Scuba Diving Photos
Live-Aboard: Palau Siren
Unique dive sites such as Chandelier Cave are highlights of any Palau dive adventure.
Bucking at the end of a reef hook at Palau’s legendary Blue Corner might be diving’s most exciting thrill ride. From the deep ocean, a 3-knot river rushing up and over the wall tries to blow me away like a sadistic teenager spraying ants off a sidewalk with a garden hose. But this is far more fun, tethered to a bare spot on the hard-coral reef by a 6-foot length of nylon line, BC inflated for positive buoyancy and blasted by the brute power of the sea. And it’s not just the wild ride that makes this dive so pulse-pounding, it’s the view: a near-constant parade of predators.
54 ... 55 ... 56 ... 57 — I stop counting when the sheer number of sharks passing by reaches the level of ridiculous. And that’s not including the dogtooth tuna, big-eye jacks, midnight snapper and other predators, plus the smaller tropicals — scarlet soldierfish, black durgons and bright butterflyfish — that fill in the visual blanks between fins. Glancing over to my buddy, his strobes firing furiously at the scene, I laugh into my reg at the near-horizontal torrent of exhalation streaming from his face, as if blown through a child’s bubble wand. He’s clearly as stoked as I am by the show.
Twenty minutes earlier, we had descended into a dark hole in a shallow coral garden some distance up the reef at a site called Blue Holes. Inside the large cavern, which drops to around 120 feet, we searched for pulsing disco clams and black-coral trees before breaking out into the bright sunlight through a window at 45 feet to cruise along the wall toward Blue Corner, where we would hook onto the reef. That’s when the parade began.
Cruising lazily into the current slows down the normally swift-moving gray reef, blacktip and whitetip sharks enough to enable a close inspection — and a deeper appreciation — of their sleek design, smooth, matte skin and piercing white eyes. Periodically, individuals hang in front of me for minutes at a time. And I love every second of it.
Blue Corner is just one of the perception-changing dives that Palau can count as commonplace. Although this bevy of world-class sites is accessible by high-speed day boats, the absolute best way to experience the island nation’s underwater splendor is by live-aboard.
Next Page: Aboard the Palau Siren