Log Date: Sunday, Apr 26, 2015
Entry By: Tropic Dancer Crew
After 4pm on Sunday, we welcomed on board 17 guests, a group trip from a dive shop in Pennsylvania. 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 a pair of 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. For our third dive of the day we headed to Turtle Cove. As we dropped down the hole in the reef we found a large moray watching dives as they drifted down past. Then we proceeded out onto the wall finding several turtles and nudis along the way. For the final dive of the day divers took off for Big Drop Off. As they explored the large wall divers saw a variety of animal life nudis turtles and sharks, as well as the massive ball and chain left by the Germans after the world wars. Dinner was soon ready when we arrived at the big boat, afterwards we had our reef hook briefing for all divers to easy any tension about using them and just how easy they are to use.
On Tuesday morning we started our day with Blue Corner. We had a light outgoing current so we dropped in with the wall on our right and cruised down to the hook in area where all the divers hooked in with ease and kicked back to enjoy the sharks glide by. About twenty minutes in, the current died so we unhooked and went to explore the reef with our two large Napoleon Wrasse hanging out with all the divers as they went. On top of the plateau we found a tiny black pigmy seahorse drifting in the light current. To off the dive we found a couple of turtles and a large moray making for a great start for the day. For dive two divers made their way to New Drop Off for another beautiful hook in dive. Hooking in around forty feet divers watched as sharks paraded around in front of them and had a large school of barracuda off in the blue. After about forty minutes we unhooked and went to explore the slightly small plateau finding a couple of resident green sea turtle munching away on some coral. After lunch we headed to German Channel stopping bye at the cleaning station divers were able to watch a pair of gray reef sharks come in for a fresh scrub as well as see a huge dogtooth tuna swimming around our heads. Afterwards we drifted on down the channel spotting an amazing red anemone full of color and some ghost pipe fish swimming in the current. For dive four we went to Ngedebus Corner, with a light current we drifted down the wall finding numerous nudibranchs of verifying species and a well hidden scorpion fish. After dinner we went to Turtle Cove for our night dive. The dive sight name did not disappoint as we were able to find multiple turtles along the wall along with a great selection of macro life. On our safety stop just as we were finishing our dive we had a gorgeous eagle fly right of our heads making for a great finish to the day.
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 seemed to be a very little incoming current so we headed for “The Express” side starting in the pacific ocean. As soon as we enter the water we headed down and found a large green sea turtle roaming the slopping wall. As we ventured further on we started to see more and more sharks, a few of the guest were even lucky enough to see a large great hammerhead swim by. As we were in route to the hook in area the current switched so we decided to explore the slightly shallower water and end the dive without ever touching our hooks. 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. As for those who stayed behind snuck off of for another dive at Orange Beach Coral Gardens. Amongst the many WWII artifacts of bullets, mortar shells and landing craft parts divers found several turtles, crocodile fish and wonderful hard corals. After everyone had met back up at the Tropic Dancer and had lunch we went to West Wall. With the current light we slowly made our way down the wall seeing turtles, white tips, nudis and fantastic fish life finishing our dive at a row of beautiful tomato anemones. 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 Parrot fish, finishing the dive near a couple of giant clams. Afterwards we moved the big boat back up to north and after yet another delicious dinner we went back to Big Drop Off for the night dive. During the dive we had excellent macro life nudis, beautiful soft yellow corals out filter feeding and lot of little crabs hidden in the hard coral.
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 had back out towards Blue Corner but continued on a let further to the Blue Holes. We entered the water 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 German Channel. It was another great dive unfortunately with no manta however there was multiple sharks, tuna, schooling black snapper and a large eel picking its head out. For the forth dive of the day we took off to Barnums Wall for an excellent macro divers found five deferent types nudibranchs and several scorpion fish. Then for the final night dive after everyone had had dinner we went to German Channel Coral Garden. Finding a pair of nudibranchs mating and a juvenile crocodile fish and a large Polorabranch amongst the corals.
On Friday morning we woke up early and moved the boat back up north to Ulong starting or first dive at Siaes Tunnel. Divers entered the large tunnel at ninety feet and explored around for around ten minutes finding animal not normally seen by recreational diver such as the decorated dart fish, black and white butterfly fish. After exiting the tunnel divers made a slow ascent up the wall seeing great life along the way including two gray reef sharks that continuously swam back and forth past all the divers. After a quick snack divers headed back out to Siaes Corner. The current was next to nothing so divers never even touched their hooks giving everyone lots of time to explore the corner finding a beautiful octopus that putting on a show for all the divers changing colors from blue to white to black also we were able to a resident sea turtle that allowed all the divers to come in and take some great photos. Lunch was served and the divers were off again this time heading to Ulong Channel. After making our way do the wall we hooked in at the mouth of channel to watch the sharks and schooling fish. Forty minutes into the dive we unhooked and sailed down the channel flying over huge lettuce coral and ending the dive at the two giant claims with soft coral growing on their shells. The last dive of the day was at Sandy Paradise, with a strong current divers cruised a small wall around forty feet. All around us were large trigger fish protecting their egg nest, divers were sure to keep their distance from these feisty fish. Towards the end of the dive the was a small school of moon jellyfish drifting in the current which the divers enjoyed illuminating with their flashlights. Divers then return to the boat to feast on yet another suburb dinner, after guest viewed a short documentary on Jelly Fish Lake.
We woke up Saturday morning with the big boat in the 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
All the guest from this great group of divers were on the same flight out to continue the adventure to Turk that night. 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