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Rock Islands Aggressor
Republic of Palau, Micronesia
Charter Report April 8th – 15th, 2018
Weather: Winds from East, Overcast/Sunny some rain
Water Temp: 77/78 degrees
Monday: German Coral Garden, Big Drop Off, New Drop Off, Barnums Wall
Tuesday: Blue corner, German Channel, Ngedebus Coral Garden, Ngedebus Corner, Ngedebus Coral Garden
Wednesday: Yellow Wall, Land tour, West wall, Peleliu Corner, Orange Beach Coral Garden, Big drop off
Thursday: Blue Corner, Blue Holes, Turtle Cove, German Channel, German Coral Garden
Friday: Sandy Paradise, Siaes Tunnel, Ulong Channel, Sandy Paradise
Saturday: Jake Sea Plane, Chandelier Cave
Late Sunday evening we welcomed onboard 15 guests from USA. 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, we had snacks upstairs in the salon. Soon everyone headed to bed.
Monday morning the big boat started heading to the German Channel area. After breakfast we covered the Safety Briefing and vessel orientation. Right after, we covered the general dive deck briefing and handed out life lines. We then headed down stairs and analyzed nitrox and loaded up the skiff. Our first dive of the charter was a check out dive at German Coral Garden. We started from the mooring and first stopped at the red anemone. We have a bunch of photographers this week and it’s a great photo subject. The current was a light incoming so we drifted into the channel. We did stop by the Koror side cleaning station, but no mantas. We did see a large school of jacks, snapper and some sharks. For dive two we headed out to Big Drop Off. It was now an outgoing current so we did wall on our right. We saw the beautiful sea fans, soft corals, a pair of orangutan crabs and other macro life. There was one baby white tip reef shark in the hole at 40 feet and we ended the dive just past the ball and chain left from the German Occupation. After lunch dive three was at New Drop Off. It was still an outgoing current and we started from the mooring. We drifted along the wall up to the hook in area. We hooked in for a while seeing the grey reef sharks in the blue. The visibility wasn’t the best, but we still had a nice dive. After we unhooked we explored the plateau finding a couple turtles and the small school of blue lined snapper. Our last dive of the day was at Barnums Wall. We did a live drop over the coral garden and went wall on the left. We saw several types of nudibranchs and a large school of fusiliers. When the coral garden turns back into the wall we photographed the beautiful sea fans. Back on the big boat dinner was soon ready and after, most guests headed to bed.
Tuesday morning we started the day with dive one at Blue Corner. The current was a light incoming and we did wall on the right. We hooked in at 45 feet and saw some sharks in the blue. The current started to die off and seemed to be switching to outgoing. We unhooked and started making our way to the other side of the corner. We didn’t hook in again, we just headed to the tip of the corner to see the groupers and blue lined snapper. We also saw a couple turtles on the plateau. Dive two was at German channel. This was the only time to dive the channel today with the incoming current. There were a couple boats on the Koror side of the channel, so we started on the Peleliu side. We entered the water and descended down to the slopping bottom. We kicked over to the Peleliu side cleaning station, sat down in the sand and waited, there were a couple grey reef sharks using the cleaning station but no mantas. We started swimming across the mouth of the channel and over towards the Koror side cleaning station. There was a group of other divers leaving the cleaning station and didn’t see any mantas so we just turned around and drifted into the channel to end the dive. After lunch dive three was at Ngedebus Coral Garden. We started the dive right in front of the big boat and descended down its mooring line and in to the slopping coral garden. We found the three leaf scorpion fish on the big rock and went shallows on the right. We did find a leopard shark down deep as well as some anemones and schools of fish. Dive four we went over to Ngedebus Corner. It was outgoing and we did wall on the left. We drifted all the way around the corner seeing a couple turtles, beautiful soft corals and some turtles. After dinner we went back to Ngedebus Coral Garden for the night dive. We saw a bunch of shrimp and all the crinoids coming out to filter feed in the light current. We headed back to the big boat and most everyone headed to bed.
