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Tropic Dancer Captain's Logs

Discussion in 'Aggressor Adventures' started by Dancer Fleet, Mar 5, 2012.

  1. Dancer Fleet

    Dancer Fleet ScubaBoard Business Sponsor ScubaBoard Business Sponsor

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    Tropic Dancer Captain’s Report Jan 13 – 20, 2013

    Hello everybody. Another week, another busy charter on the Tropic Dancer here in Palau. Our guests this week came from Kazakhstan, USA, Germany, Denmark, Australia and Belgium. Everybody arrived at our dock in Malakal Harbor and after setting up our dive gear we enjoyed some beautiful fresh yellow fin tuna prepared by our chef Mani.

    Our diving began on Monday morning with a check dive on the Helmet Wreck. After a quick weight check we then checked out the depth charges and other interesting artifacts on the ship, which was sunk by American bombs during World War II. We did the Iro Maru next and explored this huge tanker, which lies in around a hundred feet of water. We saw the big school of Jacks circling the king posts and there are around twenty different anemones on top of one of the masts. During our lunch break we moved the mother ship over to German Channel and did a wall dive at Big Drop Off. Our last dive of the day was at German Channel and we had a great dive with plenty of manta rays feeding on the surface doing their amazing barrel rolls right in front of our guests. There were plenty of smiles on board after that show.

    Blue Corner was our first stop on Tuesday; this dive site has just been voted the best dive on the planet in one of the dive magazines. We hooked into the outgoing side and watched many sharks hanging in the current. There were of course our friendly Napoleon wrasses that are probably the most social fish in the world. They happily swam around everybody posing for pictures with everybody, strutting their stuff as if they were appearing at a fashion show. After we unhooked we saw schools of black snapper, barracuda, fusilier and a couple of large Spanish mackerel. Our second dive was at Turtle Cove. We had the best possible start as we saw a manta ray, which is uncommon for this dive site. We entered the chimney near the surface and came out around sixty feet. The deep wall is full of life and we found wire coral shrimp, orangutan crabs, sea fans and soft coral. Towards the end of the dive the turtles came rolling in and a few of our guests even saw a leopard shark. There was one final surprise when we found a black leaf fish. After lunch we went to Dexter’s Wall and this site is famous for turtles. We counted over ten here in one hour! New Drop Off was dive four and we had a little current so we hooked in and watched a few grey reef sharks mixed in with some tuna, barracuda and pyramid butterfly fish.

    On Wednesday we revisited German Channel. As we made our way across the mouth of the channel we saw around fifteen sharks, large groupers and a couple of napoleon wrasse all chasing a school of scad. We made it to the cleaning station and within a few minutes we had a manta ray circling us as the little cleaner wrasse went about their business of cleaning the biggest of the ray species. We saw one more manta ray on the dive before we drifted inside the channel. We then moved the mother ship down to Peleliu and explored the famous Peleliu Corner. We saw a lot of sharks here and a lot of bump head parrotfish. After lunch some of our guests visited the island of Peleliu, taking in the sights of the famous battleground between the US Marines and the Japanese. Our diving continued at Barracks Point where we saw a couple of giant clams big enough to trap a fully-grown black bear. West Wall was dive four. We had a little bit of current here but still saw a bunch of turtles.

    Thursday began with a beautiful sunrise, which rose up from behind the rock islands. We headed off to Blue Corner and hooked in on the incoming side. Clouds of black snapper engulfed our guests as the sharks whizzed by in the current. After we unhooked we drifted across the reef with our Napoleon wrasse in hot pursuit. We saw schools of barracuda, jacks and a couple of moray eels. Dive two was at Virgin Blue Hole. We dropped down from the shallows with the ambient light coming down from the heavens. After we excited the hole at around a hundred feet we explored the beautiful hard coral formations. After lunch we went to Blue Holes. This was another great dive. We saw the disco clams hiding in the wall, which made everybody break out a couple of fancy dance moves. With the current going our way we headed down the outgoing side of Blue Corner and hooked in for a little while watching Spanish mackerel chasing a school of fusiliers. Our fourth dive was at Ferns Wall. This turned out to be a great macro dive with plenty of sightings of nudibranch and flatworms. We even found a thin ghost pipefish towards the end of the dive.

    We headed northwest out to Ulong Island to spend Friday. Ulong Channel was our first dive where we again used our reef hooks in the mouth of the channel and saw a few grey reef sharks. After we unhooked, the current took us into the channel past the best formation of lettuce coral here in Palau. We ended the dive near the famous giant clams that are covered in soft corals. Our second dive was at Siaes Tunnel. We had amazing visibility of over a hundred feet and the blue light coming into the tunnel was just perfect. As we exited the tunnel, we drifted along the wall were we saw a couple of turtles and big schools of snapper. Our third dive was at Siaes Corner where the visibility was again great, and this part of Palau has the best hard corals that you can find. Sandy Paradise was our last dive and we saw an eagle ray in the first minute of the dive. We then saw two leaf fish hunting on some glassfish before we were surrounded by a huge school of barracuda. We also saw a massive grey shark just before the end of the dive.

    We visited Jellyfish Lake on Saturday morning before a final dive at the majestic Chandelier Cave. The crew would like to thank our guests Sandra, Harald, Mike, Jan, Gleb, Dauren, Saya, Shelia, Jim, Norma, Rick Dimitriy, Lennie and Luke. It was a great pleasure diving with you all this week on the Tropic Dancer. Congratulations to Rick on completing 200 dives this week.

    Well that wraps up another week on the Tropic Dancer. I wish you all a fond farewell.
    Written by Kris Mears - Tropic Dancer crew

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    ---------- Post added January 30th, 2013 at 09:17 AM ----------

    Tropic Dancer Captain’s Report Jan 20 – 27, 2013

    Guests from around the world boarded the Tropic Dancer with expectations of amazing diving and first class service. This week we welcomes Gert & Minka, Stefan & Marianta, Olga & Elena, Felipe & Cecilia, Keith, Alan & Lindsay, Bruno and Alan & Lindsay.

