December 28, 2003 - December 30, 2003 - December 31, 2003 - January 1, 2004 - January 2, 2004
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December 29, 2003: Palau - Big Blue Explorer

A D2D New Years 2004: Palau dive
"Blue Corner" - "German Channel" - "Big Drop Off" - "Ngedbus Wall" - "Big Drop Off"
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This was a significant day for me - I cleared at least one of the three things I wanted to see most this trip.
Diving from the Big Blue into the Big Blue:
  • Directions from Tampa: Get ahold of Ultimate Dive Travel (http://www.ultimatedivetravel.com/) or someone else who can book you passage.
  • Conditions on the day of my visit: A little more sun this day.

  • Personal Notes: Blue Corner is the place for sharks, spotted eagle rays, and some hooking. ;)

    German Channel is the place for manta rays - very busy site, lots of divers, watch your buddy and your dive master. It's the home of a manta cleaning station.

    I guess I need to start actually putting narratives in my dive log so that I can bring them back and put them in the database ... either that, or I need to look at pics and video to see what else I saw ...

Pictures!

Blue Corner
Nothing special ... just a lot of fish above me. This is probably pretty much straight up.
This is a decent shot of some kind of grouper.
Sharks are not uncommon at Blue Corner - in fact, hooking up is common on Blue Corner and usually you see them out in the blue. Here's a White Tip Reef Shark closer to the reef.
This is a very large Napoleon Wrasse, about midway between myself and Gat, our dive master ... he's tempting the wrasse with an egg.
A closeup of the head of this particular Napoleon Wrasse.
An amazingly clear shot of a Clown Trigger, considering how fast he's moving.
This is either a Trumpet Fish or maybe a Needle Fish.
A bunch of tiny, brilliantly blue fish are hiding in this coral.
German Channel
I was amazed at the coloring of the flesh of the clams we saw.
This little puffer looked kind of cool. He would occasionally hide in the coral that's in the center/bottom of this photo.
One of the things I really wanted to get a good shot of on this trip was a Lion Fish. This isn't a bad one, considering that usually all you get of Lion Fish is ass.
And here's one of the other things I *really* wanted to get. A Manta Ray. Feeding and heading towards me, no less.
As he passed over me I got a shot of his gills and the remoras on him.
Here's another one (could be the same one I guess) getting ready to pass by me.
A couple of Gobi.
Garden Eels are usually *very* skittish and hard to shoot. I was amazed to get a pair of them to allow me to get this close, and with a bit of zoom I got a surprisingly good shot.
And a bit more zoom, a bit closer, and some amazingly clear water - here's a closer shot of one of the Garden Eels.
Here's kind of what they look like from a distance. They disappear into their holes when something gets too close.
This Gobi had a shrimp cleaning his burrow, but I never got a photo of the shrimp.
Big Drop Off
A closeup of some purple soft coral.
A wider shot of the same stuff.
Some other soft coral.
This shelf of coral was pretty cool to look at - unfortunately, the lighting wasn't quite right for my camera.
I always get at least one photo of the sun. Don't ask why.
I named this soft coral, but it's probably a hard coral with some wierd polyps on it.
They're probably not called Clown Fish perse but they are definitely a kind of anemonie fish. Their anemonie is a very bright orange!
It took me a while to realize that this was a fish. It is, of course, a Leaf Fish.
Ngedbus Wall
The only shot that came out this dive was of this Sea Star. And I had to brighten this one quite a bit.


Dive data for dives on this day:

Dive Site Name Max Depth Minutes Water Temp
227 Blue Corner 95 feet 48 min. 82 F
228 German Channel 79 feet 50 min. 82 F
229 Big Drop Off 95 feet 56 min. 82 F
230 Ngedbus Wall 79 feet 44 min. 82 F
231 Big Drop Off 53 feet 51 min. 82 F
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