Ocean Hunter III

Welcome aboard the liveaboard dive boat Ocean Hunter III as you embark on a 7- or 10-day scuba diving adventure to the beautiful island nation of Palau and beyond. You will visit remote reefs that are pristine and virtually undived. In addition to visiting well-known dive sites at the southwest islands of Palau and northern Papua New Guinea, Ocean Hunter III will travel to the Yap Islands and the Northern Mariana Islands—wherever the crew determines the conditions are best for maximizing your dives.

Part of the region of Micronesia, Palau is located in the Pacific Ocean, approximately 500 miles (805 km) east of the Philippines. Anguar, Babeldaob, Koror, and Peleliu comprise Palau’s main island group. Palau has been named one of the Seven Underwater Wonders of the World, worthy of preservation and protection. There are few places on earth that can boast the amazing physical offerings, diversity of plant and animal life, and variety of diving opportunities such as those in Palau.

Palau’s warm waters offer a rich and biodiverse marine environment that present an amazing variety of scuba diving opportunities. With more than 1,500 species of fish and 700 species of corals, you will see something new and different on every dive. A sampling of the marine life you will encounter includes Black- and White-tipped Sharks, Hammerhead Sharks, and Grey Reef Sharks, Hawksbill, Green, and Leatherback Turtles, Parrotfish and Napoleon Wrasses, Manta Rays, Moray Eels, Eagle Rays, Dolphins, and so much more. Unspoiled and spectacular reefs, caves, sheer walls, blue holes, and Jellyfish Lake teem with aquatic treasures. Adding to the thrill and diversity of your Palau scuba diving adventure are remnants and wrecks from World War II. Above water, the tropical beauty, white sandy beaches, rainforest foliage, waterfalls, and azure lagoons will leave you awestruck.

The Yap Islands are part of Micronesia’s Caroline Islands in the western Pacific Ocean. The four main islands that comprise this state are geographically close and joined by a common coral reef. The shores are lined with mangrove swamps and the islands are surrounded by an outer barrier reef that encloses a lagoon. Look for Manta Rays as they hover at their cleaning stations, reefs teeming with all types of fish, including brightly colored Mandarin Fish, and amazingly deep walls that drop off into the depths of the ocean.

The Northern Mariana Islands consist of 15 islands in the western Pacific Ocean, between Hawaii and the Philippines. The northern islands are volcanic, some still active. The southern islands are limestone, and present level terraces and fringing coral reefs. Seasonal northeast trade winds moderate the tropical climate of these islands. December to June is the dry season, and from July through November is the rainy season. Scuba diving in this region is excellent. The coral reefs and lagoon here are home to an amazing array of tropical fish. You may experience grottos, wall dives, and wrecks. The marine life in the water includes Eagle Rays, Turtles, and schools of Redfish.

The Ocean Hunter III lets divers enjoy unlimited diving each day, with night dives offered each night. This trip is suitable for scuba divers of all levels of experience. Most dives will be made directly from the boat’s dive deck, but a chaseboat is available to take you to dive sites when sea and weather conditions require. Palau, with its tropical climate, enjoys the same warm weather year round. Water temperatures average 83°F (28°C). A 3mm wetsuit should offer sufficient protection and keep you comfortable. The water in Palau is warm enough for divers to wear a skin or T-shirt.

Itineraries from one trip to another may vary as all trips are planned according to sea conditions, currents, tides, and moon cycles. Dive sites are selected so as to ensure you enjoy the best possible scuba diving in Palau and beyond during your time aboard the Ocean Hunter III. During a typical trip, dive sites in the region of Palau you visit may include Big Drop-off Wall, German Channel, Blue Holes, Blue Corner, Turtle Cove, Barnum Wall, Ngedebus wall and coral gardens, Peleliu Wall and Peleliu Coral Garden, Ulong Channel, Siaes Tunnel, Shark City, and many others.