    The following morning we started the week with 2 wreck dives. At the Iro Maru we encountered circling jacks on the deck that were made nervous from a giant hunting barracuda. Following the wrecks we traveled to the German Channel area and the spectacular diving on the outside reef.

    On Tuesday morning Blue Corner was first priority and as usual the sharks were plentiful and the friendly Napoleon wrasse demonstrating to all the divers their individual personalities. We then visited Dexter’s Wall where photo pro Ben and dive master Jim argued about seeing 10 or 12 turtles on the dive. The matter was never settled, but nonetheless there were too many turtles count to on the dive.

    Wednesday morning we traveled south to Peleliu were the guest enjoyed Peleliu Corner and the opportunity to dive in two oceans on one dive. Half of the group also joined the land tour offered in Peleliu learning the WWII history of the island.

    On Thursday morning Blues Holes was in order. Capt. Ike was amazed after the dive because of the conditions in the holes and the amount of sharks cruising the wall after exiting the Holes. He said, with a huge smile, “The most sharks ever on the wall!”

    Early Friday morning we traveled to Ulong for the final location of the week. Ulong produced amazing visibility as usual on all the dives that day and the amazing Ulong Channel was the highlight and the perfect way to end the diving on the outside reef.

    Saturday morning we made our way to Jellyfish Lake to visit the 15 million jellies on a nice sunny day. The charter was finished with the enchanting cave dive at Chandelier Caves.

    The guests had boarded with high expectations of spectacular diving and first class service and at the end of the charter they all agreed that the diving and the service were above and beyond those prior expectations.

    Crew: Captain Ike, Photo pro Ben, Video pro John, Divemaster Jim, Divemaster Emma and Chef Andy

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  2. Dancer Fleet

    Dancer Fleet ScubaBoard Business Sponsor ScubaBoard Business Sponsor

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    Crew: Captain Ike, Chef Raimani, Photo Pro John, Video Pro Andy, Divemasters Jim & Sean and Stewardess Loly

    Another group, full of excitement, boarded the Tropic Dancer on Sunday afternoon with the expectations of seeing Palau’s Wonders. We had Jenny and Tony, Devon and Walter traveling from the United States, Mikhai and Tatiana, Valerii and Gusev coming from Russia, Olivier hailing from France, Steven and Daniel all the way from Canada, and Rene and Volker traveling from Germany.

    Monday morning we started the charter with two of Palau’s best wrecks, the Helmet Wreck and the Iro Maru. Visibility was unexpected good as you could see king post to king post on the Iro Maru, something that is quite uncommon for inside the reef. Afterward, Capt. Ike took the Tropic Dancer towards Ulong to do our debut outside reef dive on the pristine corals of Ulong Coral Gardens. Tony came up saying that he had never seen coral that was that spectacular and many of the guests agreed. We followed the gardens up with the famous Ulong Channel where the sharks were plentiful and the current took us for an exhilarating ride down the channel.

    On Tuesday Morning we finished up the diving in Ulong with Siaes Tunnel and Siaes Corner. Then made our way towards the German Channel area to complete the day with Big Drop Off and German Channel. At German Channel there was quite a show with four feeding mantas at the surface and a bait ball of scad being pushed around by pilot jacks, groupers, a napoleon wrasse, and three gray reef sharks.

    Wednesday we continued our diving around the German Channel area with an amazing dive at Blue Holes. The condition inside the Holes was fabulous with 100 foot plus visibility and one of the friendly napoleon wrasses from Blue Corner made an appearance inside the holes making a very unique photo opportunity. In the afternoon we made an encore dive at German Channel and encountered six feeding mantas for the entire 60-minute dive. The excitement was high after being so close, for so long, to those majestic gliders performing their feeding ballet an arms length away.

    On Thursday we made it to Peleliu in the afternoon to experience the WWII land tour and stayed the night in the south harbor of Peleliu.

    On Friday we finished our diving in Peleliu with two dives at the famous Peleliu Corner and then traveled back to the German Channel area to a wonderful dive at Dexter’s Wall. The current was just right taking us past more than ten turtles and all the way to the incoming side of Blue Corner area.

    Saturday the charter was finished with another amazing experience at Jellyfish Lake and Chandelier Caves.

    Congratulations to Tony and Jenny for celebrating their 12th wedding anniversary with us this week and to Dan for completing his Nitrox course.

    Tropic Dancer Crew

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  3. Dancer Fleet

    Dancer Fleet ScubaBoard Business Sponsor ScubaBoard Business Sponsor

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    Tropic Dancer Captain’s Report Feb 3 – 15, 2013 – Special 12 Night Charter

    Sunday afternoon the Tropic Dancer took on 14 guests for an extended tour of the southern region of Palau. Scott and Suzanne, Mary and Rita came to us all the from the United States, Richard and Robyn traveled from Canada, Andy and Silvia from Switzerland, Ryan hailing from the Netherlands, Frank along with Carsten and Yvonne from Germany, and Olivier traveling from France, all left their homes to enjoy the luxurious lifestyle aboard the Tropic Dancer.

    The main objective of this charter was to spend extended time in the southern region of Palau (Peleliu to Koror) to dive the most famous sites, as well as, to dive the beautiful sites that are typically overlooked due to time constraints. We began our excursion early Monday morning traveling to Ngerchong on the southeast side of our route. Our check out dive was on a site called Ngerchong Inside. The conditions were beautiful with great visibility and wonderful sunlight on the shallow reef, but we discovered that Typhoon Bopha had affected only this small area in Palau. The reefs there are shallow, combined with no protection from east, which resulted in some damage to the site. After our discoveries, we quickly moved onto German Channel were Capt. Ike knew the reefs were still as pristine as 20 years ago when he started with the company.

