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Rock Islands Aggressor
Republic of Palau, Micronesia
Charter Report: October 28th – Nov. 4, 2018
Weather: light winds all week
Water Temp: 79/82 degrees
Monday: Sandy Paradise, Siaes Tunnel, Siaes Corner, Ulong Channel
Tuesday: Ulong Channel, Blue Corner, Big Drop Off, New drop off, German Coral Garden (night)
Wednesday: German channel, Turtle Cove, Blue Holes, Barnum’s Wall, Big Drop Off (night)
Thursday: Blue Corner, German Channel, West wall, Orange Beach, Orange Beach (night)
Friday: Peleliu Corner (Express side), Barracks Point, Virgin Blue Hole, Blue Corner
Saturday: Iro, Chandelier Cave
Sunday afternoon we picked up 18 guests from the docks and brought them to the big boat. We started with an orientation of their cabins, and then back on the dive deck where everyone set up their dive gear. We checked certification cards and headed up stairs. We covered the vessel orientation/safety briefing and then had the welcome dinner for our guest.
Monday morning we started moving to Ulong. We started our charter’s first dive with Sandy Paradise. The dive started from the mooring. All of the guest did a weight check and descended down to the sandy bottom where we can see garden eels in the sand. We then swam to the rock with the anemones and where the cleaner wrasse came out to give quick manicure of the guest’s fingers. We saw one lion fish hiding in the coral and a flat worm. We also saw some sharks out in the blue chasing a school of Scad. We made all the way back to the starting point to end the dive. The second dive we went to Siaes Tunnel. We jumped in and went down to the entrance of the tunnel. In 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 dart fish and decorated dart fish. We found some nudibranchs and enjoyed the beautiful sea fans that line the sides of the exit. We exited the tunnel and started our multilevel up along the wall seeing a couple sharks in the blue before starting our safety stop. After lunch we went out to Siaes corner for the third dive. The current was flowing from the incoming side which is wall on the right hand side when you start the dive so after we jumped in we slowly made our way towards the corner where the hook in area is. The current was pretty strong from the start but when we arrived at the hook in area it started to slow down so we decided not to use the reef hooks and just swim around. We saw a lot of sharks, dog tooth tuna, Napoleon and a couple of turtles on the plateau. For our last dive of the day we went to Ulong Channel and the current had just started to flow into the channel. We explored for a little bit the plateau outside the channel before making our way inside the channel. So before we went into the channel we saw some sharks, some jacks attacking the big schooling fusiliers and some more sharks swimming around and then we moved into the channel and slowly drifted inside to finish our dive right at the lettuce coral structure. We returned to the big boat for some drinks and dinner. After dinner the guests continued their drinking and then went to bed.
Tuesday morning dive one was at Ulong channel. When we arrived at the site we could see that the current was incoming so we started from the outside mooring and moved slowly towards the mouth of the channel. The current was mild so we decided not to hook in and just swam around the area and encountering lots of sharks, school of barracuda and Bump head parrot fish. We then made our way inside the channel and ended the dive at the lettuce coral area while encountering more sharks and couple of turtles. We came to the big boat and headed to the German channel area to do the rest of our dives for today. The second dive of the day was at the famous Blue Corner. The current was on the incoming side of the dive site so we started with the wall on our right side and then made it to the hook in area but the surge on the top of the plateau was making difficult for us to hook in so we just drifted along the reef until we reached the corner to end the dive. As always there were big schools of jacks, barracuda, snappers, sharks out in the blue, and the popular Napoleon. After lunch dive three was at Big Drop Off. We started the dive wall on the left. We descended down on the wall and just went with the current. Further down the wall the guests saw lots of beautiful sea fans, soft coral and hard corals. For the rest of the dive we found some nudibranchs and couple of sharks and turtles. The fourth dive was at New Drop off and the current was incoming so we started with the wall on our right and drifted along the wall and then hooked in on the top of the reef. We saw sharks out in the blue and big schools of snappers and fusiliers. For our first night dive we went to German Coral Garden. We started by the red anemone and drifted into the channel. We saw lion fish, crabs, shrimp and lots more macro life. We did the night dive before dinner so we returned to the big boat and had dinner then off to bed.
