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Rock Islands Aggressor
Republic of Palau, Micronesia
Charter Report Nov 26th – Dec 3rd, 2017
Weather: Winds from North East, Sunny/Overcast/Rain
Water Temp: 80/81 degrees
Monday: German Channel, Big Drop Off, New Drop Off, Ngedebus Coral Garden
Tuesday: Blue Corner, Turtle Cove, Blue Holes, Ngedebus Corner, Turtle Cove
Wednesday: Peleliu Corner, West Wall, Orange Beach Coral Garden, Barracks Point, Big Drop Off
Thursday: Blue Corner, Ferns Wall, German Channel, Barnums Wall, German Coral Garden
Friday: Shark City, Siaes Corner, Ulong Channel, Sandy Paradise
Saturday: The Iro, Chandelier Cave
Sunday evening we welcomed aboard 12 guests, from around the world, with more coming later. We started with a quick introduction to the staterooms then back out to the dive deck to set up their dive gear. We handed out weights, safety equipment and after checking certification cards and went upstairs for the Safety briefing and Vessel orientation. Soon after, dinner was ready and the guests sat down to a nice dinner prepared by Chef Andy and our newest crew member Chef Christian.
Early Monday morning we picked up our last 2 guests from the airport and brought them on board. Around 5 am we started moving the big boat to the German Channel area. We had our breakfast then covered the general dive briefing and headed down stairs. We loaded up the skiff and our first dive or check out dive was at German Channel. It was a light incoming current and we started on the Koror side of the channel. We entered the water and did a weight check. We descended down and stopped at the red anemone for photos and continued on to the first cleaning station. We sat down in the sand and waited but no mantas. We then kicked across the channel towards the other cleaning station. In the middle of the channel we saw a feathertail ray come up from the deep behind us then saw two mantas appear in front of us and swam off into the blue. At the other cleaning station we sat down but no mantas. We turned around and drifted into the channel. Our second dive was at Big Drop Off. We started the dive from the ball and chain, which was left over during the German Occupation of Palau before WWI and went wall on the left. Inside the small hole in the reef we saw 4 small white tip sharks sleeping. For the rest of the dive we saw macro life, and a couple turtles. After lunch we covered the reef hook briefing and our third dive was at New Drop Off. The current was outgoing so we started from the mooring and drifted along the wall towards the hook in area. The current picked up and we hooked in and held on. There were a couple of sharks in the blue and a school of yellow tail barracuda. We unhooked and shot across the plateau and started coming up to do our safety stop. Our last dive of the day was at Ngedebus Coral Garden. We started from the mooring and went shallows on the right towards the big boat. We saw a couple black tip reef sharks in the shallows, some leaf scorpion fish and other macro life. On the big boat we had dinner and after, most of the guests were off to bed.
Tuesday morning we started the day with a dive at the world famous Blue Corner. We checked the current and it was outgoing. We started from the back mooring and drifted lightly along the wall but at the hook in area the current switched to incoming. We came up on top the plateau and kicked over to the incoming side and hooked in at 60 feet. We had sharks, barracuda and schools of fish in front of the divers. The current died off so we spent the rest of the dive exploring the plateau with the napoleon wrasse. Our second dive was at Turtle Cove. We started from the mooring and swam over on top the reef and descended down the one hole on top the reef. We then exited out along the wall and headed down to the corner. We saw lots of macro life and at the tip of the corner we spotted a couple turtles and schools of fish. After lunch our third dive was at Blue Holes. We started above the holes, descended down and into the chamber. At the bottom we posed for photos with the ambient light streaming down from above. We swam up the wall on the side and saw the disco clams and exited the chamber wall on the left towards blue corner. Out along the wall, down deep, we saw the great barracuda. Once we got down towards the corner the current had switched to incoming so we turned around and went the other way. For our fourth dive we went to Ngedebus Corner. This is a corner dive but we don’t hook in, we just drift from one side to the other. We started wall on the right and the current pushed us around the corner. We saw a couple turtles, nudibranchs. The wall itself is covered in soft coral and sea fans. After dinner our night dive was at Turtle Cove. We started further down the reef where there use to be a mooring. We saw how beautiful this wall is at night with all the cup coral coming out to filter feed, turning the wall into orange and yellow colors. We saw a couple of turtles out swimming around and we saw basket star fish out filter feeding as well as slipper lobster and other macro life. Back at the big boat most of the guests were off to bed to get some good rest for the next day of diving.