    Tuesday we had a spectacular day of diving with the highlights at New Drop Off and Ngedebus Corner. The visibility was 100 foot plus, with several lazy green sea turtles offering easy targets to the photographers and too many species of tropical reef fish for the non-photographers to count and identify. Ngedebus Corner also produced an amazing dive with a sighting of Palau’s shy and rarely seen nurse shark.

    Wednesday our sights were set on Peleliu. We spent two full days of diving with every dive having fabulous visibility and some exhilarating currents on Peleliu Corner. Guest, Scott, was so impressed with the health of the reef at Barracks Point saying it was by far the most pristine reef he has ever dove. Other highlights being numerous sharks, turtles, and the schooling fish at Peleliu Corner, Crocodile fish and WWII artifacts at Orange Beach, and the exploration of two sites that are not normally dove; Ike’s Wall and Shipwreck Corner.

    Friday started with the swim throughs of Virgin Blue Holes and then the turtles of Dexter’s Wall. Suzanne was smiling through her regulator the entire dive because of all the turtle sightings. We also made our first visit to Blue Corner to experience one of Palau’s most famous dive sights. The current was just right bringing the sharks in close with spectacular visibility. The divers were also introduced to the friendly Napoleon wrasses that hang out on the dive site. Capt. Ike decided for a change of pace on Saturday s we visited Jellyfish Lake and the 15 million inhabitants of the lake. The conditions were perfect with bright sunshine and shallow jellies. We then visited two of Palau’s best wreck dives and the ‘wreckies’ really enjoyed the history and opportunity to visit the sunken vessels. Later we did something special and went hunting for Mandarin fish at dusk. Several Mandarins were spotted along with a school of razor fish, crocodile fish, signal gobies, and a cuttle fish to end the dive.

    Sunday was quite a special day. The day started with a perfect Blue Corner dive in the early morning and ended with an amazing experience at German Channel in the late afternoon. The sharks were coming close, feeding turtle that did not care about us around, and of course the Napoleons teasing all the guests made Blue Corner the perfect morning while the afternoon was full of special memories due to the feeding mantas at the surface. We spent the majority of the dive interacting with 5 mantas while they preformed their feeding ballot.

    Monday was our last day in the German Channel area and it was spent as an encore dive day. We went back to the sites that were in popular demand such as Blue Corner, New Drop Off, and German Channel. All the photographers were thrilled at New Drop Off with the opportunity of shooting a green sea turtle propped up in soft coral that was completely oblivious to divers due to a deep sleep.

    We traveled to Ulong for our final two days of diving. The diving in Ulong is always popular with the guests and proved the same this charter. Ulong Coral Gardens was wonderful with cruising sharks, tropical fish everywhere, and pristine corals. Ulong Channel had sharks coming close and the exhilarating ride through the channel was quite enjoyable on the last dive on Wednesday.

    The 12 days were spent exploring all that Palau has to offer in the southern region and resulted in an over success with unforgettable diving, fair weather, wonderful food, and new friends made.

    Crew: Captain Ike, Photo and Video Pro John, Dive masters Jim, Sea and Adam, Stewardess Len and Chef Mani

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  4. Dancer Fleet

    Dancer Fleet ScubaBoard Business Sponsor ScubaBoard Business Sponsor

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    Tropic Dancer Captain’s Report Feb 15 – 22, 2013

    Air/Water Temp: 70 / 83 F
    Visibility: 50 – 100 feet
    Topside Conditions: 5 – 30 knot winds/ sunny – cloudy
    Sea Surface: 2 foot swell

    The Tropic Dancer had the Republic of China visit the boat with a group of 18. Hao Xue, Jun Chen, Yong Yi, Lei Mao, Lixin Wang, Ye Yaun, Feng Cai, Xin Chen, Yun Ying, Lili Yang, Ning Xie, Xu Zhu, Xudong Lu, Juxiong Li, Wenqiu Shan, Yuqing Wang, Jinglin Zhang, and Yibing Xie all made the long journey from China to visit Palau.

    Saturday we started the charter spending the day exploring the inside reefs and wrecks of the Palau. The wrecks were interesting and showed the guests, both, the history and diversity of Palau. At Lighthouse Channel the current was just right taking the divers on a nice ride past huge tubestria corals, one of most colorful wrecks in Palau, and a huge Spanish Mackerel patrolling the channel. At dusk we went hunting for mandarin fish outside of Chandelier Caves. Several were found, as well as, different nudibranchs, signal gobies, and a cuttle fish. We traveled at night to the German Channel area for the following day of diving.

    Sunday we took the guest to the outside reef and started with the famous German Channel. The visibility was not spectacular, but the show at the cleaning station was. One Manta was cleaning for more than ten minutes allowing for a close encounter with the giant creature. Later in the afternoon New Drop Off produced a wonderful dive with lazy turtles on the reef, sharks in the blue, several moray eels, and blue lined snappers asking for their photos to be taken.

    Early Monday morning, we visited Blue Corner. The dive was amazing, with close to twenty sharks cruising the drop off, getting closer and closer and the dive went on. The napoleon wrasses, once again, was the favorite of the guests. Later in the afternoon Blue Holes was on the schedule. Inside the holes turned out to be the perfect photo opportunity while on the wall outside the crew was excited to see the start of the Moorish Idle congregation. Maybe 50-75 Moorish idles were being chased around by three giant trevally! The crew was excited that this might be the start of another amazing month of action at the Blue Corner area.

    We traveled to Peleliu on Tuesday morning. The first dive was at Peleliu Corner where we encountered numerous sharks, schooling fish and some very nice macro items such as wire coral shrimp and the blue tang. Ten guests choose to venture onto land and join the land tour of Peleliu visiting some historical sites from WWII.

