Palau Northern Expedition, Full Moon Spawning and Blackwaters, what else? By Richard Barnden

Palau Northern Expedition, Full Moon Spawning and Blackwaters, what else? By Richard Barnden

The weather forecast looked amazing as the luxury liveaboard Palau Siren headed north for a ten day full moon Twin Spot Snapper spawning expedition. Almost dead calm sea’s enabled our divers to head north for a couple of days at the beginning of this cruise to check out a few relatively unknown dive sites. Brits, Poles, and Germans made up the mainly European guest list with an Australian and Canadian to complete the group, ready to witness a few secret’s about Palau diving.

The first day warm up started with the Teshio Maru, a Classic World War II cargo ship out on the west side, typically great visibility and nice super structure area with simple swim through penetration, before we continued on to West Passage. An incoming current brought along a nice sized school of Big Eye Jacks while Grey Reef Sharks patrolled the plateau and schools of reef fish lined the sloping walls. Turtles cruised by casually on both sides and beautiful soft corals hung down from the crevices in the walls.

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Incredible Palau liveaboard trip with our friends from Equator Diving

Incredible Palau liveaboard trip with our friends from Equator Diving

For our group trip to Palau we were joined by an international mix of divers coming from the UK, Australia, US, Canada, Germany, Poland and Indonesia. We boarded Palau Siren from Malakal harbour during a beautiful sunset ready to set sail on our 10 night trip around Palau’s islands. The crew on the boat quickly served everyone a refreshing drink then without waiting any longer we unpacked and set up our dive gear for the first dive the next morning.

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A Unique Spawning Adventure in Palau!!

A Unique Spawning Adventure in Palau!!

Talks and planning had been going on for some time now and the first of five exclusive trips in 2015 were finally about to begin. Things looked promising for our first New Moon expedition, with Bumphead parrotfish spawning to look forward to, as we boarded the Palau Siren to greet our guests. British, Americans, Europeans, Canadians and a couple from China were the lucky adventurists about to embark on a week-long itinerary designed around spawning and blackwater dives, a one of it’s kind itinerary for Palau liveaboards!!!

There was, however; one element of the equation which only mother nature herself can take care of, the weather. Luckily for us she blew from a northerly to north easterly direction which, although a hindrance, was still workable and people’s spirits were still high, even when the week’s forecast was read out.

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A Nautilus Dive, sharks, mantas…. Palau what a great destination!

A Nautilus Dive, sharks, mantas…. Palau what a great destination!   

The Palau Siren and her crew were ready for a great 7 night dive trip in the Palau waters. This week the lucky divers were an international group of divers from the United States, Switzerland, Ukraine, Poland, Canada and Belgium.
On the first day of diving, while we had a light breakfast and a coffee, the Palau Siren already started moving and made its way to Ulong where we dove Sandy Paradise, Siaes Tunnel and Ulong Channel. On each dive site we could enjoy many schools of fish and sharks and the beautiful coral garden at Ulong Channel.

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10 Nautilus on a dive!

10 Nautilus on a dive!   

The Palau Siren and her crew were happy to have on board this week a group from Australia. After a quick orientation and dinner together, it was already time for a good night sleep.
On the next day after a light breakfast and a coffee, it was time for the briefing and a check dive at Haf a Dai Wreck. After a beautiful dive, the Palau Siren lifted anchor and moved to Ulong Island where we did our second dive at Sandy Paradise with sharks, scorpion leaf fish and schooling fish. Our third dive of the day was Siaes Corner with a mild current. After enjoying sharks, turtles and schooling fish it was time for dinner.

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Amazing diving cruise in Palau surrounded by sharks, mantas, napoleons and nautilus

Amazing diving cruise in Palau surrounded by sharks, mantas, napoleons and nautilus…

The Palau Siren welcomed on board, for this 10 days trip, a group of international divers. After, the briefing and the equipment set up, everyone went early to bed for a good night sleep. On the following day we started with our check dives at Haf Adai wreck and Buoy 6 Wreck. Then, the Palau Siren moved towards Ulong where we dove at Sandy Paradise and Cemetery reef where we dove amoung sharks, snappers, barracudas

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Sharks, mantas, great macro…. what an amazing week!

Sharks, mantas, great macro…. what an amazing week!

The Palau Siren and her crew were once again happy to welcome on board a group of international divers from Sweden, Germany, Austria, Australia and Czech Republic.
On our first day of diving, we started with a check dive at Haf Adai Wreck, where we saw some lion fish, pufferfish, fuseliers, nudibranchs, and some incredible macro such as a pipefish. During breakfast, the Palau Siren moved towards Ulong Island where we fist dove at Sandy Paradise then at Siaes Corner. Our divers had the chance to see a bunch of grey reef sharks, white tip reef shars, turtles, Napoleon wrasses, bumphead parrotfish, a sting reay and even banded boxer shrimps and a scorpion leaf fish. was next on the list. For those who weren´t tired and wanted to have a 4th dive, we went to Cemetery reef: morey eels, various crabs, shrimps and nudibranchs

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Sharks, mantas, school of fish, Napoleons… Palau is always full of underwater action!

Sharks, mantas, school of fish, Napoleons… Palau is always full of underwater action!

Palau Siren was happy once again to have on board brand new divers from US, New Zealand, Scotland and Switzerland for more great dives around the Rock Islands. For our check dive, we chose Haf Adai Wreck, a fishing boat converted to sub-chaser by Japanese, where we saw lion fish, pufferfish, blue fuseliers, sweetlips, nudibranch, longnose hawkfish, pipefish, mated damselfish with eggs. During breakfast, the Palau Siren moved towards Ulong Island, where some shark action were waiting for us at Siaes Tunnel and Sandy Paradise. For our night dive we chose to go back to Sandy Paradise where we saw banded boxer shrimp, glass fish, Barracuda, crabs, shrimps and various nudibranch and flatworm

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Sharks, Mantas and Nautilus!

Sharks, Mantas and Nautilus!

Palau Siren and her crew was ready to welcome aboard a fantastic group of new adventurous divers. The check dive at Haf Adai wreck was an easy dive as all of our guests had been diving with Philippine Siren the week before: lion fish, pufferfish, fuseliers, sweetlips as well as shrimps, nudibranchs and pipefish. Then Buoy 6 wreck, as it is located in the middle of the channel, it allowed us to have a perfect drift dive watching turtles, trevallies, batfish and fuseliers passing by.

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Great week aboard Palau Siren with Marc Stickler.

Great week aboard Palau Siren with Marc Stickler.

Palau Siren was excited to welcome on board this week not only divers that were coming straight from Philippine Siren but also wildlife and underwater photographer Mark Stickler! They were all thrilled to start/continue their adventure in Palau. We started with famous WWII Japanese Iro Maru wreck with school of big eye jacks and yellow fusiliers, as well as some angelfish, triggerfish and an octopus. We continue our cruise toward Ulong where we did our first night dive of the week at Ulong Reef with various types of crabs and shrimps.

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