Log Date: Sunday, Jan 10, 2016
Entry By: Rock Islands Aggressor Crew
Sunday afternoon we welcomed aboard 13 guests from all around the world. We started with a quick introduction to the staterooms and then on the dive deck, everyone set up their dive gear. Once we checked certification cards and checked in we headed up stairs to dinner prepared by our Chef Cameron. After dinner we sat down and covered the vessel safety briefing and soon after everyone was off to bed.
Very early Monday morning we welcomed on our last two guests on board. After breakfast, we gathered around the TV in the salon for the general dive briefing before heading off on our first dive at the Helmet Wreck. This wreck sits right side up in the harbor. She was found in 1988, so she was not salvaged after the war and still has a lot of artifacts on her. We descended down the mooring line and onto the wreck. We went all the way down to the bow of the wreck, saw the helmets and depth charges and other artifacts. For dive number two we headed to the wreck of the Iro, a Japanese oil tanker sunk during WWII. The visibility was not so great on this dive. With the bad visibility we looked for macro life. We did find a ringed pipefish. During lunch the Tropic Dancer moved out towards Ulong Island, after which we covered the final slideshow briefing going over how to use reef hooks here in Palau in preparation for our next two dives. Our third dive was at the popular Ulong Channel. Here we hooked in for a while and watched the sharks. We then unhooked and drifted down the channel, finishing the dive at the two giant clams. Our last dive of the day was at Sandy Paradise. We started the dive from the mooring and descended down the beautiful slopping coral garden. We then turned to the right and followed where the sandy bottom met the coral garden. We found the two leaf scorpion fish and saw a couple of turtles to end the dive. We returned to the big boat and soon after, dinner was ready. After dinner we watched a fish ID presentation on the fish we normally find here in Palau.
Tuesday morning we woke and our first dive was at Siaes Tunnel. We descended down from the mooring to the entrance of the tunnel. We swam through the tunnel and saw the dartfish and blue backed angelfish. The temperature inside the tunnel dropped down to around 72 degrees so we did not stay inside for too long. We exited the tunnel and continued our dive along the wall finding a turtle and several sharks in the blue. Our second dive was at Siaes Corner. The divers rolled in and drifted along the wall to the hook-in area. Before we reached the hook in area we saw a silver tip shark deep off the wall, it was a rare sight and some of the guests were able to get it on video. There were a lot of grey reef sharks off the corner and the current was light enough we didn’t hook in for long. We explored the coral garden finding and octopus and a turtle. During lunch the big boat moved to the German Channel area. The third dive was at Barnum’s Wall, here divers descended down along the wall and then over the slopping coral garden. We spotted a very large nurse shark hiding under a ledge. Also in the shallows we saw a black tip reef shark and a couple of turtles. For our fourth dive we went to German Channel. We started the dive from the Koror side of the channel. We stopped at the red anemone and continued to the first cleaning station. We waited for a while but no mantas. We headed across the mouth of the channel and had one manta do a quick pass by. At the Peleliu side cleaning station we sat down and watched some grey reef sharks getting cleaned. We turned around and we back to the middle of the channel and drifted in to end our dive. After dinner our night dive was at German Coral Garden. We started the dive from the Peleliu side of the channel and with the incoming current just slowly drifted into the channel. We spotted a couple of tiger cowries and some other cone shells.
On Wednesday we started the day with Blue Corner, the current was incoming and we started with the wall on our right. We hooked in at the 45 feet and watched the show. Several sharks were in front of the divers; we unhooked and explored the plateau seeing the blue lined snapper at the tip of the corner. Our second dive was at New Drop Off. The current was outgoing and we lightly drifted to the hook in area. We hooked in around the cut on the outgoing side and had one grey reef shark swimming by in front of the divers. We then unhooked and explored the plateau. We took photos with some very friendly turtles, the school of blue lined snapper. After lunch our third dive of the day was at Ngedebus Corner. We started the dive with the wall on our right but it felt like the current switched a couple of times on us. We saw a lot of macro life and some sharks off in the blue. Our fourth dive was at Turtle Cove. We started the dive by descending down through the hole on top the reef and in the cavern we spotted a disco clam then went out along the wall. We spotted a lot of macro life along the wall and some turtles on top the corner. After dinner we went back to Turtle Cove for the night dive. At night the wall is beautiful. All the cup coral comes out to feed and turns the wall into a beautiful mixture of orange and yellow. We also found a turtle sleeping and a couple of yellow hermit crabs out walking around.
