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Dive Review of Eclipse in
Micronesia/Palau

Eclipse, Mar, 2009,

by Mike Binnard, CA, USA ( 2 reports). Report 4709.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 51-100 dives
Where else diving Fiji, Tonga, Maldives, Kona, Bermuda
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, cloudy, dry Seas calm
Water Temp 84 to 86 Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness 2
Water Visibility 50 to 150 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile ?
Enforced diving restrictions return to boat ~500psi
Liveaboard? yes Nitrox Available? N/A

What I Saw

Sharks Lots Mantas 1 or 2
Dolphins None Whale Sharks None
Turtles > 2 Whales > 2
Corals 5 stars Tropical Fish 5 stars
Small Critters 4 stars Large Fish 5 stars
Large Pelagics 4 stars

Underwater Photography 1 (worst) - 5 (best):

Subject Matter 5 stars Boat Facilities 3 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 4 stars Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments Power for chargers & laptops on board. Bucket for rinse.

Ratings and Overall Comments 1 (worst) - 5 (best):

Accommodations 4 stars Food 5 stars
Service and Attitude 5 stars Environmental Sensitivity 4 stars
Dive Operation 5 stars Shore Diving N/A
Snorkeling 5 stars
Value for $$ 5 stars
Beginners 4 stars
Advanced 5 stars
Comments All the travel to, from, and in Palau was no problem. We were worried about having a short layover in Honolulu on the outbound journey, but since the LAX-HNL flight was on time, we had no problems there. On the return, we only had about 1 hour layover in Guam, which was a little tight since we had to go through US Immigration, security, and then Immigration a second time at the gate.

Transfers within Palau were easy: West Plaza met us at the airport; we walked to Sam's to meet Eclipse; Peleliu Divers picked us up from Eclipse at German Channel as planned; Godwin and Carp Island Resort got us back to Koror, where were met by a rental car; and we drove ourselves to the airport. The rental car turned out to be a great idea. $30 cash, no paperwork, and we had a place to keep our gear during our last evening in Koror.

The West Plaza Malakal was like a no-frills US motel. Nothing fancy, but also no problems.

We ate dinner at the Taj both nights we were in Koror. The food was really excellent, and we had a good time talking to Robert, the owner. There's a big picture window between the restaurant and the kitchen, so you can watch the chef cooking in the Tandoor oven. The chilli crab was an experience. We ordered the small crab, which was huge, delicious, and very messy to eat. The waitresses provided aprons for us to wear, and replaced our plates with clean ones about 10 times during the meal.

We have no doubt that Eclipse is the best way to visit Palau. It's not the cheapest option, nor the most luxurious (no A/C, showers are on deck using hot freshwater out of a bag, etc.). But you can't beat it for great diving, great food, variety of activities, and maximum catering to exactly what you want to do. Many times (while we were doing something else) we could see 10 or more boats at Blue Corner. When we dove there, it was just the two of us and Charlie, Eclipse's divemaster.

John and Charlie really tried to make sure we had a good time and got to do the things we wanted. John really loves Palau, and he does a good job showing his guests why. Charlie is a good dive guide, often pointing out little critters we would never see on our own. On the first day, she asked if it was OK with us for her to bring her underwater camera. We said "Sure," so she brought it and took great pictures on every dive. Both her camera and photography skill are better than ours, so we're looking forward to receiving the CD that's now in the mail.

The diving was superb. The coral looked healthier than we remember from 2001, when it was still recovering from the big El Nino. We saw tremendously more fish than we did diving in Fiji, Tonga, Hawaii, or Bermuda. Of course nothing compares to hooking in at Blue Corner and watching 25 sharks cruise back and forth through huge schools of fish. We also really enjoyed the wall dives because of the variety of hard coral, soft coral, fans, and all the bizarre creatures we don't know the names of. We saw turtles on every dive, lots of curious Napoleon and bat fish, 2 stingrays, 2 eagle rays, 4 mantas, uncountable sharks, several tuna, Spanish mackerel, bluefin trevally, and swarms of snapper, jacks, triggerfish, parrotfish, and sweetlips. We saw one pod of pilot whales from the boat. We have no doubt that Palau's diving is some of the best in the world. Currents were noticeable, but never a problem.

Sailing and kayaking through the Rock Islands were also activities we were looking forward to. Blasting through on one of the speedboats from town is just not the same experience. We really enjoyed cruising through the islands slowly and quietly. That's one of the big advantages Eclipse has over staying in Koror and commuting to the dive sites. Being able to snorkel and kayak from the boat at any time is also really great.

One thing that has totally changed since our prior trip in 2001 is the food on Eclipse. Charlie does an amazing job cooking really great food in a tiny galley. Every meal was delicious, and we always ate more than we had planned.

We were very comfortable living on the boat for 6 days. The water was very flat almost all the time; we only had rolling waves on one night. There's not a lot of extra room, and the overall feel is more like camping than a 5-star hotel, but that's the way we prefer to travel.


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Note: The information here was reported by the author above, but has NOT been reviewed nor edited by Undercurrent prior to posting on our website. Please report any major problems by writing to us and referencing the report number above.

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