Palau, west Micronesia, just a short hop east of the Philippines, is a rich pristine marine environment famous for its drop-offs, currents and pelagic activity. Few places on earth can boast the diving opportunities offered around these lush mushroom-shaped islands. We boarded Aggressor II for a world-class dive vacation!
Photos by Rene Buob © 2011:
Our home for the week is modern and spacious with all the conveniences a diver could hope for and a great crew: Captain Drew, instructor Adi, photo pro “Polar Bear“ Ben, Hector, Nick, Loly and Mani, the chef, who impresses us immediately with his delicious creations. After eating and sleeping, of course it’s time for diving. The blacktip sharks around the boat at our mooring give us a taste for the action to come.
Remnants of the Palau’s role in WWII can be found both on land and underwater. The Rock Islands are dotted with war-time relics, such as eerie ship wrecks like the Iro Maru, which we dived on the first day. Batfish are plentiful and the crocodilefish pose on the wreck for the photographers.
The limestone islands also have many tunnels and swim-throughs. Blue Holes is a collection of large chimneys that open out onto a beautiful sheer wall. Fast-paced pelagic action is plentiful at Blue Corner and Ulong Channel. These drift dives are packed with profuse shark activity and lush corals. In the current, we hook in to the rocky area on top of the wall and the large marine life comes to us. Greyreef and whitetip sharks are many amongst the schooling fish, and spotted eagle rays make an appearance. Huge Napoleon wrasse watch us and then come in nose-to-nose with the divers when their curiosity gets the better of them. After the action at the wall we drift along the plateau and come across turtles.
German Channel is also a real treat, with two cleaning stations where Mantas hang out and swim around in a trance during cleaning. One glided repeatedly over our heads! No-one wanted to leave the Manta and ascend at the end of that dive.
After over 20 incredible dives, we finish up the trip with snorkeling at Jellyfish Lake, which is swarming with stingless Golden jellies. In the sunlight they are beautiful and fascinating. It’s a delightful ending to a fabulous liveaboard trip.
Following the huge success of this trip, we will be planning more exciting liveaboards for 2012. Watch this space!
Download the Palau 2011 Liveaboard story (PDF).