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Rock Islands Aggressor :

 

Log Date: Sunday, Apr 09, 2017
Entry By: Rock Islands Aggressor Crew









 



Sunday afternoon we welcomed on board 17 guests from U.S., Canada and Europe all with the Coral Triangle Group. Lee and Ethan as their group leader are back in Palau as our guests on board who used to work here in Palau several years back. They bring us big group of snorkelers. We started with an introduction to their cabins and went back out to the dive deck to set up their dive gear. Before heading up stairs, we checked certification cards and in the salon we covered the vessel orientation and safety briefing. After the briefing we moved over to the tables and dinner was served. After dinner some guests stayed up to watch a documentary on Palau to get an idea of what we could see this week.

 

Around 5:30 am the big boat started up and headed straight towards Wonder Channel area. We had breakfast then covered the general dive briefing and headed downstairs to the dive deck and loaded up all the gear on the skiff. Our first excursion of the charter was at Zero Plane, the East side area of Southern Lagoon of Palau. We drop anchor and secure the small boat close to the plane wreck. And then the snorkelers put their mask on and fins and jump into the shallow water. We spend a little time swimming around the plane wreck and comeback to the boat to check the Milky way location. On our way to Milky Way we saw a jelly fish with long tentacles so we stopped and hang out for a while. We then continue our boat ride and reach the destination. We did not jump in the water on this one so we continue motoring to our next destination called Brain Coral Reef, this site was beside Long Lake. When we reach the area we secured our boat to a mooring line and then the snorkelers jump into the water and start looking for fish and beautiful corals surround the rock island. Lots of color of this coral (brain coral) that you’ll see in this snorkel site. We saw a lot of juvenile fish as well in the area. And the current coming out from the tunnel of Long Lake was fun. When we finished the area of snorkeling we come back to the skiff and have our drinks and snacks ready and prepared by our Chef Andy. And then we come back to the big boat for our lunch. After lunch our next excursion was Wonder Reef and Giant Clam City. We first snorkel to Wonder Reef. This area is reach with stag horn coral or branching coral. We start the snorkel at the mooring and work our way island on our right. We saw lots of damsel here, a crocodile fish and octopus too. After snorkeling on this area we head up North to Giant Clam City which is only 6 minutes away from Wonder Reef. We tied the skiff to the mooring system and the guests start snorkeling around the location. We saw Giant Clam of course plus mantis shrimp and couple of nudibranch. After snorkeling we head South to the big boat. We rinse our self and go upstairs for Ethan and Lee presentation. After the presentation was fabulous dinner by Chef Andy.

 

Tuesday morning as we served breakfast the big boat moved out through German Channel to the outside reef and moored the big bout at Turtle Cove. Our first excursion was at Turtle Cove and we started off at the far mooring not to close to the hole that we called chimney. This area is our first snorkel outside the barrier reef. So on this one you can’t see the bottom if you are above the wall or drop off. A beautiful site to snorkel with vertical wall and shallow reef on top you can see a lot of mixture of fish on this habitat. Variety of anthias, damsels, triggers, surgeons, school of fish, turtles, shark and such. Including colorful soft corals and sea fans on the area. Some of the snorkelers come back to the big boat while the rest continue their snorkeling for three hours. The rest of the group have enough so we went back to the big boat and the weather was nice so we had a picnic set up at the bar of the boat. After lunch we snorkel Ngemelis wall. This site was right next to Ngemelis Island but the area was similar to Turtle cove though this one more of vertical wall and little bit of shallow reef on top. On this site we saw lots of turtle to start with and then saw lots of butterfly fish, anemones, soft coral and sea fan and school of fish too. After we covered the area of Ngemelis Wall the skiff collect us and head our way to German Channel to check if the Manta are feeding. There is a bit of current on this one but the group manages to swim on top on the cleaning station and saw a Manta cruise the mouth of the channel also school of fusiliers and some filter feeder fish. And then we let the current push us inside the channel so the skiff can collect us to the loading zone designated by Koror State Rangers. After we come back to the boat for Lee and Ethan presentation and after another wonderful dinner prepared by Chef Andy.

 

Wednesday morning after breakfast our first excursion was Ngedebus Coral Garden. Beautiful sites for snorkelers cause this one have a shallow sloping coral garden with patches of sandy area at the bottom. Beautiful hard coral formation makes this area a good place to look for juvenile fish. One diver did dive on this one. We saw lots of damsels, fusiliers, turtles, white and black tip sharks swimming around the area too. We come back the big boat for lunch and after lunch again we motor the skiff to our next snorkeling site called Big Drop Off. This wall just right next to Ngemelis wall but you have big flat shallow reef on top and at the edge of the reef was vertical wall. This wall was covered with both hard and soft coral mixed up with sponges and algae in some areas, in short very colorful wall. Amazing snorkeling site to check to. In this area we saw from wall of pyramid butterfly fish, wall of fusiliers, and wall of red tooth trigger to family of anthias and damsels, sharks and turtles and more. We also see Crocodile fish to end our snorkel. We come back to the big boat after and while Ethan and Lee are doing the presentation the big back is motoring back to Wonder Channel area. The big boat was secured and moored now at Wonder Channel area and after the presentation we start head down to dive deck and prepared for our night snorkel to Rose Garden Reef. We are aiming and hoping to see coral spawning on this one but unfortunately we did not see it but still a nice snorkel because we saw several things that only come out or will let you see them at night. We saw banded messmate pipefish, squids, slugs and mantis shrimp. After the snorkeling we come back to the big boat and have dinner.

