I traveled to Palau this May to see the Blue Corner and Blue Holes, two famous dive sites in the Pacific Ocean. The water was strikingly blue, especially with the incoming tide. We were visited by gray reef sharks and multiple turtles. The currents were moderate and occasionally we used reef hooks to maintain our position over the steep walls. Tame humphead wrasse approached the divers looking for handouts. There were wonderful schools of blue-striped snappers and soldierfish swimming on the plateau. Blue corner has large schools of bigeye trevally and wonderful sea fans if you dive deep on the wall.
Multiple manta rays greeted the divers at the German Channel and Sandy Bar this week. I had a close encounter with one manta that was curious and lined up to meet me eye to eye. Sandy Bar has large table corals with shadowfin soldierfish hiding underneath. We rode the swift incoming tide through the Ulong Channel to find two large giant clams and a huge colony of cabbage coral.
I spent the week with Sam's Tours. We traveled early in the morning to Shark City to watch red snapper spawning at sunrise. Sam's offers unique diving experiences several times each month the see red snapper and bumphead parrotfish spawning. They use a specially designed swiftboat with private seating to get to the sites early. We met the school of red snapper each morning to watch spawning activity. The females turn white during this process as seen in some of my pictures.
I finished the week diving the Chandelier Cave before taking a private island tour. Eve guided me to three separate chambers before we exited the cave using only natural light. Truly exhilarating!
© Mark Etter Underwater Photography