Awesome Aussies amazing adventure…

Awesome Aussies’ amazing adventure…

Palau islands views from the airIt’s March 11th and the Aussies arrived, care of Allways Dive Expeditions, for a 7-day trip in the afternoon and prepared for the dive cruise ahead. After a bit of a ‘sleep-in’, we got the equipment set and day started with a visit to the Teshio Maru, sunk by planes from the carrier USS Lexington, and Jake’s Seaplan. During lunch, our wonderful crew of the S/Y Palau Siren weighed anchor and we were bound for Ulong Island for the next drop into the water at Sandy Paradise. We finished up with a night dive at Sand Bar, where a parrotfish was seen already sleeping, before we got back onboard for some cold beers and good food.

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Whale of a time on Palau Siren…

Whale of a time on Palau Siren…

Jake seaplane wreck in PalauWe had the pleasure to welcome aboard guests from both sides of the Atlantic for our latest adventure in Palau and even though a ‘sleep-in’ was offered most were up early and preparing their dive equipment. Our first plunge into the water started with the Teshio Maru and Jake seaplane, a perfect site to refresh skills. The next dive was planned for Sandy Paradise so we weighed anchor and moved towards Ulong Island. The visibility was not so good, but the number of sharks and reef fish more than compensated.

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Blown away by the numbers…

Blown away by the numbers…

Fusiliers Palau

We welcomed aboard S/Y Palau Siren our guests, predominately from the United States, with some idyllic weather ahead of us for 10 days of exceptional diving. Equipment set and everyone fully refreshed from their travels the adventure began with a gentle dive on the Iro Maru, initially damaged by submarine USS Tunny during March 1944 and subsequently sunk by bombing, under the gaze of bigeye jacks and yellow fusiliers to keep to the military theme. This was followed with our visit to Ulong Island where the variety and abundance amazed all and included numerous grey and whitetip reef sharks, midnight and black snappers, Napoleon wrasse, banded boxer shrimp – the list is endless.

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Shark Sanctuary shows us her true nature

Shark Sanctuary shows us her true nature

Chandelier CaveAfter a well-deserved rest the latest Palau Siren adventure got underway with easy dives at Teshio Maru and Jake’s Sea plane, followed by Chandelier Cave; an experience some feared but soon found it an easy and incredible experience, particularly turning off the lights and letting the sunlight be our guide! Whilst at the exit the mandarin fish happily popping up out of the corals. Our first dive day ended at the Helmet Wreck, the Japanese cargo ship sunk in March 1944.

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Santa hats compulsory

Santa hats compulsory…

santa-diverThe Christmas trip of the Palau Siren got underway with an easy check dive at Sandy Paradise in Ulong, followed by Siaes Tunnel where some new critters were found; notodoris nudibranchs and decorated dart fish. But then it was time to get the blood pumping and our night dive with sharks at Ulong Corner. Dropping down onto the reef we had 5 grey reefs darting around hunting before we returned to the yacht to a surprise celebration for my birthday!! We didn’t party too hard as an early start at Ulong Channel was on the schedule for the following day, but it was our dive at Siaes Corner that really hit the mark with plenty of hunting action from the 15 or so grey reef sharks – that were busily chasing the orange spine surgeon fish – as we simply hooked in and hung out in the current.

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Scuba Travel Scandinavia

10 Dive Days in Palau

Anna SharkThe divers from Sweden arrived on board the Palau Siren and after the briefings everybody scrambled to set up their gear for the next day, you could tell they were all eager to get in the water. Diving started the next morning with a check dive at the Haf Adai wreck then we cruised out of the harbour straight to Ulong Island for a relaxed dive at Sandy Paradise. We hit Ulong Corner for the night dive in search for sharks and that’s exactly what we found; white tip and grey reef sharks graced us with their presence! The next day we woke up bright and early and took everybody to Ulong Channel, the gentle current allowed the groups to cruise through and check out the largest lettuce coral formation in the world. After breakfast we took the dive tenders across the glassy water to Siaes Tunnel for an awesome swim through and more sharks and turtles. Dive three of the day was at Siaes Corner and then we sailed to Two Dogs Island and had an awesome night dive at German Channel with some great macro finds.

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Braving the Storm in Palau

Braving the Storm in Palau

Diver  Wreck palauThe Palau Siren crew and I eagerly awaited our next group of guest from Switzerland and the UK, they came rolling in at all hours of the day and night so we started off our first dive day of the trip on the later side of morning giving the guests a little more time to rest from their travels. As they started to show their grinning faces one by one, I could tell this was going to be a great trip. We headed out to the Helmet Wreck for dive one. Dive two took us to the geological wonder that is Chandelier Cave and our night dive was another round of Helmet Wreck followed by some awesome food and some cold beers to end the night.

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Mystical mastigas and mantas

Mystical mastigas and mantas

Wrasse PalauThe Palau Siren cruise started with 2 wrecks, both Helmet and Iro Maru offered incredible visibility, allowing us not only to enjoy the small critters but also the structures of the ships. The Siren sailed towards the German Channel where we arrived on time for a time in Muchacha, some joke about having brought some shrimps and other small animals on their wetsuits. After a delicious dinner prepared by Serge our Chef, the evening didn’t last very long. The big swell and waves from the surface made the Blue Holes unusually dark, but still amazing especially as three grey reefs and a turtle were waiting for us at the exit and Pedro the Napoleon wrasse greeted us just before the safety stop. More than 25 turtles in Dexter’s Wall before a relaxing dive in Fairyland and A sunset/night dive in New Drop off. Some wanted to do a movie night and started watching the Big Blue.

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Palau has it all…

Palau has it all…

safety-on-palauThe Stars and Stripes boarded the Palau Siren in a late sunny afternoon, after briefings, safety drills, equipment set-up, everyone went to bed to be ready and fresh at 6am the next day. The morning started with two wrecks, the Helmet wreck and Haf Adai, no current and a lot of little critters to admire. The afternoon dive was in Chandelier Cave with its stalactites but there were only five takers for the sunset/night dive in Sam’s Wall to do some muck diving the day was rounded off nicely by an excellent dinner cooked by Andre the chef and Serge. The wind had dropped down and the sea was flat to reach Iro Maru, one of our largest wreck afterwhich the Palau Siren was waiting for us to sail towards Ulong Island… First use of a reef hook for most of our divers in Ulong Channel, sharks were coming very close and the gentle current had us drifting to the large patch of lettuce corals. After Sandy Paradise, 6 signed up for the dive in Ulong Corner, the other relaxed in their cabins or chatted in the dining area, eagerly anticipating tonight’s feast!

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Thrills and Laughs in Palau

Thrills and Laughs in Palau

group pic 1The sun was preparing to set when our new guests from Australia and New Zealand boarded the Palau Siren. After the briefing and drill, we set up the equipment to be ready for the first early morning dive, everyone in good spirits and full of jokes. Two wreck dives started off our liveaboard cruise, the Teshio Maru followed by the Iro Maru afterwhich we sailed to the Ngemelis Island. Dexter’s Wall with its turtles was our next stop, one our divers, Kathryn, stopped counting after 16 of them and a friendly a grey reef shark checked us out a few times. The day ended at my favorite night dive, Big Drop Off where everyone got to rendez-vous with the leaf scorpionfish, the mantis shrimp and a large crocodile flathead along with a couple of white-tip sharks. After a delicious dinner, some stayed up and got their first glimpse of manta rays as two of them came along to feed in the lights of the yacht.

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