Fish 'n Fins - Dive Sites - Devilfish City
Distance from Koror: 24 miles (38 kilometers) northwest of Koror. 55-75 minutes by speedboat.
Visibility: Incoming tide: 90 to 60 feet (30 to 20 meters).
Outgoing tide: 60 to -30 feet (20 to -10 meters).
Level of Diving Experience: Novice, if little current. Advanced, if strong current
Diving Depth Summary:Shallow reef with rocks and corals: 0 to 36 feet (0 to 12 meters).
Northern slope: 36 to 60 feet (12 to 20 meters).
Southern slope: surface to 90 feet (30 meters).
Sandy bottom: 60 to 90 (20 to 30 meters).
Cleaning station # 1: 60 feet (20 meters).
Cleaning station # 2: 45feet (15 meters).
Cleaning station # 3: 70 feet (23 meters).
Currents:The currents can be very strong in this particular area. For more information regarding the tidal patterns in Palau, refer to the Blue Corner tide and current section.
General Information: This is one of Palau's best dive sites to see Manta Rays. There are a large number of cleaning stations scattered among the big rocks found along the northern slope. It is almost guaranteed that you'll see Manta Rays. The dive should be attempted ONLY during slack high tide. Mantas seldom visit the cleaning stations during low tide when the water is warm and murky!!! The current can be too strong during the incoming tide for a comfortable dive.
Reef Formation: Ngardmau Channel runs from east to west and cuts through the western barrier reef. The channel connects Ngerdmau Bay with the open ocean. The northern slope starts at the surface and gradually falls to 60 feet. The reef becomes a vertical wall dropping to about 90 feet (30 meters) until it meets the sandy bottom of the channel. Many large rocks are found in this area of the channel. The eastern side of the channel starts at 60 feet (20 meters), swimming west the channel drops to 90 to 100 feet (30 to 33 m) in the middle then rises to 30 feet (10 m) before reaching the open ocean. The Southern slope starts at the surface and makes a steep drop to the sandy bottom at 90 feet (30 m) creating a nice wall formation.
Marine life: Ngerdmau Channel is known for the large number of Manta Ray cleaning stations that can be found along the northern slope of the channel. As many as 20 Manta Ray's, at one time, have been seen here. The Mantas glide through the channel in search of a cleaning station. We know of 3 different clusters of cleaning stations along the bottom and on the northern slope. The numerous rocks along the northern slope give shelter to an abundance of tropical fish. Included among the variety of fish are the cleaner wrasse and butterfly fish that clean the parasites and dead skin from the Mantas. Large numbers of cable corals and whip coral grow on this northern slope. While waiting for the Mantas you can usually see bumphead parrotfish, unicorn fish, schools of jacks, snappers and black-bar barracudas cruising the area. Important Note: Mantas will approach a cleaning station a couple of times before they stop and hover over the station. At this time the cleaner wrasses and the butterfly fish do their job. If divers chase the Mantas, the Mantas will leave and not come back!!! Be very patient, let them come and go; eventually you will get the photo opportunity of your life. Remember, patience is the name of the game. Keep a distance from the station and let them come to you. The rewards are worth the wait!!!
Diving: Cleaning Station #1: boat will be anchor in 20 feet of water above the northern slope. Where the wall meets the sandy bottom swim to the west keeping the wall on your right. Continue swimming for 5-10 minutes on your left you will see a big rock on the sandy bottom at 60 feet (20 meters). Wait here for the Mantas.
Cleaning Station #2: Following the wall to the west for another 5-10 minutes you will find a 40-foot (13 meter) drop-off in the channel's sandy bottom. Swim across and up the slope until you reach the 45-foot (15 meters) plateau. Here you will see 3 large rocks close together. The rocks are covered with colorful soft corals and Gorgonian fans.
Cleaning Station #3: This station is less popular for Mantas and divers alike, but it is often worth the effort to visit this station too. On the way to station # 2 when you see the large step on the bottom of the channel, turn left. Follow the edge of this step for approximately 60 feet (20 meters) until you see a rock. The rock is at 70 feet (23 meters). The southern wall of the channel can be dived during a strong, incoming current. The boat will drop you at the channel entrance; you will experience a great drift dive into the lagoon.
Fascinating Facts: Before WWII, Bauxite (Aluminum) was excavated from the hills above Ngardmau. Cable cars were used to transfer the ore from the hills to the pier. A Large concrete tower on Ngardmau's pier is a silent reminder of this venture.
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