Log Date: Sunday, Apr 19, 2015
Entry By: Tropic Dancer Crew
After 4pm on Sunday, we welcomed on board 10 guests, 3 more arrived later in that night. 7 guests from the US and 6 from Canada. We started with a quick introduction to their cabins. Then on the dive deck, everyone set up their dive gear. We sat down to dinner and after we covered the safety briefing and vessel orientation. We handed out the nautilus lifelines and watched a documentary on Palau.
Early Monday morning we moved the big boat into Malakal Harbor. After breakfast we covered the general dive briefing and our first dive was at the Helmet Wreck. We entered the water did our weight check and descended down to the wreck. We checked out all three cargo holds, seeing the WWII helmets and depth charges. On the bow we found the banded messmate pipe fish and signal gobies. Back at the stern we spent some time looking over the WWII artifacts that have been collected from the wreck and placed by the bow gun. During our surface interval the big boat moved out of Malakal Harbor and into the rock islands. Our second dive was at the Iro. Everyone enjoyed diving along the deck of this massive ship were we spotted octopus and numerous fish life, going through the wheel house and around the king posts. After lunch we covered the last power point presentation on how to use the reef hooks. Our third dive was at Siaes Corner. We entered the water and drifted towards the hook in area. After hooking in we stayed there for a while were we had a multitude of sharks in the blue. We unhooked and spent the rest of the dive exploring the plateau. For dive four we headed out to Ulong Channel. We hooked in at the mouth of channel to watch the sharks and schooling fish. After about twenty minutes we had a gorgeous spotted eagle ray pass bye. We then unhooked and cruised down the channel were we had a giant manta fly right over our heads. Dinner was soon ready when we arrived at the big boat, after we watched a fish ID presentation on the most common fish we see here in Palau.
On Tuesday morning we started our day with Siaes Tunnel. We entered the water and went down to the massive tunnel entering in at about 90feet. At the mouth of the tunnel there was a cold current but once inside the water warmed back up and we saw some great critters including lobster, crabs and shrimp. For the second dive of the day we headed for Sandy Paradise at the cleaning station two gray reef sharks hovered over with mouths wide as they got a fresh cleaning. Then we checked out a patch of coral with hundreds of glassy sweeper around it, and found the four leaf scorpion fish hidden in the coral. We saw a school of barracuda and jacks, as well as octopus roaming over the reef. After lunch we embarked for dive three at Big Drop Off. All the guests enjoyed the drift along the wall we saw a lot of macro life, nudis and a couple of turtles. For dive four we went German Channel were we watched a manta cruse by feeding on the plankton, after which we drifted down the channel to see octopus, sharks and large schools of fish. After dinner, we headed back to Big Drop off for our night dive. With our lights ready we plunged in to the dark, the wall was full of life. Within minutes a large grouper snatched a fish that was spot lighted in the by a dive light. As we explored the wall further we saw the coral in full bloom stretching out across the wall, spotting multiple squid along the way and a miniature octopus the size of a figure. To finish this great night dive we wondered the shallows finding crabs, ship and a small sea snake.
Wednesday, morning we woke up early and moved the big boat down to Peleliu. After we tied up the big boat in South Dock, our first dive was at Peleliu Corner. We checked the current and it was an outgoing current. So we did the “Cut.” We entered the water and went wall on the left to the hook in area. We hooked in and the current was quite strong. We saw some sharks in front of us but with the strong current we unhooked after about fifteen minutes and glided across the plateau were see spotted a nurse shark amongst. When we got back to the big boat nine guests went on the Peleliu WWII land tour to check out the sites of one of the bloodiest battles of WWII. Dive two we went to West Wall. With the current light we slowly made our way dawn this beautiful wall seeing turtles, white tips, nudis and fantastic fish life. After lunch dive three was at Orange Coral Garden. Amongst the many WWII artifacts of bullets, mortar shells and landing craft parts divers found several turtles, crocodile fish and giant clams. Our last dive in Peleliu was at Barracks Point. We started the dive along the wall and made our way to the sloping coral garden. On the dive we were able to see dozen of turtles as well as several Napoleon wrasse and Bumphead wrasse finishing the dive near a couple of giant clams. At dinner we celebrated two guests Bryan and Kristis 15th wedding anniversary with cake and song. Afterwards we moved the big boat back up to Turtle Cove for the night dive. During the dive we saw a turtles, nudis, and some basket stars out filter feeding in the mild current, along with copious amount of juvenile squid swimming in the open water.
