Day 4 of my Palau Adventure onboard the Black Pearl: Blue Hole, New Drop Off, Turtle Cove
The day began with the usual lite breakfast and briefing. The first dive was at the Blue Hole. This dive started with a descent through a substantial hole on the top of the reef, which is at about 5 meters; the large vertical tunnel then opens into a vast well-lit cavern.
Towards the back of this cavern was a small opening leading into a sizeable gloomy cave where several turtles had become disoriented and drowned long ago. Their skeletons are still there, resting on rocky outcrops.
After investigating the cave, we returned to the cavern and exited onto the reef through a huge archway. Outside the blue hole was a towering wall patrolled by a couple of grey reef sharks and shrouded in schools of red tooth trigger, fish Pyramid bannerfish, and anthias.
After breakfast number two and some downtime to recoup on the spacious sun deck, it was time for the day's second dive.
New Drop off, as the name suggests, is another of the region's wall dives that attracts all manner of schooling fish and hungry predators. Resting on the plateau that sits on top of this imposing wall, we encountered a lethargic green turtle. The open ocean just behind the docile turtle was alive with black snapper, barracuda, yellow-tail fusiliers, big-eyed trevallies, and swarm's pyramid bannerfish.
As with just about every other dive so far, plenty of sharks were in attendance. Whip coral, soft corals and sea fans decorated the walls and ledges and plateau of this dive site, and we found plenty of anemones and anemones fish attached to the ever-changing topography.
The day's third dive followed lunch and was at the superb Turtle Cove. This is a wall dive of epic proportions. Almost every inch of the reef is covered in soft coral, whip corals and sea fans. Broccoli corals drip off the numerous overhangs and swim-throughs.
There are, of course, sharks, plus turtles, and schools of surgeon fish. Towards the end of the dive, there is a large cavern at around 15 meters where schools of anthias pulse from the reef and a school of blackfin barracuda hung in the blue. This was one of my favourite dives so far.
There was a night dive planned for the evening, which was to be followed by a slightly later dinner than usual. I am not particularly fond of night dives, so I took the opportunity to locate myself at the bar on the Black Pearls second deck to watch the sun dip below the horizon and paint the sky in a spectacular array of colours.
With three days of diving now completed, there were only three days left. So far, the diving had been excellent, and the rest of the week promised more unique experiences.