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Rock Islands Aggressomr
Republic of Palau, Micronesia
Charter Report: September 16th – 23rd, 2018
Weather: Light winds to start, Wednesday winds picked up through the rest of the charter
Water Temp: 79/82 degrees
Monday: German Coral Garden, Big Drop Off, Turtle Cove
Tuesday: Blue Corner, German Channel, Blue Holes, Dexter’s Wall, German Coral Garden
Wednesday: Blue Corner, Fern’s Wall, German Channel, German Wall, German Coral Garden
Thursday: New Drop Off, Ngemelis Wall, Ngerchong Outside, Ngerchong Outside, Clam City
Friday: Siaes Tunnel, Sandy Paradise, Ulong Channel, Ulong Channel
Saturday: Helmet Wreck, Chandelier Cave
Sunday night we picked up 15 guests from the airport on the late night flight. We started with a quick introduction to their cabins, and then because this is one group they choose to put off the briefings until tomorrow morning. Some headed directly to bed and some set up their dive gear and checked cert cards.
Early Monday morning the big boat started heading straight to the German Channel area. After breakfast we started with the vessel orientation/safety briefing. We had a quick break then covered the general dive briefing. Before we headed downstairs we passed out lifeline to those that wanted them. On the dive deck the guests set up their dive gear and we checked cert cards for those who didn’t do it last night. We analyzed nitrox and the crew loaded their gear on the skiff. We headed out to do our first dive at German Coral Garden. We started from the outside mooring from the mouth of the channel, did our entries, checked our weight and descended down. We first stopped at the red anemone for photos then went out the channel. We saw lion fish, white tip sharks, and some nudibranchs. The current soon switched so we turned around and drifted into the channel. After lunch, dive two was at Big Drop Off. We started at the ball and chain left over during the German Occupation before WWI. We then went wall on the left. This wall is covered in beautiful soft coral and some sea fans. We saw nudibranchs and all sorts of tropical fish. Again the current switched so we turned around and went with the flow. Our last dive of the day was at Turtle Cove. We started the dive at the mooring and swam over on the surface to the hole on top the reef. We descended down the chimney and out to the wall. We went wall on the right towards the corner. We saw schools of fish, and the beautiful square spot anthias. At the corner we came up on top the reef and saw some sharks in the blue. We continued along the top of the reef seeing a couple turtles. Back on the big boat dinner was soon ready and after we covered the last power point presentation on how to use the reef hooks.
After breakfast on Tuesday morning we started the day with our first dive at Blue Corner. It was an incoming current and we did a live drop in the blue water. We descended down along the wall and saw all the fish, snapper, butterfly fish, and triggers off the wall. We came up into the 45 foot area and hooked in. There were some sharks in front of the divers but the current started to die off. We unhooked and went down to the 60 foot area but didn’t hook in again the current was too light. We spent the rest of the dive exploring the plateau playing with the napoleon wrasse. We took photos of the small group blue lined snapper at the tip of the corner before coming up to start our safety stop. Dive two was at German Channel. We started from the Peleliu side of the channel and descended down the mooring line. As soon as we got to the bottom, a manta passed by the front of the divers in the blue. We followed it to the Peleliu side cleaning station. The manta did a couple passes as a spotted eagle ray came up from the blue and passed by the cleaning station. After the manta left we swam across the mouth of the channel to the Koror side cleaning station. Down on the deeper side of the cleaning station we saw a feathertail ray down I the sand. We sat down around the cleaning station but nothing came in to be cleaned. We turned around and drifted into the channel, before starting our safety stop we found a crocodile fish. Dive three was at Blue Holes. We started from the mooring and swam over to the holes on top the reef. We descended down into the big chamber finding the disco clam and a couple lion fish. We took photos of the guests with the ambient light coming down from above. We then left the chamber and followed the wall down to Blue Corner. We saw the schools of snapper and some sharks. It was towards the end of our dive so we just came up on top the reef to explore before starting our safety stop. For the fourth dive we headed out to Dexters Wall. We started the dive wall on the left where it’s a slopping reef then in to the wall. We saw a couple turtles and all the beautiful soft that lines the wall. For our first night dive we went to German Coral Garden. We started by the red anemone and drifted out the channel. We saw lion fish, crabs, shrimp and lots more macro life.
Wednesday mooring the wind started to pick up just like forecasted and before it started to get too rough on the west side, we headed out to Blue Corner. It was an outgoing current and we did wall on the left. Before we entered the water we could see that the current was strong but that didn’t last long. We descended down along the wall and drifted to the hook in area. We hooked in and stayed for a while. There were sharks in the blue and the napoleon wrasse and big nose unicorn fish played with the divers. The current soon died off and switched to incoming so we swam across the plateau to the other side seeing the school of jacks and barracuda. We then let the incoming current take us back across the reef as we started our safety stop. Our second dive was at New Drop Off but it was getting rough around that corner so we did Ferns Wall. This wall is covered in soft coral and some nice sea fans. We drifted along the wall seeing a couple sharks in the blue and some turtles. After lunch we went for a repeat dive at German Channel. This time we started from the Koror side of the channel. We entered the water and stopped for photos at the red anemone then swam over to the Koror side cleaning station. We waited but no mantas, so we crossed the mouth of the channel to the Peleliu side cleaning station and waited. No mantas but we saw a couple grey reef sharks getting cleaned. We turned around and the current started switching to outgoing so we drifted out the Koror side of the channel. Dive four was at German Wall. We started from the mooring and went wall on the right. We saw some turtles and macro life as well. After dinner the night dive was at German Coral Garden. We started from the same mooring we did last night but this time the current took us out the channel. We saw all types of macro life, and a couple white tip sharks.
