Log Date: Sunday, Dec 20, 2015
Entry By: Palau Aggressor Crew
Palau Aggressor Charter Dec 20th– 27th, 2015
Water Temp: 79-84 deg F
Air Temp: 78-86 deg F
Crew: Scott, Hector, Ronnie, Joe, Ripon, Editha and Dan
On Sunday afternoon we welcomed aboard 16 new dive buddies from around the World. After an orientation to the vessel and helping them to set up their dive gear, we headed upstairs for a safety briefing by Captain Scott, followed by a delicious BBQ dinner by Chef Ronnie. With appetites satisfied, it was early to bed in order to rest up before beginning a wonderful week of diving on board the Palau Aggressor II!
Monday morning after breakfast we set off for our check out dive on the Teshiu Maru. A victim of WWII the wreck lays on her side just outside of the lagoon. Like many of the wrecks in Palau, the Teshiu was salvaged after the war, so only a few sake bottles are left on the wreck. But she is now home to plenty of critters for the keen eyed diver to find, such as Nudibranchs, Lion Fish, Mantis Shrimp and all sorts of other crabs and shrimp hiding amongst the wire coral. Dive 2 was on the Choyu Maru. After lunch we found ourselves down at German Channel and our first reef dive was on a very beautiful site called Canyons. We saw a few Turtles, Bump head Wrasse, and some Nudibranchs. Dive was at Ferns Wall, were we found more turtles and our first of few Sharks.
Tuesday Morning bright and early our first dive was at Blue Holes. Dropping into the sink holes on the reef plateau which open up into a large cavern below, we saw the Fire or Disco Clams, and then spent some time checking out the Pygmy Seahorses which only a few people know about! Heading along the reef wall some of the divers spotted a beautiful Thresher Shark, some Turtles and Barracuda. New Drop Off was our second dive and our first opportunity to “Hook In”. A few Sharks and Jacks were putting on a show, then we explored the Plateau find more Turtles and schooling blue line Snapper. World Famous Blue Corner was dive three, where we hooked in again, this time with a pretty strong current, which makes life exciting! Sharks Napoleon Wrasse, Jacks, and of course Red Tooth Trigger Fish a plenty, we also saw a few large Barracuda. Dive four was at Turtle Cove, one of the best places to see soft corals, which look spectacular as they all come out to feed when the sun goes down.
On Wednesday morning we motored down south in the gentle swell to Peleliu. Peleliu was the location of one of the bloodiest battles of WWII, when the US Marines came to take the Island from the entrenched Japanese Army. With the Palau Aggressor safely moored at Camp Beck, we headed out for our first dive on Peleliu Cut. At a point where the Pacific Ocean meets the Philippine Sea the currents can be strong, bringing with them a chance to see some of the bigger marine life in Palau. Dive two took us to West Wall, a very beautiful wall dive with everything from the big to the tiny! Orange Beach is so named from its code in the Peleliu invasion, the dive site just out from the beach is an amazing hard coral garden busting with color, and hardly a square meter of sand is visible between the corals. We saw several Turtles here and at the end of the dive a Crocodile fish. After dive four at Barracks Point we headed back up to the German Channel area, and did a night dive at Ngmelis wall. A highlight tonight was watching a free swimming Moray Eel hunting fish along the wall.
Our first dive on Christmas Eve took us back out Blue Corner, exciting to see more Sharks this time, with a bit of a feeding frenzy happening in the blue we stayed hooked in to watch the show before exploring the Plateau. Dive two was Dexters wall where there were Turtles everywhere! Dive Three at Barnums Wall, and German Channel was number four. We did see a Manta, but only one. And were lucky to find a very cool Robust Ghost Pipe fish in the sand!
We woke early on Christmas morning to a strange noise, and found a funny little grey haired man running around the boat…..no not Santa, it was Hector the Engineer doing his morning checks! The Reindeer must have moved the boat during the night because now we are in Ulong Island. Dive one was at Siaes Tunnel, which you may have guessed is a large swim through! Inside we found Blue Back Pygmy Angel fish, and the rare Decorated Dart fish. Along the wall we saw Sharks and Turtles, to name but a few. Dive two was at Siaes Corner, a hook in dive on a very beautiful reef plateau. We saw plenty of Sharks as we made our way to the corner. Very strong current with the Christmas full moon, meant we didn’t stay hooked in for long so we explored the opposite side of the plateau instead. Dive three was at the famous Ulong Channel, where unlike the last dive, we had almost no current at all. This made for a nice gentle swim down the channel, checking out the massive patch of lettuce corals, Giant Clams and plenty of Nudibranchs along the way. Our last dive today was Sandy Paradise. Leaf Scorpion fish, Octopus and Barracuda are among the highlights here. After a delicious Christmas Dinner of Baked Ham, Turkey, and all the trimmings, we sat down and watched the Video of the Week with a glass of homemade Eggnog. Merry Christmas!
Snorkeling with the millions of Jellyfish at Jellyfish Lake, where we went on Saturday morning, is a truly surreal and mesmerizing experience. After a short hike, a swim in the tranquil waters of the lake is a great way to relax after a week of diving. We ambled back to the Skiff, where Joe was waiting to take us on a tour of the Rock Islands before meeting up with the big boat in Koror. Our last dive was at nearby Chandelier Caves where we explored the four chambers and stalactite formations inside, surfacing for a breath or two in the air pockets along the way. On the reef just outside the cave entrance mandarin fish scurry between the shallow corals posing for the final photographs of the week. 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 and share some diving stories before heading out to dinner at the nearby local restaurants.
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! Hope you all enjoyed your Christmas as much as we did, and have a Happy New Year!