 

Early Thursday morning we fired up the engines and headed back to German Channel Area. While underway the boat the guest are having breakfast and we secured the big boat inside of German Channel mooring. Then we begin with our first excursion and gone to Virgin Blue Holes. The skiff tied to a mooring system and then the snorkelers start swimming to go on the top of the shallow reef where you can find a big hole that goes straight down the bottom at around 100 feet. 1 guest did actually dive with one of the staff. The snorkelers focus their swim to the shallow water and also the edge of the reef where they saw a beautiful lime stone form like canyons. Very scenic place to snorkel and also there is arch under water only around 30 feet. Aside from beautiful scene they also encounter big fish such as Bumphead parrot fish, Red snapper, Puffer fish, Turtles and Sharks. And also lots of small fish that you can find on a tropical place like Palau. After the snorkel the guest come back to the skiff have their snacks and drinks and comeback to the big boat. We then eat lunch and after lunch we go on our next snorkel to Barnum’s Wall. The tide is low so very nice to snorkel on this place. You can see a lot of small fish in the area kind the in one place because of the tide because they have no other place to go. Most of the fish we see were in the edge of the reef. This wall also have so many in and outs or what we called cuts along the reef. We saw lots of butterfly fish and angel fish and damsels and more. We come back to the big boat after snorkeling and once the guest on board we motor back the big boat to Wonder Channel area and secured the big boat. While underway Lee and Ethan are doing the presentation and briefing the guests on what to do and expect on night snorkel. After the presentation we have dinner and soon after we start our night snorkel to Wonder Reef. On this snorkel people did watch see the corals to fluoresced with our blue light. Cool experience for us because we don’t see coral like that using real light. After watching the coral with our blue light we start exploring the area and we saw puffer, feather duster, hermit crab, shrimps, crabs and more. Almost 1 hour and half we come back to the big boat.

 

Friday morning Captain Ike fires up the engine and head to west side of the rock islands maze. The big boat drifted when we get inside the maze of rock islands. Guest eats their breakfast and soon after we begin to snorkel inside the group of rock islands on the place called Soft Coral Arch. This place is fascinating. There is small natural arch the top is out of the water and most of the hole was under water. This arch is over rock island that makes the arch beautiful and the pretty of this arch is that you’ll see lots and different soft coral attach to the side of the arch under water because of the constant flowing of water. We also see juvenile Sailfin surgeon and juvenile chevron butterflyfish. After the snorkel here our next snorkel is to Cemetery Reef but before doing that we stopped at the Natural Arch and Ben our cruise director and photo pro take photos of the guests in front of this famous arch. When we arrive at the Cemetery Reef we tied the skiff and start swimming around the small area of shallow reef. Beautiful site with lots of hard coral and lots of small fish, damsel , goby and blennies, big needle fish, big red snapper, big bumphead parrot and napoleon wrasse and crocodile fish. After snorkel this site we come back to the big boat for lunch. After lunch we start our next excursion and go over to ship wreck, while doing this the big baot move to Malakal harbor area. This wreck is a fishing boat and it was leaning on his port side. The tide is low so perfect time snorkel this wreck. Lots of small fish on top of the wreck and we also see Moon Jelly Fish. After the snorkel here we move to next location and we go to another wreck but this one is a Corsair plane. This plane crashed to the rock island so half of the part of the plane was on the rock island and the rest was in the water which is the front side of the plane. We come back to the big boat seeing beautiful rock islands on our way back. After the excursion the guests 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. 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 snorkeling.

 

Saturday morning we woke up end have breakfast and after breakfast our first excursion was Buoy number 6 aka light house channel. When we get there we tied the skiff to a mooring and snorkel shallow water in our right. Not much current to start with. Beautiful shallow water with lots of things to see. On this site we saw lots of angels and butterfly fish, juvenile napoleon wrasse, parrot fish feeding, turtles, titan trumpet shell, big cornets and more. After snorkeling there we go to a lake to bird watch. Quiet and peaceful place inside the lake that we don’t know the name of it because the group leaders don’t want to name it so people won’t know or discover the area. We did not speak for at least 15 minutes and just let the sound of the birds touch our ears. What a wonderful experience. And then after that we did check couple of places around that rock islands and then start snorkeling again in the shallow water in between rock islands. We come back to the big boat for lunch. After lunch the group rented a boat for another excursion to mandarin fish lake while the crews are doing provision, refilling fuel and paperwork run to our land agent. We heard a lot of good stuff from the guest after their last excursion. I heard they so mandarin, octopus and jellies on their last snorkel. When the guests comeback they start taking shower for cocktail party. During the cocktail party while guest where drinking guests were watching Ben’s photos that he did took during this snorkeling charter. The dinner was off the boat and the group pick the Kramers to have their dinner so we drop them there around 6:30 pm. And around 8:00 pm we come back at Kramers to pick them up back to the big boat.

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Sunday morning around 7:45 we load the guests luggage to our skiff and drop it to PPR and guests depart the boat 8 am for another excursion using different skiff. 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