Wednesday morning we made the trip down to Peleliu. We tied up the big boat in South Dock aka Camp Beck and our first dive was at Peleliu Corner. The current was incoming so we did a live drop in the blue on the “Express” side of the corner. We drifted along the wall until we started to see the sharks and when we did we came up on top and hooked in. The sharks did several passes then left so we unhooked and moved down the reef following them and hooked in again. We stayed hooked in at this site for a while then unhooked and drifted across the plateau. We saw a large school of barracuda and the big groupers that live on the corner. After the dive 9 guests went ashore to go on a WWII Peleliu land tour. They were taken around by bus to see and learn the history of one of the bloodiest battles of WWII. They saw the airfield, bloody nose ridge and the museum as well as other relics from the war. For the remaining 5 divers, dive two was at West Wall. It was an incoming current so we did wall on the right. We started by the skylight arch, and then dropped down along the wall. The wall is covered with beautiful yellow soft coral; we searched for macro life and found some nudibranchs. Off in the blue we spotted several grey reef sharks and some white tip sharks along the wall. Back at the big boat the land tour people came back and we had lunch, and our third dive was at Orange Beach Coral Garden. This was the landing beach for the Americans on September 15th 1944. Unfortunately the demining company was right outside the channel to Camp Beck removing bombs, so we could not start where we wanted to. We dropped into the water above the three bombs and went shallows on the right away from the demining company. So we didn’t get to see the collections of bullets, the landing craft and coke bottles. We did see several turtles, a crocodile fish and some beautiful anemones. After the dive the tide was high enough and the big boat left South Dock and slowly made it’s was up Peleliu. We lowered the skiff for dive four at Barracks Point. We entered the water above the wall and drifted along to where it turns into the slopping coral garden. We saw the giant clams and a bunch of turtles. The coral garden itself is covered with beautiful hard and soft coral. After the dive we caught back up with the big boat in the Turtle Cove area and after dinner our night dive was at Big Drop Off. This wall comes to life at night with all the beautiful cup coral out filter feeding. We also watched as the marble groupers used our lights to hunt at night. We found a bunch of macro life; nudibranchs, flatworms, twin spot lion fish.
On Thursday we started the day with a repeat dive at Blue Corner. We started the dive on the outgoing side of the corner, dropped down, drifted along the wall and hooked in. There were a bunch of sharks in front of all the divers, the current was nice and we spent most of the dive hooked in with all the fish, and napoleon wrasse. Later we unhooked and drifted across the plateau to a mooring on the incoming side to do our safety stop. We saw a couple turtles along the way. Dive two we headed out to Ferns Wall. We started from the mooring and went wall on the right. This wall is covered in small soft corals that look like ferns. That’s how the dive site got its name. This dive site is also called by some people Turtle Wall. During the dive we saw at least 10 turtle, both hawksbill and green sea. We also saw nudibranchs and some sharks in the blue. After lunch our third dive was at German Channel. It was a nice incoming current and we started from the Peleliu State side of the channel. We entered the water and first stopped at the Peleliu side cleaning station. Although we didn’t see any mantas we checked out a large mantis shrimp in the sandy/rubble bottom. We left this side of the channel and swam across the mouth to the Koror side cleaning station. We waited in the sand but still no mantas. The current had switched on us so we went out the channel on the Koror state side. We found a feather tail ray sleeping on the bottom and saw the red anemone again before ending the dive. For our fourth dive we went to Barnums Wall. We started along the wall and drifted into the coral garden. A couple of the anemones were balled up feeding and made for some nice photos. We found a crocodile fish and some turtles. The current pushed us along and out the wall on the other side of the coral garden. After dinner our night dive was at German Coral Garden. We started the dive from the red anemone and with the outgoing current we went shallows on the right. We found a mantis shrimp, white tip shark, several nudis and the lions paw sea cucumber. Also we spotted the rare twin spot lion fish.
