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Dive Review of Palau Pacific Explorer/Caroline's Resort in

August, 2005, an Instant Reader Report by Shawn and Jackie Nelson, MN, USA
Report Number 2977
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
101-250 dives
Where else diving
Cozumel, Dominica, Roatan, Maui, Grand Turk
Closest Airport
Getting There


Dive Conditions

Water Temp
84   to 86    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
70   to 100    Feet  
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
Enforced diving restrictions  
Nitrox Available?
What I saw
Whale Sharks
> 2 
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
  3 stars
Tropical Fish
5 stars  
Small Critters
  5 stars
Large Fish
4 stars  
Large Pelagics
  3 stars
Underwater Photography  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Subject Matter
3 stars  
Boat Facilities
2 stars
Overall rating for UWP's  
3 stars  
Shore Facilities  
3 stars  
Because there were so few guests aboard the liveaboard there was ample
space to set up camera gear in the salon. There was a fresh water rinse
bucket solely for cameras as well. On the actual dive boat cameras were
stored on a towel on the floor. With Sam's diving, you kept your camera
with you or under the bench where you're stationed. An exclusive rinse tub
was available back at the shop.
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 $$
4 stars   
5 stars    
Our time spent in Palau was everything we hoped it would be. We spent our
first week aboard the Palau Pacific Explorer. We originally were to spend
the week aboard the Big Blue Explorer but a couple weeks before our
departure we were notified that there were too few guests to operate the
Big Blue so we were moved to the Pacific Explorer. This was great for us as
we ended up with a larger room. As it turned out we were the only two
guests for the first 4 days at which time a really neat young couple joined
us for the remainder of our live-aboard trip.

The crew were all awesome as they made our stay comfortable. The food was
endless and was surprisingly very very good. The 2 dive guides were
excellent! They were really pivotal in making our trip enjoyable. They
spent all of their time with us - eating, socializing and of course diving.
Richard from the UK was also the trip photographer for the week and took
some incredible pictures for us. Jamie from Pennsylvania was an extremely
interesting young lady who was great at guiding our dives and pointing lots
of creatures out to us. We dove 5 dives most days with at least 60 minutes
per dive. We used Nitrox ($150/week extra) so our max depth was no more
than 100 fsw. We saw sharks on almost every dive. The fish variety (big and
small) was amazing. The coral seemed to be in great shape. The water wasn't
quite as clear as we had hoped but the temp was a very comfortable 86 F. We
dove a couple of sites (Blue Corner and German Channel) multiple times.
Blue Corner is everything that we expected - hook on and watch the action!
German Channel was great as we saw lots of Manta Rays on each visit there.
We dove a couple WWII wrecks and snorkeled in the amazing Jellyfish Lake.
One beautiful night was spent on Ulong (Survivor) beach for a barbecue.
Our second week there was spent at the lovely Caroline's resort in their
bungalows with an amazing view. They offer a shuttle service ($4) to Palau
Pacific Resort where you can enjoy all the amenities they have to offer
with no additional charges. We dove 3 days with Sam's tours. Diving with
Sam's was quite good but after having been spoiled on the live-aboard with
5-10 minute rides the 45-60 minute rides with Sam's were long. The sea
conditions were great so the long rides were beautiful instead of
potentially miserable. The dive guides were nice, helpful, knowledgeable,
and good at pointing stuff out. We always made an effort to get to know
them but there was no real connection. It seemed odd to us that they would
assign a different dive guide each day (Jim, BJ and Dexter). Of the 7
dives, 3 of them were essentially unguided because the guide and the rest
of the group (no more than 4 other divers) left us trailing by ourselves
with no safety sausage. Each day I would tell them I wanted my own to carry
and they said they had one and they would stay close to us. At the end of
one particular dive when we were left in the "dust", the guide
said he held up the group to wait for us for a few minutes but when they
didn't see us they kept going - not real responsible in my book. On the
wall dives we were told to go slow and easy which we did but apparently it
was too slow for the guides. They said it was because they had to stay by
the divers that were eager and going fast. I would think as a guide you
should be able to slow everyone down if necessary to wait for the group to
be together. This was not exactly a problem for us and they probably
assumed that we were very comfortable after having spent a week on the
live-aboard prior to diving with them. We certainly could have stayed with
the group if we chose to but seeking out creatures to photograph was more
important to us.

We rented a jeep one day and explored the area as we headed to a wonderful
waterfall (Nardmau) where we spent many hours playing around in the
"pools" on our hike to the falls. We were the only visitors at
the falls during our time there which made it quite nice. We dined out a
number of times on the island and found the food to be fantastic. We ate at
Kramers a couple times - the owner/cook is a very interesting guy from the
states. We ate at Suriyo Thai restaraunt - excellent and cheap (they don't
take credit cards which I found out after our meal). They had no problem
with me coming back the next day to pay our bill. We also ate at Rock
Island Cafe - an incredible menu but we were in the mood for pizza which
was excellent. Also our breakfasts at Caroline's were all great. Sam's
tours also provided us lunch on the 3 days we dove with them and the food
(espcially the sushi meal) was great.
We had virtually no complaints on this trip except maybe the long flights
which were actually more tolerable and comfortable than I thought they
would be.

Shawn and Jackie Nelson
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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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