Thrills and Laughs in Palau
Thrills and Laughs in Palau
The 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.
A calm bright shiny day for a start in Blue Corner, the good current brought the expected fish action; a massive school of big eye trevallies, numerous grey reef sharks cruising in front of the hooked in divers or sneaking up on us from behind for a swim by and the usual Napoleon wrasses fighting for the divers’ attention. German Channel was next before we sailed around Peleliu Island on a calm sea on arrival to our next anchorage some preferred to enjoy the cold beer on the ship instead of going for a night dive at Barnum’s Wall.
A gentle drift on Turtle Cove Wall was had before breakfast. The beautiful coral Garden of Fairyland exceeded everyone’s expectations, as two turtles caught our attention I spotted a feather tail stingray hidden in the sand before it swam off quickly between the divers. At New Drop Off we saw sharks hunting trevallies and finished up our dive day with a relaxing night dive at Turtle Cove with four green turtles, two white tip sharks and a very colorful reef. Blue day it is… And Blue Corner for a start with a good incoming current then the vertical descent in Virgin Blue Hole before lunch. The afternoon was dedicated to the Blue Holes, on the wall a sleeping green turtle came out swam in front of us before hiding a little further towards Blue Corner. Only two went for the night dive on German Wall but were rewarded by a manta ray on the surface on the way back. A beautiful blue day.
Fern’s Wall provided a gentle wake-up followed by Ngedebus Coral Garden which revealed its hidden secrets; 3 white and1 black leaf scorpionfish, a sleeping leopard shark, turtles and a school of 50 circular spadefish. Then in West Ngedebus, we had a glance at a spotted eagle ray at the beginning of the dive and at the end another one swam towards us before going back to the Blue, in between we watched a cuttlefish laying eggs in the corals right next to a painted lobster. A twilight dive in Blue Corner with its schooling fishes, sharks and Napoleon wrasses ended the day beautifully.
The Palau Siren started its way around Peleliu early morning to dive the Peleliu Corner first giving incredible visibility for our drift dive along the wall before hooking in. The unusual Jellyfish Lake had different appreciations for this dive group, it’s one of those things you either hate or love. For me its love relationship but some may not enjoy the sensation of swimming through the jellies. We arrived in Ulong Island for lunch and had enough rest to be ready for the famous Channel with very curious sharks, some of them quite obviously pregnant! Our night dive at Ulong Corner provided a pure thrill with plenty of reef sharks zooming in and out of our lights. A little longer ride to Shark City was had the following morning due to low tide and some swell but the dive was off to a great start with a little eagle ray swimming next to us. At Siaes Corner we hooked in at 10m to watch the sharks surfing on the current in the middle of a school of midnight snappers. Sandy Paradise was its usual delight and a sunset dive at Ulong Channel ended a splendid day in the beautiful scenery of the Ulong Island.
A dark swim in Siaes Tunnel before drifting along the wall towards the Corner where the sharks were hanging got our final dull dive day off to a great start. During breakfast, the Palau Siren sailed back to Malakal Harbour for a dive on the LST1 and Jake’s sea plane. Only a few volunteered for the drift dive in Buoy 6, the ripping current didn’t give us much chance of exploring the wreck but plenty of sensations. A night dive at Sam’s Wall revealed its mating mandarin fish and other weird critters. Then for our final day the Helmet wreck gave us sightings of crocodile flathead, pipefish, shrimps, spadefish, even the divers not keen on wrecks enjoyed it. The ride to Short Drop Off was a little bumpy but we made it and the nautilus made the show rounding off another superb dive trip was the stunning Chandelier Cave. We swam up and down the four chambers before looking at the numerous mandarin fish that hide in the reef just outside.