Down Under in Palau
Down Under in Palau
Fourteen Australian citizens boarded the Palau Siren one late sunny afternoon, thirteen men and one woman all ready for their liveaboard diving adventure. Keeping their silence for the briefing was not an easy task and the muster drill was the funniest one ever, though pictures shall not be posted! Once settled down we got our diving underway with a wreck in Malakal Harbour, the Teshio Maru. With good visibility to explore the wreck I call the playground, due to its large opening which allows everyone to go “in”. After a full delicious breakfast, Chandelier Cave as usual won the dive of the day award and was swiftly followed by the Iro Maru and its school of jacks… it is indeed a fascinating ballet, watching them going up and down, with a logic of their own, fascinating nature. The Palau Siren then slowly made its way to Ulong Island for the night dive in Ulong Corner.
Day two of diving, we woke up early to enter Siaes Tunnel and enjoy a nervous juvenile grey reef at the exit before cruising along the wall where a large Spanish mackerel came by darting to and fro. We enjoyed amazing visibility in Sandy Paradise, where the triggerfish were defending their nests and some bumpheads passed by. Ulong Channel needed no reef hooks as there was very little current but the chance to see the lettuce corals and clams instead.
Shark City then Siaes Corner offered amazing visibilities along with sightings of sharks and turtles, whilst as we returned the crew had hoisted the sails ready for a bit of cruising. A superb as those morning dives were, they were a far reach from the third one in German Channel where we spent a delightful hour with five manta rays feeding and looping, it was so spectacular that no one wanted to dive Muchacha after that, what could you possibly hope for after that? Instead we went for a sunset drink on the beach before boarding the Palau Siren again for our delicious dinner.
The Blue Holes are the best way to start a day especially when it is followed by a drift towards the beginning of Blue Corner where Pedro the Napoleon once again caught all the attention. On New Drop Off, the sharks were the stars though by the end we were fascinated by the triggerfish defending their nests. The Siren then started sailing around Peleliu Island and we stopped on the East coast to dive in the Pacific Ocean at Yellow Wall, the highlight being a white-tail stingray nestled between the rocks. The beautiful night dive at Big Drop Off brought the usual critters, leaf scorpionfish, spearing mantis shrimp, slipper lobster and a very pretty decorated crab.
After a very mellow dive at Virgin Blue Hole to start off the day we enjoyed the Blue Corner action; sharks both adults and juvenile were playing with the current, Pedro the Napoleon was having his best profile taken and as we drifted across the corner we flew over a large school of barracudas. A return to German Channel was the popular request and we lucked out once again with four of them, gliding and looping so gracefully. Once again after such superb day dives our group preferred to chill watching the sunset and checking the pictures of the day than take a night dive.
After an early start in Turtle Cove, we went diving at an alternative site to our scheduled itinerary; Ngedebus Wall, a lovely coral garden where we found a couple of cuttlefish mating with the female planting eggs in the corals, a fascinating show. Dexter’s Wall and its numerous turtles followed and then a return to Blue Corner, with a ripping adrenalin fueled current plenty of sharks, including a swimming leopard shark, was the close of the day. A very exciting dive..
The excitement of the night before toppled over into the morning and a vote to return to Blue Corner once again. No ripping current but the usual amazing fish action. The weather started playing up so our plan was changed opting for a dive at White Beach; another code name given by the Americans during the Peleliu war. We the sailed around Peleliu to shelter the Palau Siren behind Jellyfish Lake , where we made an exploratory dive spotting two eagle rays, two turtles and an octopus. Tonight’s night dive was cancelled in favour of waiting for the results of the National elections. Dives at Ngerchong Outside, Blue Holes and Blue Corner were swiftly followed by lunch and our Jellyfish Lake experience after which we cruised back to Ulong Island to dive Ulong Channel where a ripping current offered the action expected we had anticipated!
The last day gave a smooth gentle drift at Ulong before we sailed back to the harbor to be on time for Short Drop Off and the nautilus dive, 11 of them for 10 divers, it was a good catch. Our divers asked to visit Chandelier Cave once again – it being a trip highlight and we finished up with a night dive at the critter hotspot that is Sam’s Wall watching the mandarin fish mating. Our usual sendoff was a BBQ party, some going late into the night, before we disembarked the following morning and said our fond farewells. No one could say this group was anything but fun and entertaining! We look forward to seeing more of you (if that’s possible?) and anticipate more antics during your upcoming trip aboard the Indo Siren – enjoy Indonesia and thanks for joining us in Palau!