Early Friday morning the big boat started moving to the Ulong area for our four dives today. After breakfast we headed out to Shark City. It’s a special time of the month, it’s a couple days before the full moon and this is when the red snapper gather to mate. It was an outgoing current and we did a live drop on the outgoing side of the corner. At the area where we would normally hook in, we saw a lot of grey reef sharks in the blue but we didn’t hook in, we went looking for the red snappers. At the tip of the corner we found them, the school was huge. It had to be over 500 of them. We did our best to stay on the plateau and watch the school, there was some mating going on but we didn’t see and big sharks going after them. After awhile we left the bottom and swam through the school and off into the blue to do our safety stop. Our second dive was at Siaes Corner. We started from the mooring on the outgoing side and went along the wall seeing the beautiful seafans. We came up on top the reef and hooked in; we saw sharks, snapper and a school of jacks in the blue. Even had a nice sighting of two of the three eagle rays that hang out at the corner. Later we unhooked and explored the coral garden seeing a couple turtles. After lunch our third dive was at Ulong Channel. We started from the mooring just outside the mouth and drifted along the wall to the hook in area. We hooked in and had several sharks in the blue in front of all the divers. We stayed there for most of the dive, then unhooked and drifted down the channel. We drifted past the lettuce coral and ended the dive at the giant clams. For our last dive of the day we went to Sandy Paradise. We started the dive at the mooring line and dropped down into the sloping coral garden. We descended down further to the sandy bottom. We first stopped at the big rock out cropping where we sometimes see mantas but none were there. We checked out the lion fish on the deep side then swam over to the next rock out cropping where the cleaner wrasse will clean your hands. We then continued on to see the leaf scorpion fish, mantis shrimp and several sharks in the blue. After dinner the guests sat down on the sofas in front of the television set to watch Ripon and Shea’s video of the charter. We all enjoyed this look back at the great week of diving as the big boat moved back to Malakal for Saturdays diving.
We woke up Saturday morning and our first dive was at The Iro. This is a Japanese WWII oil fleet tanker. It was sunk during the bombing run of Desecrate One in March 1944 We checked out the bow gun and some guests dropped down into the front cargo hold to see the two crates of beer bottles. In the black coral bushes around the middle king posts we saw four ringed pipe fish. We turned around at the stern gun and circled up the “tripod” king post, at the top we took time seeing the beautiful red anemones and tomato anemone fish. We then swam back to the front of the wreck going from one king post to the next to do our safety stop on the mooring line. Our last dive of the charter was at Chandelier Cave. The divers surfaced in all four air chambers to take photos of the stalactites and crystal formations inside the chambers. Then outside the cave we found the mandarin fish, some nudibranchs and razor fish. Back at the big boat the guests broke down their gear, wash it and hung it to dry. Soon after, lunch was ready and then it was time to settle the bills. Next it was an afternoon of relaxation, shopping in town and whatever else the guests wanted to do. At 6pm we gathered in the salon for the cocktail party and watched a photo slideshow of all the photos our photo pro had taken during the week. At 7pm the guests went ashore for dinner and came back to the boat at 9pm. At 10 pm we took two guests ashore to catch a ride to the airport for their early Sunday morning flight.
Sunday morning the guests woke up to continental breakfast and before 8am we started loading their luggage on the skiff to drop them on shore to spend at least an extra day in Palau. We would like to thank everyone for joining us this week and hope to see you all again soon.
-Rock Islands Aggressor Crew