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Diving Palau From the Luxurious Black Pearl Day 7


Diving Palau From the Luxurious Black Pearl Day 7

Day 7 of my Palau Diving Adventure onboard the Black Pearl: Ijn Iro, Teshio Maru, Jakes Seaplane

Our final day of diving was focused on wrecks. There are at least 60 wrecks in the waters of Palau, mainly in water shallow enough for recreational diving limits. Most of the wrecks are Japanese ships and planes, but there are also a few American wrecks in the region. Palau was strategically important to the Japanese, and they based many cargo ships and oil tankers here. There were only two dives planned for the day. This meant the afternoon would be free for relaxing and drying gear.

Day 6 | Day 5 | Day 4 | Day 3 | Day 2 | Day 1

The first wreck of the day was on the hulking remains of the Ijn Iro. This was a 144-meter-long oil tanker that was sunk in April of 1944 when a 1000lb bomb smashed through its deck and exploded in the engine room. The ship rests upright on the sandy ocean floor at around 40 meters. The top of the mast reaches about 10 meters from the surface.

Diving Palau From the Luxurious Black Pearl Day 7

We began the dive by descending onto the deck, which is at around 20 meters, and making our way towards the bow. The first thing I noticed was the amount of coral growth. The forward gun emplacement was unrecognisable such was the number of hard corals and sea whips growing from it.

The ship's bow has a huge hole torn in it where a torpedo struck it. From the bow, we made our way to the stern past the bridge where schools of dusky batfish congregated. At the stern, there was another gun emplacement, and after exploring this area of the wreck, we made our way to a huge mast to begin our ascent. Anemones and tomato clownfish have colonised the top of the mast and makes for a spectacular end to the dive.

Diving Palau From the Luxurious Black Pearl Day 7

After breakfast, we headed out for the final dive of the trip. Our destination was the Teshio Maru. This was a 98-meter-long cargo ship that was sunk in March 1944 as it tried to run away from an Allied air raid. The Teshio was damaged in the raid, hit a reef and sank. The vessel now rests on its starboard side at around 24 meters. The top of the ship is only about 8 meters underwater.

This wreck is also covered in hard corals, but there were also plenty of whip corals, black corals and colourful sponges. Damsels, anthias, clown fish, banner fish and glass fish have taken up residence on this massive wreck. There are lots to explore on the Teshio, with well-lit swim-throughs and large compartments, making this a superb dive.

Diving Palau From the Luxurious Black Pearl Day 7

After the dive, we made our way back to the Black Pearl, and as a bonus, we made an unscheduled stop at Jakes Seaplane for a quick photo opportunity. This Japanese imperial navy seaplane is of many plane wrecks in the region. The wreck lays in about 10 meters of water on a hard coral reef and can be dived around in about 5 minutes, so after a few photos, I exited the water, and we made our way home.

Once back at the Black Pearl, we were told that all our equipment would be broken down, washed and hung up for us. I am going to miss the Butler-style dive service! After lunch, all that remained was to enjoy our last day on the opulent Black Pearl, take a jacuzzi, enjoy a drink at the bar and lounge on the sun deck. Check-out was at 8.00 the following day.

Diving Palau From the Luxurious Black Pearl Day 7

As I mentioned at the beginning of my trip, Palau has been towards the top of my bucket list for a while now, and the diving did not disappoint, with plenty of the big stuff I love and a good variety of dive sites. The Black Pearl is a fantastic vessel to enjoy Palau from, and diving from this superb location was made all the more enjoyable by the crew of the boat, who were friendly and attentive throughout.

Apart from the diving, I also appreciated the relaxed pace of the week, there was plenty of time to enjoy little extras like trips to the beach and the jellyfish lake. It felt like the cruise directors were always on the lookout for a little something extra to show us to make the trip that bit more special.

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Picture of Adrian Stacey
Adrian Stacey
Scuba Diver ANZ Editor, Adrian Stacey, first learned to dive on the Great Barrier Reef over 24 years ago. Since then he has worked as a dive instructor and underwater photographer in various locations around the world including, Egypt, Costa Rica, Indonesia, Thailand, Mexico and Saba. He has now settled in Australia, back to where his love of diving first began.
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