Mexican Connection Part II
Ay Caramba! Mexico has landed in Palau
Coming from the Philippine Siren, our guests arrived in the very early morning to board the Palau Siren for the second part of their Siren Fleet adventure. The Helmet wreck was chosen as the first dive of the cruise giving a great introduction to the somewhat sleepy divers with no current, lot of artifacts and plenty of small critters. Chandelier Cave for Mexicans might not be as impressive as the Cenotes but still pleased everyone with the strange formations whilst Sam’s Wall provided the perfect first night dive, mandarin fish were high up for their sunset dance and an extremely weird looking crab covered with leaves and trash amazed everyone.
Before the sun rose, the Siren sailed to Ulong Island and with no other boats around we dived Siaes Tunnel where the harlequin shrimp found on the previous trip was still eating its sea star! A shark at Sandy Paradise greeted our divers whilst the luckiest ones also spotted an eagle ray. Ulong Channel swept with current offered the usual shark action but also something a little more unusual; a bull shark! Ay caramba, everyone was happy. Day three kick started at Virgin Blue Holes provided an extraordinary experience then after breakfast New Drop Off was on and Betty the turtle was there, posing for the photographers, a flounder passed by, a crocodile flathead lay quietly camouflaged and by the end different triggerfish were eating titan triggerfish eggs frenetically… pure nature. The waves were picking up but there was no way we were going to miss Blue Corner. We chose right, sharks were circling around us in the blue then passing by where the divers were hooked, and the Napoleon wrasse showed up just four minutes after we dropped in. A fantastic dive at Blue Corner was followed by a fantastic night dive in Big Drop Off with a longsnout flathead, octopus and different kinds of crabs.
Full moon day… We were hoping for some magic to happen and it did. Though sea was a little rough and we couldn’t enter from the top of Blue Holes the light was beautiful as usual, the disco clams were lit up like Christmas trees. One group stayed longer in the tunnel to explore whilst the other one swam towards Blue Corner followed by the Napoleon wrasse. Guests asked to go back to Blue Corner after the first time, so we did and the dive was amazing, sharks and Pedro, as we named one of the Napoleon, made the show. The afternoon dive in German Channel was delayed a little from the usual time in order to have enough time after the changing tide and have the best chance for the manta. No luck at the cleaning station at the beginning of the dive, but after looking around we returned and waited, one group left early the other one stayed… and after 5 minutes, a first manta appeared from the depth, passed over the cleaning station and right above us, smiles and double ok signs were exchanged..Sharks were also patrolling over and over again so we stayed for another manta to pass by. As we took off to do our safety stop, and eagle ray cruised right in front of us, whilst on the safety stop we were surrounded by sharks, Spanish mackerel, massive tuna, black snapper and surgeonfish feeding. “The manta group” got lucky again on the night dive with a leopard shark swimming in between them at the beginning of the dive almost bumping into us, then everybody enjoyed the pipefish, nudibranchs and other shrimps. A perfect day of diving all round!
Rough weather in the morning with strong wind and big waves but we made it to Orange Beach where we had an amazing dive in this peaceful sheltered coral garden, the central point being three cuttlefish, one female laying eggs and 2 males fighting for her attention. When some guests went off for a land tour of Peleliu, the others dived Yellow Wall, losing count of all the turtles we spotted. The after lunch, Dexter’s Wall turned into a dive at Blue Corner followed by a night dive at German Wall, with sightings of a hunting white moray, a white-tip shark and the usual night dive critters. An intense day again left our divers very happy.
For our last diving day our guests requested to return to German Channel. Hopeful for manta rays we were sadly disappointed but the sharks and schooling fish everywhere kept us entertained. A dive with the Nautilus followed and the Iro Maru, our final dive of the trip, would enchant even the non-wreck lovers, an entire large ship covered with different kind of corals, inhabited by small critters of all kinds, including pipefishes, juvenile harlequin sweetlips and a large school of big eye jacks.
The last evening BBQ party started before the BBQ was even ready, Mexicans like to dance and the Siren turned into a dance floor for guests and crew alike. A snorkel at Jellyfish Lake was the closure of the cruise, the beautiful Mastigias Papua absorbed our guest for two hours… It was then time to sadly say goodbye, but it was a happy farewell with the strong hope of seeing each other again.