    Early the next morning our sites were on the Ulong area. The first dive was Siaes Tunnel were we encountered hunting giant trevally at the bottom of the tunnel. After exiting the tunnel the guest were quite happy with the spectacular visibility and beautiful wall. There was a very nice incoming current during the second, which produced an unforgettable dive at Ulong Channel. There was a lot of action at the mouth of channel with sharks coming close, a school of black snapper and white mouth jacks ascending straight through the group of hooked in divers, and then an amazing ride through the fabulous corals of Ulong Channel. The dive was so nice that the entire group agreed to dive Ulong Channel for the final two dives. The last two encore dives of the channel proved to be as exciting as the first.

    Saturday morning was spent with the 15million jellies of Jellyfish Lake and in the
    mesmerizing air chambers of Chandelier Caves. The perfect way to end yet another memorable charter and proved worth for the travels of the guests all the way from beautiful China.

    Crew: Captain Ike, Video pro John, Divemaster Jim, Instructors Adam and Sean, Chef Mani and Stewardess Len

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  5. Dancer Fleet

    Dancer Fleet ScubaBoard Business Sponsor ScubaBoard Business Sponsor

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    Tropic Dancer Captain’s Report Feb 24 – Mar 3, 2013

    The Tropic Dancer welcomes this week Amir from Brazil, Arno and Werner from Austria and Bob and Allison from America. We also welcomed thirteen guests from "Rec Divers": Diane, Mary K, Juanita, Karl, Pete, Chris, Marc, Ellen, Mark, John, Greg, Don and Marilyn hailing from America.

    We started our week off with two wreck dives at Teshio Maru and Iro Maru. Video pro John found an elusive sexy shrimp hiding in a batch of bubble coral.

    Tuesday was a gorgeous blue-sky day, which beautifully amplified the color of the coral. The visibility ranged in between 70-100 feet, allowing us to watch sharks cruise below on Turtle Cove, our third dive. The streaming light cast over the plateau of Turtle Cove made it look like a wild aquarium. German Channel afterwards showed signs of what was in store for later in the week, bringing two Mantas into view around the cleaning stations.

    Wednesday morning we started up the engines and moved over to the island of Peleliu. The dive at D-Cut on Peleliu Corner was an exhilarating dive as the current showed up, which brought the shark action closer than usual. Eleven of our guests went on a WW II Land Tour on Peleliu Island visiting memorial sites, a museum and a man made cave from 1944.

    Thursday shaped up to be the most exciting day of the week. We began our day with two dives at Blue Corner and finished off with an epic dusk dive at German Channel. This week was a full moon and during the full moon we have a better chance at seeing Mantas feeding. Our dive started with a solo Manta at the cleaning station. Soon divemaster Jim noticed a large fish ball above us, and a glimpse of another Manta could be seen in the blue shadows above. Moving shallower, to 15 feet or 5 meters, we spent the rest of our dive following an additional four Mantas feeding in a triumphant line. The boat was in ecstasy as we made our way to Ulong Island that evening.

    Friday finished our full week of diving on a high note. Ulong Channel had a mild incoming current and after hooking in we watched 10 + sharks cruising back and forth in front of us for 30 minutes. We then unhooked and made our way further down the channel. Next was Siaes Tunnel and today the lighting was just right along the beautiful wall where we were finding golden damsel fish guarding newly placed eggs. Our afternoon finished with a strong current back down at Ulong Channel, allowing us to glide along the sandy bottom all the way to the two Giant Clams. We closed our week with a snorkel in the magical waters of Jellyfish Lake and a shallow dive at Chandelier Cave.

    We would like to congratulate John on diving his 400th dive and Allison and Bob for completing their 200th dives with us. We would also like to wish Bob, and our own Instructor, Adam very Happy Birthdays!

    We had a very successful week of diving; the weather was gorgeous, the waters were warm and the diving spoke for its self. We hope to see you very soon on the Tropic Dancer.

    Crew: Captain Ike, Chef Mani, Video pro John, Divemaster Jim, Instructors Emma and Adam, and Stewardess Loly

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  6. Dancer Fleet

    Dancer Fleet ScubaBoard Business Sponsor ScubaBoard Business Sponsor

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    Tropic Dancer Captain’s Report March 3 – 10, 2013

    Hey there everyone! We had another amazing week on the Tropic Dancer and we’re joined once again by the “Rec Diving” group out of Michigan. This time we were also joined by Dianne’s husband Jim and more of their wonderful friends. The week began with Chef Mani preparing an excellent welcoming dinner after our guests had finished setting up their dive gear and settled into the boat.

    ‘Love Was In The Water’ this week as we witnessed many species partnering up. We sped straight to the German Channel for the group’s check out dive and they were treated by the presence of a male and a female Manta coming into the cleaning station; perhaps to get cleaned up for a date. They were also able to spot a large octopus keeping watch over the reef as he dazzled everyone with his constant color shifting abilities. Next, we headed to the beautiful Ngemelis Wall where careful eyes were able to spot a very large nudibranch on the move as soon as we made our descent along the wall. On this dive, we also witnessed a group of five large mackerel speeding through the blue, as well as, a black tip shark in pursuit.

    Our third dive to Turtle Cove continued the ‘theme of love’ as we found several pairs of nudibranch exhibiting mating behavior. To cap off the day we made our way to the Ngedebus Coral Garden. Again the ocean seemed eager to please our excited divers right from the start with a large Napoleon wrasse and a white tip shark resting by the mooring. As we continued along, we were treated to a smaller octopus, a juvenile trumpet fish hiding under a ledge, and then to put an end to a fantastic day of diving we were graced with the presence of a large eagle ray as it soared in the fading light of dusk.

    Tuesday started off with a bang, as our first dive was at the famous Blue Corner. The usual of suspects of sharks thrilled and the ever-playful Napoleon wrasse of this location entertained the guests as their curiosity brought them within tickling distance of the divers. On this day though we were all treated to a surprise appearance of a large manta coming in from the blue and majestically cruised the edge of the wall. For our second dive we went to Dexter’s Wall where we watched cornet fish hunting along the wall and we actually stopped counting the hawksbill and green turtles after the 10th one swam to us!

