Thursday, March 15, 2012

Octopus killing a Shark In Seattle Aquarium

Interesting Aquarium Issue:
"The Seattle Aquarium was replacing a fish tank. It put a few big fish together, thinking that they could live in peace, never expected to do so has led to great tragedy. Several days after a few huge sharks were missing, a staff member decided to observe at night, and the result was photographed in this mind-boggling clip"  


Friday, March 9, 2012

Peleliu – The Land of Enchantment

By Neil Ruggiero
Pictures by: Charlene Hitosis and Neil Ruggiero

Being a Marine, I had read the accounts of the most savage battle of World War II, the battle for the tiny island of Peleliu. When I got the opportunity to visit Palau, I knew I couldn’t miss the chance to visit the island that looms so large in the annals of Marine Corps history. It was an overcast morning when my dive buddy and I took a water taxi from Koror to Peleliu. As we wound our way through the emerald green Rock Islands, we marveled at the cobalt blue water that seemed only a foot or two deep at times.

We made a brief stop at Carp Island Resort where we met Godwin, the owner of our hotel in Peleliu, the Dolphin Bay Resort. He greeted us and took our luggage onto his boat to take back to the hotel.  Soon after, our dive guides of Peleliu Divers arrived and we started day one of our adventure.
We went to the popular dive spots of Blue Corner and German Channel, which certainly lived up to its hype.  Our Peleliu Divers dive guides, were the best! They were so helpful, knowledgeable and just a ton of fun to be around.

We headed back to Peleliu and upon arriving, we were greeted by a sign that said, “Welcome to Peleliu State. The Land of Enchantment.”   Godwin met us at the dock and I immediately inquired about a land tour of the battle sights on Peleliu. He gladly agreed to take us and was an excellent tour guide. It began to pour rain, but we continued with the tour to the landing beaches, the airstrip, Bloody Nose Ridge and other sites where Marines who came before me bravely fought. There were empty gun shell casings everywhere. We even had a chance to go through 1000 man cave, where the Japanese had hid and was the last cave to be taken by the Americans during the epic World War II battle. The cave was full of sake bottles, eating utensils, boots and other items left behind from the battle. After walking and hiking around Peleliu for a few hours we were famished, Godwin asked us what we wanted for dinner. We told him that we liked crab, and his immediate response was, “No problem.”

Not long after, we were back at the hotel, a beautiful wooden bungalow overlooking the Pacific Ocean. We showered and got ready for dinner.  When we arrived at the quaint waterside hotel restaurant, what was waiting for us was the tastiest (and one of the biggest) crabs we have ever seen or tasted. It was indeed a sight to behold and meal to be remembered. 

The next morning we went to the harbor, got on the boat and were ready for another long boat ride to the dive sites. What a great surprise to find out that our first dive site was less than two hundred yard from the dock.  Yellow Wall was our first dive of the day. We zipped along the wall seeing the most vibrant corals, sea fans and fishes. With the current carrying us through all the stunning underwater sights, it was the most effortless dive of my life.  Yellow Wall is still my favorite dive spot anywhere in the world. After our surface interval, we dove Peleliu Corner, which was another magical dive filled with colorful coral, reef sharks, and a curious turtle that followed us from above. Following our second dive, sadly, it was time to leave the land of enchantment. We loaded our bags on the water taxi for our trip back through the Rock Islands and to Koror.

Peleliu was unforgettable and is my favorite dive location in the world.  Thanks to Dianne, who coordinated all of our travel logistics with Godwin and Peleliu Divers, we got to experience this wonderful world of water and history. I can’t wait to go back and explore this amazing island on land and beneath the sea again.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Tinian - The Land of History - Old & New

By Neil Ruggiero & Charlene Hitosis 
"It's so blue" was the response from my dive buddies.  Like Charlene and Cheryl, I had never seen water as blue as the water of dump cove in Tinian. Between the three of us we had been to many beautiful dive sights ranging from Palau to Florida.  The stunning color of the water was just a warm-up for what we were about to see on our weekend sojourn to Tinian.
I had been fortunate enough to have been to Tinian many times for work, but my last trip to Tinian was the first time I had been there as a tourist.  The sights are many and varied, but one thing is constant, Tinian is a history lover's dream.  Whether it is visiting the House of Taga which has some of the largest latte stones in the Marianas or visiting Runway Able and the atomic bomb pits where the Enola Gay rumbled down in August 1945 to usher in the nuclear age by dropping the world's first atomic bomb on Hiroshima; Tinian is a hidden gem amongst the green isles of Micronesia.

However, Tinian's greatest attraction is not the historical sites or aqua blue water, but the people who call Tinian home.  The warmth of the Chamorro people is truly on display in Tinian and is something that should not be missed.  Whether it is history, culture or just wanting to get away from it all, you can find it on Tinian.  I cannot thank Dianne enough for setting up our Tinian adventure; she made all the logistics so easy, I cannot wait to book my next dive adventure with her.  Thanks again for such a memorable vacation!