Rock Islands Aggressor
Republic of Palau, Micronesia
Charter Report Dec 10th – Dec 17th, 2017
Weather: Winds from South West, Windy, Sunny/Overcast/Rain
Water Temp: 80/85 degrees
Monday: Sandy paradise, Ulong Channel, Siaes Corner
Tuesday: Blue Corner, German channel, Big Drop off, Bernaums Wall, German coral garden
Wednesday: Blue corner, Turtle cove, German channel, German Channel, German coral garden
Thursday: Blue Holes, Ferns wall, Wonder channel, Neco channel, Clam city
Friday: The Iro, The helmet Wreck, Hafa Dai, Light house channel
Saturday: Light house channel, Chandelier Cave
Sunday evening we had no guests, all our guests this week all came from South Korea and arrived very early on Monday morning at 3:30am. We welcomed them all aboard they said they wanted to go ahead so we gave them 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 we finished at about 4:45. A rest then it was Breakfast at 6am and the safety briefing and dive briefing at 7am to 8:30. During this time the big boat was making its way over to the Ulong area for a 3 dive day. At about 9am loaded up the skiff and our first dive or check out dive was at Sandy paradise. After a weight check we descended down the buoy line to the coral garden, and started to explore looking in the blue we saw a few gray reef sharks, we then made our way over to a rock outcropping where the cleaner wrasse will clean your hands. Then it’s over to a large coral head where we found 3 leaf fish 2 mantis shrimp and a disco clam, we then went in the coral garden to end the dive. Back to the boat for some rest and early lunch so people could get some rest we then gave the reef hook briefing before our next dive. Dive two Ulong Channel. On the dive it was a good incoming the best way to dive the channels we hooked in and had a good shark action at the mouth of the channel un hooked and drifted down the channel its self and found a feather tail ray resting and it did not move at all made it grate for photos. We carried on the drift past the famous lettuce corral and finished the dive next to 2 giant clams. Dive three was at Siaes corner, still incoming so wall on the left it was a nice medium current, at the hook in we saw the resident baby eagle ray and saw the orange spine surgeon fish had started to gather, this means there is a big school of them swimming round the corner and they then have a squadron sharks chasing them makes for a exiting dive!
Tuesday morning we started the day with a dive at the world famous Blue Corner. The current was incoming wall on the right getting to the hook in area we saw big schools of horse eye jacks snapper and at the hook in area lots of gray reef sharks, we stayed hooked in for almost 40 min of the dive because of the strong current then when we unhooked we drifted to the corner to see the blue line snapper and turtles. Dive two German Channel started the dive on the Peleliu side stopped at the cleaning stations but we were not lucky to see any manta rays this time. But there were lots of schooling fish gray reef sharks. Dive Three Big drop off, this was a great macro dive seeing many nudies and shrimp the guests saw the big ball and chain left from the German time here in Palau. Dive four Barnums Wall this was a strange dive when we first dropped it the visibility was terrible may be only 6ft with a strong wall on the right current, but after 2 minutes it all cleared and back to 100tf + very strange. It was a bit of a ride as we were drifting so fast but we saw a few turtles and other fish hiding from the current. Dive five German Coral Garden, this is on the Koror side of the channel, it was a nice relaxing dive we saw flat worms, shrimp, nudis, mantis shrimp a sleeping green sea turtle and even a gray reef shark.
Wednesday we went back to Blue corner, this time it was out going so we got to see the other side of this great dive site wall on the left we got to the hook in area we saw more schools of the orange spine surgeon fish played with the blue corner napoleon wrasse. Dive two Turtle Cove this dive we start going down a chimney seeing a disco clam, then lots of soft corals, square spot anthias, wire coral shrimp and schooling fish towards the corner. Dive three was at German Channel this time we started at the Koror side starting seeing the red anemone then making the way to the cleaning stations again we were not lucky to see any manta rays but we came across a sleeping feather tail ray and at the end of the dive saw a very large eagle ray. Dive four was meant to be a different dive but on our way we saw there was a bait ball at German Channel this is the best time to see manta rays feeding. So we started the dive and went straight to the action. The bait ball is a large school of fusiliers eating plankton then bigger fish chasing and eating them like GT’s, wahoo and sharks, the after 2 minutes a manta ray showed up and stayed for the whole dive. We spent the whole dive in may be 20ft seeing a great show! Dive five was a German coral garden this time starting where we ended the last dive seeing more lion fish, shrimps, red crab, eels and nudies.
On Thursday we started the day with Blue holes, due to the wind and swell we could not drop down the holes, instead drop down the wall and enter through the window at 45ft it still leads in to the main chamber and we still could enjoy the sun light coming down the 4 holes on the ceiling. In the large chamber is another place we find disco clams and great for photos. Leaving blue holes wall on the left one of the best walls lots of soft corals seafans anemones then making it to drift over blue corner. Dive two Ferns wall this wall as great staring on a sand channel leading to a wall many nudies were seen a few sharks on the blue but the corals on this dive are amazing. During lunch the boat made its way over to wonder channel for the rest of the days diving. Dive thee Wonder Channel this dive in the rock islands was great for macro and seeing messmate pipe fish seen in pairs. Lots of nudis and star fish were seen. Dive four Neco Channel this is a great dive for macro more pipe fish nice nudies were seen and a rock covered with glassy sweepers with 2 leaf fish, at the channel there are some huge gorgonian sea fans that make divers look very small. The night dive we went to calm city a old clam farm. On the dive we saw the giant clams and a lobster hiding in the rocks.
Early Friday morning the big boat started moving to the Malakal area for some wreck dives. Dive one The Iro this is a Japanese WWII oil fleet tanker. 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 where we found a cuttle fish. 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 the ringed pipe fish. When we reached the stern, we 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. Dive Two was at the Helmet Wreck. We checked out all three cargo holds seeing depth charges, helmets, airplane motors, a spotlight and all the artifacts that have been placed for viewing around the stern. Dive three was at the Hafa Dai. We descended down the mooring and circled around the wreck several times finding lion fish, flatworms and a lot of the blue dragon nudibranchs. Dive Four was light house channel. This is one of the main shipping channels coming in to Malakal harbor. On this dive it was a strong outgoing current as soon as we dropped in the current made it a great drift we passed the small fishing boat in the channel covered with soft coral we could not stop as the current was strong. There were places in the channel where there were eddy currents where it stops and we could stop and gather our self. We returned to the boat and gave the guests a little time to sit back and relax, get a drink and later dinner was ready. It was our special final supper prepared by our chef Christian. The guests started with a French onion soup then served themselves to a buffet that consisted of two choices of mixed veggies, prime rib, roast chicken and Yorkshire puddings and finished with a apple strudel for desert 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 as the big boat moved back to Malakal for Saturdays diving.
We woke up Saturday morning and our first dive was a repeat of light house channel as they group like the current this time it was a lighter current so we could spend more time finding things. 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 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. 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.
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