dive briefing and headed down stairs. We loaded up the skiff and our first dive or check out dive was at Sandy paradise. We started the dive at the mooring line and dropped down into the sloping coral garden. We descended down further to the sandy bottom and at the big rock at 80 feet there was one manta getting cleaned. We stayed there for awhile watching the manta do several passes around the cleaning station then took off. We stopped at the next rock out cropping where the cleaner wrasse will clean your hands. Then we headed over to the rock with all the glassy eyed sweepers and leaf scorpion fish for photos. To end the dive we ascended into the shallows for our safety stop. For dive two we headed out to Siaes Tunnel. We descended down the mooring to the reef then down to the entrance of the tunnel. The tunnel was filled with nice ambient light and we found the decorated dart fish in the sandy bottom. We exited the tunnel and went along the wall seeing sharks in the blue, some anemones and bumphead parrot fish. After lunch we covered our last power point presentation on how to use reef hooks and our third dive was at Ulong Channel. We started for the south side of the channel and swam into the hook in area at the mouth. We hooked in and had a bunch of sharks in front of the hooked in divers. We unhooked and drifted down the channel seeing beautiful anemones and a devil scorpion fish. We drifted past the lettuce coral and ended the dive at the two giant clams. For the last dive of the day we went back to Ulong Channel. This time we started from the mooring just outside the mouth and drifted along the wall to the hook in area. We hooked in and again had several sharks in the blue in front of all the divers. We stayed there for most of the dive, then unhooked and drifted down the channel. It was getting dark by now but we were still able to make out the lettuce coral and ended the dive at the giant clams. Back on the big boat dinner was soon ready. After dinner most of the guests were off to bed.
Tuesday morning we headed out to Shark City to see if the red snapper were still spawning. We started on the outgoing side and drifted along the top of the reef. We saw grey reef sharks in the blue but didn’t hook in. We saw some red snappers but no spawning; the big group of them from last week was gone. At the corner we did see a large school of orange spine unicorn fish. They are gathering to mate as well. We didn’t see them mating but the sharks were chasing them around the reef. For our last dive in Ulong we went to Siaes Corner. We started from the mooring on the outgoing side and went along the wall seeing the beautiful seafans. We came up on top the reef at the corner but the current was too light to hook in. There was not a lot of action at the corner so we went to explore the coral garden. We saw turtles, a school of snapper and barracuda. Just we started to end the dive; we saw a huge school of orange spine like at Shark City. Some of the guests went down for photos. There was a group of sharks chasing them and we saw a couple of strikes by the Spanish mackerel and wahoo. Back on the big boat we moved to the German Channel area and our third dive was at Big Drop Off. We started the dive from the ball and chain, which was left over during the German Occupation of Palau before WWI and went wall on the left. Inside the small hole on the reef we saw 4 small white tip sharks sleeping. For the rest of the dive we saw macro life, orangutan crabs and a couple turtles. For our fourth dive we went to German Channel. It was a nice incoming current and we started the dive from the Koror State side of the channel. We descended down and saw the red anemone then continued to the Koror side cleaning station and kneeled down around the rocks and waited but no mantas showed up. We then swam across the channel to the Peleliu side cleaning station but still no mantas. We swam back to the middle of the channel and saw three mantas above us feeding near the surface. We left the bottom and swam up to the shallow water but the current died off but the mantas did a couple of passes by the divers. We then just let the light current push us into the channel to end the dive. After dinner our night dive was at German Coral Garden. We saw the red anemone outside the channel and lots of other macro life.
On Wednesday 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 came in to hook in at 45 feet. We stayed there for a while seeing sharks and the school of jacks. Later we unhooked and explored the plateau as the napoleon wrasse joined us. We got some great photos as he checked out all the divers. Also we saw turtles, eels, lion fish and a large school of barracuda. Dive two; we headed back to the Blue Corner area for our dive at Blue Holes. We started from the mooring and swam over to the holes, descended down and we took photos of the guests with the ambient light streaming down from above. We swam up the wall on the side and saw the disco clams and exited the chamber wall on the left towards blue corner. We had to swim through the eddy current and into the strong outgoing current. Some of the guests made it down to the corner but did not hook in; others got pushed up over top the reef and ended their dive in the shallows. After lunch our third dive was at Turtle Cove. We started from the mooring and swam over on top the reef and descended down the one hole on top the reef. We showed a couple guests the disco clam that didn’t see it at Blue Holes. We then exited out along the wall and headed down to the corner. We saw lots of macro life and at the tip of the corner we spotted a couple turtles. Our forth dive we went to New Drop Off. We started the dive with a light outgoing current. We drifted along the beautiful wall covered in soft corals and sea fans also seeing some sharks in the blue. We came around the big cut in the reef and hooked in around it, there was a school of yellow tail barracuda off to the side of the divers. The current died off so we unhooked to go explore the plateau. There were a couple turtles, the school of blue lined snapper, and more barracuda. The current switched to incoming so we swam over to the hook in area on that side but didn’t hook in again. We saw a couple more sharks then came up to start our safety stop. After dinner our night dive was at Turtle Cove. We started further back along the wall and found a lot of macro life. Slipper lobster, crabs and shrimp to name some. We found the basket stars out along the top of the reef filter feeding in the light current. We returned to the big boat for hot chocolate and then to bed.
