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Rock Islands Aggressor
Captain’s Log June 5 – 12
Air Temp: 91
Water Temp: 82
Crew: Ike, Ben, Jim, Cameron, Kiran, Ripon, June
Guests: Chandler K, Danne H, Susan H, Richard D, Gregory R, Baineng S, Bin H, Peggy M, Lureen F, Jane S, Mike B, Michael S, Lei O, Yuanhui Y, Dewi A, Sander K.
Sunday afternoon we welcomed aboard 12 guests. From all over the World, US, South Africa, Canada, Netherlands, and our Chinese guests will be arriving early tomorrow morning. We started with a quick introduction to the staterooms, and then everyone started setting up their dive gear. Once we checked certification cards we headed up stairs for a great dinner by Chef Cameron. After dinner we covered the vessel orientation & safety briefing. At 9pm we welcomed on another guest from the US. We showed a documentary on Palau to give the guests an idea of what to expect while diving in this beautiful location and soon after the guests headed to bed, to get ready for the next day of diving.
Early Monday morning we welcomed our three guests from China and at 6am we pulled the big boat off the dock and out into Malakal Harbor. After breakfast we covered the general dive briefing and headed down stairs to start getting ready to dive. We loaded the guest’s gear on to the skiff and our first dive was at the Teshio Maru. Once we reached the dive site the guests did their back rolls into the water and did a weight check. We descended down the mooring line and soon saw the wreck. The Teshio Maru is a Japanese WWII cargo ship that was sunk during the US bombing run Desecrate One in March 1944. We swam all around the wreck and in and out of the cargo holds. For dive two we headed to the wreck of the Iro, a Japanese oil tanker. We descended down to the wreck, explored all along the deck to the stern and circled up the king posts with the beautiful tomato anemone at the top. During lunch the big boat moved out towards Ulong Island, after lunch we covered the final briefing on how to use reef hooks. Our third dive was at Siaes Corner. We started the dive from the mooring and made it all the way to the corner, we hooked in for a while with some sharks out in front of us, and then we decided to un hook and explore the slopping coral garden finding an octopus and a couple turtles Our last dive of the day was at Ulong Channel. We had a mild current so we hooked at the mouth of the channel for a short time and had a bunch of grey reef sharks in front of us cruising along in the current. We then unhooked and drifted down the channel past the lettuce coral and ended the dive at the two giant clams.
Tuesday we started the day with another dive at Ulong Channel. This time the current was flowing so we hooked in a lot longer. In front of the divers were grey reef sharks and several white tip sharks. Around 40 minutes in to the dive we unhooked and shot down the channel in the current. We drifted past the lettuce coral and ended the dive again at the two giant clams. Dive two was Sandy Paradise, a sloping hard coral garden that the divers found an octopus, leaf scorpion fish, and big eyed crescent tail fish schooling. During lunch the big boat moved over to German Channel. For dive three we went out to Big Drop Off. We entered the water and went wall on the left. We saw several nudibranchs, and some beautiful soft corals and sea fans. We saw the ball and chain left over from the Germans prior to WWI. And were able to take some nice photos of an eel out free swimming along the wall. For our fourth dive we headed to German Channel. We started the dive from the Koror side of the channel. We sat down around the Koror side cleaning station for a while but no mantas came in to be cleaned. We then headed across the mouth of the channel to the Peleliu side cleaning station and again sat down around it. We waited for a while but still no mantas. We turned around and went back to the middle of the channel. We sat down in the sand and could see the fusiliers above us feeding in the water column, so we waited to see if any mantas would join in but none did. We ended the dive by drifting into the channel. Back at the big boat, dinner was ready and for the first night dive, the divers went to German Coral Garden. We spotted a plourabranch and several lionfish out hunting in the dark, also a bunch of crabs and shrimp.
Wednesday morning we started our day with a repeat dive at German Channel. A lot of our guests wanted to see mantas. This time we started from the Peleliu side of the channel, stopped at the first cleaning station but still no mantas. We crossed the mouth of the channel to the Koror side of the channel, sat down and waited but no mantas. We just didn’t have any luck with the mantas this week. Our second dive was at Blue Holes, we descend down one of four holes in the shallow reef into the large cavern. We pointed out several disco clams and enjoyed the ambient light that filled the chamber from above. We left the cavern and headed down the wall towards Blue Corner. Once we passed the cut in the reef the current pushed us right along to the hook in area, we hooked in and one grey reef shark in the blue. We soon unhooked and went down to the tip of the corner see the blue lined snapper and a large school of chevron barracuda. After lunch dive three was at Dexter’s Wall. We started the dive with the wall on the right; in total we saw about 10 turtles, a couple of sharks off the wall, and some lobsters in a crack in the reef. Dive four was at Turtle cove. We started the dive descending down the hole on top the reef and out the small cavern along the wall. Before we reached the corner the current switched so we turned around. We saw the square spot anthias, some orangutan crabs and some nudis. After dinner we returned to Turtle cove for the night dive. We found a lot of macro life along the wall and this time the current didn’t switch on us. We saw a couple of basket stars out feeding in the light current and some crabs and shrimp.
