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Rock Islands Aggressor :


Log Date: Sunday, Jan 22, 2017
Entry By: Rock Islands Aggressor Crew


Sunday afternoon we started our pickups and welcomed on board 18 guests from the U.S. We started with an introduction to their cabins and on the dive deck everyone set up their dive gear. We checked cert cards and headed up stairs for the vessel orientation and safety briefing. After the briefing we sat down to dinner. After dinner we watched a documentary on Palau to get an idea of what we could see this week.


Early Monday morning the big boat started up and headed straight towards German Channel. We served breakfast and covered the general dive briefing and headed downstairs to the dive deck, we checked our nitrox percentage and loaded the guests gear on the skiff. Our first dive of the charter was at Turtle Cove. We entered the water, checked our weight and descended down along the wall. We then swam along the wall towards the corner. We found the square spot anthias, and at the corner we came up on top the reef to see the schools of fish and some turtles. For our second dive we wanted to dive German Channel, but from the mooring at the dive site we saw that the visibility would have been really bad. It was the start of the incoming current and the water was milky looking. We decided to move to Barnums Wall. We had better visibility here. We entered the water along the wall and drifted along into the slopping coral garden. We saw a couple turtles and some beautiful anemones. After lunch we covered how to use reef hook and then headed out to New Drop Off for dive three. The current was outgoing, and it was moving. We drifted swiftly along the wall and hooked in around the cut in the reef. At the hook in we held on tight and saw several sharks in the blue. After we unhooked, we shot across the plateau and off into the blue to start our safety stop. Our last dive of the day was at Ngedebus Coral Garden. We started the dive above the coral garden and went along with the shallows on the right. We found a couple leaf scorpion fish and a black tip reef shark. During dinner we watched a slide show on the common marine life found in Palau and soon after dinner the guests were off to bed.


Tuesday morning our first dive was at the famous Blue Corner. The current was a light outgoing current and we started the dive from the far mooring. When we reached the hook in area the current was too light to hook in. We came up on top the reef to explore. We saw some turtles. The current started to switch to incoming so we crossed the plateau to the 60 foot hook in area but the current was still too light to hook in. For dive two we headed out to Blue Holes. From the mooring we swam over to the four holes on top the reef and descended down into the chamber. We spent some time looking for the disco clams, some nudibranchs, and saw a couple of lion fish. We then exited the chamber and swam along the wall to Blue Corner. Some of the guests surfaced due to being low on air, but some guests were able to make it the corner. We ended the dive drifting across the plateau. Our third dive of the day was at German Channel. We started from the Koror side of the channel, entered the water and went right to the red anemone for some photos. We then continued to the first cleaning station and didn’t see any mantas at the cleaning station; we then swam across the mouth of the channel to the Peleliu side cleaning station. We sat down in the sand but still didn’t see any mantas. We turned around and drifted into the channel. For dive four our guests wanted to go back to Blue Corner. To start off the dive the current was outgoing and it was light. We started the dive at the mooring and descended along the wall. At the hook in area the current was still too light, so we decided to explore the plateau. We saw some sharks cruising across the reef. Above us was the large school of horse eyed jacks and yellow tail barracuda. After dinner we returned to Turtle Cove for the night dive. We descended down along the wall and saw how different this wall looks at night. All the cup coral comes out to filter feed at night turning the wall into beautiful orange and yellow. We also spotted other macro life including banded coral shrimp, hairy hermit crabs and basket starfish.


Early Wednesday morning we fired up the engines and headed down to Peleliu, we dropped anchor in Camp Beck, aka South Dock and our first dive of the day was at Peleliu Corner. Unfortunately with the strong North East wind the corner was really rough. We turned around and went to Barracks Point. The current was still outgoing and we descended down to the slopping coral garden seeing a bunch of turtles and giant clams. Also the guests enjoyed seeing all the soft coral. For dive two we headed out to Orange Beach Coral Garden. This dive site is a beautiful sloping coral garden that was the landing beach during WWII so artifacts can be seen mixed in the coral garden. We started the dive in front of the channel to South Dock and went with the shallows on our right. We saw a big bomb in the sandy rubble area and a large scorpion fish. We saw the piles of bullets and spent the rest of the dive exploring the coral garden. After lunch 13 guests went ashore for our Peleliu WWII land tour. They spent a couple of hours on a guided tour of one of the bloodiest battles of the Pacific, learning about the war and Peleliu then and the island life today. For dive three we went to a different area of Orange Beach Coral Garden that we haven’t been to before. The remaining divers enjoyed this sloping coral garden. Also we saw more WWII artifacts. After the dive we picked up 10 of the guests from the land tour but three stayed on island for an extended tour. For our fourth dive we went to West Wall. The current was a light incoming so we started above the red anemones then dropped down along the wall. We saw two scorpion fish and probably the largest marbled ray ever seen. It was sleeping on a slopping area of the wall down deep. It let us get really close for pictures and video. After dinner our night dive was at Orange Beach Coral Garden. We started the dive right in front of the channel to South Dock and explored the coral garden at night. We found some lion fish and a couple different nudibranchs that only come out at night. After the dive the big boat left Peleliu South Dock and headed back up to the German Channel area.

