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

Fish 'n Fins/Ocean Hunter III, Apr, 2008,

by Jeanne Reeder, MO, USA (Contributor Contributor 14 reports with 12 Helpful votes). Report 4180.

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

Weather sunny, cloudy Seas calm, choppy, surge, currents
Water Temp 82 to 86 Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness 3
Water Visibility 100 to 150 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions Restrictions were mostly related to safety concerns, such as having a high quality reef hook, safety sausage, whistle.
Liveaboard? yes Nitrox Available? N/A

What I Saw

Sharks Lots Mantas 1 or 2
Dolphins Schools Whale Sharks None
Turtles > 2 Whales None
Corals 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 N/A Boat Facilities N/A
Overall rating for UWP's N/A Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments N/A

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

Accommodations 5 stars Food 5 stars
Service and Attitude 5 stars Environmental Sensitivity N/A
Dive Operation 5 stars Shore Diving 3 stars
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ N/A
Beginners 1 stars
Advanced 5 stars
Comments
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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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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