Our last diving day (this trip)

I can’t believe that we have made it to our last day in Palau - it seems unbelievable.  I remember when booking thinking that 9 diving days was a long amount of time, after all, it is 27 dives.  But it flew by, just like it always does.

We started out early at Blue Corner.  The trick is to leave the dock before 8 am, and you are virtually guaranteed to be the first dive boat there.  And we were.  There was more current this morning than our other early start, and not quite as many sharks, but still enough to make us happy.  I always enjoy seeing the big grey reef sharks being escorted off the property by jacks.  It is amusing to watch!  We circled the entire corner this morning, and just really enjoyed having it to ourselves.  When we surfaced, we were surrounded by many boats!  Nice to have it all without them to start the morning.

Our second dive was at New Drop Off after a biting rainstorm.  I wound up having to pull out the “magic coat” early in order to save my skin from what felt like slicing rain.  The currents were moving on this dive, and the channel section had quite a bit of an eddy pulling divers down.  Not us, though.  I was surprised to see the number of divers at the corner here on this dive, as I hadn’t taken into account that the other boats nearby had dropped their divers off here as well.  It was ok, we saw quite a lot of life, to include one Napoleon wrasse who (like the first time we saw him on this trip) looked to have seen better days.

Our last dive this trip took us back to German Channel.  How could we resist the urge to try for four for four?  We didn’t resist.

And we went four for four.

We made it down to the cleaning station and were getting ready to settle in when Joedyn pointed out the manta getting cleaned.  All four of us (Wayne, me, Benjamin and Sandra) got down on our knees and bellies to watch the 12 foot beauty being cleaned.  It was so graceful and beautiful to watch.

After a bit we swam along to the swarm of fish, but there was really no plankton, so the mantas were not at the bait ball.  We went back to another cleaning station, and we got to see a second manta, this one about 8 feet, getting cleaned as well.  It was as good a last dive for the year as we could possibly want!

We finished up the day with a stop in the milky way, a waterway famed to make you 10 years younger.  The first (and last) time I was in its waters was about 10 years ago, so we figured it was time for a renewal.  Stef the dive guide free dived down to bring back the sulfur mud in the water.  We slathered ourselves in the mud, and after it dried, went for a bit of a dive and swim to wash it off.  Let’s see how it works this time!  I put it liberally in my hair, hoping to fade away the grey and blond and to bring it back to red.  Wishful thinking, I know.

We got back, cleaned up our gear (to include a shampooing with “sink the stink” since our BCs and gear smelled like fishy fish), had the traditional New Year’s sashimi and beers with Sandra and Benjamin, and headed back to the hotel.

Dinner was as Palm Bay Bistro, and en route we picked up a passable bottle of sparkling wine (I really didn’t want to walk 5 miles round trip to get a good one and then to dinner).  After we finished our meal, we headed to the hotel, where the disco music entertained us as we chilled our bottle and got ready to settle down for the night.