It's a long way from Chicago, but as long as I've got the disk space, I wanted to share a few select images from my trip in February 1997 to the Republic of Palau aboard the Palau Aggressor II of the Pacific Aggressor Fleet. This free plug for the fleet is offered in consideration for a job well done. Also, these snaps are from the video of the week, shot by Cap'n Buck of the PA II (just who does hold that copyright?).
Thanks also to Larry and Nancy and all the folks at Scuba Systems in Skokie, Illinois, who arranged the trip to Yap, Palau, and Truk. A great dive shop, and one day their hyperlink will go right here. (Also, some images from Yap and Truk....)
|A shark at Blue Corner. Blue Corner is a notch in the southwest corner of the barrier reef that encloses Palau. Several ocean currents converge near this spot. The currents mean lots of nutrients. The nutrients mean lots of fish. The fish attract lots of predators, such as this fellow.|
|Another shark at Blue Corner. At Blue Corner, the current into the lagoon is very strong. To combat this, you use a reef hook to anchor yourself to the reef at about 75 FSW. The reef hook is a shark hook with the barb ground off attached to a length of bungee cord with a snap at the other end. You attach the snap to your BC, and set the hook in a rocky point on the reef. This is considered more reef-friendly than trying to hold on with your hands.|
|What else? As a patent attorney might say, "a plurality of sharks" at Blue Corner. (Was that a Shark-Lawyer joke?)|
Just for variety, a whole mess o' sharks at the mouth of the Aulong Channel.
Not an attorney in sight, however.
No video could really capture this one. We were sitting on the bottom near a big rock which serves as a cleaning station at the mouth of the Channel. Nothing happened for a long time. Then suddenly about two dozen sharks show up for cleaning. (Must have been shift change.) The sharks seem to hover in mid-air (OK, mid-water) awaiting the cleaner wrasses. This goes on for a few minutes. Then the sharks vanish.
When the sharks leave, we swim up into the channel and find out why the sharks left. A current change has occurred, and current is flowing into the channel at what seems like 30 knots. Mr. Toad's Wild Ride -- underwater.
|A nice sea fan in the Aulong Channel. (As we whip by at Warp factor 2.)|
Junior, the Bumphead Wrasse, hanging at Blue Corner. Just as a pig hunts
truffles, Junior hunts Cheeze Whiz. Junior is a friendly, and slightly
smaller than an nuclear submarine. (OK, smaller than a boomer -- about the
size of an attack sub....)
Remember, all the authorities agree -- never feed a fish Cheeze Whiz.
|Our first dive at Blue Corner. The current was a little strong. Notice which way the bubbles are going? (Hint: it's not up.)|
|Descending into the Blue Holes. (At least you can see how they got their name.)|
Jellyfish Lake, home of the stingless jellyfish. (A plurality of jellyfish.)
Here, you snorkel through an inland lake containing about a billion jellyfish. These landlocked jellyfish don't have any predators, so they don't have any sting. They subsist on algae, which they grow in or around their bodies (there are two species, one an "innie" and one an "outie", algae-wise.) The jellyfish spend their day following the sun around the lake.
The jellyfish's worst nightmare is being sliced in two by a careless fin kick. Of course, the diver's worst nightmare might be a whole lake full o' jellyfish....
|Don't try this with a regular jellyfish.|
On a technical note, the above images were captured from the dive video with the Snappy Video Snapshot device. Not a bad little gizmo.
Drop a note to the author: CLONK