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Dive Review of Fish 'n Fins Ocean Hunter III in
Micronesia/Palau

Fish 'n Fins Ocean Hunter III, May, 2012,

by Kayla Koeber, UT, US ( 2 reports). Report 6801.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 251-500 dives
Where else diving Cocos 3 times, Galapagos, PNG - Eastern Fields, Belize, Turks and Caicos, Little Cayman, Honduras, Cozumel, Channel Islands CA,
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, rainy, cloudy Seas calm, choppy, currents
Water Temp to Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness 3
Water Visibility 25 to 75 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions
Liveaboard? yes Nitrox Available? yes

What I Saw

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

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

Subject Matter 2 stars Boat Facilities 5 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 2 stars Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments [None]

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

Accommodations 5 stars Food 5 stars
Service and Attitude 5 stars Environmental Sensitivity 5 stars
Dive Operation 2 stars Shore Diving N/A
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ 1 stars
Beginners 3 stars
Advanced 2 stars
Comments We are liveaboard divers primarily. The upshot on Palau is we traveled 8,000 miles hoping to be amazed by the diving and were disappointed. While the accommodations on Ocean Hunter III, crew and food are truly 5 star, the diving is 2 star. We prefer the opposite... 5 star diving, 2 star accommodations. We are not too fussy topside - just need clean and comfortable.
We were shocked at the lack of reef life in Palau which all reports say is incredible. IT'S NOT TRUE. For smaller fish/critters we see more in our annual trek to Cozumel. The reefs are beautiful, yes, but water viz is better in the Caribbean. In fact Palau reminded us a lot of Little Cayman... beautiful reefs but where are all the fish and critters? We dove all the usual suspects, saw many reef sharks at Blue Corner, Ulong Channel but after numerous trips to Cocos were underwhelmed by the pelagic life.
What truly disappointed us was that on the liveaboard we dove all the same sites and WITH all the day boat operations including Fish n' Fins, the shore operation of the Ocean Hunter group. They have a "normal" liveaboard itinerary that works for the average diver we guess and they don't deviate from it. The crew was great but it is clear they must adhere to the management policy no exploration is encouraged or probably allowed. Day 1 and Day 7 are for the convenience of the boat and right around the corner from the dock... okay dives but when you can see the traffic on shore from the liveaboard as we did on Day 7, you know the trip is over. Due to weather conditions (choppy seas) the big boat couldn't go to Peleliu although a good effort was made by crew and we loaded into the tender for the one hour journey. The day in Peleliu was the only day we didn't dive at sites with numerous day boat operations. We get the standard itinerary formula but it's why we quit diving with Peter Hughes years ago. There are 70 plus KNOWN dive sites in Palau and yet we kept repeat diving the same sites. We would have far preferred more exploration, effort and diversity of dive location.
In summary, the diving was adequate... it was not "bad"... but it's not worth the long trip if you live in the USA. What we realized is that Palau is to Asia what Cozumel is for those of us in the US. Nice diving in fairly close proximity to big urban centers, nice reefs, but not the spectacular experience we traveled halfway around the world for.
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Subscriber's Comments

By Renee Ross in OR, US at Nov 26, 2012 11:46 EST  
Thanks for the review. Your experience sounds very honest. We are going in April and will report our experience as well. I'm disappointed to hear you enjoy Cozumel more than Palau. Makes me wonder if it's worth the long trip to Palau.
By Ms Lynda Durfee in VA, US at Nov 26, 2012 12:31 EST  
I went aboard Aggressor in Sept 2010 and thought the diving was great. I had booked two weeks back to back for Dancer next March/April (because Aggressor had only an upper bunk left for the 2-week special trip), but cancelled last week because I decided to go to Maldives or Cocos first. Sorry to hear you were disappointed. Aggressor dove the top sites, but also varied the schedule so we were never at a site at the same time as the day boats. Got to Pelelieu.
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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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