Palau Aggressor Charter Jan 4th to 11th 2015
Water Temp: 82-86 deg F
Air Temp: 78-86 deg F
Crew: Scott, Cameron, Ripon, Dustin, Zach, Dan and Jay
On Sunday afternoon we were joined by 18 new dive buddies from Russia. After a welcome drink we showed the guests to their individual cabins, and helped them set up their dive gear. Chef Cameron had cooked up a tasty feast for dinner. And Captain Scott gave his boat orientation and safety briefing. Everyone went to bed early to catch up on sleep after their long flights before embarking on another wonderful week of diving in beautiful Palau.
Monday morning at 0600 we departed Neco Marine and headed for a mooring just in the lagoon. The first dive of the charter was the Helmet Wreck. After we entered the water and performed a quick buoyancy check we were on our way down to explore the ill fated Japanese Warship. For dive number two we headed over to the wreck of the Chuyo Maru. This 100 meter long ship is sitting upright on the sea bed and is covered with all sorts of marine life. There is a big hold in the aft end that the guests were able to descend into and have a look around. Schools of Fusiliers danced across our bubbles as we floated down the length of the ship. While we were underwater the big boat started to move to our next location which would be just outside German Channel. We did our third dive just around the corner at Ferns Wall and we were able to spot a small Hawksbill Turtle and a Moray Eel. Just down the reef from there we sighted a couple of large lobsters flicking their antennas about. A nice gentle current escorted us down the reef for the duration. Dive four was at the famous German Channel, where we enjoyed three Mantas swooping around the cleaning station for most of the dive.
Tuesday and the first dive was at Blue Corner. We saw Clown Trigger fish, Red Tooth Trigger fish, Grey Reef Sharks and Barracuda at the hook in. We were also watched closely by the two large Napoleon Wrasse that are probably the most photographed fish in Palau. Second dive at Blue Holes. Dropping in to one of four large holes on the reef top which all open up into one large cavern, where photographers can get some great shots of the light pouring in from above. Inside the cavern Fire Clams, Moray Eels and Nudibranchs are among some of the critters that we found hiding in the corners. On dive three we went to New Drop Off, a mini version of Blue Corner, where we found more Sharks and Barracuda. Dive four was back at German Channel. Seven Mantas feeding just near the surface, simply incredible to watch, no need to say any more about a perfect hour spent underwater!
On Wednesday morning we motored south towards Peleliu Island. With the Palau Aggressor safely at anchor in Camp Beck, we headed out for dive number one on Peleliu Express. 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. The Marines that fought on Peleliu described it as one of the hardest fought battles of the Pacific campaign. The Island still has many relics from the fighting and those that are interested can join the land tour which takes in the Museum, some artillery emplacements and the cave system that the Japanese soldiers took refuge in while the Island was bombed beyond recognition. At Orange Beach we saw Clown Trigger fish, Moorish Idols, and buried in the corals, some .50 Caliber rounds, and Mortar and Artillery shells. Dive four was at Barracks Point, where we found some more Turtles and some large Giant Clams. After dinner, we headed out for our night dive on Ngemelis wall, hinge beak shrimp, banded cleaner shrimp, and sleepy turtle were all spotted by our divers.
For the first dive on Thursday morning we went back to Blue Corner, Plenty of Grey Reef Sharks at the hook in, along with a few White tips, Barracuda, schooling Jacks and hundreds of Red Toothed Trigger fish. Virgin Blue Hole, which was the spot for dive two, is one of my personal favorites with heaps of interesting critters to be found along the reef. At Dexters Wall a few of our divers were lucky enough to see a large Leopard Shark resting in the sand.
Friday morning and Captain Scott took the boat to Ulong Island. Ulong Island is where the TV show Survivor was filmed. Today we visited, Ulong Channel, Siaes Corner, Sandy Paradise and the Coral Garden. We saw plenty of Sharks at the hook in spots at Ulong Channel and Siaes Corner. Ulong Channel has a huge patch of lettuce coral and some pretty big Giant clams. At Sandy Paradise Bumphead Parrot fish, Leaf Scorpion fish and Nudibranchs, Peacock Razor fish, and Rock Mover Wrasse are all hiding for the macro lovers to find!
Snorkeling with the millions of Jellyfish at Jellyfish Lake, where we went on Saturday morning, is a truly surreal and mesmerizing experience. After a short hike, a swim in the tranquil waters of the lake is a great way to relax after a week of exciting diving. We wandered back to the Skiff, where Dustin was waiting to take us on a tour of the Rock Islands before meeting up with the big boat in Koror. Our last dive was at nearby Chandelier Caves where we explored the four chambers and stalactite formations inside, surfacing for a breath or two in the air pockets along the way. On the reef just outside the cave entrance mandarin fish scurry between the shallow corals posing for the final photographs of the week. After that, it was back for lunch and time to assist our guests with rinsing their gear. Later that evening, we all met for a few cocktails to look back on the week and share some diving stories before heading out to dinner at the nearby local restaurants.
We said farewell on Saturday night as our guests were leaving on the late flight. We helped our guests with their luggage and waved goodbye as they headed to the airport. It was yet another wonderful week aboard the Palau Aggressor II with fantastic guests that we look forward to diving again with soon!