Monday, April 11, 2011

Palau Day 2

So, we got up early on Monday and were excited and ready for the day since we were pretty much fully rested.  As soon as we got on the boat, the divemasters started asking where we wanted to go, and suggested German Channel, which I knew was on the "must see" list of dive sites in Palau.  German Channel is most known for opportunities to see Manta Rays.  I'd never seen a manta before, but rays of any kind are my favorite and of course I was game.

Another long and beautiful ride out to the dive site offered us some great opportunities to play around and take some fun photos.

Dan and Buck (Granville) being cute

A "glass" day on the Phillippine Sea

Out at German Channel, I was excited with the prospect of seeing mantas, and also excited to use our new underwater camera.  My mom had just gotten Dan and I an awesome underwater camera for Christmas and I couldn't wait to try it out.  The dive guide told us that in order to get the mantas to come, it was important that we stay on the bottom, and just hang out.  If the mantas came and we started moving, we would scare them away.  Also, if the manta came and swam over us we were supposed to hold our breaths because the bubbles tickle their tummies and that might be another reason they swim away.

When we first got in, I took a couple of practice shots to try to get my bearings with taking pictures underwater.  It took a bit to get the site, as well as the strobe, dialed in.  Thank goodness for digital!  Anyway, I practiced on Dan, and this is one of my favorite shots of him underwater.

So, anyway, we headed down to the "cleaning station" where the mantas come to, and hung out on the sandy bottom on our knees.  It was about 60 feet deep, so not too deep and pretty comfortable.  All of the sudden, Steve, our dive guide started banging on his tank and pointing upward, and lo and behold a manta was swimming down to us.

It was amazing, and my heart was racing as I was attempting to take pictures and stay in control of my bouyancy and on the ocean floor.  The manta came down further, and I was able to get this awesome video.

I personally think the video is neat, but it is seriously nothing compared to seeing this amazing creature swim down in real life.  It was so amazing!!!!  One of the coolest things I'd ever seen.  In the video, the woman Bev, was holding her hands up because sometimes the manta like to brush up against things.  After the dive, we all came up just so excited and thinking nothing could get any better than that.

As we got settled into the boat our divemasters told us that the next dive we'd be doing was Blue Corner, since we were right by it.  This is probably the site Palau is most famous for, and I knew it'd be another good one.  Blue Corner is called what it is, because it is on a reef that is in the corner of the Phillippine Sea and the Pacific Ocean.  The current tends to be pretty strong so you usually see a lot of really cool stuff.

We saw lots of great stuff, but my camera skills weren't too good at this point.  But, I have a couple of neat videos from this site.

I do really like this picture of this beautiful napolean wrasse that we saw though.  He was so cute and always hanging out...kinda like a dog.

Again, we all got onto the boat thinking that was the best ever, and we headed to the same lunch spot as the previous day.

As we were eating lunch, Dan asked me if I wanted to go for a walk when we were done, and we headed down the beaching, talking pictures and picking up little creatures and talking about how amazing our trip had been so far and how fortunate we were that we were able to come.

Dan found these little sand dollar guys, and as we were walking along, he hollowed out the one that had a hole in it.

He gave it to me and said here is a ring for you, what do you think of it?  And I said, I love it.  And then, just when I thought the day couldn't possibly be any better than it already was, he pulled a box out of his pocket, and said, well, what do you think about this one?  It was an engagement ring, and then he asked me to marry him!!  I couldn't believe jaw dropped!  I was totally shocked that he had brought this amazingly beautiful ring with him halfway across the world.  Of course I said yes, and of course I started to cry!!  As much as Dan wouldn't admit this to anyone, he had to fight a few tears too. 

I took this pic of Dan right before he asked me to marry him.  No wonder he kinda looks nervous in it.

And, here is my sand dollar ring and my engagement ring.

We went back and told the others, and Tom snapped this pic of us, on our engagement day.

Our boat took of shortly after this and we went on to our third dive of the day.  But, before we left, we got a picture of our dive boat. 

Our third dive site of the day was Ngerchong Outside, which was the same coral garden we'd been to the day before, we just started on the other side.  I really don't have any notable pics from this dive, except of course this one.  :)

So, we ended the day having a happy hour engagement party celebration at the bar at Sam's, with a few Red Rooster beers after diving.  And then, we all got cleaned up and went back over to Sam's for dinner.  We were so fortunate to be traveling with such a wonderful group of people that we could celebrate our engagement with!!

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