Wednesday morning the big boat headed down to Peleliu. After we got the big boat anchored in south dock we went for our first dive at Peleliu Corner. The current was outgoing and it was strong. We decided to change the dive site to Yellow Wall. The current here was very light. We entered the water and lightly drifted in the current. We saw a bunch of turtles and the wall is covered in beautiful small yellow soft corals. We did see a small group of the sea breams that are here this time of the year to mate. After the dive 7 of the guests went on the WWII guided tour of Peleliu Island. They spent around two and a half hours exploring one of the bloodiest battles of WWII. They went to the museum, memorials, saw the air field and Japanese tanks and a bunch more. For the remaining divers dive two was at West Wall. This is a huge wall with lots of schooling fish and sharks in the blue. Also the wall offers some very nice macro life. Everyone returned for the tour and after lunch we went back to Peleliu Corner to see if the current calmed down. It was a light incoming current so we did the “Express” side of the corner. For the whole dive there was a train of the sea breams heading from Yellow Wall past us down to the corner. They were down deep below us but it was nice to see the group that seemed to go on forever. The current switched and we had to turn around and head back towards Yellow Wall. Some of the divers noticed a large manta ray swimming with the sea breams down deep. Our last dive in Peleliu was at Orange Beach Coral Garden. This was the landing beach for the Americans landed on September 15th, 1944. On this dive we started above the slopping coral garden and had a nice relaxing drift. We then found some 1944 era coke bottles on the reef, piles of bullets, lots of turtles, other artifacts. There was one large eagle ray that swam up to some of the divers and before we ended the dive we found two crocodile fish sitting right next to each other on the rubble bottom. After the dive the big boat left South Dock and moved back to the German Channel area. After dinner, the night dive was at Big Drop Off. We started the dive with wall on the right but that must have been in the in the eddy current. Once we got around a small corner the current was in our face and we had to turn around and go the other way. During the dive we found a bunch of macro life. Even had a nice encounter with a large octopus out hunting on the reef. It was a very nice dive.
On Thursday we started with a repeat dive at Blue Corner. It was an incoming current and it was nice. We started from the far mooring and drifted along the wall. We hooked in at the 45 foot area and enjoyed the show. The school of jacks and sharks were in front of the divers. The napoleon wrasse was with us the whole dive and when we unhooked to move down to the 60 foot area, there was a large school of yellow tail barracuda behind us. We hooked in again at the 60 foot area and saw even more sharks in the blue. We later unhooked and drifted across the plateau seeing the large grouper at the tip of the corner. Dive two was at Blue Holes; we started from the mooring and swam over to the holes. We descended down and spent a while in the chamber with the ambient light fill the chamber from above. We found the disco clams, and played with the hermit crabs in their holes at the bottom. We then left the holes and made our way down to Blue Corner seeing lots of schooling fish and ended the dive just drifting over the coral garden of the corner. After lunch dive three was at Turtle Cove. We tied up to the mooring line and descended down the one hole on top the reef and exited out along the side. We found a crocodile fish at the bottom in the slopping area, and went wall on the right towards the corner. We found lots of macro life and came up on top the corner seeing all the schooling fish. We even found a couple turtles. Dive four was at German Channel. We were the only boat there and started the dive on the Koror side of the channel. We waited at the Koror side cleaning station but no mantas. As were started heading towards the Peleliu side cleaning station one manta flew by heading off into the deep. At the Peleliu side cleaning station we waited but no mantas. We turned around and started drifting into the channel and as we were on our safety stop one large manta swam by under us. After dinner our last night dive was at German Coral Garden. We started from the Koror side of the channel and first stopped at the red anemone for some last photos. We then swam out the channel seeing more macro life and a couple white tip reef sharks. After the night dive we had one guest leave the boat because she had a early morning flight to catch on Friday morning. The big boat also started heading to the Ulong area to get ready for Fridays diving.
On Friday we started the day with a special dive at Sandy Paradise. Its three days before the new moon and this is when the bumphead parrot fish gather to mate. As soon as we started the dive we saw large schools of fish and lots of bump head parrot fish, we headed over to a rock where we can get our hands cleaned by cleaner wrasse, then over to a rock covered in glassy eye sweepers and found 3 leaf scorpion fish and 2 mantas shrimp, out in the blue there were big schools of barracuda and big eye crescent tail fish and a few gray reef sharks in the blue. Further down the reef we stated to see the gathering of bumphead parrot fish. We got close to the group and saw the spawning. It was a great dive. For dive two we headed out to Siaes Tunnel. We descended down the mooring line to the entrance of the tunnel at 90 feet. Some of the photographers went down deeper to photograph the school of horse eyed jacks and sea fans, we found the special dart fish and blue backed pygmy angelfish. We exited the tunnel and went wall on the right seeing some sharks in the blue and a couple turtles. Dive three was at the famous 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 ended the dive shortly after. Dive four we did Sandy paradise again a great relaxing dive over the coral garden it was nice to explore more of the shallows. It was getting dark by now and we boarded the skiff and headed back to the big boat. 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 Jake Sea Plane. We let the photographers get their photos of the plane for the first 15 minutes then let everyone explore the plane. 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. 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 show of all best images that the guests submitted to their group leader. At 7pm we sent the guests ashore for dinner and picked them back up later to bring them back to boat for the night at 9pm.
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 on the Rock Islands Aggressor. We always hope to see you all again soon.
-Rock Islands Aggressor Crew