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Rock Islands Aggressor :

 

Log Date: Sunday, Jul 17, 2016
Entry By: Rock Islands Aggressor Crew









 



Sunday afternoon we welcomed on board 14 guests from all over the world. Nationalities included USA, Australian, Swiss and Belgium. After a quick introduction to their cabins everyone set up their dive gear, and headed upstairs for dinner. After dinner we covered the vessel orientation and everyone was soon off to bed to get ready for the next’s day diving.

 

Monday morning at 6am we pulled the big boat off the pier and tied up in Malakal Harbor. After breakfast we covered the general dive briefing our first dive of the charter was at the wreck of the Helmet aka Depth Charge Wreck. This is a unidentified Japanese WWII sub chaser that sank in the harbor during the bombing run of Desecrate One. We did our back rolls into the water and checked our weights and descended down the mooring line. We entered the first cargo hold and saw the helmets and depth charges, found a crocodile fish in the close to the windows looking down into the engine room, saw more depth charges in the middle cargo hold with the large search light and the airplane engines in the forward cargo hold. We turned around at the bow of the wreck and back at the stern we spent some time viewing the artifacts that have been collected and placed for viewing. After the dive the big boat moved out of Malakal Harbor and into the Western Lagoon. Our second dive was at the Iro, where we saw the colony of tomato anemone fish amongst two clams at 35 feet on the stern king post. This wreck also has two large guns, both bow and stern and a variety of small critters such as nudibranchs, crabs, shrimp and a variety of juvenile fish. During lunch the big boat moved all the way out to the Ulong Area and our third dive was at Ulong Channel. We started the dive from the south side of the channel and slowly made our way to the mouth of the channel. The current was light and we hooked in at the mouth. We had several grey reef sharks passing by in front of the divers and we stayed hooked in for a while. We then unhooked and lightly drifted down the channel to end the dive. Our last dive of the day was at Sandy Paradise. We entered the water and descended down the sloping hard coral to where it bottoms out in the sand and went shallow water on our right. We stopped at the anemone with the cleaning wrasse and some guests got their hands cleaned, we then continued along the bottom to the rock out cropping with all the glassy eyed sweepers and found several leaf scorpion fish hidden in the coral. We then turned around explored the coral garden and ended the dive back at the mooring.

 

Tuesday we started the day Siaes Tunnel. We descended down along the wall to the entrance of the large tunnel. Inside we found the helfrichs dart fish, black & white butterfly fish and the blue backed pygmy angel fish. We came out of the tunnel and slowly made our multi level up seeing a couple of sharks in the blue water. For our second dive and last dive in the Ulong area we headed out to Siaes Corner. We started the dive from the mooring and descended down along the wall, the light outgoing current pushed us slowly along towards the corner. We saw the beautiful sea fans and soft coral. At the corner the current was too light to hook in so we just came up onto the plateau to explore seeing a couple of turtles and white tip sharks. During lunch the big boat moved to the German Channel area and our third dive was at Fern’s Wall. The current was a strong outgoing and we started the dive from the mooring. Half the group saw a large nurse shark and everyone saw some turtles. Half way through the dive the current switched and pushed us back the other way, we were able to end the dive at the mooring. Dive four we headed to German Channel. We started the dive from the Koror side of the channel, entered the water and stopped at the red anemone for some photos. We then continued on to the Koror side cleaning station and sat down in the sand. After about 10 minutes one big manta came in did two passes over the cleaning station and took off. The crew was really excited because this was our first manta in 5 weeks. We then crossed the channel to the Peleliu side cleaning station and sat down and waited but nothing came in to get cleaned so we turned around and in the middle of the channel we saw an octopus and lion fish. We ended the dive by drifting into the channel. After dinner our first night dive was at German Coral Garden. We started from a mooring off to the side of the channel and let the outgoing current push us out the coral garden. We spotted several lion fish, plourabranchs and a white tip shark.