    For our third dive we dove the beautiful Fern’s Wall where in the shallows we found beautiful flatworms and a scorpion fish. Deeper along the wall one of our divers was fortunate to gain some video of a square spot anthias. On the next dive, at New Drop Off, we were joined by the powerful dogtooth tuna, grey reef sharks, white tip sharks, and in the coral we found porcelain crabs. We were also entertained by the pairing up of boxfish. This night one of divers was surprised to find a remora trying to form a relationship with him!

    On Wednesday we started at the wonderful Peleliu Corner where the currents can be unexpected, as divers are simultaneously in the Pacific Ocean, as well as, the Philippine Sea. Here we witnessed larger schools of barracuda only interrupted as the sharks of this site split them up.

    Next on our itinerary many of our guests accompanied John on land for a fantastic tour of the remains of the World War II battles on Peleliu. The guests who stayed behind requested an encore dive at Peleliu Corner and this time we were dazzled by the sheer numbers and of varied species of grouper staking their claim to mates and territory; the largest one being close to four feet in length and sporting a very impressive girth. On the dive we also witnessed two eagle rays following each other over the plateau. For lunch Mani prepared an afternoon feast of Mexican food. Later, on our night dive at Alexi’s Coral Garden, our time was occupied by the wondrous performance of a large cuttlefish, as well as, a lionfish hunting along the reef.

    Thursday came around and the morning started with the beautiful Blue Holes. Here the keen eyes of Jim were able to lock onto the position of a thin ghost pipefish in a smaller cavern along the wall. For our second dive we went back to German Channel for a display fit for National Geographic. Schools of giant trevally, unicorn fish and surgeonfish wrapped around grey reef sharks and Napoleon wrasse created an amazing sight We settled in near the cleaning station where Capt. Ike's superb knowledge kept his gaze on the developing bait balls, knowing full well that something wondrous would emerge and, as always, he was right. A baby Manta appeared and glided directly to the cameras of our divers!

    At Barnum’s Wall our guests magnifying glasses came in handy as they viewed the tiny coral hermit crabs peeking out from a hole. Here we also saw a larger puffer munching on a sea star and again the beauty of a passing eagle ray ended the dive. The night dive at the German Coral Gardens gave our divers a wonderful display of a Spanish dancer, as well as, a white tip reef shark hunting in the shallows.

    On Friday we headed to Ulong Channel where on the first dive the timing was perfect for our guests to observe large groups of sharks and jacks hunting and feeding in the mouth before the strong current took them for a magic carpet ride through the gorgeous channel. Our next dive was at Siaes Tunnel where some of our guests had a private showing with the grey reef sharks outside of the tunnel. They allowed us to slip into the middle of their circle as they patiently waited for a meal to exit. Inside the tunnel our guests explored the wonders of this cavern with John.

    The next trip to Ulong Channel was in exercise in dodging land mines, as the titan triggerfish carefully guarded their nests that were spaced almost every 15 yards. For our last dive of the day we headed to Siaes Corner where we observed sharks, tuna and on the reef the Moorish idols passed together in great numbers. Captain Ike received a present as we found a very nice dive light resting in the sand J The day ended with a sunset trip to the beach on Ulong for our divers to frolic in the surf and enjoy the beautiful lighting of the sky and the water.

    Saturday our guests ended their week of fun and adventure with a trip to the magical Jellyfish Lake. Next was a tour through the Rock Islands aboard the skiff and a final dive in surreal Chandelier Caves where time was spent hunting for the elusive Mandarin fish found right outside the cavern system. Mani capped the week with a superb Indian food lunch and a magnificent prime rib dinner.

    It was a fantastic week and we are sorry to see our group go, but we are happy to share the love with our friends aboard the Palau Aggressor as the “Rec Diving” group will be joining them on March 17th for their next charter in the beautiful waters of Palau.

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  7. Dancer Fleet

    Dancer Fleet ScubaBoard Business Sponsor ScubaBoard Business Sponsor

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    Tropic Dancer Captain’s Report March 10 – 17, 2013

    Air/Water Temp: 80/ 84-86F
    Visibility: 40 – 200+ ft
    Topside Conditions: Sunny, but rainy on Wed/Fri morning
    Sea Surface: mixed with the weather – calm and periodically choppy

    The Tropic Dancer welcomed aboard this week Sandra, Petra M., Petra B., Klaus-Dieter, Nicole, Gabriele, Karl-Heinz, Stefan, Anne, Miki and Mathias from Europe, Marcelo, Maieve, and Marcos from Brazil and Jeanette, Cheryl, Scott, and Jill from America.

    Our week began next to Ulong Island. Ulong Island is famous by the television show Survivor. Captain Ike saw that the currents showed promise for a great incoming current dive so we headed out to Ulong Channel. Ulong Channel, a favorite by many guests, is a false channel that is home to one of the most beautiful channels in Palau. At the mouth of the channel sharks come closer to divers than at any other site. We spent 30 minutes hooked in, allowing time for a drift dive down the coral covered left and right walls towards two giant clams, covered in purple soft coral. The water temperature was two degrees warmer than usual, 86F, keeping everyone very warm.

    Spending the night anchored in front of Ulong Island we spent the morning at Siaes Tunnel and Siaes Corner. The corner here is different than others in Palau, covered in hard and soft coral rather than the usual hard coral and rock. If there isn’t something to see in the blue, which is highly unlikely, then you can spend the dive exploring the beautiful plateau of this corner. Tuesday afternoon moving closer to German Channel we headed over to New Drop Off. New Drop Off is the token little sister of Blue Corner. It is only a 5-minute boat ride away and will often have the same strong current as Blue Corner. In the late afternoon, prior to the sunset we spotted an Eagle Ray in the blue while weaving through the sandy bottom and coral pillars that are known as Ngedebus Coral Gardens.

