Log Date: Sunday, Nov 01, 2015
Entry By: Tropic Dancer Crew
Sunday afternoon we welcomed on board 17 guest from Sweden, Germany, Philippines, U.K. and the U.S. All part of the dive group, Asia Divers, led by Tommy Soderstrom. We started with a quick introduction to the staterooms and then we set up all the dive gear. We checked his certification cards 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 guests headed off to bed for a little rest before starting our week of diving in Palau.
Monday we fired up the big boat and left the dock bright and early as we headed to Ulong Island for a wonderful day of diving. After breakfast we presented them with briefings familiarizing them with the vessel and dive deck and then we set out for our first dive of the charter at the wreck of the “Helmet”. A crocodile fish, xeno crab and a large lion fish were seen. Next up was Sandy Paradise. We descended along the coral garden to the sandy bottom below and continued along observing sharks, turtles and then we made our way to the resident leaf scorpion fish and stopped for photo opportunities. We then returned to the big boat for a lunch of BLT’s sandwiches and Cream of Mushroom soup. After lunch we went for a dive at Siaes Corner where we watched bait balls of scad and accompanying grey reef sharks. We continued along through the beautiful coral garden enjoying many varieties of reef fish and grouper. Our last dive of the day was at the famous Ulong Coral Garden. We explored the beautiful hard corals and saw a large school of bat fish and a large green turtle. We finished the dive at the giant clam. We then returned to the big boat for a wonderful dinner of sushi & Cornish Game hens, then headed to bed.
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. A marble ray was also seen cruising along the bottom. For our second dive the current was incoming so we decided to do Ulong Channel. The current was moderate so we hooked in at the mouth of the channel for 30 minutes. White tip and grey reef sharks put on a great show. Visibility was 100+ feet. During lunch the Tropic Dancer moved over to the German Channel area and dive three was New Drop Off. We started the dive form the outgoing side of the corner. We hooked in and enjoyed the show; there were a couple of sharks in the blue and a school of barracuda. 4th dive was Big Drop Off. Nudis, sharks and turtles were the highlites of this beautiful site. We then returned to the boat to enjoy Chef matt’s dinner of braised salmon w/ a caper, lemon & white wine sauce. Great day of diving.
Wednesday morning we started the day off with the world famous Blue Corner. The current was outgoing 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 to German Channel in hope of finding mantas. 3 mantas were the stars of the dive and gave everyone some great action. Suzi took some great video and it was incorporated for the video of the week. Thanks Suzi! After lunch, dive 3, was 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 Blue Holes. The guests dropped in one of the “blue holes” and explored the cavern below. Several “disco clams” and a solitary large barracuda were seen. We then exited the cavern and worked our way towards Blue Corner. We drifted across the plateau and saw the resident Napoleon Wrasse and several white tip sharks resting on the bottom. Turtle Cove was dive 4 and the night dive. 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.
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 for any length of time, so we hooked in for a few minutes then drifted towards the corner. We ended the dive at the corner. After the dive 12 guests went on the WWII land tour to see the sites of one of the bloodiest battles of WWII. Dive two was at Orange Beach Coral Garden Garden named by the marines when they landed on Peleliu on D-Day during WWII. Here divers found artifacts from the war including bullets, mortar shells and even a landing craft. Also divers saw three crocodile fish a couple gray reefs and some macro life. 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. We returned to the big boat and motored back to German Channel. After dinner the night dive was German Coral Garden. Cathy was our sole diver and saw lion fish, several Nudis: Marionia sp, notodoris. 4 head shield slugs. Flatworms and a mantis shrimp were also seen.
Friday morning we started the day with a repeat dive at Blue Corner. The current was outgoing and it was very slight.. We hooked in and stayed for about 40 minutes. There were many sharks and a few dog toothed tuna. The resident Napoleon Wrasse came by and kept the group company. We unhooked and went across the plateau and started our ascent. Dive 2 was New Drop Off. Again the current was outgoing and not very strong. We hooked in and had several reef sharks swim by. The star of the dive was an octopus, which started at the edge of the plateau and worked his way under all the divers. 4th dive was Siaes Corner. A small eagle ray, sharks and schooling tropical fish were seen. Grey reef sharks were hunting a school of rainbow runners, as well. 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 Tommy and all the Asia Divers for a great week of diving. ‘Til next time. Safe travels.
-Tropic Dancer Crew