Water Temp: 79-84F
Air Temp: 78-86F
Crew: Zach, Christy, Dan, Jay, Hector, Ripon and Joe
On Sunday afternoon 17 new guests arrived from across the USA, and one from Switzerland. Once they were welcomed aboard the Vessel and helped to set up their gear, the guests were given a safety briefing from the Captain followed by a delicious dinner, prepared and served by Christy. Afterwards it was then time to get a good nights sleep. You need to be well rested before beginning a wonderful week of diving in Palau!
Our first dive on Monday morning, after we departed the dock was on the Helmet wreck, one of the casualties of WWII. Unlike many wrecks in Palau, which were salvaged after the war, the Helmet wreck wasnt discovered until the eighties. As a result the divers can find many artifacts like sake bottles, weapons, cooking pots and gas masks on the wreck. Upon request dive two was on the Jake Sea Plane. Obviously the wreck itself isnt very large, but the surrounding coral garden has much to explore. We found an Octopus and some Nudibranchs. The Sea Plane takes a very nice photo for those who have their wide angle lens on. During lunch the Palau Aggressor II moved down to Ulong Island, recently famous for being the host of Survivor Palau. The guests had their first taste of the outer reef with a dive Sandy Paradise after lunch. Seeing some cool creatures like Leaf Scorpion fish, had everyone excited for more. Dive four was at Ulong Channel, hooking in at the mouth of the channel was very exciting with lots of Grey Reef and White tip Sharks putting on a good show!
Tuesday morning our first dive was on Siaes Corner, my personal favorite site in Palau. We hooked in and saw a few Sharks, but didnt stay long as there was not a lot of current, so we unhooked and drifted along the wall, checking out the Pygmy Seahorses, a Crinoids shrimp and some cool nudibranchs along the way. Dive two was in Siaes Tunnel, where one can find Decorated Dart fish and Blue back pygmy angel fish. During lunch were moved up to German Channel and did a dive at Big Drop off, followed by German Channel, were we saw a large Manta at the cleaning station. Our night dive was at German Coral Garden, were we saw lots of cool macro life, and a slipper lobster, a few Sharks and a Turtle.
Wednesday morning we dived Blue Corner for the first time, saw some Sharks, Barracuda, Jacks, Napoleon Wrasse, and so much more, easy to understand why this dive site has the reputation it does as it never disappoints! New Drop Off was our third dive, a mini version of Blue Corner and often just as exciting, produced more sharks. The Plateau on Turtle cove, our fourth dive is particularly beautiful in the sunlight with Anthias and Basselets and other reef fish so concentrated it is like a huge aquarium.
On Thursday we moved the big boat down to Peleliu Island in the gentle swell and did the first dive on Peleliu express. Dive Three was on the very beautiful coral garden at Orange beach. The name is not referencing a colorful spot on the island, but rather it was one of the code names for a landing area during the invasion of Peleliu by the US Marines. Peleliu was one of the fiercest battles in the Pacific, and evidence of the fighting can be found on the Island and also at this dive site. Some of our guests decided to explore the Island via the land tour instead of doing the second dive. Dive four was at Barracks Point, which is home to some giant clams and also several Turtles! We found some Cuttlefish at Orange beach on the night dive.
Friday morning and we headed out to Blue Holes for number one, and checked out the Disco Clams and Pygmy Seahorses in the Cavern. The holes make for beautiful photographs looking to the surface with the sunlight pouring in. Blue Corner again was our second dive. We hooked in for a while and there was so much going on it was hard to know where to look. The current went slack so we explored the plateau and found Turtles and sleeping White Tips and some Palette Surgeon Fish. We went to Barnums Wall for the third dive and found some large Cuttlefish, and got escorted back to the big boat with a large pod of Spinner Dolphins! After an amazing final dinner by Christy, we gathered in the saloon to watch the video of the weeks highlights.
On Saturday morning we went to Jellyfish Lake where we swam with the millions of mesmerizing stingless jellies plus checked out the predacious anemones along the shoreline. After a relaxing hour in the tranquil lake, we boarded the skiff and did a spectacular tour of the Rock Island courtesy of Joe. We then went for our last dive at Chandelier Cave, a must do as it is so different from anything else we dived throughout the week. With a patient eye you can find Mandarin fish and Devil Scorpion fish amongst the rubble at the cave entrance. A slide show was prepared by Hector and included all of the sights from this weeks trip which we watched at the cocktail party that evening, after which the guests enjoyed dinner in one of the restaurants in Koror.
Sunday morning and we helped the guests load the luggage onto the bus and said our goodbyes as they left for their hotels. Its been a fun week and we hope to see you all again soon aboard the Palau Aggressor II.