Adventure in Palau
Adventure in Palau
Arriving on the early am flight from Manila our guests board and got some rest before settling into their Palau Siren home for the next 7 days. With boat briefing and safety drill completed we headed for our first dive at the Teshio Maru. Chandelier Cave was a hit among all the divers, even those reluctant to enter a somewhat enclosed environment enjoyed themselves and seeing mandarin fish on the outer reef gained everybody’s heart. At Sam’s Wall the juvenile harlequin sweetlips was dancing, crabs were eating and the juvenile crocodile flathead showed up as well.
The Siren sailed towards Ulong early morning, early enough for us to make our first day dive there. Once anchored, we hopped straight into the skiff, the sea was a little rough so we opted for Ulong Corner. Nature certainly has her way to shine on you though as around the corner a school of jacks were being hunted by two massive trevallies, then sharks appeared. White-tips joined the fun and by the end of the dive we reached the entrance of Ulong Channel where the luckiest ones amongst us had a glance at an amazing manta ray which made a graceful loop in front of them. Can’t beat that! Meanwhile our non-divers played at “Survivor” on Ulong Beach (where the TV series was filmed). Rain our massage therapist was there to assist them of course….but would they survive the hour with just soft drinks and Oreo cookies? Rough sea during the night and part of the day resulted in lower visibility than usual in Sandy Paradise, but the glass fish and leaf scorpion fish were there, as well as the cruising grey reefs and white-tips resting on the sand, and a large white-tail stingray appeared.
“I’m singing in the rain, just singing in the rain” might have been the song playing in everybody’s head the following morning. Jellyfish Lake was scheduled, confirmed and enjoyed… the always unique thrill of the first touch of the Mastigias Papua, touched by a jellyfish that doesn’t sting is always a strange sensation. Everybody came back wet but came back with a smile on their face. As morning went by, the sky slowly cleared up and it was with the sun shining that we reached Blue Corner. A mild current brought the grey reef sharks close to the divers, as well as the schools of big eyes jacks, black snappers and our favorite, the Napoleon wrasse. On the reef away from the corner we found two robust ghost pipefish – something for the macro lovers amongst us too! Only 2 divers chose to make the night dive at Big Drop Off. One guide and two guests, what a treat for us – leaf scorpionfish, spearer mantis shrimp, white-tip shark swimming straight to us, massive hawksbill turtle, not talking about the different types of shrimps and crabs! Happy night divers we were! And for dinner, Andre’s fabulous ribs were on the menu.
“Let the sunshine in” must have been the music of this new day, as the sun was high and a light wind was making the temperature enjoyable, the sun literally enlightened the Blue Holes, the juvenile white-tip was still at the entrance of the Temple of Doom, outside the cave, swimming along the wall we encountered a grey reef shark, some bumpheads going the opposite way and by the end of the dive, on the plateau, after meeting an hawksbill and a green turtle, there were four white-tip sharks lying down on the bottom. While some were exploring the underwater our other guests opted to visit the historical Orange Beach where the Americans landed in Peleliu along with the museum, the old Japanese headquarters, admired the Japanese zero and the different vehicles. Then everybody choose relaxing activities, massage, kayaking and we organized a little tour on the beach… The holiday spirit had certainly set in!
For our last day of diving as requested we went to Siaes Tunnel, after playing with the dolphins on the way everyone had a child smile on their face; we could hear them during the whole dive but were unable to see them as they seem very shy underwater. The Siren sailed back towards Malakal for the Nautilus dive, we were lucky with eleven of them, another hour playing with the living fossils. The few adventurous night divers were rewarded by sighting of a big black frog fish and then it was time for BBQ night, some even dared to dance a little bit before heading for a long last night on the Siren. Waking up once again to the sunshine, after breakfast we organized a boat and snorkeling Rock Island tour then it was time for lunch and a little slideshow of amazing pictures before everybody left… Nice ending for a nice trip….