On Thursday morning the wind had died down a little bit and we headed out to New Drop Off for the first dive. The current was outgoing and we started from the far mooring. After we entered the water the current just play along, before we reached the hook in area it switched to a strong incoming so we turned around. Next we got stuck between an eddy current and the incoming current. We spent the rest of the dive in that area exploring the whole wall. We did see some turtles and sharks though. After the dive most of the guests went on the Peleliu WWII land tour. We skiffed the guests from German Channel on the inside reef to North Dock of Peleliu. They all enjoyed the 2 hours exploring the island seeing the artifacts from the war. For dive two the remaining guests went to Ngemelis Wall. It’s a beautiful wall covered in soft coral and had some turtles swimming around too. After the dive the big boat moved on the inner reef closer to North Dock Peleliu as the skiff went to pick up the guests from the land tour. During lunch the big boat continued on to Ngerchong and dive three was at Ngerchong Outside. This site is on the East side of Palau and is the Pacific Ocean side. We started from the mooring and descended down to the wall to go wall on the left. We saw a lot of marine life, schools of fish turtles and a crocodile fish. Also we saw a couple lobsters and nudibranchs. We had two encounters with a juvenile spotted eagle ray. Dive four we went back to Ngerchong Outside. We again started from the mooring but this time the current was outgoing and we did wall on the right. We saw again all the schools of fish, a bunch of flatworms, a crocodile fish and the spotted eagle ray did a couple pass byes. After the dive the big boat moved into the Wonder Channel area. After dinner our last night dive of the charter was at Clam City. We started from the mooring and saw the three groups of giant clams. For the rest of the dive we found a bunch of shrimp and nudibranchs.
Friday morning the big boat left the Wonder Channel area and headed to Ulong. Our first dive was at Siaes Tunnel. We tied up to the morning and descended down to the entrance of the tunnel at 90 feet. Inside the tunnel we found the rare black and white butterfly fish and the blue backed pygmy angel fish. In the middle of the tunnel where it gets shallow enough to go to the bottom we found the helfrichs dartfish and decorated dartfish. We found some nudibranchs and enjoyed the beautiful seafans that line the sides of the exit. We exited the tunnel and started our multilevel up before starting our safety stop. For our second dive we went to Sandy Paradise. We started from the mooring and descended down to the big rock. We stopped at the rock with the anemones and the cleaner wrasse for a quick cleaning then on to the next rock with the glassy eyed sweepers. We saw the mantis shrimp but there are no more leaf scorpion fish. We came up to start to explore the slopping coral garden seeing schools of jacks, barracuda and sharks as we headed back to the mooring. After lunch dive three was at the famous Ulong channel. We started from the mooring and went down to the wall. We drifted along the wall to the mouth of the channel. The current was too light to hook in so we just started drifting into the channel. It was a nice light drift; we didn’t have to kick at all. We saw the lettuce coral and ended the dive at the two giant clams. For our last dive of the day we went back to Ulong Channel. We started from the same mooring and the current was nice enough to hook in. There were a bunch of sharks in front of the divers and we spent most of the dive hooked in. After we unhooked we had a swift drift down the channel to see the lettuce coral and again ended the dive at the two giant clams. After the dive the big boat started heading back to Malakal Harbor. The guests had time to come up relax with a drink or two before sitting down to our final supper of prime rib, roasted chicken, Yorkshire puddings and all the veggies. After dinner we moved over to the TV to watch our video pros video of the charter.
We woke up Saturday morning and did our first dive at the Helmet Wreck aka Depth Charge Wreck. We started form the mooring and descended down to the wreck. This is a Japanese WWII wreck that sank during the battle of Desecrate One in March of 1944. This wreck is the closest in the harbor but wasn’t found until the 1980’s. There is no official name of this wreck. We explored the cargo holds seeing the helmets, depth charges, and spot light and airplane engines. At the bow we found two saw blade shrimp in the wire coral. We turned around and headed back up to the stern where all the artifacts have been placed for viewing. We saw a rifle, shoes, parts of a gas mask and a porcelain sink. We ended the dive by exploring the hard coral garden around the stern. 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 two spot signal gobies and a couple nudibranchs. 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 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 them back to boat for the night.
Sunday morning continental breakfast was at 7am then 7:45 loaded up the skiff and said our goodbyes as we took the guests ashore to be transferred to their hotels. We would like to thank everyone for joining us this week on the Rock Islands Aggressor. We always hope to see you all again soon.
-Rock Islands Aggressor Crew