Log Date: Sunday, Jun 21, 2015
Entry By: Palau Aggressor Crew
Palau Aggressor Charter June 21-28
Water Temp: 82-86 deg F
Air Temp: 78-86 deg F
Crew: Zach , Scott, Christy, Editha, Ernan, Joe, Conor
On Sunday afternoon we welcomed 15 guests onto the Palau Aggressor with two more arriving later that night. After going over room briefings and getting everyone’s gear all in order guests gathered in the saloon for Zach’s Captains briefing. Afterward we all settled down for our first of many delectable dinners prepared by our chef Christy. With the option on the table all the guests chose to get the dive briefing out of the way right after dinner so that they might get a little extra shut eye in the morning.
Monday morning our guests awoke, had breakfast and the headed down stairs to prepare for the first dive on the Helmet wreck. The Helmet wreck having been found much later after WWII is one the few wrecks in Palau were divers can find artifacts around the 200’ ship such as rifles, gasmask, bottles and depth charges. For the second dive of the day we started out of Malakal and headed for the Iro Maru. This massive 500’ wreck is absolutely covered with both hard and soft corals as well as teaming with fish life. As divers were exploring the Iro the Palau Aggressor started making its way down towards German Channel and had the skiff play catch up with a quick trip through the Rock Islands. The third dive of the day was off of Big Drop Off for some great macro life and a massive ball & chain left by the Germans pre WWII. Then for the last dive of the first day divers went to Ferns Wall just a little ways down from the third dive. This wall was filled with great finds by divers two scorpionfish, a crocodilefish, turtles, as well as both white and black tip reef sharks were spotted.
Tuesday morning we start our day out at the world famous Blue Corner which most certainly did not disappoint. Divers hooked in around sixty feet and were shortly joined by our two friendly Napoleon wrasse as we watched as a parade of sharks and schooling black snapper circle all around us. For dive two we ventured back out a little past the corner to the Blue Holes, were divers descended down four large holes at the top of the reef into a massive cavern. Inside divers had great view with the ambient light coming in the holes and found several disco clams on the cavern wall. As we exited the caves divers also got to see a pigmy seahorse, then we made our way back down to Blue Corner to explore the top of the plateau. Dive three was at New Drop Off for another excellent hook in dive. Then the fourth dive was at German Channel to try our luck at seeing mantas, which unfortunately didn’t pan out but divers still had a great dive seeing turtles, a red anemone, octopus and a Leaf Scorpion fish. After dinner we went back out to German Channel for our night dive. On the way there we found a manta swimming in the manmade channel. We watched from the boat as the manta followed our lights feeding on the plankton.
Wednesday with the weather picking up we passed on going to Peleliu and instead headed back out to Blue Corner. This time the current was slack and we never touched our hooks but instead roamed the top of the plateau finding a bulbed anemone, sharks, eels and several turtles. Divers had such a good time they all chose to go back to Blue Corner for dive two as well. Dive three was out at Turtle Cove dropping in though a hole in the reef and then making our way out along the wall seeing some of the best soft corals in all of Palau. We finish our day of diving at Barnums Wall for a nice easy dive. That evening we had the Tropic Dancer join us to listen in on the presentation given by one of our guests, Ernie Brooks. Mr. Brooks is a world famous photographer both above and underwater, as well as one of the true pioneers of the diving industry.
On Thursday morning we moved the Palau Aggressor out to Ulong Island for two great dives. First being Ulong Channel, we drifted down the wall to the mouth of the channel and hooked in on both sides and watched as close to a dozen sharks travelled back and forth. After about twenty five minutes we unhooked and cruised down the channel riding the current. We encountered numerous fish, a giant patch of lettuce coral and finished the dive at two beautiful giant clams. For our second dive at Ulong we dove into Sandy Paradise, finding four Leaf Scorpion fish, Garden eels and wandered around the pristine coral garden. With the weather once again picking up we moved the Aggressor back to Malakal Harbor in protected waters to dive two wrecks. The first wreck was on the Chuyo Maru a wreck from WWII with a lot of great macro life all throughout the ship. Then or last dive was on the ironically named wreck “Hafa a dai” translated into “Safe Travels”, this 80’ fishing boat was covered with purple dragon nudibranchs, lion fish, squid and a couple of giant clams as well.
On Friday morning the wind and rain had died down a bit so we headed back out to Ulong. Unfortunately the water was still too rough to make it out to the outer reefs, but everyone was more than happy to dive Sandy Paradise again. For dive two we headed back for another excellent dive at Ulong Channel. For dives three and four we stayed in the same area with two very different dives, first we dove along Ulong Wall were several divers were lucky enough to see a manta pass right in front of them. The fourth dive we explored the shallower coral garden. That night after dinner Scott presented his slide show of all the amazing pictures he had taken all week of both guests and wild life.
On Saturday morning we went for a snorkel at Jellyfish Lake where we swam with the millions of mesmerizing jellyfish. Upon returning to the skiff, Joe took us on a tour through the Rock Islands. Our last dive was at nearby Chandelier Caves where we explored the four chambers and interesting stalactite formations, surfacing for a breath or two in the air pockets along the way. On the reef just outside the cave entrance we watched Mandarin fish scurrying around along with Pajama Cardinal fish between the shallow corals for the rest of the dive. 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 in the Conor’s video presentation.
We said farewell on Sunday morning and helped our guests with transfers to their hotels and flights. It was yet another wonderful week aboard the Palau Aggressor II with fantastic guests that we look forward to diving again with soon!