25 April 2009 | Bablomekang
It was a bright and busy morning. Nick, the video pro from Sam's Tours, sent me a text saying he would be out today to work on my video skills, our new friends on Dancer took us up on an offer to go diving (they have hundreds of dives in Palau so our offer was really a thinly veiled request to soak up some of their expertise), and our old friends on Whistler also gave a dive excursion the thumbs up. We were expecting the weather to deteriorate but as of 9AM it was a lovely day.
We got everyone aboard and made way for the sand bank by German Channel. It was low tide so we had to take the long way. It was interesting to see a 0 tide, the German Channel really looks like a public work at this level of water. The coral rocks are piled up on either side in a neat line rising above the shallow reef. The channel is 3 foot in the shallowest spots at this point.
Whistler followed us out today and everyone had fun relaxing and swimming in the anchorage while Nick and I did a couple of training dives. We wrapped up around 3PM and the rest of the group, with Jim from Dancer and I doing surface support, went out to German channel to look for Mantas. Jim and Jennette have a monstrous 20 foot (or there abouts) Zodiac with a 25 hp Yamaha. We have a 25 as well but the waterline makes a big difference. I could plane with Miki and Hideko, so Jim made me trade Hideko for Eric. Then neither of us planed. Jim of course was carrying Hideko, Jenette, Pepe and Julie at the time.
We made our way out to the cleaning station buoy and let everyone out. Jim and I hung around talking with Ray, a Palauan from Peleliu Dive, while our divers proceeded to spot two manta rays, both of which stayed with them for quite some time. Made me question the logic of filming coral for two dives... Of course I learned a lot and will be better equipped to shoot the mantas when I see them next, but boy, sorry to have missed it this go round.
As we waited for the divers the sky in the east got blacker and blacker. We have a closed low in the area with nasty SW gale force winds at times. The floats began to pop up after about 45 minutes and we picked up all of our divers (was that 6 or 7?) then rushed back to the big boats.
Then it hit. We had zero vis and pounding rain with 25 knots of gusty wind. Hideko kept her wet suit on and brought the anchor up as I drove back along the track line with the wind challenging our heading and way. We managed 6 knots into it and got back into our favorite anchorage just as things began to let up (of course). We anchored a little closer to Dancer with their permission and now have much better westerly protection.
It was a great day with a bunch of fun people and even the squally trip hope was a good opportunity to rinse gear. It is still raining a bit and time for me to get the next weather report...