A great liveaboard dive trip in Palau
We began our trip in the Ulong area with the first dive at Sandbar, a nice dive with plenty of life and gorgeous corals. After lunch we headed out to Ulong Channel for the incoming tide, we explored the wall outside the channel before heading to the mouth then had a pleasant drift through the channel noting the gathering camouflage grouper getting ready for their yearly spawning.
Another sunny morning greeted everyone as our divers prepared to visit Siae’s Tunnel. The tunnel was gorgeous with light pouring in the windows, a dozing whitetip reef shark lazily swam around in the sand as everyone explored the ceiling and walls watching the fish swim upside-down, after exiting we enjoyed the stunning morning light on the shallows. Returning to the Palau Siren among chants for bacon breakfast was truly enjoyed. We got our first taste of strong current when we headed to Siae’s Corner, everyone hooked on to the reef and watched the sharks swim and play in the current. An exciting dive led to naps after lunch while the Palau Siren liveaboard headed from the Ulong area to the Ngemelis area. An absolutely stunning dive at Dexter’s Wall was a fabulous welcome to the area, with more turtles than we could count! Some were lucky enough to see a banded sea snake while others saw a ray, everyone ended up seeing a preview of Blue Corner during the safety stop. To round out the day most of the guests enjoyed a calm night dive at Vernie’s Reef, a sandy bottom with nice coral bomies where many shrimp, crabs, nudibranchs, flatworms, and sleeping fish were spotted.
German Channel was the perfect start to the day with many schools of fish, sharks swimming in the blue and among the reef, a feather tail ray greeted some divers and everyone enjoyed the dive. The sunny day continued after breakfast with our second dive at Virgin Blue Hole, a unique reef formation of a tunnel shaped like a letter “L” opening on the top of the reef and letting out along the wall deeper down, followed by gorgeous coral gardens in the shallows. After lunch most of our intrepid explorers headed to Peleliu for the WWII land tour while a few stayed onboard and enjoyed a third dive at Big Drop Off, a glorious coral wall prized for its macro life. After everyone reconvened on Palau Siren we headed to Long Island for sunset drinks and snacks on the beach, always a favorite. Later in the evening as dinner was coming to a close a guest spotted something different in the water, everyone excitedly looked on as a juvenile African pompano swam around the aft of the boat for a while.
An early breakfast got everyone ready for the first dive of the trip in Peleliu. The Peleliu Cut welcomed us with a nice moderate current, large schools of black snappers and jacks as well as plenty of grey reef sharks. After a hearty lunch we headed to the WWII landing beach on Peleliu Island called Orange Beach for a relaxing dive in a gorgeous coral garden, most were amazed how much the coral has recovered since the desolation of 1944. The third dive of the day was our much anticipated first Blue Corner dive, with light current we hooked on to the reef for a while then were able to explore the plateau seeing all sorts of happy creatures including a Napoleon wrasse who just wanted to hang out with us the entire dive. After an early dinner most people jumped in to the water under the Palau Siren to try out a black water dive before chatting late in to the evening.
To wake up Blue Corner gave us a classic perfect dive with a nice outgoing current everyone hooked in and watched the show of sharks playing and gliding in the current for quite some time. After the current died down and the sharks moved on everyone drifted in the gentle current along the edge of the wall enjoying watching the rest of the life wake up for the day, for some that even included the juvenile spotted eagle ray. We had Blue Holes to ourselves and enjoyed it to the fullest for our next dive spending almost the entire dive within the massive cavern exploring, looking for creatures great and small and enjoying the stunning light wells from the chimneys. After some delicious doughnuts a wall dive was next. Back in Peleliu State waters we explored Barnum’s Wall, a sloping coral garden with lots of life and vibrant healthy corals. While some stayed behind to enjoy massages, naps, or fish identification about half of our brave divers headed out to Peleliu again for a night dive at Turtle Cove. Many creatures strange and wonderful were spotted and one group was even lucky enough to see a nurse shark at the end of their dive.