With moderate to no currents, Big Drop Off wall is popular with both scuba divers and snorkelers, and is good for beginning divers. This sheer vertical wall drops straight down to 900 feet (274 m.), and offers visibility between 50-100 feet (15-30 m.). Diving is from 3 to 120 feet (1-40 m.). The entire top of the reef can be exposed when there is extreme low tide. You might see Hawksbill Turtles resting and feeding along the top of the reef. Along the bottom you will see Nurse and White-tipped Sharks. Also along the edge and top of the reef you will find Yellowtail Fusiliers, Pyramid Butterflyfish, Moorish Idols, and Sargeant Majors. Of interest in the dive area is a large chain connected to a six-foot (2 m.) steel sphere that was used during WWII for preventing the Japanese from entering the waterway that led to German Channel.

Divers of all levels will enjoy German Channel. Visibility here depends on the tide: at incoming tide it can be 60-120 feet (20-40 m.), and with outgoing tide it is reduced to 60-30 feet (20-10 m.), as the current carries debris laden water from the lagoon to the open ocean. Photo opportunities abound at the mouth of this channel with its sandy bottom and coral formations. This area is home to virtually every form of marine life, including Manta Rays, Jacks, Barracudas, Trevally Fish, and Snappers. At the outside mouth of the channel there is also a cleaning station where Reef Sharks and Manta Rays gather and hover to allow cleaner Wrasses and Butterflyfish to do their work. Diving at the cleaning station goes to approximately 60 feet (18 m.). Patient and observant divers will be rewarded as curious Mantas may approach them and perform some of their graceful acrobatics. As you continue your swim in this area you will thrill to the massive schools of fish and patrolling sharks.

The Blue Holes dive site consists of four holes on top of the reef that open to a large cavern at depths of 3-6 feet (1-2 m.). With moderate to strong currents, this dive is suitable for beginning to intermediate divers. The floor of the cavern is at a depth of approximately 120 feet (40 m.). Inside the cavern you will find soft corals and Tubastrea along the walls. Patrolling the opening of the cavern are large schools of Barracuda, Tuna, and Snapper. The vertical reef wall is replete with just about every type of tropical fish and coral. At the north end of the cavern you will find a narrow entrance leading to another cave, named the Temple of Doom. Only the most experienced of divers should enter this cave, as it requires special dive gear.

The strong, unpredictable currents make Palau’s world famous Blue Corner a dive for intermediate to advanced divers. It is one of the most requested dive sites of all, and often rated as one of the best dives in the world. The vertical reef wall runs north to south and parallel to Ngemlis Island, then turns toward the open sea and runs east to west at a plateau of 45-60 feet (15-20 m.), and then curves to run south to north again. The wall drops to dramatic depths of over 1,000 feet (330 m.). On the wall you will see beautiful Gorgonian Sea Fans, and hard and soft corals. Blue Corner is home to large schools of fish. Look for Tuna, Sharks, Wahoo, Green and Hawksbill Turtles, Eagle Rays, Barracuda, and Giant Groupers. You will also encounter Snappers, Jacks, Pyramid Butterflyfish, Redtooth Triggerfish, and Palau’s famous Napoleon Wrasse. Bring your camera on this dive, as the Blue Corner dive site presents numerous photo opportunities.

Situated along the west coast of the island of Koror is the Siaes Tunnel dive site. Because of the depths at this site, it is considered an intermediate to advanced dive. The entrance to the tunnel starts on a sheer wall at a depth of 75 feet (23 m.). The tunnel, which is 20 feet (6 m.) high and 52 feet (16 m.) wide, stretches for 164 feet (50 m.) and contains an enormous cavern with depths ranging from 100 to 130 feet (30-40 m.). The inside walls of the cavern are covered with a number of soft and hard corals, and you might also see White-tipped Sharks and Sting Rays resting at the bottom. Magnificent Sea Fans and beautiful soft corals surround the cavern windows, and the rare Centropyge Multicolor and Centropyge Colini Angelfish inhabit the cavern. You will exit the cavern through a small hole which leads to the open ocean. At the exit you will encounter Sting Rays, Turtles, Jacks, and a large variety of reef fish.

The Ocean Hunter fleet strives to provide scuba divers and vacationers with the highest quality and most innovative liveaboard experience possible. In addition to unmatched scuba diving, guests aboard the Ocean Hunter III will enjoy excellent accommodations and delicious meals as part of their vacation package. This dive boat affords guests both safety and comfort as they travel to the best diving locations in Palau.