Hillsdale, New Jersey
May 1, 2005
The next morning, we took our gear out on the dock at Palau Pacific Resort and were met by Bert Yates, our requested dive operator, and his boat diver Aris Hinosa. We climbed onboard the new dive boat, which was a new addition since "Survivor." Bert is a published photographer and a well-known dive master, and we were thrilled to be spending the next 11 days with him.
We travelled 45 minutes through the beautiful Rock Islands to our first dive site, which was Blue Corner, a great way to start a dive trip. After a 60-minute dive with the sharks and our old sea friends, we tied up in calm waters and had our lunch, which was provided by Neco Marine. Lunch became the best meal of the day. Neco Marine provides water, soda, ice tea, and about 12 different lunch boxes everyday. We simply ordered the night before, and our lunch was on the boat!
After our surface time, we dropped in for our second dive of the day before travelling back through Rock Islands.
The good news is that we got to leave our gear on the dive boat for the next 10 days, and it was returned to us the next morning, along with the boat. Neco Marine also handles all the tanks and equipment. It's effortless diving.
Two of the days we dove the Ulong Channel area, and our lunch spot was the beach on Ulong Island, which was the home of Survivor Ulong Camp. Although, "Survivor" has left and the beach has been cleaned up, we got to see the area and explore the site of their camp.
One day, Bert took us north to Devil Ray City so we could see the manta rays. We dropped down to the cleaning station in a heavy current, settled on the bottom, and watched a manta being cleaned. They are beautiful animals, with a 15-foot span that just glides into the cleaning station. On this day, the manta stayed for just about all of our bottom time. We got a lot of great photographs of her.
Another day we went to Mandarain Fish Lake to see the very colorful little Mandarain Fish. Their home is in an inlet of the lagoon that is about 15 feet deep. They live on the coral head. Mandarain fish do not like the sun, so we went on a cloudy day, put on tanks, hung out about 12 feet down, and waited. A Mandarian fish is blue, green, yellow, and orange and a dragonette. They play in and out of the coral and appear to be skipping along. We got lots of pictures of them. These fish can also be viewed from above, looking down while snorkeling.
From journal Palau After Survivor