    Our morning started bright and early Wednesday. We started a dawn dive at German Channel and were greeted by a Manta Ray at the cleaning station. Captain Ike saw that the tides would bring a promising dive at Blue Hole so we headed north. Blue Hole is a deep dive; the bottom is at 90 feet and in some areas the sandy bottom drops below 6000 + feet. A resident disco clam danced for our guest and upon exiting the current pulled us slowly along to Blue Corner. Forty minutes into our dive the current changed and migrating fish moving with the changing current surrounded us; Trevally, Snapper, Trigger Fish, Turtles, White Tip and Grey Tip Reef Sharks and Barracuda while we did our safety stop. After lunch we moved again closer to the Blue Corner area; Dexter’s Wall. Although the name does not boast of turtles we often had seen many in one dive. This particular dive we saw 8!

    Thursday morning we started the engines early and moved south to the Island of Peleliu. The diving in Peleliu is pristine. The walls are more abundant, the coral gardens have more soft coral and the current is stronger. The day boats generally do not make it out this far, so we have the advantage aboard the Tropic Dancer. We rarely see another group of divers in the waters while at Peleliu. We moored inside a small lagoon, and headed for Peleliu Corner. Once you have dove Peleliu Corner you can say you’ve dove in two oceans at one time. This is where the Philippine Sea and Pacific Ocean meet. Skipping the second dive seven of our guests went on a WW II land tour learning history of the Island. In 1944 the island was in one of the bloodiest battles ever seen in the South Pacific. While our 7 historians were on land we made our way over to Barracks Point. A beautiful coral garden covered in an abundance of soft corals. Our day was closed with our final night dive at Turtle Cove. This dive in particular is brilliant for the colors that cover the sheer wall that juts into the dark blue.

    Friday we had one last hooray for the most loved spots this week. We stopped over at Blue Corner in the morning and later for a dusk dive. Our dusk dive had an adventurous incoming current, so we stayed hooked in for most of the dive watching the sharks glide with ease through the incoming flow. In the evening we closed the night with a movie of the week reliving dive sites, moments and memories that will last long after the charter has ended.

    Saturday capped off our week with a Rock Island Tour, a dip into the world of million migrating jellyfish at Jellyfish Lake and a diversity dive at Chandelier Cave.

    We would like to congratulate Maieve for completing her 100th dive aboard the Tropic Dancer. Writing from the warm tropical blue-sky day in Palau, we really do hope to see you very soon aboard the Tropic Dancer.

    Crew: Captain Ike, Chef Mani, Video pro John, Divemaster Jim, Instructor Emma and Stewardess Len
     
  8. Dancer Fleet

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    Tropic Dancer Captain’s Report March 17 – 24, 2013

    Air/Water Temp: 85 / 83 F
    Visibility: 50 – 100 plus feet
    Topside Conditions: Sunny with light breeze and some afternoon showers
    Sea Surface: Calm

    Crew: Captain Ike, Chef Andy, Video pro John, Divemaster Jim, Instructor Emma and Stewardess Len

    After 36 hours of travel time the Tropic Dancer happily welcomed a group of 18 from Austria. Raute, Slyvia Gottfried, Ulrike, Michael, Josef, Roman, Kornelia, Brigit, Manfred, Wolfgang, Johann, Isle, Martina, Johann, Brunhilde, Andrea, and Gerhard all boarded the Dancer on Sunday still exhausted from the traveling, yet very excited for the coming days of diving in the warm waters of Palau. Sunday night Chef Andy prepared a welcome dinner with tuna poke and a Thai buffet making sure that no one went hungry.

    Monday morning Capt. Ike fired up the engines and we pushed off the dock for another week of adventure. The diving began with two of Palau’s best wrecks, the Helmet Wreck and the Iro Maru. On the Helmet Wreck the guests were treated with sightings of two different pipefish and signal gobies feeding on the sandy deck. At the Iro Maru there was quite a scene with a cuttle fish on the deck and circling jacks in the blue above. From the wrecks we traveled south to the German Channel area, finishing the day with dives at Big Drop Off and Alexi’s Coral Garden. On Alexi’s Coral Garden the current was just right taking us to the mouth of German Channel where we were able to see a cruising manta and an ornate eagle ray.

    Tuesday was spent in the German Channel area as well. The schedule was full of signature dives and the guests were not let down. The morning dive was at German Channel. There was schooling jacks, black snapper, and barracudas filling the blue water above, shrimp gobies and garden eels in the sand below, several sharks cruising the mouth of the channel, and even a manta making an appearance on the safety stop. The excitement continued at New Drop Off where all the guests were able to get up close and personal with several green sea turtles, three of which were sleeping propped up in soft coral bushes making for an ideal photo opportunity. Blue Holes also produced another great dive. The conditions inside the holes were ideal and once exiting the holes we were able to drift all the way to Blue Corner making it a two for one dive. Divemaster Jim was able to find his ghost pipefish on the wall again, adding to the unusual sightings this week, and all the guests were introduced to the complete trio of friendly Napoleon wrasses at Blue Corner.

    Peleliu was in order on Wednesday and we began the day visiting Peleliu Corner Express. The visibility was great with a light current taking us past several sharks in the blue, turtles and bumphead parrotfish on top of the plateau. After the current, we followed that dive with D’ cut on the other side of Peleliu Corner. There was an unusual sighting of a manta on the wall and there wasn’t much current so it gave us the opportunity to really explore the plateau where it was nice to see the famous ‘Dori’ from the movie Nemo. The blue tangs covered the plateau adding bright blue to the many colors on the reef.

    Thursday the Tropic Dancer came back to the German Channel area and Blue Corner was first in order. The dive was absolutely amazing! There were hundreds of jacks and black snapper cruising the current with more than 20 sharks swimming in and out of them. The friendly Napoleon wrasses accompanied us the entire dive as we made it to the corner to see a small school of 100 Moorish Idle being chased by another 20 or so sharks. It could not have got much better. In the afternoon the guest wanted an encore of Blue Corner, so we went back for another great dive at the corner.

