Log Date: Sunday, Jun 28, 2015
Entry By: Palau Aggressor Crew
After 4pm on Sunday, we welcomed on board 18 guests, all currently living in the US. 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 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 over to the other side of Malakal Harbor and our second dive was at the Chuyo Maru. We descended down the mooring line and to the stern of the wreck. We circled around the stern gun and by the smoke stack. We found two lion fish herding small glassy eyed sweepers with their fins out trying to feed. We then traveled along the deck to the bow of the boat to the front king posts. At the top we several red anemones with tomato anemone fish. We passed by the wheel house and up the mooring line to start our safety stop. During lunch the big boat moved to Ulong and before our next dive we covered the Reef Hook Briefing. Our third dive was at Siaes Corner. We drifted along with the wall on the right to the hook in area. We hooked in and enjoyed the show. There were several sharks and even the small eagle ray made an appearance. We then unhooked and headed up the coral garden and the current switched so we turned around. In the coral garden we spotted a couple of turtles. For dive four we headed out to Ulong Coral Garden. The current was still a light out going current and we started from the furthest mooring from the mouth. We explored the coral garden seeing sharks, turtles, barracuda and a giant clam. The current switched to a light incoming and to end the dive we drifted into the channel. 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 Wonder Channel. With little to no current, this sight is always a pleasure. Several pipe fish, flat worms and several varieties of nudibranchs. Next up was Big Drop Off. We drifted along the wall with a outgoing current. A white tip shark was seen feeding in a small alcove on the wall. Several grey reef sharks were patrolling out in the blue. A Napoleon wrasse was seen in the shallows. On the top of the reef in a sandy area schools of sergeant majors were diligently protecting their nests, full of eggs. German Channel was our next site. Schools of pacific barracuda were seen, as well as, many other tropical fish. Several grey reef sharks cruised over our dive group. Many turtles were also in attendance. A lone barramundi cod was seen swimming with a grouper. Final afternoon dive was German drop off. Again several turtles were seen and a juvenile black snapper. Night dive was on Caroline’s Reef. A large marble ray was the highlight of the dive. A variety of nudibranchs were seen as well.
Wednesday morning 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. With all the rain the last couple of days the top layer of the lake was chilly, but from your chest down the lake was really warm. Everyone enjoyed this time in the lake, posing for photos, diving down through the jelly fish. With an estimated 13 million jelly fish, everyone was completely surrounded. After a short skiff ride back to the mother ship, we had some refreshments and got ready for our next dive site, Caroline’s Reef. Several varieties of nudibranchs were seen, as well as, some banded pipe fish. The last afternoon dive was Wonder Channel. Visibility was a little bit limited because of the wind and waves, but going slowly a wide selection of small critters could be seen. Nudibranchs, pipe fish, and all different types juvenile reef fish were seen. The night dive was at Clam City. Known for its abundance of giant clams. Five of our guests explored the site and were amazed at the size and abundance of giant clams. A large Pleurobranch was seen as well. Ascending from the guests safety stop, a school of squid were attracted by the lights, and did a quick run by. Upon returning to the mother ship, our guests were greeted with hot chocolate and other refreshments. A great day of diving!
Thursday morning we woke and the wind was still blowing from the west and was producing some large swell on the outer reef. We were not able to go to Turtle Cove or Blue Corner this week. We started the day with Ngemelis Wall. We found a variety of anemones, as well as, clown fish.. For our next dive we returned to Big Drop off. White tip sharks, pyramid angels, turtles and grey reef sharks were the sea life seen on this popular dive site. Next up was German Coral Gardens. We rode the incoming current to the mouth of German Channel. Approaching the right turn into German Channel we saw 2 feather rays and a black tip shark. Further in the channel we saw a white tip shark a girdled angel and some beautiful coral formations. German Channel was the final PM dive. This time we started the dive from the Koror side of the mouth and first stopped at the red anemone. The swells were getting large and visibility was not great. Several grey reef sharks were seen. The guests enjoyed moving down the channel on the “magic carpet ride”. Some of the sites on the ride were the table top corals, lettuce coral and a giant clam.
On Friday morning our first dive site was Turtle Cove. The seas were still fairly rough so we did a “live” drop. We dropped down the wall to the cavern below. Many electric mollusks or “disco clams” were spotted and photographed. We moved down the wall with the incoming tide. White tip, grey and black tip sharks were all spotted. Schools of snapper swam on top of the reef, moving back and forth with the surge and swell. Next up was Barnum’s wall. This site, known for its sloping coral gardens, is always a favorite. Gene found a juvenile long nosed file fish. Mask angels, turtles, clown anemones, a barramundi, and several white tip sharks were seen. Visibility was very good. After one of Chef Cameron’s great lunches, it was time for our third dive of the day, German Drop off. Turtles, turtles & more turtles, wow! These guys were definitely the stars of this dive. Grey reef sharks were seen in the deeper water. Regal angel, dusky anemone, saddleback butterfly and Moorish idol were a few of the fish that the crew & guests saw. Last dive of the day was Big Drop Off. Because of the high wind & swells this was the third dive on this sight. There was always something different to see. A leaf scorpion, turtles, bi-color parrot, and of course, several grey reef sharks were seen.
Saturday morning the members of We b Divin’ dive shop all boarded the skiff and we made our way to Peleliu for the historical ground tour. Very appropriate considering it was July 4th. Jeff, our guide was very knowledgeable about the fierce battle fought here in 1944 between the Americans and Japanese. American infantry was trying to take the island because of its airfield and strategic location in reference to liberating the Philippines. The invasion was to supposedly take 3 days, it took 10 weeks. After the tour we returned to the mother ship and had a great 4th of July BBQ lunch. The guests finished packing their gear and were ready to depart on the 10:00PM bus to the airport. First, we had a farewell cocktail party. Thanks to Judy Kay for bringing We B Divin’ to Palau. Until next time.
-Tropic Dancer Crew