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Rock Islands Aggressor
Republic of Palau, Micronesia
Charter Report Feb 4th – Feb 11th, 2018
Weather: Winds from East, North East, South West Windy, Sunny/Rain
Water Temp: 80/82 degrees
Monday: Sandy Paradise, Siaes tunnel, Siaes Corner, Ulong Channel
Tuesday: Ulong Channel, Turtle Cove, Blue Holes, Blue Corner,
Wednesday: Blue corner, German Channel, Dexters Wall, Big Drop off
Thursday: German Channel, Ngemelis wall, Matt’s Wall, German coral garden, German Channel
Friday: Blue Corner, Blue Corner, Barnums Wall, Fern’s Wall
Saturday: The Iro, Chandelier Cave
Sunday evening we welcomed aboard 18 guests from all the USA a few from England & Canada. The group was lead by a former Capitan on the Aggressor here in Palau Mike Farmer & Amanda so great to having them and their group of divers with us again. 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 out Chef Christian. After dinner we watched a documentary on Palau and everyone headed to bed.
Monday morning we woke up, as the boat was heading to Ulong for our first days diving we had 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. Sandy Paradise or Andy Paradise as one of the crew likes to call it and it lived up to its name, As soon as we started the dive we saw a manta ray cleaning, so we kneeled in the sand and watched it stayed so long some divers left and wanted to see more of the dive site, we headed over to a rock where we can get our hands cleaned then over to a rock covered in glassy eye sweepers and found 3 leaf fish and 2 mantas shrimp, out in the blue there were big schools of barracuda and crescent tail soldier fish being chased but dog tooth tuna and golden trevally. This mad a awesome check out dive. Dive two Siaes Tunnel this is a deeper dive where the entrance of the tunnel is at about 95ft and then goes in to the reef may be 300ft in the tunnel we can see some fish we don’t usually see on the reef, the blue back pigmy angle fish and the black and white butterfly fish as well as some decorated dart fish. After the tunnel we exited and stared our way shallower the wall covered in soft coral and lots of gray reef sharks in the blue. We came back to the boat had a great lunch then we had a briefing on how to use a reef hook as our next two dives were hook in dives, Dive three Siaes Corner it was a light out going wall on the right started on the wall looking at sea fans and soft corals and we were lucky to find a pigmy seahorse something the crew have not seen in a long time we then made our way to the hook in area not so much current but we stayed watching baby gray reef sharks and schools of barracuda. We ended the dive by slowly drifting over the coral garden. Dive four was incoming so we went to Ulong Channel. We started from the mooring and swam into the hook in area at the mouth. We hooked in and had a couple of sharks in front of the hooked in divers. We unhooked and drifted down the channel seeing beautiful anemones and the big patch of lettuce coral and saw the two giant clams and went a little bit further down the channel where there was a baby eagle ray feeding in the sand. It was getting dark by now and we boarded the skiff and headed back to the big boat. Dinner was soon ready and we had our daily trivia and the plan for the next day’s diving. After dinner most of the guests were off to bed.
Tuesday morning Dive one Ulong channel. This time the current was a light incoming we made it to the hook in area and saw lots of sharks after 30 minutes we unhooked and drifted down the channel coral garden where we were treated by a baby eagle ray swimming next to us. We then drifted passed the lettuce coral and finished at the two giant clams. Back on the big boat we moved to the German Channel area and the second dive was at Turtle cove, this dive starts going down a chimney where you can see disco clams and make some great photos of the sky light. Then it’s all on the right where you can see some of the best soft coral and seafans here in Palau. We also found a octopus out hunting on top of the reef. Dive three after lunch was at Blue Holes. We started from the mooring and swam over to the holes, descended down and we took photos of the guests 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. The current was quite strong and we made it to blue corner and hooked in for a while a great 2 for 1 dive. Dive four back to Blue Corner this time it was a strong incoming wall on the right. It was a exiting dive for all when we made it to the hook in area the current was so strong we could not lift up our cameras so best jut to enjoy the feeling of the rushing current. After the dive we came back to the big boat opened up the wet bar and shared the dive stories of the day with some drinks and then dinner.
