Rock Islands Aggressor
Republic of Palau, Micronesia
Charter Report Oct 29th – November 5th, 2017
Weather: Light winds from all directions most of the time East wind, Sunny
Water Temp: 82 degrees
Sunday afternoon we welcomed 16 guests from United States of America. We started with a quick introduction to the staterooms and back out on the dive deck, everyone set up their dive gear. After checking certification cards and we headed up stairs to cover the vessel orientation/safety briefing. Soon after dinner was ready then most of the guests headed to bed.
Monday morning after breakfast, we covered the general dive briefing and reef hook briefing. Our first dive or check out dive was at Sandy paradise. We started the dive at the mooring line and drop down into the sloping coral garden. We descended down further to the sandy bottom. We first stopped at the big rock out cropping and saw the lion fish on the backside. Then we swam along where the coral and sand meet to another rock out cropping with two beautiful anemones and the cleaner wrasse will come out to check over the divers’ hands. Further along the way we stopped at a rock outcropping with hundreds of glassy eye sweeper. Around and on top of it you can see cleaner shrimp, mantis shrimp, and scorpion leaf fish too. During the rest of the dive we saw barracuda, sharks and big school of reef jack fish as well as the scad. Our second dive was at Ulong Channel. We entered the water and swam out to the drop off, we then drifted wall on the left arrived at the mouth of the channel to hook in. We stayed there for a while seeing sharks in the blue, then unhooked and drifted down the channel. We saw the large patch of lettuce coral and ended the dive at the two giant clams. After lunch we head out to Siaes Corner. Beautiful wall to start with. We start wall on the right. Come up to the hook in area and hooked in. We saw school of Moorish idol and lots of shark. A baby eagle ray comes to say hello as well. We did unhooked and explore the beautiful plateau with soft coral and hard coral on top.. For our last dive of the day, because they like Sandy paradise and current consideration too we repeat Sandy Paradise. We started from the mooring and head down to the cleaning station. Wait there for a while hoping for mantas to come and get clean. Manta did not show up so we continue the dive shallow on the right hand side. Stop in couple rock out cropping checking the cleaner wrasse, cleaner shrimp, mantis shrimp and leaf scorpion fish. As the dive goes on we saw more stuff in the blue, school of barracuda, scad, and jack fish. Sharks, tuna napoleon wrasse and grouper free swimming. As the dive gets close to end we swim up in shallow water with beautiful hard coral formation on top to end the dive. Come back to the big boat and soon after dinner was ready. As the guests having dinner Capt. Ike motor the big boat to German Channel Inside.
Tuesday morning Captain Ike motor the big boat from inside lagoon to outer reef as we planned on starting the day to dive the famous Blue Corner. When we get to the dive site the current was out going so we start the dive doing live drop putting the reef on our left hand side as we hit the water. There are lots of fish to start with on the depth of 60 feet. Unicorn, surgeon, sweet lips and grouper are getting clean close to the wall. In the blue tons of fusilier and red toot trigger fish and pyramid butterfly fish as well. When we get to the hook in area we hook in as the sharks are swimming back and forth in front of the group. There also bunch of Spanish mackerel hunting and school of chevron barracuda. When we drifted on top of the plateau we saw lots of cool stuff. Turtles, big Bump head Parrot fishes, Grouper, school of snappers and jacks, sharks everywhere you look and the friendly Napoleon Wrasse swim with the group until we do our safety stop. Second dive was at German Channel. We start the dive at Peleliu side. Enter the water on mooring drop and head our way to first cleaning station putting the shallow water in our left hand side. We got to the cleaning station sat down and wait something to get clean. No luck so we swim across the channel and check the other cleaning station on the other side of the channel. On our way to the other side we saw sharks, school of jacks and barracudas, napoleon, grouper and lots of garden eel. We stayed several minutes at the cleaning station and still no manta show up so we drifted inside and check the beautiful coral garden inside the channel. After lunch our third dive was Turtle cove. We start at the mooring line and enter the water. We swam on the surface and descended to the hole that ends in a small cavern. We exited the cavern and start heading to small corner with the wall on our right hand side. The wall is vertical up and down. It was a beautiful wall with soft coral and sea fan and lots of macro life. Square spot anthias, nudibranch, goby, dotty backs and blennies. When we get to the corner we go on top and start seeing lots of fish and turtles too. We end the dive doing safety stop and swim in the blue for skiff pickups. Our forth dive was Dexter’s Wall; we do a live drop and descend with the wall on our right hand side. Some of the guests saw leopard shark free swimming, lots of turtles, shark in the blue and reef fish on the wall. For our night dive we dive Ngedebus Coral Garden. Sloping bottom and this dive site is rich in macro life at night shrimps, crabs, nudis, scorpion fish, and more. We saw turtles too and lots of big fish sleeping like Napoleon wrasse, Parrot fish and triggers.