Thursday morning we decided to stay in this area for two more dives. We started with one last dive at Blue Corner. When we arrived at the dive site the current was slack. We started the dive doing a live drop right on top the corner, descended down and a short time into the dive the current started to pick up from the outgoing side. We swam over and hooked in on that side of the corner. There were a couple of sharks in front of the divers, and some came from behind to the current side of the corner. Later we unhooked and went to the tip of the corner to see all the schools of fish and then started our ascent. For dive two we went back to New Drop Off. The guests enjoyed the last time we did this dive and asked for it again. The current was again outgoing but not as strong. We again hooked in around the cut and watched a couple of sharks in the blue. We then unhooked and explored the plateau finding a couple of turtles and a peacock flounder. Along the wall we had a brief encounter of the orange spine unicorn fish that swam by in a school of a couple hundred with a bunch of grey reef sharks following them. After the dive the big boat started moving to the Ulong area and dive three was at Ulong Channel. We started the dive from the mooring outside the mouth and swam along the top of the wall to the hook in area at the mouth. The current was too light to hook in so we just drifted into the channel. Along the wall we found a couple of scorpion fish and swam through the school of big eye crescent tail fish. We passed by the lettuce coral and ended the dive at the two giant clams. For our fourth dive we headed all the way out to Siaes Corner. The current was a outgoing and we started the dive from the furthest mooring. We drifted along the beautiful wall covered in soft coral, sea fans and saw schools of butterfly fish. We reached the hook in area and hooked in. There were sharks and a school of black snapper in front of the divers. We then unhooked and explored the coral garden seeing a couple turtles. After dinner we went to Ulong Coral Garden for the night dive. We started the dive from the last mooring for the mouth and descended down to the coral garden. We saw a couple of white sharks and turtles and even a scorpion fish.


Friday morning we did one last dive in the Ulong area at Sandy Paradise. Being a couple of days before the new moon were going looking for the bumphead parrot fish spawning. We started the dive from the mooring and dropped down to the bottom where the coral garden meets the sandy bottom. Waited for a while around the cleaning station rock but no mantas came in to be cleaned. We continued along the reef finding the leaf scorpion fish and mantis shrimp, then towards the end of the dive we found the bump heads. There were several big schools and we got to see some mating action before we surfaced. After the dive the big boat started making its way up the Western Lagoon and we dropped the skiff for a short ride through the rock islands past the natural archway to our second dive at the Iro. The visibility was not the best but we found a crocodile fish and saw the red anemones at the top of the king posts. Then on the bow gun we found a really rare nudibranch, the Risbecia Tryoni, that’s a first one of its kind that I’ve seen here in Palau. After lunch we headed out to the Teshio Maru. This wreck sits out far from the harbor and it sits on her starboard side and we swam in and out of the front cargo holds but the aft cargo holds are collapsing on them self, so we didn’t enter them. We saw some lion fish around the wheel house and some nudibranchs on the top of the wreck or the port side. For our last dive of the day we waited until dusk to go to Chandelier Cave. Although we didn’t enter the cave, we stayed outside the cave to find the mandarin fish. We got there at the right time soon after we entered the water, they started to mate. The photographers got some really nice photos of these multi colored little fish. Back at the big boat we sat down to a final supper that consisted of a prime rib feast. We also had some great extras, roasted potatoes, mixed veggies, and Yorkshire puddings. For dessert we had a lime cheesecake. We then moved over to the couch to watch our video of the charter put together by our video pro Jim. Everybody enjoyed this look back at the week of diving.


Saturday morning we started with one last wreck dive at the Helmet. This wreck is an unidentified Japanese WWII sub chaser sank in the harbor during the American bombing run of Desecrate One in March 1944. It has two names, either the Helmet Wreck or Depth Charge Wreck, because you can find these items on this wreck. We did our back rolls into the water, checked our weight, and descended down to the stern. We entered the first cargo hold; saw the three stacks of helmets and the depth charges. In the middle cargo hold we saw more depth charges the large anti-aircraft search light and swam through the old partition to the forward cargo hold with the airplane engines and generator. On the bow of the wreck we saw the Nippon Brewing Company bottles and turned around and headed towards the stern. We spent the rest of the dive looking at the artifacts that have been collected and placed around the stern gun. Our last dive of the charter was at Chandelier Cave. We already did this dive for the mandarin fish but this time we went into the cave. All the divers surfaced in the four air chambers saw the stalactites and crystal formations. Back at the big boat the guests broke down their gear, washed it and hung it upstairs to dry. Lunch was soon ready and after settling the bills the guests enjoyed their free time some guests went ashore to try to check emails. At 6pm we gathered in the salon for the beer and wine party while our photo pro showed his slideshow of all the images he took during the charter and the guests received their copies of all those images to take home with them. After the party, the guests went into town for dinner at one of the local restaurants after they finished dinner we picked them up from the dock and returned to the boat for the night.


Very early Sunday morning we took 11 guests ashore to be transferred to the airport for their flight home and later the remaining guests woke up to continental breakfast and just before 8am we started loading luggage on the skiff and said our goodbyes as we took the guests ashore to transfer them to their hotels so they could spend a couple extra 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