Log Date: Sunday, Oct 25, 2015
Entry By: Tropic Dancer Crew
Sunday afternoon we welcomed on board 1 guest from Canada. We started with a quick introduction to his cabin and then on to the dive deck he started to set up his dive gear. We checked his certification card and headed upstairs for our first of many fabulous dinners prepared by Chef Matt. Afterwards We covered the vessel orientation and dive deck briefing then our guest headed off to bed for a little rest before starting our week of diving in Palau.
Very early Monday morning we picked up 13 guests from Poland and 2 guests from Germany. As we moved the Tropic Dancer to our morning inside Malakal Harbor. After breakfast our one guest who arrived on Sunday went diving at the Helmet Wreck as we covered the vessel orientation and general dive briefing for the rest of the guests. At the Helmet Wreck the guest saw WWII artifacts and pipefish and a lion fish. After the dive we headed all the way out to Ulong for dive two. Sandy Paradise is a wonderful coral garden that bottoms out around 80’, were divers explored the edge of the sand and coral finding a mantis shrimp and several leaf scorpion fish. After lunch we covered our last briefing on how to use reef hooks and our next dive was at Siaes Corner for our first hook-in dive of the charter. We hooked in on the outgoing side of the corner and watched the show. There were several sharks in front of us and when we unhooked we saw a turtle in the coral garden also a school of yellow tail barracuda. The last dive of the day was a dusk dive at Ulong Channel, we made our way along the wall to the mouth of the channel but the current had already switched to outgoing so we went across the mouth of the channel and out the coral garden on the other side. Back at the big boat we sat down to dinner and most of the guests stayed up for a while after dinner.
Tuesday we started the day off with diving at Siaes Tunnel. The entered the tunnel and stayed along the top of the tunnel around 90 feet. Inside the tunnel we found several rare fish: blue backed pygmy angelfish, black & white butterfly, and the decorated and helfrich dart fish. Once outside the tunnel we started our multi level up and saw some sharks in the blue. For our second dive the current was outgoing and we decided to do Ulong Channel inside out. We started the dive by the giant clams and drifted all the way out the channel to the coral garden. During lunch the Tropic Dancer moved over to the German Channel area and dive three was at Barnum’s wall. We started with the wall on our left and saw a nurse shark swimming around deep, too deep for us to go, and when the wall turned into the slopping coral garden we had a couple of nice encounters with turtles. For dive four, the current was incoming and we headed out to German Channel. We started the dive from the Koror side of the channel, stopped at the red anemone for some photos and continued to the cleaning station. We sat down and waited but no mantas came in to be cleaned. We did see some sharks using the cleaning station. We swam across the mouth of the channel to the Peleliu side cleaning station but still no mantas. We turned around and drifted into the channel. Our first night dive of the charter was at Big Drop Off, a beautiful wall covered in coral, macro and fish life. We saw several nudi’s and a scorpion fish.
Wednesday morning we started the day off with the world famous Blue Corner. The current was incoming and we hooked in at 45 feet deep. In front of us we had sharks, jacks and as always the friendly napoleon wrasse. We unhooked and enjoyed all the marine life on top the plateau. Dive two we headed out to Blue Holes. We entered the water and descended down through one of the four holes on top the reef. We explored the cavern for a while, saw the pygmy sea horse and the disco clam, then exited the cavern and headed down to Blue Corner. We made it in time and were able to hook in. The current was strong and we unhooked and shot across the plateau. After lunch dive three was at New Drop Off. The current was out going and we hooked in around the cut. There was only one shark, but we saw barracuda, reef jacks, and a flounder swam around us while hooked in. We unhooked and explored the plateau. We took pictures with a beautiful balled up anemone and some turtles. Dive for and the night dive was at Turtle Cove. This site is known for its beautiful soft coral covered wall and of course a turtle or two. We started by entering the hole on top the reef and descended into the cavern. Once we left the cavern we made our way with the wall on the right and a saw a lot of marine life around the corner. After dinner this beautiful wall comes to life at night. The hard cup coral comes out to feed and the wall is covered in yellow and orange color.
On Thursday morning we started up the big boat and headed down to Peleliu. Our first dive was at Peleliu Corner, the current was out going and very light. We entered the water on the D’Cut side of the corner and drifted slowly towards the hook in area. The current was not strong enough to hook in and we just drifted towards the corner. We ended the dive at the corner, that’s where all the sharks were also, in total we saw about 20 grey reef sharks in one big group. After the dive 11 guests went on the WWII land tour to see the sites of one of the bloodiest battles of WWII. Dive two was at West Wall where divers saw the red anemone, a couple gray reefs and some macro life. The third dive of the day was at Orange Beach Coral Garden name by the marines when they land on Peleliu on D-Day during WWII. Here divers found artifacts from the war including bullets, mortar shells and even a landing craft. We also saw a nurse shark and a leopard shark. Before the fourth dive the big boat moved out of Peleliu south dock and slowly towards the German Channel area. We lowered the skiff and headed out to Barracks Point. The current was very light and we saw the giant clams and a bunch of turtles. During the dive the big boat moved the rest of the way to the German Channel area and we caught up by skiff. On the way we stopped to play with a school of dolphins. Dinner was ready when we arrived and after dinner the night dive was at Ngedebus Coral Garden. We found a white tip reef shark out hunting and some anemones.
Friday morning we started the day with a repeat dive at Blue Corner. The current was incoming and it was moving. We hooked in at held on, the sharks were in front of the divers and even the napoleon wrasse looked like it was having a problem in the strong current. We unhooked and shot across the plateau and started our ascent. Dive two was at Dexter’s wall, the current was not outgoing and mild. We enjoyed the nice easy drift along the wall and saw around 12 turtles and a couple of sharks passed by in the blue. After lunch the third dive was Canyons. We started the dive from the mooring and descended down along the wall. We were lucky to find a nurse shark, the only reason we found it was because it started to back out of the crack in the reef where it was hiding, then saw us and took off. Later in the dive we found it again in another crack in the reef wedged in hiding. All the guests also enjoyed swimming through the canyon formations and the archway. For dive four we went back to German Channel. The current was incoming and we started the dive from the Peleliu side of the channel this time. Our first stop was at the Peleliu side cleaning station but no mantas. We swam across the mouth of the channel saw the jacks, barracuda, and snapper and arrived at the Koror side cleaning station, but still no mantas. There were a couple of grey reef sharks using the cleaning station. We then let the incoming current push us into the channel and before we surfaced, we had two mantas swim by on the way out to the mouth of the channel. Back at the big boat we let the guests get cleaned up and come upstairs for a cocktail before starting our Thanksgiving feast. They sat down for dinner with all the fixings: turkey, sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, bean casserole, ham and gravy. After dinner we watched the video of the charter and all the guests enjoyed the look back at their week in paradise.
We woke up Saturday morning with the big boat in the rock islands. 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 Palau’s 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 and three spiny-devil fish so ugly their cool. After an afternoon of cleaning, drying and packing scuba gear, we gathered in the salon at 6pm for the cocktail party and watched a photo slideshow of the week and soon after all the guests headed off into town for dinner.
Sunday morning we said our goodbyes as the guests 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