    The schedule for Friday was all about Ulong. We traveled there early in the morning to set ourselves up for Siaes Tunnel as the first dive. We had great conditions in the tunnel and after exiting the current was just right for a lazy drift along the wall. For the second dive we visited the famous Ulong Channel and it lived up to its name. There was good action at the mouth with sharks coming within arm length and schools of snapper and white mouth jacks out in the blue. After unhooking, the drift down the channel was the perfect combination between an exhilarating ride and being able to explore the gorgeous channel. Siaes Corner was one of the guest favorites. Gerhard said it was by far his favorite of the day. The sighting of a manta caused the guests to follow it out into blue where they found a dozen sharks cruising together. Definitely a dive for everyone to remember.

    The charter was finished with Jellyfish Lake and Chandelier Caves, which always prove to be a place to go back to. The Tropic Dancer had another successful week and the guests traveling from Austria were happy they made the 36-hour trip.

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  9. Dancer Fleet

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    Tropic Dancer Captain’s Report March 24 – 31, 2013

    Air/Water Temps: 85 / 83 F
    Visibility: 50 – 100 +
    Topside Conditions: Mostly sunny with light breeze
    Sea Surface: Calm, but choppy on Tuesday only.

    Crew: Captain Marc, Chef Mani, Photo pro John, Instructor Sean, Divemaster Jim and Stewardess Len

    The start of another week out on the Palauan waters for the Tropic Dancer went very smoothly. We greeted the guests on Sunday afternoon and prepared for a week of adventure. A group of Americans that joined us from a North Carolina dive shop called “Down Under” included Scott, Shelli, Jim, Lisa, Michael, Wayne, Kriste, Patricia, Dana, Denise, David and Kay. Also onboard was Nicolas from France, Silvia hailing from Spain, Vesna coming from Switzerland, and also Gabriel and Albert from the Unites States. After the welcome dinner prepared by chef Mani, the guests decided to skip the wrecks and go straight for the outer reef in the morning.

    Early Monday morning Capt. Marc took the Dancer straight to Ulong for the first day of diving. Sandy Paradise was first on the list. The conditions were ideal with great visibility and a lazy current taking us past schooling barracudas and soldier fish, a yellow leaf scorpion fish, and several sharks out in the blue. Ulong Channel was on the line for the second dive and all the guests’ hopes were high. They were not let down with great conditions again with sharks at the mouth of the channel and a nice ride through the gorgeous channel. The afternoon was spent in the Ulong Coral Gardens surrounding the channel. This area has some of the most pristine corals in Palau and diving there is always one of our guests’ favorites.

    Tuesday morning was spent at Ulong diving Siaes Tunnel and Siaes Corner where we were able to see the beautiful wall, the tunnel, and the spectacular coral garden of the corner. During lunch, we traveled to the German Channel area. In the afternoon, we dove Ngemelis Wall and New Drop Off. At New Drop Off there were several lazy turtles allowing the guests to get up close and personal.

    The charter hit its midway point on Wednesday and it was time to pull out the big hitters. The first dive was at Blue Holes. The conditions inside the holes were clear and calm and after exiting, the wall was full of life from schooling fish to nudibranchs blending into the colorful wall. The second dive was at Dexter’s Wall where the guests were greeted by 8 turtles and a sleeping leopard shark. Next was the famous Blue Corner. There was a strong incoming current, which made for a great show of sharks, schooling black snapper and barracudas, and always the famous napoleon wrasse. To end the day, we went to German Channel. There we had simply too much to see! Down on the reef was schooling jacks and barracudas, 4 dogtooth tuna, several sharks, and many macro items in the sand. On the surface were three feeding mantas that stayed for the entire dive. All the guests were able to get very close with the gigantic mantas. Just a great all around dive!

    Thursday morning broke with calm conditions and a wonderful sunrise saw the Palau Aggressor make passage to Peleliu Island. We had the playful company of a large school of dolphins for our short journey. We decided to stretch our legs a bit and go on a tour of Peleliu. This exceptionally interesting tour took us back in time to September 1944 when the US Marines stormed the beaches of Peleliu. Our guide Tangi had a wealth of knowledge to share with us and showed us the US & Japanese memorial, amtracks, guns, Orange Beach and the 1000 man caves. What a touching tour.

    Our first dive at Peleliu Island was West Wall. This sheer wall was filled with beautiful coral formations and yellow polyps galore. We were greeted with gin-clear water and anthias scattered like wallpaper around us. Porcelain crabs, nudis and flatworms were spotted, as well as, affable turtles and the occasional reef shark off the wall. Mani's lunch was received well and then it was time to splash again. Peleliu Corner was up next. Famous for it’s strong currents, Peleliu Corner is not for the faint-hearted. Cruising along the wall, we were at the mercy of the current and simply enjoyed the life that passed us by. Turtle and grey reef sharks seemed to be the main attraction with oriental sweetlips sheltering from the current inside lettuce coral. We then armed our reef hooks and hooked in for a little while to enjoy a more stationary view of the sharks. ‘Dory’ from the movie Finding Nemo was also spotted on the famous Peleliu Corner. Snack and hammock time followed and then the dive bell beckoned. Our next adventure takes us to Orange Beach, the dive site. Yet again we splashed into astounding visibility and enjoyed a rather relaxing drift along the sloping bottom. Turtles seemed to be out and about as we enjoyed the beautiful coral and bottom formations. For our nighttime delight we visited Turtle Cove and we were treated to massive basket stars, along with nudi’s and crabs. This ends a lovely day’s diving.

    On Friday our day started with an encore dive at the famous German Channel. The dive started with a visit to the amazing pink anemone with its playful anemone fish, then we ventured toward the channel. We stopped at the cleaning station for a while and continued on to see the blind shrimp and shrimp gobies in the sand. Then we were enveloped by snapper with trevally and black tip reef sharks circling a school of scad. After all the frantic activity we decided to take a leisurely cruise and drift into the channel to witness a vast array of colorful corals and giant clams. Superb!