German Channel had been such a hit previously that we again started the day at this famous dive site. One boat was immediately greeted with a school of about 15 small juvenile grey reef sharks swimming together as well as a turtle munching away with determination at the corals. Everyone got to see a feathertail ray or two a few times during the dive as well as schooling fish, adult grey reef sharks, and many others. After a hearty breakfast, the Palau Siren headed out again to Ngemelis for our second dive of the day. New Drop Off greeted us with a gentle current and gorgeous coral covered walls. Sharks swam lazily in the deep and with the phenomenal visibility one group even spotted an ornate eagle ray swim by in the very deep below them! After such a wonderful morning everyone tucked in to lunch with determination than almost immediately the boat was full of peaceful nappers. After resting up we headed out for our third dive of the day, back in Peleliu at Turtle Cove to experience the beauty in the daylight this time. Big Drop Off got some night exploration and everyone enjoyed watching the corals feeding, the parrotfish sleeping, and the shrimp starting to come out to play.
Blue Corner started our day on an incoming tide with an absolutely stunning dive, hooking in surrounded by sharks, huge schools of jacks, Napoleon wrasse cruising by checking everyone out, and more redtooth triggerfish than you could count. Eric even spotted the smallest nudibranch determinedly cruising along the very edge of Blue Corner, while we all flew in the current he inched along the size of a fingernail against the very same current! After many smiles and breakfast we headed to our last Peleliu dive of the charter as we again visited Peleliu Cut for an exciting current filled dive with hooking in and watching the sharks play. For our final dive of the day we had a beautiful Ulong Channel dusk dive, ending in the dark, we explored both the wall and the mouth of the channel and watched the shift from day to night.
A light sprinkle on the way to Shark City woke everyone up before descending down to the plateau for a rare slack dive that allowed us the opportunity to explore the wall, watch numerous grey reef sharks circle in the blue, schools of jacks tornado in the cuts, and enjoy the coral life. After a nice breakfast and sunshine we returned to Ulong Channel for our final dive on the outer reef. Huge schools of jacks and barracuda circled above the reef, fish too numerous to name played closer to the corals, and sharks frolicked in the blue, a very nice goodbye from the area. After lunch, everyone enjoyed a nice Rock Island tour including the famous natural Arch. We arrived at the Iro, a WWII oiler sunk in Malakal outside the harbor area and descended down to the massive wreck and all explored in different patterns barely seeing each group as the wreck is so sizeable. We surfaced to find Palau Siren in all her glory, sails out right next to us. People had differing desires for our final night dive so we split the boats with one heading to the Helmet or Depth Charge wreck, a WWII wreck with a lot of history. The other boat went to Hafa Adai a mysterious wreck believed by some to be a ferry and others to be a fishing vessel, it was discovered in the 1990’s and it is estimated to have sunk in the 1950-1960’s. Wherever it came from it is full of life, covered in hard and soft corals, and a treasure hunt to those who enjoy macro life.
Our last day together was very memorable. The day started with Chandelier Cave for one group, always a favorite to wrap up the trip, and as they were departing very early this marked their last dive. Our other group did two very nice WWII wrecks to start the day, Jake a seaplane that crashed on takeoff and Teshio Maru a transport vessel sunk in Operation Desecrate One. They were extremely lucky with the visibility on both dives as it was phenomenal, an uncommon occurrence for the area. While our second group explored Chandelier Cave our now non-diving boat got to explore the rock islands a little more and snorkel the stunning Mandarin fish Lake. After lunch we had some more exploration and fun times visiting first a Zero, a Japanese fighter plane that crashed in just a few meters of water, perfect for a quick snorkel. After that we headed to the world famous Milky Way and had our rejuvenating mud baths, goofing around and painting each other with the white muds before posing for pictures then diving in the warm waters to rinse off. Palau put on a spectacular show for our sunset cocktail hour and everyone chatted on the sun deck and took many pictures until pulled away by the dinner bell. Dinner continued the happy conversations and many guest chatted very late in to the evening until our first group had to depart at 1:30am.
Thank you every one for this incredible liveaboard dive trip in Palau! It wouldn’t have been the same without you!