2011 BentProp Progress Report # 18

P-MAN XIII Update #18 - First water day: Derek and Warren get a current quiz

22 March

First water day!

Warren and Derek decided to look into some information given to BentProp by Mark Noah. He informed us about a Marine landing craft that may be associated with MIAs that he had seen off the shore of Peleliu. Joe knew the location of the site, so after reserving a boat for the day we decided to start our water work today. We met up with Joe early at NECO, grabbed all of our gear and were off in a timely manner to Peleliu. The weather was wet and cool so the extended ride down there wasn’t the most fun. Although Palau is a tropical environment, when its raining, the wind is blowing, and you’re riding a boat it can get pretty cold.

Wet ride.

We made it to Peleliu in good time and met up with the Governor at the dock. He was happy to see us back in town and looks forward to sitting down with us for an extended time while we are in Palau, hopefully in a drier place than standing in the rain on the dock. We plan on being on Peleliu a few more times on this visit, so we said that we would let him know when we were coming back and try to make it work.

After meeting with the Governor it was off to knock out a warmup dive. Warren and Derek hadn’t been diving since last year in Palau, which is the case for most of us in BentProp. After you dive in Palau, it really is not worth diving anywhere else. After fumbling over our gear for a few minutes, we made our way into the water and reminded ourselves how everything works. We spent the dive following Joe around at 30-40 feet, enjoying the fish and coral. The temperature and visibility were perfect. Derek was able to test out his new underwater camera, which seemed to hold up like a champ although it is only rated to 33 feet. He managed to not break it.

Starting water work.

Following a surface-interval break, it was off to find the landing craft. The landing craft is in about 70-80 feet of water, so the plan was to drop in at the more shallow part and swim down to the site. The current had something else in mind. Once we got to 40 feet the current changes directions and we ended up working harder than we planned for the rest of the dive. Eventually we found the landing craft but we found it at the exact same time we had to start our ascent. So we had eyes on it for about 15 seconds before we were heading toward the surface.

Warren endures a rough surface interval at Peleliu dock.

We had planned on two dives that day so we only had two tanks left on the boat, one short of enough for the three of us to do another dive to the wreckage. Good thing Joe is friendly with everyone in Palau. We pulled up to another dive boat at the dock in Peleliu and they agreed to loan us a tank or air. Jackpot!
Once we spent our required time at the surface and had lunch it was back to the landing craft. This time the current wasn’t as strong and we got to the spot with more air in our tanks. We were able to spend some time looking around the site to gather as much information about it as we could.

Heading back to Neco.

When we made our way back to the boat, we were worn out. It was time to get the boat back to NECO. We made it back with plenty of time to spare and spent some time relaxing at the Drop Off, where Casey met up with us. We debriefed our day on the water and inquired into Casey’s qualification. His instructors have him doing so many dives we think that he will be a master diver before he is done. Tomorrow is his last day.
Since the sun decided to come out a bit in the afternoon we decided to take Casey over to Palau Pacific Resort to catch the sunset and have a drink. Great end to a long day. Tomorrow we are off to the mangroves!

Sunset snorkeler at Palau Pacific Resort

Casey likes PPR.

- Derek

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