Early Thursday morning the big boat started motoring down to Peleliu. The tide was too low for the big boat to enter South Dock so it just drifted outside Peleliu. The first dive was at Peleliu corner. The current was outgoing and we started the dive on the Cut side of the corner. Before we reached the hook in area the current switched and we turned around. After the dive the tide was high enough for the big boat to pull into South Dock. We secured the boat and 5 guests went on the Peleliu WWII land tour to explore the sights of one of the bloodiest battles of WWII. The remaining guests went to Orange Beach Coral Garden. It was outgoing and we drifted along the coral garden with the shallow on our left. This is one of the most beautiful coral gardens in Palau. This site is just covered with schools of tropical fish. We spotted turtles, a couple reef sharks and artifacts from WWII. Dive three was at Barracks Point. We saw some big schools of snapper and jacks, and barracuda. We also saw a giant clam and around 8 turtles. The current switched on us during the dive and we turned around. Our fourth dive was at West Wall where we cruised down the wall with a mild current spotting sharks, schooling Pyramid butterflyfish, and a couple of turtles sleeping in cracks in the reef. When we arrived back at the big boat we left South Dock and headed back up to the German Channel area. For the night dive we headed out to Big Drop Off. We started the dive in the shallow sand channel between the two moorings and found one leaf scorpion fish. We then dropped out of the sand channel and went wall on the left. We saw a couple of big groupers out hunting in our lights and a scorpion fish.
On Friday we started the day out at German Channel. The tide was a light incoming current and this time we started the dive from the Peleliu side of the channel. We stopped at the Peleliu side cleaning station and a couple of grey reef sharks were getting cleaned. We then headed across the mouth of the channel to the Koror side cleaning station. We sat down but no mantas came in to be cleaned. Sa we started heading into the channel to end our dive three mantas came out of the channel and headed to the cleaning station. Several guests rushed to the cleaning station and sat down to watch the show. For dive two we headed out to Blue Holes. We entered the water and descended down one of the holes on top the reef into the cavern. We saw the disco clam and also found one pygmy seahorse on the seafan at the bottom of the cavern. We then exited the cavern and some of the guests we lucky to have an encounter with a thresher shark. It did several passes by the group and took off. We then traveled down the wall to Blue Corner. We did not hook in, just drifted over top the plateau and started our safety stop. After lunch was at Blue Corner. The current was again incoming, we hooked in and watched the show. We then unhooked and explored the plateau. At the tip of the corner we had another sighting of the thresher shark. The shark is so beautiful with its long tail. For dive four we went to Dexters Wall. We did the dive with the wall on our right. During the dive we saw about 10 turtles hanging out along the beautiful wall. We returned to the big boat where we enjoyed another fine meal prepared by our chef and after dinner we watched the video of the charter.
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. All the divers surfaced in all four air chambers to take photos of the stalactites and outside the cave we found the mandarin fish. After an afternoon of cleaning, drying and packing scuba gear. At 6pm we gathered in the salon for the cocktail party and watched a photo slideshow of the week and soon after all the guests headed off into town for dinner. At 10pm we said our goodbyes to two guests as they headed to the airport for their flight.
Very early Sunday morning one more guest left to the airport for his flight home and at 8 we said our goodbyes to the rest of the guests as they headed off to their hotels. We would like to thank everyone for joining us this week and hope to see you all again soon.
-Rock Island Aggressor Crew