Palau Aggressor Charter Oct 29 – Nov 5, 2017
Water Temp: 79-84 deg F
Air Temp: 78-86 deg F
Crew: Dan, June, Shea, Ernan, Dustin ,Herence, Joe
On Sunday afternoon we welcomed aboard 16 new dive buddies from around the World. After an orientation to the vessel and helping them to set up their dive gear, we headed upstairs for a safety briefing by Captain Dan, followed by a delicious BBQ dinner by Chef Shea. With appetites satisfied, it was early to bed in order to rest up before beginning a wonderful week of diving onboard the Palau Aggressor II!
Leaving the dock on a bright sunny Monday morning we headed for our first dive for the week, Helmet Wreck where we explored the decks and holds and other parts of the 70 year old shipwreck as well as examining WWII artifacts that ranged from the old Japanese helmets to the Zero airplane engines in the forward hold. A variety of cool critters were spotted and eagle-eyed we found a Sawblade shrimp which was a delight for the guests he showed it to. After this dive we headed to the much larger wreck of the Iro Maru where we descended to the bow to check out the coral encrusted bow gun before swimming to the king posts and the school of resident horse eye jacks and a giant trevally trying to blend in un-noticed. From there we continued past the pilot house and a few empty holds and another set of kingposts to the stern gun before turning around and then making our way up the rear king posts to spend time checking out the anemone and anemonefish covered top. Additionally there are several Tridacna clams growing in the anemones that make for some lovely photos. After cruising thru the rock islands we returned to the PA2 for a filling lunch from Chef Shea while we moved to the German Channel area. After lunch we were diving at German cannel where we saw two manta rays. Then Barnums wall with its fantastic topography where we saw Black tipped shark and several Hawksbill turtles.
On Wednesday morning we motored down south in the gentle swell to Peleliu. Peleliu was the location of one of the bloodiest battles of WWII, when the US Marines came to take the Island from the entrenched Japanese Army. With the Palau Aggressor safely moored at Camp Beck, we headed out for our first dive on Peleliu Cut. At a point where the Pacific Ocean meets the Philippine Sea the currents can be strong, bringing with them a chance to see some of the bigger marine life in Palau. Orange Beach is so named from its code in the Peleliu invasion, the dive site just out from the beach is an amazing hard coral garden busting with color, and hardly a square meter of sand is visible between the corals. We saw several Turtles here and at the end of the dive a Crocodile fish. Dive three took us to West Wall, a very beautiful wall dive with everything from the big to the tiny After dive four at Barracks Point we headed back up to the German Channel area, and did a night dive at Ngedebus coral garden. A highlight tonight was watching a free swimming Moray Eel hunting fish along the wall.
On Wednesday we started at Blue Corner, than dove Blue Holes followed by Big drop off and finished up with two dives at Turtle Cove. All these dives had water temperatures between 82-84% with the visibility on the morning dives at 100 plus feet. The afternoon dives were during the extreme outgoing tide we had on this day thus had visibility in the 40-50 foot range. Highlights from these dives included plenty of gray and white tip sharks, napoleon wrasses, bumphead parrot fish, schools of butterfly fish along with swirling fusiliers. Inside the Blue Holes we saw the electric scallop, octopus and has two great barracuda and one gray reef shark come into the whole and circle the divers. We also saw many colorful anemones with a variety of anemone fish species, schools of sweetlips and snappers and a couple of peacock flounders. Turtle cove again provided an excellent night dive experience with many basket stars along the wall mixed amongst the multi-colored soft corals. Sleeping parrot fish, several species of shrimp, 3 slipper lobsters and a plurabranch were additional highlights on this night dive.
Virgin blue holes was the first dive on Thursday, then back to blue corner by popular demand, more Sharks putting on a show, Blue Corner never disappoints! Dive two Dive three was New Drop Off, a mini version of Blue Corner, odd current had us turn around along the wall, but we were rewarded with some Turtles, Moray Eels and some more sharks!. Then it was back to German channel in hopes of sighting another manta ray. After the German channel dive the big boat then motored up you long island due to a special dive first thing Friday.
Friday! Dive one, was shark city for the red snapper spawning and boy did they spawn in the thousands. Dive two was a hook in dive in Siaes corner where we had some good shark action and a baby eagle ray. Dive 3 was at Sandy Paradise where we saw two leaf fish, a mantis shrimp a crocodile fish and several bump head parrot fish as well as a rock mover wrasse. Dive 4 was Ulong Channel. Here we had an incoming current which brought in a number of sharks and schooling fish. after spending about 25 minutes hooked in at the mouth the group drifted down the channel and enjoyed the ride past a great variety of marine life which included a large school of glass eye fish, more sharks, several titans triggerfish, butterfly fish, and two giant clams.
On Saturday we started with a dive at Jake sea plane and ended with a dive at Chandelier Cave. Both of these are very unique opportunities that the group really enjoyed.
We wrapped up the week at the traditional cocktail party and would like to thank the entire group for a great week of diving and cruising the beautiful islands of Palau.