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Palau Aggressor II Boat Report
January 24 –31, 2016
2nd Capt/Photo Pro: Casey
Video pro/Divemaster: Ernan
Divemaster/Skiff Driver: Joe
On Sunday January 24 we had 15 guest board the vessel from various corners of the world. All have been on at least 1 liveaboard with many having several liveaboard trips under their belt. After setting up equipment, settling into their cabins and a hearty meal prepared by Chef Dan, all attended the cabins briefing and soon retired to their cabins for a good night’s sleep.
On Monday Jan. 25 we departed the dock at 5:30 am and headed out to Ulong to begin our first day of diving. After a thorough dive deck briefing, we dove Sandy Paradise and saw a mantas shrimp, two leaf fish, garden eels and a school of bigeye glass fish. The next 3 dives were at Siaes Tunnel, Siaes Corner and Ulong Channel. All three of these are premier dive sites and the highlights included the helfich and elegant dartfish, many sharks, schools of barracuda and a variety of jacks along with great soft coral and sea fan growth along the walls.
Tuesday had us wake up in the German Channel area and we started diving with Blue Corner. On this dive we had an unusually large northwest swell and an incoming current which stirred up the visibility a bit and made hooking in a little harder than normal. However, there was plenty of marine life to keep our interest and we saw lots of active grey reef sharks, schools of barracuda and a great number of reef fish feeding in the water column. Dive 2 took us to Dexters Wall which had lots of friendly turtles, colorful tropicals and numerous cleaning stations, a few sharks and one eagle ray. Dive 3 was at New Dropoff where again there was an unusual amount of surge and an upwelling of cooler than normal water. However, there was plenty of great shark action and the reef was very active. For the 4th and 5th dive we went to Ferns and Ngmelis Walls and enjoyed both sites which have outstanding soft corals and sea fan growth. The fish life here is abundant and we also saw a few grey and white tip reef sharks along with turtles and a single eagle ray.
Wednesday started with our first dive at German Channel where the current was light and the visibility about 4o feet. After spending time waiting for manta rays at the cleaning station, we ventured a little further into the channel and saw one very cooperative leopard shark along with some patrolling grey reef sharks and schools of barracuda and jacks. For the rest of the day we headed for Peleliu where we dove Purple and Orange Beach along with West Wall. With the swell much larger than normal we had a lot of surge and the visibility was cut to about 40 feet. However we did see a lot of marine life which included a manta ray, several turtles, schools of snappers, solderfish, humphead parrot fish and colorful butterflyfish along with pristine hard and soft corals.
Thursday we started at Peleliu Express and had a light current and over 100 feet of visibility. Highlight from this dive included a couple of sleeping nurse sharks, two marble rays, several grey reef sharks and a very large school of jacks over the plateau. Barracks Point was the second dive of the day where we again had a significant swell and some strong surge. For this dive we did see several turtles, giant clams, schools of red tail snappers and several species of tropical reef fish. The test of the day was spent back in the German Channel area where we dove Turtle Cove, Barnums Wall and Ngmelis Wall. Though the visibility was still reduced on these sites, the marine life was still very active and the corals out in full bloom. On all these dives we focused a bit more on the small critters and found a number of flat worms, nudibranchs, shrimp and a couple of lobsters. Turtles again were abundant and often quite cooperative for the photographers in the group.
Friday started at Blue Corner where the current was moderate and the reef was very active. Sharks, barracuda jacks and swirling reef fish highlighted the dive along with the rare sighting of the orange fin surgeon fish schooling in the blue. Virgin Blue Hole was dive number 2 and it produced as an excellent dive with close to 70 feet of visibility and 81 degree water. This sloping reef has pristine corals both hard and soft and dropping through the hole to 100 feet proved to be a new experience by all. Blue Holes followed as the 3rd dive and as always this unique dive was full of highlights such as the flame scallop, pigmy sea horse, schooling barracuda and jacks and a number of grey reef sharks patrolling the wall. Our fourth dive was at Ferns Wall which as always produced some of the most beautiful soft corals and sea fans found anywhere in the Pacific. Though the visibility was sonly about 40 feet and the water was a cool 77 degrees, this site had a great variety of tropical fish schooling throughout the dive.
On Saturday we started early at Jellyfish Lake where we were the only group in the lake and the Jellyfish were out in abundance. This unique experience with millions of Jellyfish was enjoyed by all. This was followed by a rock island skiff tour and the final dive of the week at the famed Chandelier Cave. Here we were able to see stalactites in all three chambers and mandarin fish along with pajama cardinal fish on the outside of the cave.
After washing all the equipment and enjoying lunch we all gathered at the wine and cheese party and enjoyed the photos which were taken over the last week.
Thank you to the entire group and we hope to see you all again on another Aggressor trip.