On Wednesday we started the day at Virgin Blue Hole. We do a live drop close to the hole and swim on the surface. We descended and drop down to 100 feet. Then we swim to the tunnel leading to the wall. When we get to the wall we drifted wall on the right and go to the canyons exploring in and outs of it. It was a beautiful scenic place good for photography. Our second dive was Big Drop Off, we started at the ball and chain and we checked the small cave if the baby white tip sharks were there and they were. We saw 5 baby white tip sharks resting inside. We then turn around and explore the rest of the wall cover with beautiful soft coral and sea fan with lots of macro life as well. We come back to the big boat and soon after were lunch. After lunch we head back to Blue Corner. We start in outgoing side of the corner. When we get to the hook in area we hook in for a while and unhook because the current switch to incoming. As we swim to the other side all the fish were migrating as well to the other side of the wall. We get to the other side and hook in. We saw sharks, trevally, jacks and fusiliers in the blue. Behind us is Napoleon wrasse checking all the divers. When we unhook we explore the top of the reef going to the corner, school of blue line snapper, turtles, bump head parrot fish and barracudas to see. We drifted in the blue for safety stop to end the dive. For our forth dive we dive German Channel one more time. This time we start Koror side. We check the red anemone to start with taking photos and proceed to the cleaning station. Did not stay for long and start swimming across the channel, we saw jacks, sharks and tuna on our way to the other side. Wait for several minutes to the other cleaning station but still no luck for manta saw we swim back to the center and swim in to the channel. Most of the diver was doing safety stop and drifted in the blue. While the other still continuing the dive a manta show up to say hello to end the dive. We come back to the big boat for dinner. After dinner our night dive was Turtle cove. A beautiful wall at night with all the soft coral and sea fans out to feed. We saw turtles, nudibranch, shrimp, crabs and basket star on this dive.
Thursday morning we made the trip down to Peleliu. We tied up in South Dock and our first dive was at the famous Peleliu Corner. The current was outgoing and it was nice. We did a live drop in the blue and let the current push us to the wall and towards the hook in area. As we approached we noticed a large school of red snappers around the cut. Mixed in with the snappers were a big school of horse eyed jacks. We hooked in around the cut and held on. After a while we unhooked and swim on top of the reef. We saw big school of giant trevally coming up to start our safety stop. After the dive we took 14 guests 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 divers, dive two was Peleliu corner by request. Same side of the wall this time we enter a little further from the hook in area. We reach the hook in area we saw the big school of red snapper again together with black snapper and jacks and when we unhook the current switch so we drift shallow water on the right to end the dive. Back at the big boat we had lunch, and our third dive was at Orange Beach Coral Garden. This was the landing beach the Americans landed on September 15th 1944. We dropped into the water above the three bombs and went shallows on the left. We saw several turtles, a school of snappers and jacks. We stopped at the collection of 1940’s era coca cola bottles and took photos. Further down the reef we saw piles of bullets and a couple more bombs. 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 3 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 skiff in the German Channel area and after dinner our last night dive was at German Coral Garden. This dive site was sloping bottom; we start the dive at the mooring and work our way shallow water on the right. We saw lots of cool stuff on this dive. Shrimps, mantis shrimp, nudibranch, tiger cowries and leopard shark free swimming and mantis shrimp free swimming as well as we do our safety stop.
On Friday we started the day out with Blue Corner for the last time. With the current so light we enter the water in the middle of the plateau, as we explore the reef the current start pick up out going so we swim to the hook in area and hooked in. lots of sharks in the blue while we are hooked in. the Napoleon wrasse that we called Hickie was there to play with our guests too. When we unhook we saw devil scorpion fish crawling and trying to get a nice ambush location for prey. We check the tip of the corner and we saw more animals such as turtles, bumphead parrot, barracudas, snappers, moray, lion fish and more. We do our safety stop and come back to the boat. Our second dive was blue hole. We tied the boat to the mooring and swim over the top of the holes. Inside we show the guests the disco clam and take photos of them with the nice ambient light as the background. When done exploring the big cavern we then exited and put the wall on our left hand side. We saw Great barracuda while we are drifting to blue corner. When we reach the wall at blue corner we did hooked in for a while, unhooked and drifted on the top of the reef to finish the dive. During lunch Captain Ike motor the boat going back to Malakal Harbor and after lunch we dropped the skiff for second dive. Before going to the dive site we take our guests on a rock islands tour and stop at the famous lime stone rock “arch” where we took their photos and after we went straight to the Iro. We tied the boat and enter the water. We check the big gun first at the beginning, then the cargo hold and king post. Pass the bridge and gone to the stern. At the stern we do spiral ascend on the tripod. We stop at the top of it and play with the anemone fish. There are two giant clam mixed in big number of anemones. We do our safety stop there while the others turn around and surface at the mooring. For our last dive we dive Hafa Dai wreck. We tied the boat at the mooring and enter the water. We start at the bottom and make loop, after we ascend to the next deck and make a loop again. We do this maneuver until we reach the top deck and swim to the king post and do safety stop. While doing the dive we saw lots of blue dragon nudibranch, lion fishes, glassy sweepers, fusiliers and puffer fish. We returned to the boat and gave the guests a little time for sit back and relax, get a drink and dinner was ready. It was our special final supper prepared by our chef Ronnie. The guests started with a salad then served themselves to a buffet that consisted of two choices of mixed veggies, prime rib, Yorkshire puddings and a desert of blueberry cheese cake. After dinner the guests sat down on the sofas in front of the television set to watch Jim’s video of the charter while the big boat was motoring back to Malakal harbor.
We woke up Saturday morning with the big boat in Malakal harbor and our first dive was at The Iro. We tied the boat to the mooring line and descended down to the wreck of the bow. The first thing we saw was the big bow gun totally encrusted with coral and clams. We continued along exploring the top deck of the wreck passing several king posts and super structure. In some black coral bushes by the middle king posts we found four ringed pipe fish. When we reach the stern, we pause there for a while for some picture of the stern gun then turned around and circled up what we call the “tripod.” This is three posts that come together at the top forming a “tripod.” When we got to the top of the tripod we stayed there for a while photographing all the red anemones and tomato anemone fish that completely cover the top. We then kicked back towards the bow of the wreck going from one king post to the next to end our dive. 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 then outside the cave we found the mandarin fish some nudibranchs, spiny devil fish, 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, while a couple decided to stay.
On 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