 

Wednesday morning we started with the world famous Blue Corner. It was an outgoing current and we started with the wall on our left, we hooked in and watched the show. There were several grey reefs sharks cruising back and forth in front of us and school of yellow tail barracuda behind us. We the good action at the hook in area we stayed for a while, later we unhooked and explored the plateau for a short while as the current pushed us across we saw two baby eagle rays hanging out in the current as well. Dive two we headed out to Blue Holes. We tied up the skiff at one of the moorings close to the holes, descended down the holes into the cavern. The chamber was filled with beautiful ambient light from above. We took some really nice photos of the guests in the chamber and saw the disco clams. We then exited and headed down towards Blue Corner, but before we got there the current changed so we turned around and started our safety stop. After lunch dive three was at Dexters Wall. We drifted along the wall finding a lot of turtles, beautiful sea fans and soft coral and before we ended the dive we spotted a leopard shark sitting on the bottom in the sandy area, some of the guests went down to take photos of the shark. Dive four we did a repeat dive at German Channel. We started the dive from the Peleliu side of the channel and stopped at the cleaning station and waited for anything to get cleaned, a grey reef shark came in a couple of times to have the cleaning wrasse give her a quick check up but not mantas. We then swam across the mouth of the channel to the other cleaning station, sat down and waited in the sand, there were five grey reef sharks cruising back and forth of to the side of the cleaning station but still no mantas. We ended the dive by drifting into the channel stopping by the white mantis shrimp for photos then came up to do our safety stop. After dinner our night dive was at Big Drop Off. We spotted a couple of white tip sharks out cursing along the wall, nudibranchs, and a lot of crabs. Also we found a twin spot lion fish and a leaf scorpion fish.

 

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 and swam out into blue water to approach the hook in area straight on, we did hook in for a short time but had to unhook because the current got stronger. We then shot across the plateau coming up to do our safety stop. After the dive four guests went ashore for the Peleliu WWII land tour. They spent 2.5 hours learning about on of the bloodiest battles of WWII. For dive two the remaining guests went for a dive at West Wall. The current was still outgoing and this time it was light. We started the dive from the mooring and drifted along the wall finding nudibranchs, beautiful yellow soft corals and a scorpion fish. After lunch the third dive was at Barracks Point. The current was outgoing and it pushed us along the wall and into the coral garden. We saw all the giant clams and a lot of turtles. Everyone enjoyed the coral garden and soon 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 we saw some artifacts; bombs and bullets. The current was out going and it was moving to start the dive. We drifted quickly along the coral garden seeing some turtles and anemones. The current pushed us all the way to the West Wall dive site but then the current switched and pushed us back to Orange Beach, as we went the other way we were lucky to find an adult ribbon eel, the blue and yellow one, very beautiful. After the dive the big boat moved out of South Dock and started heading back to the German Channel area. Our last night dive of the charter was at Turtle Cove. All the cup coral was out filter feeding turning the wall into a beautiful orange and yellow, we found a sleeping turtle and some nudibranchs.

 

Friday morning we started our day with a repeat dive at Blue Corner. The current was a light outgoing when we started the dive but that soon switched before we reached the hook in area, we swam across the plateau to the incoming side and in the light current we did not hook in, just stayed there watching all the jacks, sharks, and the baby eagle ray. We spent most of the dive on this side of the corner then swam to the tip of the corner seeing a couple of turtles. For dive two we went to Turtle cove. We started the dive by descending down the hole on top the reef and found a disco clam, in the chimney. We then went wall on our right towards the corner. The wall is covered with beautiful soft coral and sea fans, we saw a bunch of the square spot anthias of the steep wall, at the tip of the corner we came up on top the reef to see all the marine life that hangs out here, jacks, sharks, rudder fish, and a scorpion fish. The current then again switched and pushed us back the other way. After lunch our third dive was at New Drop Off. It was an outgoing current and we hooked in around the cut in the reef, there were several grey reef sharks in the blue and barracuda. Once we unhooked we explored the top of the plateau and had a great encounter with a couple of green sea turtles. They let the photographers get really close. Dive four was at Barnums Wall; we started the dive along the wall and soon entered the slopping coral garden. We spotted a couple of turtles and some beautiful anemones. As we reached the other side of the coral garden as it turns aback into a wall dive the current again switched and we turned around. Back at the big boat our chef Ronnie treated us to a final supper of a thanksgiving feast as the big boat headed back into Malakal Harbor.

 

Saturday morning our first dive was at the Jake Sea Plane. We tied the skiff up to the mooring and descended down to the plane. It sits in only 40 feet of water and make for some really nice photos because it’s not covered with coral growth. For our last dive of the charter we 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. After an afternoon of drying gear, packing, time for beauty and relaxation at the spa, at 5pm we took one guest to the airport for his flight home. Later at 6pm we gathered in the salon for the 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 four guests left to the airport to catch a flight to his next destination.

 

Sunday morning 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