On Wednesday we started the day with Blue corner. We started the dive on the incoming side of the corner and started towards the hook in area. Again it was a strong current. Dive two German Channel towards the end of the incoming the best time for Channel as the water is the clearest. We started on the Peleliu side made our way to the cleaning station where we found a feather tail ray laying in the sand and let everyone get close and take pictures. We stayed and no mantas came to we started to explore the rest of the channel seeing the other schools of fish a small group went back to the cleaning station and saw a manta for a while. After lunch our third dive was at Dexters Wall. We started in one cut and went wall on the right. In total we saw about 12 turtles, both green sea and hawksbill. We also enjoyed the sift corals and sea fans. Our forth dive was a dusk dive at Big Drop Off. We started at the mooring and saw the big ball and chain then looked at all the macro life but out in the blue there were lots of sharks in the blue as the dive went on the groups started coming out and corals started to open and feed. Back to the big boat for dinner and to find out about the next day schedule.
Thursday morning the big boat headed down to Peleliu. But due to the bad weather and bid swell we had to turn back to the German channel area. So the first dive was German Channel, this time we started at the Koror side of the channel and the dive starts at the red anemone, then over to the cleaning stations on the way a leopard shark was seen swimming, the group then made it to the cleaning station and a good long manta show. Dive two was Ngemelis wall, this is a great wall where we spotted orangutan crabs plenty of nudies, some sharks and turtles in the blue but manly a macro dive. Back to the big boat for lunch. Dive three Matt’s wall. Lots of soft corals and a crocodile fish were found. Dive four German coral garden, on the coral garden on the Koror side of the channel, on the dive we found nudies and lots of jaw fish in the holes. The night dive was at German coral garden Peleliu side. We found a bunch of macro life; nudibranchs, flatworms crocodile fish and some nice shells were out and a big tiger cowry and lots of plankton!
On Friday we started the day out with a repeat dive at Blue Corner. We started the dive on the incoming side of the corner, dropped down and the current was light so we enjoyed the wall and we went to the 60 foot area and hooked in but no need to hook in. There were a bunch of sharks here as well. We spent most of the dive drifting across the plateau. On the other side of the corner we saw a school of orange spine unicorn fish. There had to be a couple hundred, they were being chased by several sharks as well. We then ascended to start our safety stop. The blue corner dive was so good and different from the other times we went there in the week the group wanted to go back for dive two, still a light current. After lunch dive three was at Barnums Wall, this is a dive on the Peleliu state side the dive stats as a coral garden then turns in to a wall with lots of nooks and cuts to explore. On this dive lots of nudies were found. Dive four Fern’s Wall. This is a great wall for sea fans and soft coral we found lots of long nose hawk fish both small ones and larger ones. And a few nice nudies and egg spirals were seen. After the dive the big boat started heading back to Malakal Harbor. The guests showered off and had time to relax with a drink or two then we sat down to our final supper of prime rib, roasted chicken, Yorkshire puddings and a buffet of mixed veggies. After dinner the guests sat down on the sofas in front of the television set to watch our video pro’s video of the charter. We all enjoyed this look back at the great week of diving.
We woke up Saturday morning and did our first dive at The Iro one of the best wrecks in Palau. Lucky for us the viability was great. From the mooring line we could see the deck and the large bow gun. As we made our way over the wreck a few people explored the cargo hold, and others took pictures of the large king posts. The second set of king posts have 2 sets of ringed pipe fish on then with the males with eggs also on this king posts there was a small turtle. We then made our way to the stern gun then up the tripod king post were there are lots of anemones and tomato clown fish and a few clams make a nice shallow area to end the dive. For our last dive of the charter we headed out to 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 two spot signal gobies and sea snake were seen. Back at the big boat the guests broke down their gear, washed it and hung it to dry. We had lunch then settled bills. Next was an afternoon of relaxation, shopping in town or 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 and at 7pm we sent the guests ashore for dinner and picked them back up later to bring to the boat for the night.
Very early Sunday morning continental breakfast at 7am then 7:45 loaded up the skiff and said our goodbyes as we took them ashore to be transferred there hotel. We would like to thank everyone for joining us this week and it was great to see our friends from Hawaii and to have Mike & Amanda back on the Rock Islands Aggressor. We always hope to see you all again soon.
-Rock Islands Aggressor Crew