    Virgin Blue Hole was up next. With perfect conditions we descended into the hole on the reef that lead to a chimney tunnel. Beautiful light rays showered down on us through the holes creating a surreal atmosphere. After exploring the hole we headed along a stunning wall. This amazing wall produced pyramid butterfly fish and cruising grey reef sharks as well as canyon like structures cut into the wall for us to explore. Snack and hammock time was followed by the beckoning dive bell. Our next dive adventure took us to Turtle Cove. This dive has something for everyone. With startling visibility we started the dive penetrating a chimney that popped us out at 60 foot off the wall. Then we discovered nudibranchs, flatworms and a scorpion fish along the wall. Further along the wall we found ourselves in a forest of beautiful soft coral exhibiting a kaleidoscope of colors. As the name suggests we also saw a variety of turtles too. Mani's snack welcomed us back to the mother ship. Some hammock time was in order and then back to the water. Blue Corner was next. This encore dive at the corner was just as incredible as the last; making our heads spin and our friendly napoleon wrasse visited us too. Another wonderful day’s diving!

    On Saturday our adventure started with the surreal experience of Jellyfish Lake. These non-stinging jellies were everywhere you looked. It felt like we were in another world as we snorkeled around these pulsating critters. After getting our jellyfish fix we headed back to Koror and meandered through the rock islands and stopped at the famous archway for a photo shoot. Then back to diving. We decided to enjoy yet another different experience with Chandelier Caves. Only 20 feet deep or so this cave has four chambers that have air spaces where you can pop up and have a chat to your buddy before continuing your dive. Exploring these caves was a wonderful way to end an already fantastic week of diving in Palau.

    We would like to congratulate Lisa and Denise for completing their 200th dive and Mike for completing his 500th dive on the Tropic Dancer. All of us here on the Tropic Dancer wish our friends a safe trip home and a speedy return to dream, dive and discover the Dancer way!

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  10. Dancer Fleet

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    Tropic Dancer Captain’s Report March 31 – April 7, 2013

    The Tropic Dancer would like to welcome this week from Europe: Andreas, Karin, Sabine, Klaus, Axel, AJ and Gaga. From America: Bill, Peter, Diana, Kurt, Kenneth, Becky, Keith, Eric Deborah and Karen.

    Air/Water Temp: 82/86 F
    Visibility: 50 – 100+
    Topside Conditions: Rain/Sunny with partial clouds
    Sea Surface: Light choppy/Calm

    Crew: Captain Marc, Chef Mani, Photo Pro Sean, Instructors Emma and Steve, Divemaster Jim, Stewardess Len

    We started our week off with two wreck dives at the Helmet Wreck and Iro Maru. Instructor Emma spotted two resident banded pipefish within the first five minutes. The Helmet Wreck is a small wreck topping off at 192 feet in length. This wreck was discovered in 1994 and although they do not know the real name, it is known as the Helmet Wreck for the WWII helmets that lay on the wreck itself. During lunch Captain Marc took the big boat over to Ulong Island, made famous by the popular TV show ‘Survivor.’ A five-minute boat ride and we dove into the dive site that is Ulong Channel. Our dive began with a wall dive, and then we hooked into the reef and allowed the schools of jacks and cruising sharks to come within arm’s reach. Unhooking we then finished our dive with a glide down the channel portion.

    We stayed the night beside Ulong Island and in the morning, we dove again Ulong Channel. A favorite of the week. The visibility ranged in between 70-100 feet on our second dive at Siaes Tunnel, allowing us to watch sharks cruise below. Inside the tunnel we saw the rarely seen pygmy blue-back angelfish. Our night dive was made at Alexis Coral Garden, a mossy coral bottom that often brings the odd-shaped bottom dwellers.

    Wednesday morning we took a very short skiff ride over to Turtle Cove, where we had been moored for the night prior. Following lunch we dove New Drop Off. New Drop Off is sometimes called the younger sibling of Blue Corner. Our guests spotted an octopus cruising the reef at the end of the dive next to four eels.

    Thursday morning we started up the engines and moved over to the island of Peleliu. We dove the incoming side of the corner, watching sharks glide effortlessly through the current. Peleliu Corner is the point where the North Pacific and Philippine Sea meet, which brings in the rarely seen life. Ten of our guests went on a WW II Land Tour on Peleliu Island visiting memorial sites, a museum and a man made cave from 1944. After lunch we choose to do one last dive at Peleliu Corner, which was a promising effort as we saw a devil ray. In the evening we made our way back toward the German Channel area. Our night dive was made at Ngedebus Coral Garden, finding scorpion fish, twin spot lionfish, and a cuttlefish. The cuttlefish seemed to be guarding small white eggs that it had laid sometime that week.

    Friday shaped up to be a beautiful day, the sun was out, electrifying the visibility topping off at 200+ feet. We began our day with a dive at Blue Holes. Four large holes all connect to one large cavern with plenty of ambient light. Inside the cavern we found a disco clam beating its electric blue light at 80 feet. Changing pace we moved over to Dexter's Wall for a relaxing, calm wall dive. Divemaster Jim was our skiff driver and noticed a very large school of yellow tail jacks below. Positioning the skiff over top the school we began our dive by dropping in beside thousands of the yellow tail jacks moving in a beautiful stream. We let the light current carry us pass eight turtles and many sharks working smoothly into the current. We closed our week with a snorkel in the magical waters of Jellyfish Lake, and a shallow dive at Chandelier Caves.

    We would like to congratulate Becky on her 400th dive and Sabine and Peter on their 200th dives.

    That wraps up another magical week here in Palau. The sun is shining here in Palau on this hot gorgeous evening and we hope to see you soaking it up soon here on the Tropic Dancer.

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