Exploring WWII History Underwater - Peleliu Coral Garden, also known as Orange Beach, is a beautiful coral reef located west of Peleliu Island and north of Peleliu Harbor. This dive site is located 34 miles (55 kilometers) southwest of Koror, and it takes around 55 to 70 minutes by speedboat to reach it. The Peleliu Coral Garden is an ideal dive site for novice divers, as the diving depth ranges from shallow to the edge of the reef at 3 to 55 feet (1 to 18 m) and from the edge of the reef to the plateau at 55 to 70 feet (18 to 23 m).

The visibility at Peleliu Coral Garden is exceptional, ranging from 40 to 120 feet (13 to 40 m), depending on the tides. Usually, there are no currents, making it an easy dive for beginners. This dive site has a rich history, as it was the main invasion beach in the effort to recapture Peleliu Island during WWII. The reef is littered with many artifacts left behind from the American invasion, including enormous anchors, pipes, hoses, cables, artillery shells, and guns.

The reef formation of Peleliu Coral Garden starts at Peleliu Corner and runs north for approximately 6 miles (9.7 kilometers) toward Ngedbus Island. The coral garden begins in the shallows, just a few feet below the water, and during low tide, the top and upper reaches of the reef are exposed. At the outermost edge of the reef (55 feet/18 meters), the reef falls steeply to approximately 70 feet (23 m). Here, the reef changes to a plateau constructed mainly of sand and broken corals before falling away again. The deep canyons and crevices on this slope offer shelter to a large variety of marine life.

Peleliu Coral Garden is home to a diverse range of marine life, including many species of tropical fish and a large selection of invertebrates. Marble Rays, the well-camouflaged Crocodile Fish, and big schools of Bumphead Parrotfish are seen regularly. Observant divers may even spot Cuttlefish. Due to the proximity of Peleliu Corner, divers may encounter large pelagic fish such as sharks, barracuda, sailfish, and blue marlin at the edge of the reef.

underwater photo of a more eel looking out of a hole in the reef getting cleaned by 2 cleaner shrimps

Diving at Peleliu Coral Garden is a memorable experience. It is an easy dive for beginners, and divers can start the dive from the edge of the reef (55 feet/18 meters) and work their way towards the shallow areas. The reef is so interesting that it is impossible to see it all in one dive, and divers can choose which direction to go. Very large coral heads dominate the edge of the reef, offering shelter to many fish of all sizes and colors. The remains of amphibious landing craft, coral encrusted anchors, remnants of crashed airplanes, large rubber hoses, and much, much more are waiting to be discovered.

Apart from the incredible underwater experience, Peleliu Coral Garden has a fascinating history. Peleliu was the center of one of the most intense battles of WWII. On September 15, 1944, Orange Beach was the main landing beach for the US Marines and Army. The US Navy Seabees constructed the southern harbor, and the remains of the steel docks are still being used today. Due to increased tourism to the island and safety, new wooden docks are being built over and in addition to the original docks. However, it is important not to pick up any ammunition as the bullets, bombs, mortars,and other artifacts from WWII are very unstable due to their age and can explode.

In conclusion, Peleliu Coral Garden is a must-visit dive site for both novice and experienced divers. This dive site offers an unforgettable experience of exploring a beautiful coral reef while discovering artifacts from WWII history. Divers can witness a diverse range of marine life, including tropical fish, invertebrates, and even pelagic fish such as sharks and sailfish. With its fascinating history and stunning marine life, Peleliu Coral Garden is a truly unique dive site that should not be missed.