Thursday morning the big boat headed down to Peleliu. We tied up the big boat in South Dock aka Camp Beck and our first dive was at Peleliu Corner. The current was incoming and it was nice. We did a live drop in the blue and let the current push us to the wall. We lightly drifted along the wall and when we started to see the sharks we hooked in. The sharks did several passes by the divers off in the blue and left. We did some advanced hooking and moved down until we started to see them and again hooked in. We later unhooked and drifted down towards the corner seeing chevron barracuda, turtles and the large groupers that live on the corner. We drifted off the corner and into the blue to start our safety stop. For dive two we went to West Wall. It was still an incoming current so we started the dive by the big cut on Peleliu Corner and went wall on the right. The current switched on us and picked up. We drifted fast towards the tip of Peleliu Corner. We saw the schools of jacks and snapper and off the corner we saw the large school of giant trevally as we did our safety stop. After lunch our third dive was at Orange Beach Coral Garden. This was the landing beach for the Americans on September 15th 1944. We dropped into the water right above the three bombs in the rubble area then went shallows on the left. We saw several bombs, collections of bullets, and the landing craft coke bottles, turtles and a school of yellow tail barracuda. We ended the dive just past the entrance to Camp Beck. . 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 the 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 big boat in the Turtle Cove area and after dinner our 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.
On Friday we started the day out with a repeat dive at German Channel. It was a nice incoming current and we started from the Peleliu State side of the channel. We entered the water and first stopped at the Peleliu side cleaning station. No mantas came in to be cleaned so we kicked across the channel and in the middle we saw a feather tail ray and one manta heading off into the blue. We continued on to the Koror side cleaning station and we saw a leopard shark down in the sand sleeping on the bottom. We then sat down around the cleaning station and the manta came back and did a couple circles around the cleaning station. Later it took off so we left and started drifting into the channel to end the dive. For dive two we went back to Blue Corner. We started the dive on the incoming side of the corner, dropped down and before we reached the hook in area the current switched. We kicked over to the outgoing side with the napoleon wrasse following us the whole way. We hooked in watched the show. The current picked up and the sharks were coming in close as the napoleon checked out all the divers. We unhooked and explored the plateau for a short while as we drifted across then came up to do our safety stop. When we arrived back at the big boat, we moved towards the Wonder Channel Area. After lunch we headed out the East side of Palau but not to dive. Our first stop was at the Japanese Zero fighter that sits in 6 feet of water. We snorkeled around it and took photos. When the tide is right the tip of the propeller sticks out of the water and is great for some over/under photos. We boarded the skiff and went over to the Milky Way. This is an area tucked away in the rock islands. We tied off the skiff and brought up hand full’s of the white mud from the bottom. The guests then rubbed it on their bodies. The minerals found in this mud can be found in most cosmetics, now there is no scientific proof but they say it’s good for your skin and besides its fun to cover yourself in the white mud for photos. The guests then jumped in the water to wash off then we headed back to the big boat to wash down the skiff. For our last dive we went to Neco Channel. This site is on the inner reef and is considered a muck dive. It was a light outgoing current and we drifted along the reef finding a ton of nudibranchs, a couple lobster, two cuttle fish and pipefish. We took photos of all the guests around a huge sea fan and started our ascent. The skiff caught with the big boat and continued on to Malakal Harbor. We sat down to our final supper of prime rib, roasted chicken, Yorkshire puddings and a buffet of mixed veggies. After dinner the guests sat down on the sofas in front of the television set to watch Ripon’s video of the charter. We all enjoyed this look back at the great week of diving.
We woke up Saturday morning since all our guests are flying out on the very early Sunday morning flight; they wanted two quick and shallow dives. We did our excursion as a split dive at two different locations. First was at the Jake Sea Plane. This plane sits in 40 feet of water and is great for photos; it’s not covered with coral growth. The guests descended down took photos around the plane and came back on the skiff. We then headed over to Chandelier Cave. The divers surfaced in all four air chambers to take photos of the stalactites and crystal formations inside the chambers. 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. We settled bills then had lunch. Next 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 the guests choose not to go ashore for dinner, they brought dinner out to the boat. Some guests stayed up packing, while some went to bed to get some sleep before their flight.
Very early Sunday morning we loaded up the skiff and said our goodbyes as we took them ashore to be transferred to the airport for her flight. We would like to thank everyone for joining us this week and it was great to see our friends from Sea Paradise out of Thailand. We always hope to see you all again soon.
-Rock Islands Aggressor Crew