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Palau Aggressor II :

 

Log Date: Sunday, Jun 24, 2018
Entry By: Palau Aggressor Crew









 

Palau Aggressor 2

Republic of Palau, Micronesia

Charter Report June 24th – July 1st 2018

Weather: Light winds from all directions

Water Temp: 80/82 degrees

 

Dive Sites

Monday: Helmet Wreck, Iro, Siaes Corner, Ulong Channel

Tuesday: Shark city, Sandy Paradise, Barnums Wall, Ngedebus Coral Garden, Ngedebus coral garden

Wednesday: Blue corner, Blue holes, Turtle cove, German Channel, Turtle cove

Thursday: Peleliu corner, West wall, Orange beach, Barracks point, Big drop off

Friday: Blue Corner, New Drop Off, Big drop off, German channel

Saturday: Jake Sea Plane, Chandelier Cave

 

Sunday afternoon we welcomed 11 guests from all over the world. We started with a quick introduction to their cabins, then back on the dive deck everyone set up their dive gear, we checked cert cards then headed upstairs to the salon for the captains briefing, soon after dinner was ready. After dinner most guests headed to bed as we brought one more guest onboard from the Sunday night flight.12 guests total for this week charter.

After breakfast we quickly covered last night’s briefing with the late arrivals then the general dive briefing with all the guests. We loaded up the skiff and our first dive or check out dive was the Helmet Wreck. We tied up the skiff to the mooring and entered the water. All guests did a weight check and descended down to the wreck. We entered the aft cargo hold and saw the three stacks of Japanese WWII helmets and depth charges. We swam by the engine room area and wheel house, dropped into the middle cargo hold and saw more depth charges and an anti-aircraft search light. We swam through the rotted away partition to the forward cargo hold and saw the zero engines. We turned around at the bow and ascended along the deck to the stern where all the artifacts have been collected at placed for viewing. After the dive the big boat moved out of Malakal Harbor and into the Western Lagoon. We dropped the skiff for dive two at The Iro. One of the best wrecks in Palau, we descended down the mooring to the deck of the wreck; the visibility was not the best. We saw the bow gun, swam through the sides of the wheel house and found the ringed pipe fish. We then made our way to the stern gun where we spotted a large jellyfish above in the blue. Then we circled up the tripod king post were there are lots of anemones and tomato clown fish and a few clams, due to the bad visibility we decided to end the dive here and not swim back to the bow. After everyone surfaced the skiff took a nice ride through the rock islands to catch up with the big boat on its way to Ulong. Dive three was at Siaes Corner. Upon our arrival we see that the current was coming from the incoming side so we would start wall on the left. Current was strong so as soon as we hooked in gray reef sharks were swimming right at the edge of the plateau just inches from everyone that was hooked in. After a while we unhooked and drifted along the plateau to finish the dive. Our last dive of the day was at Ulong channel. We started from the far mooring, descended down to the wall and saw a couple gray reef sharks. It was a strong current and we decided to hook in. We then drifted down the channel seeing beautiful anemones, couple of giant groupers and the big patch of lettuce coral and saw the two giant clams. Dinner was soon ready back at the big boat and soon after everyone was off to bed.

Tuesday’s morning Dive 1 was at Shark city. It was that time of the month when the red snappers spawn early in the morning. So we started before having our hot breakfast. We got there jump in and after a few minutes we could see a huge school of snapper probably in the thousands. The current was ripping as we tried to follow the snapper school. Just as we were ascending that’s when they started to spawn. We returned to the big boat for some hot breakfast and rested before the next dive. After we rested we headed for Sandy paradise for our second dive. As we arrived we could see from above that the visibility was beautiful and when we jumped in it was crystal blue water. Big schools of Barracuda, jacks, scad, blue fin trevallies and many fusiliers all around. We stopped by the cleaner wrasse station to get our manicures and moved to the leaf fish rock and turned around coming back to where we started to end the dive. It’s lunch time back at the big boat as we moved towards the German channel area. Now fully replenished and rested we are going to Barnum’s wall for dive 3. Barnum’s wall is actually a sloping coral garden with walls on either side. The dive starts at the coral garden and we just go with the flow. On this dive we were able to see a feather tail sting ray and a couple of eagle rays and turtles on wall. The current itself was nice and mild and now going back to the big boat for some savory snacks. After some snacks and rest we are going to Ngedebus coral garden for the fourth dive of the day. Again the visibility was in our favor. Blue water all the way, couple of leaf scorpion fish, coral shrimp, eagle ray out in the blue and some reef black tips. Head back to the boat for dinner and return to Ngedebus coral garden for the night dive. At night Ngedebus coral garden is where the big lobsters come out to feed and/or to mate. Giant plurabranch, shrimps and amazingly a manta too finish. It was great weather all day with great diving.      

