Gray reef shark at New Dropoff. (D100, AD100,17-35 Nik zoom, Twin DS 125 strobes)
will also work.
The Dive - This is one of the world's best boat dives., A true corner jutting out into the sea, this place is very nice when the tide is slack and spectacular when the current is moving. Consistently active, see whitetip, nurse and gray reef sharks on the move. There are tame Napoleon wrasses, big schools of fish and turtles. While the big stuff is the major attraction, there are many cleaning stations here and everything from barracuda to pyramid butterflyfish come in for a stop. Great for fish photographers to capture behaviour images.
Lenses - There lots of marine life here but most people go for the big stuff which means sea fans on the walls, schools of fish and sharks. Use the 10mm Nikkor for the walls and barracuda & jack schools. Use a 35mm or zoom for the gray reef sharks which can come portrait close at times. There are even some orangutan crabs in the bubble coral near the Blue Holes for macro freaks so a 55mm macro lens
Lenses - Again good for sharks and schooling fish 10-15mm lenses and also a portrait lens for fish like eagle rays and Napoleons that may come in close.
The Dive - Once upon a time, New Dropoff was a new site, but it is now firmly established
Boarding Ocean Hunter 2. (D100, AD100 Housing, 10mm Lens, DS125 Strobes)
and known to many as the "other" Blue Corner. The action here can also be fast and furious at tide change. This site actually has a couple of fingers rather than a pronounced corner and barracuda can often be found at one, sharks at the next and perhaps eagle rays at the next one. It's a great spot to use a reef hook and watch the action.
Manta at Devilfish City (D100, AD100 Housing, 10mm Lens, Twin DS125 strobes)
Lenses - Definitely 10-15mm use here for big mantas that come in to clean. The rock at the cleaning station is also colorful and there's a school of sweepers.
The Dive - A northern site, this place is a cleaning area for a pelagic group of manta rays that come in through the nearby pass and like to come in to a colorful cleaning station. They are preened by small wrasse and butterflyfish that come up from the sea whips near a couple of large rocks. This place is best when the tide is moving as the mantas may clean and feed at the same time.
The tranquil water deep in the Rock Islands near Jellyfish Lake. (D100, AD100 Housing, 10mm Lens, Twin DS 125 strobes)
The Lens - Shark people love it here so anything from a wide lens for the beautifully adorned walls to a fish portrait lens for the numerous gray reef sharks and even bigger species.
Sea whips at Turtle Wall - (D100, AD100 Housing, 15mm Lens, Twin DS 125 strobes)
This place can also produce a billfish but currents here can be a hardship for photography once past the tip.
The Dive - Located at the southern tip of the archipelago, this site produces pelagic sea life like sailfish, great hammerheads and even a tiger shark or occasional marlin. It is located at the southern tip of the archipelago where two big currents meet. Consequently, lots of big stuff meets here as well. The Peleliu Wall leading to the tip has beautiful soft corals and sea fans. When the current is strong, this dive is not for the faint of heart.
Lenses - There are mantas to be seen here, so bring a wide lens if you want to get shots of them. But this area is good for macro in the lush corals, A 50 to 60mm lens will capture disco clams, leaf fish and egg-laying cuttlefish.
The Dive - This place is a seascaped coral garden. A narrow channel and shallow area highlighted by coral-covered bommies empties into a deep bay between two southern islands. At the sandy dropoff is a manta ray cleaning station and sharks and even whale sharks have been seen here. It is an excellent night diving area with leaf fish and electric scallops.
Lenses - Adorned with black coral and fans, a 10mm fisheye can be used to capture the enormity and beauty here. But, there are rare fish here so a macro lens can also be a rewarding piece of glass.
The Dive - The "tunnel" is a gaping hole in the sheer wall that extends high and deep back into the reef. Three windows to the sea are adorned in black coral at he top, white coral on the sea floor and lots of gorgonian sea fans. Look for sleeping sharks and roaming jacks inside the tunnel and pygmy seahorses on the Muricella fans outside the cavern.
Palau's famous Rock Islands (D100, AD100 Housing, 10mm Lens)
Lenses - This is 10 to 15mm wide country for the big guns, masts and other beautiful ship parts now adorned in marine life.
The Dive - Not as famed for its wrecks as it should be, Palau has over four dozen W.W.II ships and planes resting on the sea floor. The Iro is a large converted freighter that was sunk while at anchor. Razor clams, batfish and sea anemones are prolific on the ship.
Lenses - To get many jellies in one shot, bring the superwide and a nice model. But there are small anemones here as well. Few people try macro here but the marine lake life can produce some rewarding shots close up.
The Dive - Palau is famous for having more marine lakes than anywhere else in the world. Most
Sunset at the Rock Islands near Metyuns ((D100,80-400mm VR Lens)
are extremely hard to get to or are protected. But one that can be visited and enjoyed is Jellyfish Lake, home to literally millions of non-stinging jellyfish in two species. Go there when the sun is strong to be able to swim through the clouds of jellies that gather to get energy through photosynthesis.
Lenses - Go wide here with a 15mm or wider. This plane is wonderfully intact and wide works well, even for the razor clams under the wing.
The Dive - This plane is in great shape, in shallow water and has a nice reef around it. Few W.W.II era floatplanes that were sunk during air raids are found upright and with their floats intact. So this one for that reason alone is special. The glass is still in the cockpit windows and there's even a nice growth of encrusting sponges and razor clams under the wings. The take time to also explore the nearby reef and look for a school of squid as you
Jim Watt checks his gear aboard the OH2 at the dedicated camera table. (D100,12-24mm nikkor)
head back up the buoy line.
Chandelier Cave, Short Dropoff, Big Dropoff, Ulong Channel and Helmet Wreck
Getting to Palau: Fly to Guam or Manila and connect with Continental Airlines to Koror. Soon, Palau Micronesia Air may also be operating through the same hubs. If coming through Guam, there's the option to stop in Yap for some good diving as well.
Best season for diving : December through June but actually good most of the year. Water temperature : 2 6 - 30C
Palau Aggressor II Email: [email protected]
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