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

April, 2008, an Instant Reader Report by Jeanne Reeder, MO, USA
Contributor   (14 reports, with 9 Helpful votes)
Report Number 4180
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
251-500 dives
Where else diving
Raja Ampat, Bonaire, Cozumel, Akumal Saba, Statia, St. Kitts, Cayman Brac,
Curacao, Turks & Caicos
Closest Airport
Getting There


Dive Conditions

sunny, cloudy  
calm, choppy, surge, currents  
Water Temp
82   to 86    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
100   to 150    Feet  
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
Enforced diving restrictions  
Restrictions were mostly related to safety concerns, such as having a high
quality reef hook, safety sausage, whistle.    
Nitrox Available?
What I saw
1 or 2 
Whale Sharks
> 2 
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
  4 stars
Tropical Fish
4 stars  
Small Critters
  3 stars
Large Fish
5 stars  
Large Pelagics
  5 stars
Underwater Photography  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Subject Matter
Boat Facilities
Overall rating for UWP's  
Shore Facilities  
Ratings and Overall Comments  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
5 stars
5 stars
Service and Attitude
5 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
Dive Operation
5 stars  
Shore Diving  
3 stars  

Overall Rating

Value for $$
1 stars   
5 stars    
OH III crew was outstanding, safety oriented, and very accommodating. 
Staterooms  were clean, spacious.  Arlee, the chef, served a variety of
delicious food, including sushi and shushimi.  Fruit smoothies were
refreshing and really appreciated after the early afternoon dives.  Dive
Master Silas has an incredible 'eye' for small stuff and was great for
spotting divers in potential trouble.  Tech Instructor Adam was a fountain
of knowledge and has a great sense of humor.  Captain Ken ran a tight ship
and is highly knowledgeable about the sites and fish ID.

This was Ocean Hunter IIIs second customer voyage.  Nitrox was not
available due to a part they were waiting for from 'the states.  Internet
was not available. We expected to be able to have the freedom to dive from
the vessel, but the keel was too long to get into the shallow spots, so we
back-rolled from a fiberglass 35' with twin 225's.

Diving was varied:  wall, caverns, swim-thru's,  rolling hills of coral,
strong current-swept corners where reef-hooks were needed, and Chandelier
Cave, a 'true'  stalactite adorned cave.  

Saies Tunnel was one of my favorite dives.  The dive boat moored at 15'
from a Reef Wall.  Descending through a chute we emerged into a large cave,
leveling out at 122'. The walls of the cave were covered with a variety of
cup corals, stylasters and hydroids.  The exit from the cave was beautiful,
framed by a large variety of colorful seafans and soft corals, with
hundreds of schooling fish.  

The signature Palau dive of Blue Corner did not let me down!  Current was
only a couple  knots, which made hooking-in easy at the point which juts
into the deep water of the open ocean.   The depth is only 45', so hangin'
time is at the max.   Unbelievable!   Many dozens of sharks cruised close
by -- white tip, black trip, and grey reef.  I often shifted around to look
around me, and spotted sharks which were  going over the reef top behind
me.   There were also dozens of Napoleon Wrasse, Humphead Wrasse, large
schools of huge jacks which could block out the sun,   and big schools of
large barracuda.  The Humphead Wrasse was delightful to behold:   huge
electric blue with some purple tinge, a couple hundred pounds, about 6 feet
in length.  Friendly, one got within a foot of me 'nose-to-nose' and just
stared for several minutes; then would circle and come back again.  He was
my buddy!  Some one got a great photo of a Bicolor Parrot fish nibbling on
my hair.

We found the strongest current on Peleliu Wall Express.   The wall itself
is magnificent with colorful coral and sponges, but the top of the reef
where we hooked was almost devoid of living coral because of the extremely
strong currents and surge.  The 5-6 knot currents pulled our flying bodies
straight and 'whistled' around us.  We saw congregations of jacks, batfish,
snapper, barracuda, and lots of grey reef sharks.  Exhilarating!

Another dive worthy of note was Blue Holes.  Four holes open from the top
of the reef.  I descended through one, straight down, to 89, into a large
cavern. The light coming in from the holes 80 above was magical

We did several dusk dives, which were truly a highlight: going in as the
sun was setting, coming out to a nearly full moon.  On a night dive, after
I looked to the surface after reaching 50', there was a circle of 5 sharks
-- head to tail -- fantastic site.

We waited at German Channel in vain on two dives for Manta's to come to the
cleaning stations.  BUT, we were rewarded one night when several visited
our boat, cavorting in the water doing back flips, and staying around a
couple of hours.  

On the way back from a dive our boat was surrounded by hundreds of playful
dolphins.  We hung out there for about 20 minutes.  

I saw several fish I had not seen before and had a difficult time
identifying. There must have been 3 dozen different kinds of butterfly
fish.   My favorite spottings of the small fish were the regal angel fish
(intense coloration) and the seldom seen but fascinating Bird Wrasse --
both initial phase and adult.  Clams of all sizes abound; particularly
impressive are the plentiful Giant Clams.  Like the fish, the colors of the
coral and sponges were spectacular.  

Other trip experiences worth noting was snorkeling Jelly Fish Lake where
they do indeed surround you but don't sting; and Milky Way, where one
free-dives about 8' to gather up white mud to apply to one's body  and hair
-- why?  makes one younger!!  

The off-gassing resort was Palau Pacific Reef.  Plush.  Beautiful white
sand beach.  Worth the extra bucks to have it all within  arms reach. 
PPRs food is quite good but expensive.  Dont bother with Kraemers; go
into town (Koror) for dinner at Emmaimelei's, a locals place.  Or Yanos,
primarily a fruit and veggie market, which also has a few tables.   

Even if you aren't in the market for the famed Story-Boards of Palau, go to
the local jail's gift shop to be impressed with the artistry.  If you buy,
bargaining rules.  

I suggest having Fish 'n Fins arrange a land tour, rather than renting your
own car, as many of the sites are quite difficult to find, and taxis to
town are reasonable.

Overall rating of trip:  Excellent.  If you like big stuff, GO!  Ocean
Hunter III and Fish 'n Fins offer diving experiences not to be surpassed 
all in a very comfortable, luxurious, setting.  

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