This year we travelled to my favourite destination Palau aboard the Siren Palau liveaboard and we encountered amazing wildlife such as high schools of mantas and sharks up close. We even saw a dugong.
Check out this video by our guest Ian Crowe.
BUMPHEAD PARROTFISH EXTENSION
But before we even started some of us dove the bumphead parrotfish spawning with Sam’s tours which was where we witnessed thousands and thousands of bumphead parrotfish congregating together. Watching them flashing and changing their color, and ready for action.
We had a detailed briefing by our guide Jesse from UDE, so we knew when the action was going to start, and we were not to be disappointed. The fish were like fireworks going off everywhere. And once they spawned, lots of other bigger predators were lurking around. We even saw two bull sharks going for the exhausted bumpheads.
We were blessed with good weather, clear visibility and everything that we hoped to see has been delivered. The crew and the hospitality on Siren were very welcoming and we had a week of top-class diving.
Manta rays are in season in January, we had many close encounters at German Channel, manta rays train feeding on planktons close to the surface, cleaning at cleaning station down at the sand bottom. These mantas are not shy at all, they just love to fly pass over your head and enjoy our bubbles coming out from our regulators!
Towards the end of the dives, there were abundance of school of fish, and almost always a show of jacks traveling with the grey reef sharks, where some chafing action could be observed.
We also dove Ulong Channel, Blue Corner, and Siaes Corner, where there were just so many grey reef sharks, including pregnant ones and school of baby sharks, just cruising by in the current causally.
Palau established the world’s very first shark sanctuary, and the population of sharks just grow over the years. This is my third time back in Palau, and I was amazed by the amount sharks feeding right next to the divers. We also saw a lot of schools of baby grey reef sharks on various dive sites!
We had leopard shark at Dexter’s Wall, White tip reef shark parked on the sandy bottom at Sandbar, Turtles munching on soft corals, or just chilling everywhere, and we were always greeted by our friendly Napolean wrasses “Al/biscuit” at Blue Corner.
Surface intervals were always enjoyable skiff rides back to the boat, our amazing skiff captain Ulu took us all around the islands with beautiful scenery. Then we were welcomed back onboard Siren with our drinks pre-ordered before our dives.
Sunset drinks on Two Docks beach
Of course we also visited Jellyfish lake in one early morning, with the whole lake to ourselves before other tourists arrived, and it was always a fun and relaxing experience to swim with the millions of jellyfish surround us.
A visit to Peleliu Islands was all together different experience, we had 2 very pleasant drift dives over some of the most amazing coral garden, sharks, turtles, school of fish everywhere. A few of us opt to go on the Peleliu islands land tour learning all about the history of the battles. And we ended that day with a beach BBQ watching Palau sunset sitting close to the turquoise blue water.
Palau is also well known for its wrecks, we did our wreck dive at Iro, the massive oil tanker. We were greeted by this superstructure that was taken over by mother nature over the years, full of life and we even had a turtle resting on one of the structures.
The trip ended with a muck dive at the beautiful Chandelier Cave, there were mandarin fish, panda nudibranch, pajama cardinal fish, and different types of gobies outside the cave, and then everyone got to try a cave dive and surfaced in the air pockets within the 4 chambers, seeing the glittering stalactites and stalagmite formations. To top if off, we all existed the cave with all our torches turned off, only guided by the sunlight coming through the entrance of the cave, it was one of the most liberating experiences you could have.
And to top things off we even saw a dugong on one of our last dives. Unfortunately it was in heavy current and far away so now one got a photo.
Palau, you have proven again that you are amazing. Lets do it again next year!
ABOUT PAULINE WONG
Pauline Wong is an Australian/Hong Kong photographer based in Hong Kong. She is a PADI instructor, photographer, energy healer and in charge of bookings at Insider Divers. Her passion is macro photography and natural light as well as artificial light sources.
Pauline is also in charge of administration at Insider Divers.
ABOUT INSIDER DIVERS
Insider Divers is a service offered by Simon Lorenz for divers who want to dive with like minded divers in the best dive spots in the aquatic world. Simon and his guides accompany every diving trip. All itineraries are bespoke, and especially arranged to provide the best possible dive experience. You will dive with the best operators and learn the most about the region where you are diving. Our trips come with free background presentations on flora and fauna, and our trainers can help with any questions or training needs with regards to your diving or photography skills. On most trips Simon will offer several photography coaching presentations.