December 28, 2003 - December 29, 2003 - December 30, 2003 - December 31, 2003 - January 1, 2004

January 2, 2004: Palau - Big Blue Explorer

A D2D New Years 2004: Palau dive
"Iro" - "Chandelier Cave" - "Mandarin Fish Lake"

Alas, the last day of diving for the trip. Doh!
Diving from the Big Blue into the Big Blue:
  • Directions from Tampa: Get ahold of Ultimate Dive Travel ( or someone else who can book you passage.
  • Conditions on the day of my visit: Partly cloudy - we had some sun here and there.

  • Personal Notes: The first part of the day had us doing some skin diving at Jellyfish Lake. The jellies are non-stinging and there are quite a few of them.

    "And I will call him Squishy and he will be mine."

    The water at Jellyfish Lake is warm enough to dive without a wetsuit, providing it's not raining or overcast.

    The Iro was a nice wreck, but visibility sucked a bit there that day. I got some decent pictures, but viewing some of the stills folks who have still cameras took made me jealous of the strobes.

    Chandelier Cave is actually a series of four caverns (five if you get out of the water).

    Mandarin Fish Lake with a camera can be fustrating. The fish are incredibly colorful, but apparently know when you're ready to take the shot - because they disappear.


This is a Featherduster, a type of worm.
If memory serves, this is called Bubble Coral.
My Sister ID'd this for me as an "Indo-Pacific Batfish, or a Pacific Batfish". It kind of resembles a Spade Fish to me. They actually have been spotted (by my Sister no less) in the Atlantic - she saw one in the Keys.
This Lion Fish staked out his spot on the Iro and refused to do more than rotate around. He wasn't leaving at all.
So it wasn't hard to get a really nice photo of him. Unfortunately, the color at depth doesn't show how red he really was.
Some more of the (I think) Bubble Coral.
This is the remains of a clam.
This live one was right next to the dead one.
Mandarin Fish Lake
Not sure what type of fish this is but he's got nice coloring.
This blenny wasn't very cooperative. I was lucky to get this shot.
There were a lot of these guys around.
Of the stills of Mandarin Fish I took, this is the best one. I think I got better video; but considering that my camera started fogging on this dive, this may just be it for Mandarin Fish detail.

Dive data for dives on this day:

Dive Site Name Max Depth Minutes Water Temp
242 Iro 103 feet 50 min. 82 F
243 Chandelier Cave 34 feet 16 min. 86 F
244 Mandarin Fish Lake 17 feet 52 min. 86 F
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