On Thursday we fired up the engines bright and early and headed down to Peleliu. We secured the big boat in Camp Beck or aka South Dock and our first dive of the day was at Peleliu Corner. The current was outgoing and it was strong. We did the “D’Cut” side of the corner. We drifted swiftly along the wall decided not to hook in due to the strong current. We did see some sharks as we shot along the wall; we soon started our ascent and ended our dive. The average dive time was around 25 minutes. For dive two we went to West Wall. It was still an outgoing current but it was mild, we started the dive from the mooring and drifted along finding nudi’s and a couple turtles. Then current soon switched and we turned around and headed the other way. We ended the dive back at the morning. After lunch the third dive was at Barracks Point. The current was incoming and it pushed us along the wall and into the coral garden. We saw all the giant clams and a lot of turtles. Took some photos of the guests with some beautiful anemones and came up to the shallows to end the dive. Our fourth dive was at Orange Beach Coral Garden, a beautiful sloping coral garden with tons of fish, a scorpion fish, giant clam, and again a lot of turtles. We also found WWII artifacts like bullets and bombs. The tide was still too low after the dive to take the big boat out of Camp Beck so we decided to stay for the night dive in Peleliu. The dive was at West Wall. We spotted a couple of white tip sharks out cursing along the wall, nudibranchs, and a lot of crabs, mostly small but a couple of the big 7-11 crabs were out along the wall as well.
For Friday we started the day with a dive at the famous Blue Corner. It was a light current and we started the dive on the outgoing side of the corner. We hooked in and hoped the current would pick up but it didn’t. We unhooked and spent the rest of the dive exploring the plateau. We spotted the large school of hordes eyed jacks and even saw the chevron barracuda again. There were a couple of gray reef sharks cruising back and forth across the plateau waiting for the current to pick up from one side or the other. For dive two we headed out to New Drop Off. We started the dive on the incoming side of the corner and the current pushed us to the corner. Right before we reached the hook in area the current switched so we came up on top the plateau and kicked over to the outgoing side to hook in. We had a couple of sharks in the blue in front of us and a large school of snapper. We decided to unhook and explore the plateau. We spotted a couple of turtles sleeping on the reef, and before we ended the dive we saw an octopus sticking his head out of a crack on the reef. Dive three was at Barnums Wall. We started the dive with the wall on our left and soon entered the beautiful sloping hard coral garden. We spotted a couple of turtles, and a black tip shark in the shallows. The current was light so we spent the rest of the dive in the goral garden. For our last dive of the day we went out to Ferns Wall. We started the dive from the mooring and just went with the flow. All the divers enjoyed this slow drift along the wall taking photos of the soft corals and sea fans. Also we spotted several turtles. Back at the big boat dinner was ready and all the guests sat down to a Thanksgiving dinner prepared by our chef Cameron. With our bellies full we gathered around the TV and watched our video pro Jim’s video of the charter. It was a nice look back at the week.
Saturday morning our first excursion was Jelly Fish Lake. We tied the skiff up at the pier on the outside and started our hike over the hill to the lake. We entered the water at the lake and after a short swim into the middle of the lake we spotted a couple of small jellyfish no bigger than a quarter. Back on board the skiff we went for a rock island tour stopping off at the famous natural limestone archway to take photos, and some WWII sites hidden in the rock islands. Back at the big boat we did a quick turnaround and headed out to Chandelier Cave. All the divers surfaced in the four air chambers saw the stalactites and crystal formations. Then on the outside of the cave we saw the mandarin fish and a small school of razor fish. At 6pm we had a cocktail party while our photo pro showed a slideshow of all the images he took during the charter and all the guests received a CD of all those images to take home with them. After the cocktail party the guests went off to dinner at one of the local restaurants. At 10pm one of our guests left to the airport to catch a flight to his next destination.
Very early Sunday morning 3 more guests left to the airport to catch their flight. After continental breakfast we said goodbyes to the remaining guests as they headed off to their hotels 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