Wednesday’s first dive was at the famous German Channel and there were two mantas that we saw at the cleaning stations. We started the dive from the shallow edge of the channel and then slowly made our way to the first cleaning station at the mouth of the channel at around 60ft. but the manta did not show up here so we moved to the other cleaning station and that is where we saw the two mantas. We also so a feather tail sting ray hiding in the sand and couple of white tip sharks sleeping on the sand. The second dive was at Turtle Cove which is actually on the Peleliu state side. This dive site has a hole on top of the reef that goes down to about 60ft. and then opens up on the wall kind like a chimney. Then we explore along a beautiful wall with lots of sea fans and soft coral. The tip of the reef extend out forming a corner like shape that on a good current that brings in tiny plankton to attracts many fishes that feed on them. We also so a Ghost pipe fish, Nudibranch and couple of turtles. After we had our lunch we did Blue Holes another popular site here in Palau. This dive site has four big holes on the top of the reef and a big arch on the wall with window like opening right above the arch all connecting into a huge cave. There was beautiful ambient light in the cave coming from the four holes above making for some beautiful shots. We also found a few lion fish, a disco clam in the cave. We continued the dive outside and on the wall to finish. The fourth dive of the day was at Barnum’s wall and this dive is also on the Peleliu state side. To begin the dive we started at a sloping coral garden and then went on with the shear wall on our left. On this dive we encountered a couple of turtles, school of blue lined snappers, and lot of sea fans and a variety of soft corals. So before dinner the night dive was at Big Drop Off and it was great. There were lots of macro life shrimps, crabs and about 7 or 8 turtles.. After the dive we had dinner and some guests stayed up talking, drinking and others went to bed early.
On Thursday morning we did the famous Blue corner to start our day. We did our entry on the incoming side of the corner but the current switched direction after a few minutes into the dive, so we went on top of the plateau and crossed over to the other side. We then just drifted towards the corner encountering many sharks, turtles, eels, a sea snake, schools of jacks and fusiliers, and Bump head parrots. All in all GREAT DIVE! We then came back to the big boat got rested then went back out to German Channel for the second dive. This time we came in from the Peleliu side of the channel and then slowly made our way to the cleaning station and the 2 mantas were there already hovering over the cleaning station. We spent our time watching the mantas and then drifted into the channel to end the dive. We came back to the big boat for lunch and also moving down south to the island of Peleliu for the afternoon dives and night dive. Finally after a few month of bad weather the condition have changed for the better and we are now able to dive at Peleliu. The third dive was at West Wall and also some guests went on the Peleliu WW2 land tour. This dive site is located between the channel going into the south dock and Peleliu Corner. So we began our dive a little out towards Peleliu Corner and drifted towards the channel going in the dock. We saw lots of turtles, a Napoleon and a ghost pipe fish. The fourth dive was Orange Beach and this is where the marines landed in WW2 so lots of artifacts can be found at this dive site. You can see stuff like bullets, bombs, landing crafts and coke bottles from that year. The bottom is also covered in corals also making this dive site a beautiful coral garden to explore. We did hear dolphins close by but we never saw them. There were a couple of turtles, an eagle ray and schools of dog tooth tuna. For the night dive we headed back to Orange beach. We were able to find 2 Twin spot lion fish and a Crocodile fish and a couple of Ghost pipe fish. We came back to the big boat for dinner. The guest had their dinner and then continued their drinking and stories about today amazing dives.
Friday morning first dive was at Palau’s most advanced dive Peleliu corner. This of course is where two oceans meet which are the Philippine Sea on the west side of the corner being the Cut and the Pacific Ocean on the east side being the Express. The current was coming from the Express so that’s where we started our dive drifting along the plateau and making it to the hook in area. The current was pretty strong so we unhooked early then just drifted onto the plateau and ended the dive at around 45min. we saw lots of sharks. For the second dive we went to Barracks Point. This dive site is a sloping coral garden in between shear walls. We saw giant clams, lots of turtles, a whip tail sting ray and the beautiful coral garden. We had our lunch and then went out to Virgin Blue Hole. This is a hole that starts at the top of the reef then goes down to 100ft. then tunnels out from the drop off. We then explored the canyons on the reef and found some turtles and white tips. The fourth dive was at the famous Blue Corner. We got in on the outgoing side so it was wall on the left until we reached the hook in area then hooked for awhile and then explored the plateau. There were groups of Dog Tooth tuna, sharks, Moray eel and schools of snappers and jacks. After the dives we started heading back to the harbor and we had dinner and then watched this week’s video. The guest stayed up drinking and then went to bed.
Saturday morning first dive was at Iro. This is a Japanese ship that was sunk during WW2 and now is a famous wreck dive here. The dive starts from the bow then you go to the stern and back. The wreck itself is covered in coral making for a great eco system from small marine critters to big fishes. We were able to find a couple of Ringed pipe fish, Nudibranchs and many tropical fishes. Our final dive of the charter was Chandelier Cave. There are four air chambers that form inside the rock island that we can enter from underwater. So we went in the chamber starting from closest to the furthest then back out. At the outside of the cave is where we found the Mandarin fish, Signal Goby and Razor fish. We returned to the big boat and the guest washed and dried their diving gears. We then had lunch and after some of the guest went ashore while other guest just slept in. At 6pm we our cocktail party and then went ashore for dinner. The guest came back from ashore and had the rest of the night to their selves.
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