Palau Parrotfish getting it on
Palau Parrotfish getting it on!
After a month back home in Phuket, I returned to Palau for another week of sharks and mantas. Our guests this time came from all over the world and we welcomed some return customers on board. In true Siren Fleet style we spent the first afternoon setting up equipment, going over our new home and participating in the safety drills. Chef Andri showed off his excellence with a great dinner and Maarten, our “birthday child” got a black forest cake to celebrate. Welcome aboard the Palau Siren!!!
A good night sleep had everybody keen to get into the water. We started our diving program with the “Helmet Wreck”, just outside Malakal Harbour. This dive site is not only great because of the wreck, but it is also sheltered and perfect for a check dive. After a big breakfast we headed south and reached Ulong Island around 11 am, just in time for dive two. “Ulong Channel” never really disappoints and our divers got to see their first grey reef sharks for this trip. We spent the afternoon and night around Ulong and visited the famous sites “Sias Tunnel” and “Ulong Corner”. The following day started with “Sias Corner” and “Ulong Channel” for some more shark action. It’s actually a very relaxing way of diving, drifting along the wall until you reach the hook in spot and then rest for 20 min whilst hooked in and watching the show in front of you. Maarten started his PADI rebreather course today and I was looking forward to do some bubble free diving. We decided to stay one more night here in Ulong to be on the right spot for the next morning’s special dive.
We had to get up a little bit earlier to arrive right in time at the ‘Sandbar”. The current just changed and this is the time when the bumphead parrot fish start to spawn. It’s truly an amazing dive or a dive of the lifetime when you see around 1000 bumphead parrotfish at first gathering and then “getting it on”. This spectacle does not occur each time we dive here but if the timing is right with the moon phase then we try to get out there to see it….and what a sight to see, everybody came back with an big smile on their face and chef Andri welcomed us with the big breakfast. Captain Mike moved the luxurious Liveaboard “Palau Siren” further south to bring us close to “Jelly Fish Lake” for our snorkel excursion. This lake is one site nobody should miss when you are here in Palau, since its quite special to snorkel with thousands of non-stinging jelly fish.
In the afternoon another big fish site on the agenda as we visited “German Channel”, and being German myself I am really proud of this dive site – shows what a little German engineering can do! We saw a manta ray getting cleaned for around 30 minutes, before we drifted into large schools of black snappers and big eye trevallies. For the night dive we choose “Big Drop Off”, with a great variety of macro life including ornate ghost pipefish and leaf fish and at dinner everybody agreed that we’d had a fantastic day of diving.
We headed the following day to another signature dive site of Palau, “Blue Corner”, just recently voted the best dive site of the world from Scuba Diving Magazine. The current was just right and it’s really a stunning dive with 50 grey reef sharks, white tip reef sharks, Napoleon wrasse, barracuda, yellow fin tuna, just to name a few. On a morning dive like this you really can see the advantage of liveaboard diving here, “The first dive of the day”, we had the whole dive site for ourselves since all the day boats are coming out much later. During the day we visited other big sites including “New Drop Off”, “Blue Holes” and again “German Channel”, another superb day of diving.
On Sunday Captain Mike scheduled the visit to Peleliu Island and off we went at 7 am over flat calm sea. On the way to Peleliu we were surrounded by a large pod of dolphins coming up close to our boats. We followed this up with our first dive was a “Peleliu Cut” where the current pushed a large school of black snappers against the cut and from our hook in spot we could enjoy a fascinating display from the grey reef sharks. After a breakfast we headed to “Peleliu Wall”; a colorful coral covered wall dive. Back on the S/Y Palau Siren Andri and Serg had an Italian lunch prepared following which we split the groups and one group went back to Peleliu Island to see the historical sites on a 2 hour land tour whilst some of us returned to “Blue Corner” for some more big fish action. Its great to have to fast tenders to offer our guests the flexibility during their liveaboard holidays. Divemaster Leon took the brave divers later back to “German Channel” for the night dive with some mantas, whilst housekeeper Rain was kept busy with massages for the remaining guests.
We started the last day of diving with an early morning dive at “German Channel” a truely great way to start the day – surrounded by snappers, tunas, sharks and a manta ray. On the way back to Koror we cruised through the Rock Islands and finished our liveaboard safari with dives at ”Chandelier Cave” and “Sam’s Wall”. Andri’s BBQ warmed us up for a good party night….the beer on tap was free flowing – no diving the next day so a late night for all!