Log Date: Sunday, May 15, 2016
Entry By: Rock Islands Aggressor Crew
Sunday afternoon we welcomed aboard 14 guest 11from Poland and 3 Americans. We started with a quick introduction to the staterooms and then on to the dive deck, everyone started to set up their dive gear. Once we checked certification cards and finished gear setup we headed up stairs for the first of many excellent dinners prepared by our chef Cameron. After dinner we sat down and Cruise Director Ben covered the vessel orientation & safety briefing. After the briefing the guests headed to bed to get ready for diving in Palau.
Early Monday morning at 6am the Rock Island Aggressor left the dock to begin our week of amazing diving. After breakfast we gathered around the TV in the salon for the general dive briefing. Our first dive of the week was at the Helmet wreck. The helmet wreck is a Japanese WWII sub chaser found late after the war and the guests were able to find artifacts including helmets, depth charges, a rifle and a gas mask, just to name a few. For dive two we headed to the wreck of the Iro, a Japanese oil tanker sunk during WWII. Here we found several ringed pipe fish, lion fish, jacks, turtle, squid and a beautiful tomato anemone with two clams in the in the middle. During lunch the Rock Islands Aggressor moved out towards Ulong Island, after lunch we covered the final briefing going on how to use reef hooks. Our third dive was at Ulong Channel; we had a mild current so we hooked in for only 20 minutes before unhooking and the explored the beauty of Ulong channel. We drifted down the channel saw all the groupers that were fighting each other for space in the channel for mating. We drifted past the lettuce coral and ended the dive at the two giant clams. The last dive of the day was Sandy Paradise, a sloping hard coral garden that the divers found octopus, leaf scorpion fish, and tons of schooling fish.
Tuesday we started the day with a dive at Siaes Tunnel. We descended down the wall to the entrance of the tunnel at 90 feet. Inside this unique overhead environment we saw unique fish such as pygmy blue back angel fish and decorated dart fish as well as a disco clam. Dive two was Siaes Corner, divers hooked in and watch the sharks pass by, then after we unhooked we saw a couple of turtles, anemone barracuda. During lunch the Rock Island Aggressor moved over to German Channel. For dive three we went to German Channel. Although we didn’t see any mantas, we still saw sharks, manta shrimp, and a dog tooth tuna. For our fourth dive we headed out to Turtle cove one of the best soft coral covered walls in Palau. Around the corner we saw some sharks, school of reef jacks, and an octopus. Back at the big boat dinner was ready and for the first night dive, the divers went to German Coral Garden. They saw an octopus, scorpion fish, and lion fish with other macro life.
Wednesday morning we started our first dive Blue Holes here divers descend down one of four holes in the shallow reef into a large cavern with disco clams all along the wall see fan, nudibranchs. We left the cavern and headed down the wall towards Blue Corner. Along the wall we saw sharks, black snapper, and jacks. Dive two was at New Drop Off, the current was incoming we only hooked in for a short time in the light current. We unhooked and explored the top of the plateau finding several turtles, blue line snapper, black snapper, and peacock flounder. Dive three was at world famous Blue Corner with a nice incoming current, the divers hooked in for while. The sharks very close to the divers as they were hooked in next to the drop off. We then unhooked and explored the plateau. We had a large dog tooth tuna swim close to the group. Also barracuda, an octopus, and several large bump head parrot fish were spotted before we surfaced. Dive four was at Barnums Wall. The divers got to see a large turtle, crocodile fish, some beautiful anemones, black tip reef shark sharks all while in a beautiful coral garden. Our second night dive of the charter was at Turtle Cove. This wall comes to life at night with all the orange and yellow cup coral that comes out at night to filter feed. Also we spotted a scorpion fish, basket star and several shrimp.
On Thursday we fired up the engines bright and early and chugged down to Peleliu. Our first dive of the day was at Peleliu Corner. The current was outgoing so we did the “D’Cut” side of the corner. Here the divers started the dive in the Philippine Sea and ended the dive in the Pacific Ocean. We hooked in around the cut and had several sharks out in front of us, the large school of horse eyed jacks were off the the side also in front of us. We unhooked and continued down the wall towards the corner seeing more sharks and a large eagle ray. For dive two we went to West Wall where we saw a large school of black tail snapper and at one point it seemed the entire wall was covered in beautiful and colorful small fish known as anthias. We ended the dive at the red anemones that cascade down a crack in the top of the reef. Our third dive of the day was at Orange Beach Coral Garden, a beautiful sloping coral garden with tons of fish, crocodile fish, giant clams, turtles and other marine life. We also some artifacts like bullets and bombs left over from WWII. After the dive the big boat come out from camp beck, and dropped the skiff for the fourth dive near Barrack’s Point. We drifted along the wall and over the coral garden seeing a bunch of turtles and several giant clams. After dinner the night dive was at Big Drop Off. We spotted a couple of white tip sharks out cursing along the wall, nudibranchs, and a couple of basket stars out filter feeding in the light current.
For Friday we started the day with a repeat dive at the Blue Corner. This time the current was outgoing and we did the other side of the corner. We hooked in and had a lot of sharks off the wall in the blue water. In total there had to be about 30 grey reef sharks and several juvenile sharks in the mix. Right before we unhooked a massive dog tooth tuna swam by in front of the divers. We unhooked and made it down to the corner with the small school of blue lined snapper. Dive two was at Dexter’s Wall. We started the dive with the wall on the right; we came across several turtles, a couple of sharks off the wall, and a couple of lobster in a crack in the reef. Dive three was at Fern’s Wall were divers got to see more turtles, an eagle ray, and some beautiful anemones mixed in with the soft coral. For our last dive of the day we went back out to German Channel to find the mantas. This time we started the dive from the Koror side of the channel, stopped first at the red anemone and then continued on the first cleaning station. We sat down in the sand and after 20 minutes we noticed that the mantas we feeding above us in the water column. We left the bottom and ascended to the mantas. We spent the rest of the dive with three mantas swimming around us feeding in the plankton rich incoming current.
We woke up Saturday morning and 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 spotted a bunch of small jelly fish no bigger than a quarter. Everyone enjoyed this short time snorkeling in the lake. Back on board the skiff we went for a rock island tour stopping off at the famous natural limestone archway, and some WWII sites hidden in the islands. Back at the big boat we did a quick turnaround and headed out to Chandelier Cave. All the divers surfaced in all four air chambers saw the stalactites and crystal formations that give the cave its name. Then on the outside of the cave we saw the mandarin fish, and the ugly looking spiny devil fish. At 5pm we said our goodbyes to 11 guests as they headed to the airport for their flight home and at 6 we had a cocktail party with the remaining three guests.
Sunday morning we said goodbye to the three guests as they headed off to their hotel for another couple days in Palau. We would like to thank everyone for joining us this week on board the Rock Islands Aggressor. Hope to see you all again, until then safe diving…
-Rock Islands Aggressor Crew