Wednesday we started the day with the world famous Blue corner. It was an outgoing current that switched right after we got in the water so we had to swim all day way to the top of the plateau and that’s where we hooked in. All the marine life also switched from the outgoing side to the incoming side and so we were able to see them crossing the plateau to the other side. School of jacks, gray reef sharks, turtles, napoleon and many schooling fishes all moving to the other side of the reef. At the end we just unhooked and drifted out into the blue and exited the water. Before the second dive we are having some sweet snacks and rest back at the big boat. Just a little further up by Blue corner is Blue holes our second dive. Another famous dive site here in Palau. Four holes on the top of the reef and also on the wall that all connects into a cavern in the reef. Entering the cavern from one of the holes on top of the reef and as we descend into the cavern we can see the ray of light shine down and into the cavern through the four holes above. Beautiful! Amazing! Again great weather and visibility making it beautiful too see. Disco clam, hermit crab, lion fish and nudibranchs were seen inside the holes. We continue our dive outside the holes on the wall drifting towards blue corner. Yes! The direction of the current is flowing towards blue corner so we are able to get there and do 2 dive sites in 1 dive at no extra charge(ha ha) and that’s where we exit the dive. It’s back to the big boat for lunch. Who’s hungry? Now our bellies are filled and well rested it’s off to Turtle cove for the third dive. We started from the chimney hole going in and coming out on the wall and headed towards the corner. It is a corner but not a hook in dive. The current was ripping at the corner so we just drifted on the top and exited on the other side. There was leopard shark on the wall and school of jacks, snappers and turtles on the plateau. Heading back for some savory snacks and some rest. Manta time, off to German channel for the fourth dive. The incoming tide is perfect timing for some manta action. We got in went straight to the manta cleaning and at first there was a gray reef shark at the cleaning station and getting cleaned so we kneeled in the sand and enjoyed watching the shark. After a while we moved to the other cleaning station and on the way we encountered schools of barracuda, jacks and snappers. Arriving at the second cleaning station and to our surprise a manta was there doing its thing. We kneeled on the sand and enjoyed the show. We ended the dive drifting in the channel over the coral garden. Back to the big boat and Ding! Ding! It’s dinner time. We saw Turtle cove during the day and now we’re going to see it at night. Back to Turtle cove for the night dive. There were shrimps, crabs and sleeping parrot fishes in the corals. A turtle came out from the wall swimming towards us and beautiful cup corals on the wall. Had another great day of diving with good conditions and finish the night with a documentary on Peleliu during the war because we are going to the Island of Peleliu tomorrow.  

Thursday morning the big boat headed down to Peleliu. Dive one was at Peleliu Corner it was a ripping current from the cut to the corner. We did see several sharks in the blue, a school of barracuda, jacks and a bunch of turtles. Snacks and rest back at the big boat and then we are of again. Dive 2 was at West wall right outside the south dock and 7 other guests did the Peleliu land tour. We arrived at the dive site and immediately we could tell the current was ripping. Got in and started with the wall on our right hand side and just drifted. We saw Gray reef sharks down in the deep and turtles on the wall. We actually crossed over the entrance in to the dock and exited at Orange beach. Dive 3 is at Barrack’s point and as we got there and checked the current it was mild. We got in started with the Giant clams and Crocodile fish then we slowly drifted along the plateau and encountered a lot of turtles. Towards the end of the dive the current changed direction so we just turned around and went with the flow drifted and finished where we started. Dive 4 was at Orange Beach Coral Garden. This was the landing beach that on September 15th, 1944 the US marines landed on Peleliu. On this dive we started further up the coral garden because the current was a little strong. We found the 194o era coke bottles on the reef, piles of bullets and lots of turtles. We even found a feathertail ray down deep. We drifted past the entrance to Camp Beck and towards West Wall; in this rubble area we saw some more bombs and a scorpion fish. After the dive, the big boat started up and left Camp Beck aka South Dock and started moving back towards German Channel. Dinner back at the big boat and then the night dive was at Big Drop Off. We started by the ball and chain went to the shark cave but at night they are out hunting. The wall comes alive at night the soft corals colors pop bright in your lights and we saw big groupers hunting. The dive was filled with other macro life as well.

Friday morning’s first dive at the world famous Blue Corner. We started the dive on the outgoing side of the corner there were huge schools of jacks and snapper, we hooked in and watched the sharks and a big Spanish mackerel swim in front of the divers. The napoleon wrasse were there swimming in and around the divers. We unhooked and had a quick drift across the plateau to the other side. There were Giant groupers, Pompano threadfin and turtles on the plateau. Dive two was at New Drop Off. It was an incoming current and we hooked in for a while. There were not a lot of sharks so we decided to unhook and explore the plateau. There were a bunch of turtles, both green sea and hawksbill on the reef. They made great photo subjects. After lunch we went for our third dive at Big drop off. We saw it at night now we see at night, we started at the ball and chain left over from the German occupation of Palau. We just let the current push us wall on the right. We enjoyed the soft coral, sea fans and macro life. After the dive the big boat started heading back to Malakal Harbor. The guests showered off and had time to relax with a drink or two then we sat down to our final supper of prime rib, 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 our video pro’s video of the charter. We all enjoyed this look back at the great week of diving.

We woke up Saturday morning and did our first dive at the Jake Seaplane. This is a Japanese WWII three person sea plane that sits in only 40 feet of water. We explored the plane and also found a octopus in the coral garden around the plane. For our last dive of the charter we headed out 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 two spot signal gobies and some nudibranchs. Back at the big boat the guests broke down their gear, washed it and hung it to dry. We had lunch then settled bills. Next was an afternoon of relaxation, shopping in town or 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 we sent the guests ashore for dinner and picked them back up later to bring them back to boat for the night.  

Sunday morning continental breakfast was at 7am then 7:45 loaded up the luggage on the skiff and said our goodbyes as we took the guests ashore to be transferred their hotels. We would like to thank everyone for joining us this week on the Palau Aggressor 2. We hope to see you all again soon.

 

- Palau Aggressor Crew