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

A D2D New Years 2004: Palau dive
"Ulong Channel" - "Saies Tunnel" - "Blue Corner" - "Turtle Cove"
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Long boat ride day - the Ulong area has some great dives, but BBE doesn't have an anchorage nearby yet ...
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: Better and better as the week wore on, with a few sprinkles here and there.

  • Personal Notes: Ulong Channel (if you can get through it) is home to one of the largest fields of lettuce coral, and a couple of clams that I would swear could eat me. Photogs, keep an eye on your buddy and the rest of the group here - easy to get separated looking at stuff.

    On our way to Ulong we spotted a large pod of dolphin. We jumped in but by the time we were all in, the dolphin had left. I had the image of a potential "Far Side" cartoon in my head - "Watch how many humans I can get out of this boat."

    Snacks after Ulong Channel were at an island park, the name of which currently escapes me ...

Pictures!

Ulong Channel
One of these divers is Kelly, and the other is Jamie. The only reason I know that is because they were the only two on my skiff with blue split fins.
I don't know what this is but I'd spot at least one on every dive. It's not attached to the coral or sand, but doesn't appear to be mobile, either.
A very pretty nudibranch (well, pretty for a nudibranch).
I don't know what kind of fish this is but it had a funky head and this was the best shot I got of one.
This Sea Star was on the side of a coral patch, and it looked like it was giving me directions or something.
Though it's a little blurry, I think this is a rather cool picture of an anemonie fish. Amazingly enough, I don't have any other stills of these guys.
I'm quite a distance away from the lettuce coral here, and I am zoomed all the way out. This is the largest known patch in the World, from what I was told.
Another section of it. Those are some pretty big fish actually.
These two clams - one of them could have eaten me! They were very big.
This shark (a Gray Reef I think) was just sitting there breathing. I have video of him opening and closing his mouth.
Saies Tunnel
The size of this soft coral growing out of the top of the tunnel made it worth posting, though the coloring is sucky.
Inside the tunnel, using my light to try and get some detail and color of this fish.
This clam (or whatever) looked funny. I don't know what the "eyes" are.
Blue Corner
Another Blue Corner dive, another visit to the Napoleon Wrasse.


Dive data for dives on this day:

Dive Site Name Max Depth Minutes Water Temp
232 Ulong Channel 95 feet 57 min. 82 F
233 Saies Tunnel 113 feet 51 min. 82 F
234 Blue Corner 81 feet 55 min. 82 F
235 Turtle Cove 67 feet 56 min. 82 F
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