Log Date: Sunday, Nov 15, 2015
Entry By: Tropic Dancer Crew
Sunday afternoon we welcomed on board our group of 18 guest joining Joey Jacque from Central Ohio School of Diving . We started with a quick introduction to the staterooms and then we set up all the dive gear. Once everyone was all checked in and set up we headed upstairs for our first of many fabulous dinners prepared by Chef Cameron. Afterward dinner Jon covered the vessel orientation and safety briefing, several of our guest stay up to watch a documentary on Peleliu before heading off to bed to prepare for an excellent week of diving here in Palau.
Monday we fired up the big boat and left the dock bright and early as we started our way out to Ulong Island for a wonderful day of diving. After breakfast Conor cover the General Dive Briefing to prepare guest for diving from the skiff and potentially strong current here in Palau and then we set out for our first dive of the charter at the Helmet or Depth Charge Wreck. Found in the mid 80’s this wreck was never positively ID nor ever salvaged so it was give it name by the items found throughout the wreck. Here divers can find obviously both helmets and depth charges given the name but can also see a large 15mm gun, a rifle, gas mask, morphine & coke bottles. Along with all the artifacts divers found an octopus, crocodile-fish, zeno-crab and signal gobies. For dive to we went out to another wreck knows as The Iro, sunk during WWII by two separate torpedo hits. The deck of this massive 480’ wreck sits in-between 60’-90’ here divers explored through massive king post and swim throughs finding numerous fish life, an octopus, tomato anemones and a pod of squid. During lunch our Instructor Conor went over the reef-hook briefing as we made our way out to Ulong Island. For the third dive of the day Divers ventured out to Siaes Corner, there was a nice light current prefect conditions for divers hooking in for the first time where we had about a dozen sharks and a baby eagle cursing the edge of the corner. Once divers unhooked they explored one of the most beautiful coral gardens in Palau. The fourth and final dive of the day was combination of Ulong Coral Garden and Ulong Channel right at dusk. We started in the coral garden and made our way with wall on the left checking out sharks, Headshield-slugs, and a giant clams. With about 15 minutes left in the dive it was completely dark just as we made it to the mouth of the channel and started our drift down the channel, flying over corals anemones and even a couple of sharks.
Tuesday we started with a dive back at Ulong Channel, this time we hooked in and enjoined all the sharks circling around the mouth of the channel. Around 35minutes in the dive we unhooked and drifted down the channel finding groupers, a turtle, a massive patch of lettuce coral with tons of squirrelfish living in-between the leafs and then finished the dive with two giant clams sitting side by side. After a snack and a little down time we head out to Sandy Paradise, a sloping hard coral garden that bottoms out into a sandy bottom around 80’. As we cruised along the edge of the garden and sand we saw a large school of barracuda and some sharks out over the sandy bottom, we swam over to check them out for a few minutes where we were lucky enough to a manta come gliding by. After that we continued our way along in the coral garden finding two octopi, a turtle and even an ornate ghost-pipefish. During lunch we the Tropic Dancer down and through to the inside of German Channel, our first dive here was at New Drop Off another hook-in dive where divers checked out schooling black snapper, barracuda, jacks and several shark roaming about. For dive 4 and even the night dive we went to Big Drop Off, an excellent macro dive filled with different crabs, shrimp, nudi and much more but divers also get to see the massive ball and chain left behind from the Germans Pre WWI that was used as a mooring system for the larger ships.
Wednesday morning we started the day out strong with an awesome dive at German Channel. We stop by the red anemone to start the dive then went to explore the sandy bottom where we found several amazing animals including a leopard shark, 3 feathertail-rays and a flounder. Afterwards we head up to the cleaning station to try and see some mantas, none were there but off to the side in the middle of the channel we had two swimming back in forth finding on blacked so we watched in awe as they flew of our heads delivering a great show. For dive two divers headed out to the world famous Blue Corner, the current was quite strong but all divers were able to hook-in and watched a sharks, jacks, giant trevally all parading around. After lunch dive 3 was at Turtle Cove where divers enter in an opening on top of the shallow reef and descend down into a cavern were we checked out disco clams and a couple nudi’s. After that we cruised along the wall checking out all the beautiful coral and fish life. The fourth dive of the day and for the night dive as well several divers went out to Ngedebus Coral Gardens during the day divers found an octopus, turtle and a lobster tucked in amongst the rocks. Then after dinner back at the coral gardens divers found a plourabranch (nudi on major steroids), sea-hair, various crabs and a lobster this time roaming out and about.
On Thursday morning we started up the big boat and headed down to Peleliu. Our first dive was at Peleliu Corner, the current was a nice incoming current so we dove the side know as The Express. As we drifted along divers saw three eagle rays, two marble rays and countless number of sharks. Once we hooked in divers watched as several sharks circled about but the current was quite strong so we unhooked after about 10/15 minutes and drifted across the plateau checking out all the fish life such as groupers, flounder and even Dory (pallet surgeon fish). After the dive 16 guests went on the WWII land tour to see the sites of one of the bloodiest battles of WWII. While most of the guest were on the land tour for dive 2 Deke got a private dive tour at West Wall with DM Jim, where they found tons of macro life such as several orangutan crabs, nudi’s as well as a couple turtles and sharks. After the dive and once every one had returned from the WWII land tour everyone gathered around for lunch before heading out for dive 3 at Orange Beach Coral 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 we finally had a night dive at German Coral Garden. Four of guest ventured out and saw lion fish, several Nudi’s: 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 a perfect incoming, not to strong not to light. We hooked in and stayed for about 40 minutes. There were many sharks and a few dog toothed tuna as well as a large school of the chevron barracuda. We unhooked and went across the plateau and started our ascent. Dive 2 was back at German Channel where we had another manta fly by and say hello as well as some sharks, a banded pipefish and a giant clam. For dive three we went out to explore Blue Holes here we saw disco clam and three pygmy seahorses. After exploring the holes we made our way down towards Blue Corner seeing nudi’s, turtles, shark and a banded seasnake along the way. For the last dive of the day 6guest went on out to Barnums Wall for a nice relaxing dive finding crocodilefish, nudi’s, turtles and a close encounter with
That night after a delectable Thanksgiving style meal form Chef Cameron, guest all gathered around to watch Jon’s video of the week.
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 Conor’s 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 divers for a great week of diving. ‘Til next time. Safe travels.
-Tropic Dancer Crew