Thursday morning we started the day with Blue Corner. The current was incoming and steady but not too strong divers hooked in around 60 feet and enjoyed the show. There were lots of sharks and guest took pleasure in the napoleons checking everyone out. After about 45 min we unhooked and explored the top of the plateau spotting turtles, anomie fish and a large school of barracuda. After a quick snack we went back out towards Blue Corner but continued on a let further to the Blue Holes. We entered the water for on top the plateau, and descended down into the chamber. We took photos saw the disco clam and the pygmy sea horse on the sea fan by the exit. We exited and made our way down towards Blue Corner see sharks and schooling black snapper, making our safety stop and finishing the dive before the hook in area. After lunch we headed out for Ngedebus Corner. This was a very pleasant wall dive with virtually no current we cruised the wall around 50 feet spotting dozens of nudis and a very well hidden crocodile fish. Towards the end of the dive we explored the top of the plateau were a turtle was perched in the reef eating away at some soft coral. Not too far from there we found a moray eel hiding in his hole. The fourth dive of the day was at New Drop Off. Divers hooked in at the edge of the wall and watched the shark parade in its full glory. After unhooking the divers explored the reef to see various fish life, turtles and right at the end of the dive found a wonderful little Picturesque Dragonet. After another delectable dinner we headed out for our final night dive of the charter to Ngemelis Wall. The corals were active as could be and full of macro life. Guests were amazed to find a large Coralbranch booking it across the wall. At the end of the dive we found two Crocodile fish in the shallow and a beautiful peacock flounder.
On Friday morning we woke up and started the day with German Channel. Unfortunately we only saw one brief swim by one of the Mantas before it disappeared off into the blue. After hanging out at the cleaning station for a bit, divers cruised down the channel finding a beautiful red anemone and swam though several large schools of fish. For dive two we headed to Turtle Cove just sneaking in ahead of another group of divers. We descended down the hole on top the reef and out along the wall where we spotted two large gray reef sharks checking out all of the divers for a good fifteen minutes of the dive. Towards the end of the dive we travel up to the top of the wall finding two small hawksbill turtles munching away on the some soft coral. After lunch for dive three, we went back to Blue Corner for another lovely dive. With an outgoing current we dropped in with the wall on left following a large school of barracuda down to the hook in area were watch sharks and tons of small trigger fish swim by. We then unhooked and meandered across the plateau were we found the two very large Napoleon Wrasse that call there Blue Corner home. Then for the final dive of the day motored on of to Barnums Wall. With a slight current we started the dive with the wall on our right. We immediately founder a large green seas turtle roaming the wall as well as two white tip sharks. Upon further exploration we found several Nudibranch eggs with their parents close by. Once we arrived back to the big boat, it moved into the rock islands to get ready for Saturday Morning. Soon we sat down to chef Camerons steak dinner. After, guest viewed a short documentary on Jelly Fish Lake.
We woke up Saturday morning with the big boat in rock islands and a slight rain coming down. Our first excursion was Jelly Fish Lake. We tied the skiff up on the outside and started our hike over the hill to the lake. We entered the water and after a short swim into the middle of the lake we were surrounded by millions of jelly fish. Everyone enjoyed this time in the lake, with an estimated 13 million jelly fish. After the lake we traveled by skiff on a rock island tour. We stopped for photos at Palaus famous limestone archway and some WWII sites on the way back to the big boat. We did a quick turnaround and headed out to Chandelier Cave. We surfaced in all four air chambers to take photos of the stalactites and outside the cave we found the mandarin fish. After an afternoon of cleaning, drying and packing scuba gear, we gathered in the salon at 6pm for the cocktail party and watch a photo slideshow of the week and soon after all the guests headed off into town for dinner
Sunday morning the guests woke up to continental breakfast and at 8am we said our goodbyes as they headed off to their hotels. We would like to thank all of our guests for joining us this week aboard the Tropic Dancer, hope to see you all again soon…
-Tropic Dancer Crew