Palau is a world-famous dive destination, often called one of the world's greatest natural wonders.

These pictures were taken in January 2012 while on the dive boat Palau Aggressor II. Our route took us from Koror down to Peleliu and back up to Koror. We also did some diving and kayaking with Sam's Tours in Koror.

All photos were taken with a Nikon D300 DSLR in a Sea & Sea housing with 16mm and 105mm lenses. Underwater light was provided by two Sea & Sea YS-120 strobes.

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Map of Palau Palau's Rock Islands Palau's Rock Islands A dive skiff in the Rock Islands The Aggressor at another dive site
Peleliu Corner dive site The Rock Islands Mandarin Goby Divers exploring a cavern Table coral and dive skiff
Longnose Hawkfish Wire Coral Shrimp at home Soft coral living on top of a scallop Pink Anemonefish Small Anthia and sea fan
Soft coral on a vertical wall Heading back in the afternoon Mushroom coral close-up Tridactna clam Green Turtle
Diver and Manta Ray, German Channel Anenomefish at home Small Anthia and sea fan Diver and sea fan on a wall The tiniest Anenomefish I have ever seen
Anthia hiding in a sea fan Diver and sea fans Blacktip Sharks feeding behind the Aggressor Striped Nudibranch Mandarin Goby
Kayaking in the jungle-covered Rock Islands Exploring a cavern in the kayaks Sunset at Koror Pipefish, a relative of the seahorse Mandarin Goby
The islands and the sea Sunset at Peleliu Palau Aggressor at Peleliu Another great meal on the Aggressor Koror sunset
Rainstorm in the jungle on Babeldaob Waterfall on Babeldaob Waterfall on Babeldaob

Palau is known for strong currents that bring nutrients in from the open ocean. When this happens, sharks and other large fish show up to see what's available. One of the best places to see this is Blue Corner...

Blue Holes (lower left) and Blue Corner from the air Divers 'hooked in' against the current at Blue Corner Gray Reef Shark at Blue Corner Large Napoleon Wrasse at Blue Corner Gray Reef shark
Pair of Gray Reef sharks at Blue Corner Gray Reef shark Divemaster John and his new best friend Diver and turtle at Blue Corner Diver and school of Jacks

The tiny island of Peleliu lies at the very end of the Palau islands chain. In September of 1944 it was the site of a terrible World War II battle. The 1st Marine Division landed there in Operation Stalemate. The battle lasted two months and in the end 2300 Marines and nearly 11,000 Japanese were left dead on an island only 2 miles long. We took a day to go ashore and found tanks, artillery pieces and live ammunition as it had been left in 1944. I can only hope that such destruction never visits such a beautiful place again.

Japanese 20mm anti-aircraft gun US amphibious tank US amphibious tank Japanese artillery piece in a cave Japanese artillery piece in a cave
Japanese tank

Many Japanese ships were sunk around Palau during World War II. One of the best wrecks we saw was in Koror Harbor, known as "the Helmet Wreck". The ship's name is not known. It was a small freighter carrying war supplies when it was sunk by US aircraft in the battle for Palau.

Diver and the bow gun Ammunition box (with live rounds) for the bow gun Stacked helmets Mitsubishi Zero aircraft engine in the hold Depth charges stacked in the hold
Diver photographing a lionfish on the wreck Diver and a colorful grouper on the wreck

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