After a short boat ride from Fish ’n Fins through the stunning scenery of Palau’s world famous Rock Islands you are about to experience another fantastic dive site. New Drop-Off Palau also known as West Ngemelis Wall is a must for all scuba divers visiting Palau. This amazing drop-off offers everything you may wish to see - beautiful pristine hard and soft coral gardens, macro and big fish like sharks, barracudas and schools of jack fish. Check out this blog and get the following complete information about New Drop-Off Palau, compiled by Palau’s most esteemed dive professionals Navot & Tova Bornovski.
Where is New Drop-Off Palau
West of Ngemelis Island and German channel. The Distance from Koror is 27 miles (43 kilometers) southwest of Koror. 40-50 minutes by speedboat.
Underwater Visibility & Level of Diving Dive Experience
50 to 120 feet (15 to 40 meters) depending on the tides. The needed dive experience level is Novice if no current. Advanced, if a strong current
Diving Depth Summary
Top of the reef: 3 feet ( 1 meter) below the surface. Plateau: 30 feet (10 m). Cavern on the southern wall: 120 feet (40 m).
Currents at New Drop-Off Palau
The current on this reef is unpredictable and can be very strong. Your Dive Guide will start the dive from one of two mooring buoys, according to the current. For more information regarding the tidal patterns in Palau, refer to the Blue Corner tide and current section. The current on this reef is unpredictable and can be very strong. Your Dive Guide will start the dive from one of two mooring buoys, according to the current. For more information regarding the tidal patterns in Palau, refer to the Blue Corner tide and current section.
Reef Formation of New Drop-Off Palau
New Drop Off is part of a vertical wall, which runs along the entire length of Ngemelis Island. The wall starts at German channel, runs to the southwest as Big Drop Off and then changes its name to Turtle Wall. From Turtle Wall the reef curves to the north and New Drop Off begins. The top of this reef starts is just a few feet below the water. During extreme low tides, the top of the reef will be exposed. The two reef walls meet here to create a dramatic corner with a plateau at 30 feet (10 meters) before dropping down to 300 to 450 feet (100 to 150 meters). As the reef continues to the north, the wall changes into a moderate slope.
New Drop-Off Palau - Marine Life
Very large sea fans jut out from the sheer reef walls. The fans make an excellent background for spectacular photographs and video. Thick and healthy soft corals with colors ranging from deep violet to hot pink are seen everywhere. Many Gray Reef Sharks patrol the reef wall and corner. Clouds of Pyramid Butterflyfish, Square Anthias, Moorish Idols, Sargent Major's and Yellowtail Fusiliers are found along the edge and on top of the reef. Blue Face, Regal, and Emperor Angelfish are also easily spotted. The plateau and the upper wall host large schools of Barracudas and Snappers. Spotted Eagle Rays and Napoleon Wrasse are seen here too.
Scuba Diving New Drop-Off Palau
Dives normally start from either the north or south-mooring buoy. A dive from either direction is excellent and completely different. North to South: From the northern buoy, follow the wall down to between 60-90' feet (20-30 m) keeping the reef on your left. After a short swim, you will encounter the first corner. Here many Gray Reef Sharks gather and will swim near you. From this corner, the wall curves sharply to the east and soon you will reach an underwater bay. The sheer wall will now change to a moderate slope. Schools of Yellow-tailed Snappers and a large Napoleon Wrasse are almost always seen here. Following the edge of the reef at 45-feet (15 meters) swim for a few minutes more until you see the second corner, this corner is massive and looks like a ship's bow. The current picks up again and is often strong; hook on to the reef and enjoy the fish action on a reef. When it is nearing time to end the dive, continue your swim along the wall toward the southern buoy or perform your safety stop along the top of the reef. South to North: From the southern buoy drop down to between 60 and 80 feet (20 and 27 m) keep the wall on your right. About 15-20 minutes into the dive you will approach the corner. Just before you reach the corner, look down and you will see a very deep canyon going down the face of the reef. At the bottom of this canyon at 120 feet (40 meters), a beautiful cavern can be found. If your dive started from the north it will not be possible to visit this cave due to bottom time and air consumption. Another dive at this location, depending on the current, will be worth your time. CAUTION: New Drop Off is on the main waterway for boats going to and from Blue Corner and other nearby dive sites. Take caution before surfacing; use a safety sausage to alert boat drivers to your position.
Check it out ...
On top the northern reef, at approximately 20 feet (7 m) look for a pyramid-shaped rock about 5 to 6 feet (1.5 to 2 m) high, this rock hosts Scorpion Leaf Fish, look very carefully and you will find them. At 45 feet (15 m) you can also find a bright red anemone that has been on the reef for the last 10 years.
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