Actually started the morning in a panic - had an email and phone message from the Dean of Student Services. I went into full panic mode. Deans don’t normally call unless there is something bad, or so I thought. Not the case, the Dean was just getting clarification on my absence notice for a date in January. Whew.
We finally have Joedyn on the boat as our DM, for today and the last two days. It’s been ping pong back and forth between divemasters this trip, which was not expected. Since it is just the two of us, I can understand why, but I’m really disappointed in Sam’s this time around. Wayne has been here 14 times, me 9 times. We have been treated (except by Joedyn) as newbies who are subjected to what seems like endless check-out dives of each DM. And the front office has been deplorable. The new staff could care less on how they book the boats - they are mixing first day divers with last day divers and repeat customers. Add that to the billing error that took forever for them to correct, and it’s just really disappointing. We are planning on not returning, and will be giving our business to Fish and Fins the next time. We are checking them out in order to evaluate whether or not to go on their live aboard, the Ocean Hunter III.
We were on board with two last day divers today, so my hopes for a long day out at Siaes went the way of the wildebeest, but not in a bad way. We did do our first dive at Siaes Tunnel. We entered, but the jacks were not at the entrance, so I was a little disappointed. But I should have known that they would not let me down, and there was a (reduced in size) school swarming in the cave. I searched in vain for long nose hawkfish, but there were none to be found. Joedyn says that the reduced size of jacks is due to Yapese fisherman, but he had no explanation for the dearth of hawkfish. Oh well, hopefully the hawkfish will rebound.
Our second dive was a return to Blue Corner. We had a moderate current, so we hooked in, and enjoyed. A lot of big life was welling all around us. Surprisingly, even though there were many boats on the surface, when we went to both hook in locations, our group was there alone. That was a first for both Wayne and me, and very much appreciated!
The two who were on their last day only did two tanks today, so we went back to Sam’s in the middle of a downpour, and ate our lunches there. The final dive was on the Iro Maru wreck, inside the protected harbor area. The visibility was surprisingly good! We descended upon a huge school of swirling jacks, that moved along with us as we swam along the ship. I did my first ever penetration into the wreck (yes, I do have some claustrophobia), and enjoyed it. When we came out, we were followed by both a longfin spadefish and a solo remora looking for a new home. After the dive, I willingly gave Wayne back his camera housing, as I had photographed everything on Palau that I had wanted to photograph on this trip.
Dinner was at Suriyothai, a fairly new (to us) restaurant on the main road in Koror. It was pleasant, but loud! The food was very, very good and the service decent. Another nice discovery this trip.