April 05, 2012

Captain's Log - Tropic Dancer

Log Date: Sun 8 April, 2012
Location: Palau
Entry By: Capt. Ike

Tropic Dancer 12 Night Charter – March 26 – April 8, 2012

Crew: Captain Ike, Skiff Captain Nick, Photo pro Ben, Video pro Kris, Divemaster Jim, Divemaster Marc, Chef Cameron and Stewardess Len

Air/Water: 30/28 C
Vis: Good – Great!
Topside Conditions: OK – Excellent
Sea Surface: Swells - Flat

We had a very special occasion on our latest charter, as our guests were the first people on the Tropic Dancer to visit the Velasco Reef system in the north of Palau. We welcomed Greg Hamman and his group from “Undersea Adventures”. Everybody boarded the vessel on Monday afternoon and we headed up to our northern anchorage at Ngardmau.

Our diving began on Tuesday morning and the beauty of diving these untouched reef systems was that the dive sites didn’t even have names. We spent a few days checking out the sites and we saw a lot of cool marine life including grey reef sharks, turtles, dogtooth tuna and many schools of rainbow runner and jacks. With the weather turning against us we began to travel back down south to find some sheltered anchorage. We visited the Devilfish Reef and enjoyed some beautiful dives on the wall at Aiwokako Reef where we saw a cuttlefish who was so surprised at seeing divers for the 1st time that he inked all over us!

Next up on the itinerary was some diving on some of the Second World War shipwrecks. We enjoyed the Teshio and Helmet Wrecks where we saw many artifacts including rifles, sake bottles, gas masks and Japanese helmets.

We moved the vessel to our German Channel mooring and our first dive on Friday was the world famous Blue Corner where we saw so many sharks that we lost count. The rest of the day was spent diving at Turtle Cove, Blue Holes and Ngedebus Coral Garden where we saw three cuttlefish.

We headed south to Peleliu Island where we spent time diving around Peleliu Corner, again the shark action was out of this world. Our guests took the opportunity to explore the island with plenty of World War II history. The diving continued at Orange Beach, West Wall and our night dive was at Orange Beach where we encountered lobsters and crabs plus a scorpion fish.

We spent another half day at Peleliu, we checked out the Peleliu Corner again and there were huge schools of unicorn fish and blue-stripped snappers. After lunch we headed back north spending a couple of dives at Ngedebus Corner and Ferns Wall.

Everybody was excited for Monday morning as we made a trip to Blue Corner. We had a great current, which brought in a lot of grey reef sharks and big schools of black snapper and barracudas. In the afternoon we did a dive at German Channel where we saw schools of giant trevally and a crocodile fish. Due to popular demand we did our late afternoon dive at Blue Corner and at the dive site that never disappoints we saw a scalloped hammerhead shark.

Tuesday was our last day in the German Channel area and we enjoyed another classic day with dives on Ngemelis Wall, Blue Corner, Blue Holes and New Drop Off. The highlights were seeing a sea snake at Blue Corner. New Drop Off was also excellent with many white tip sharks and grey reefs.

We fired up the engines bright and early on Wednesday and headed west to Ulong Island, which is where they filmed the Survivor TV show a few years ago. The day was spent diving at Siaes Corner, Siaes Tunnel and Ulong Channel. Siaes Corner had the best shark action of the whole trip with a school of around a hundred grey reef sharks chasing a school of Moorish idols. We spent our final full day of diving in the same area.

Our last morning of water activities was spent at Jellyfish Lake where our guests got to splash around with 27 million jellyfish in what is always a special part of the week. We finished up with a tour of the Rock Islands and a shallow dive in Chandelier Caves to wrap up the very first Velasco reef charter on the Tropic Dancer.

The crew would like to thank Greg for bringing the “Undersea Adventures” group down to Palau. Thanks to Hans, Marc, Christine, Audrey, Chris, Chuck, Jim, Scott, Rod, Danny, Mike, Ed, Bob, Grant, Don, Marty and Mike for making the trip a great one.

Special occasions celebrated this week included Christine and Chris both reached 600 dives while Rod reached 100 and Marc reached 200 dives, Ed completed his Nitrox class and also wins hardcore diver of the trip as he never missed a dive the entire 12 days, well done to everyone.

Written by Kris Mears

Tropic Dancer Crew

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