Santa hats compulsory
Santa hats compulsory…
The 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.
Day 3 started with plenty of sharks being seen during their morning cleaning ritual in German Channel. Whilst we swam around, the dive site seemed to go dark because all the fish at the surface blocking out the sun! Big Drop Off was next, with its pretty coral wall and then our night dive at Turtle Cove turned into an adventure! Out in the dark blue is where we found some very interesting alien like creatures and when we got back on the dive tender we were all scrambling to rid ourselves of the small octopuses that had hitched a ride on our BCDs. Thankfully we got them all safely back into the water 😉
The next morning we hit Blue Corner and hung in the current with the sharks and goofy Napoleon wrasses, followed by manta ray sightings at Turtle Cove and German Channel. The mantas spent most of the time at the surface feeding, which made for some great photo ops and an even better work out. We had a nice current filled night dive at German Channel to finish off an awesome day. Everybody wished to see the mantas again so we opted to head back to German Channel for the first dive and found two mantas at the surface feeding. Down on the bottom we saw one of the biggest oldest hawksbill turtle I have ever seen, with his huge sea weed encrusted shell and massive head he seemed to just waddle around rather than swim. Dive two was to be at the magnificent Blue Holes as the sun was shining in perfectly from all directions making for some great views. New Drop Off followed bringing us a school of orange spine surgeonfish being hunted by around 20 grey reef sharks. We also have 4 or 5 very curious black tips come check us out. We ended the day with a night dive on Barnum’s Wall.
Today was our day to tour Peleliu Island both on land and underwater at the “Cut”; where we saw numerous surgeonfish, turtles and sharks after which we returned to Blue Corner for yet more shark action and to fly as Kits over the reef! We awoke the following morning to the sound of Christmas music- yes its Christmas Eve already and after dive 1 at Virgin Blue Holes Santa came and handed out Santa hats for us all, before another awesome hook in dive with the sharks putting on an awesome show. When we got back to the boat we feasted on some fantastic baby back ribs and roasted beef tenderloin for our Christmas Eve Dinner.
HO HO HO MERRY CHRISTMAS! Starting off the day at Jellyfish Lake swimming with the famous Mastigias Papua jellyfish we continued on for a stunning tour of the Rock Islands and a dive in our much used Santa hats at Ulong Channel as well as a wreck dive at the Japanese Fleet oiler Iro Maru. Our last dive of the day was at Big Drop Off wall for the night dive followed by our sumptuous Christmas feast at 8pm. But just as quickly as it had come, Christmas was over and the last day of our trip was upon us. Short Drop Off was first up and we managed to see 16 Nautilus during this dive, followed by the exciting exploration of the air chambers and stalactites in Chandelier Cave. The night dive and last dive of the trip was at Pinchers! When we made it back to the boat Andri had the BBQ ready to go so we celebrated Jamie’s birthday and the last night with great food and cold drinks! It was another great trip here on the Palau Siren