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Dive Review of Sam's Tours/Palau Pacific Hotel in

April, 2007, an Instant Reader Report by Chip Kamin, PA, USA (2 reports)
Report Number 3300
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
101-250 dives
Where else diving
Mainly Caribbean including Bonaire, Aruba, Cozumel, Roatan, Utilla, St.
Lucia, Dominica, Truks & Caicos, Florida
Closest Airport
Getting There


Dive Conditions

choppy, currents  
Water Temp
83   to 85    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
50   to 100    Feet  
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
Enforced diving restrictions  
Come up with 500 PSI  
Nitrox Available?
What I saw
1 or 2 
Whale Sharks
> 2 
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
  3 stars
Tropical Fish
4 stars  
Small Critters
  4 stars
Large Fish
5 stars  
Large Pelagics
  5 stars
Underwater Photography  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Subject Matter
4 stars  
Boat Facilities
4 stars
Overall rating for UWP's  
4 stars  
Shore Facilities  
5 stars  
When asked we were provided with water on the baot for camera. We had three
small digital camers in our group so there was no problem.
Ratings and Overall Comments  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
5 stars
4 stars
Service and Attitude
5 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
Dive Operation
5 stars  
Shore Diving  
3 stars  

Overall Rating

Value for $$
1 stars   
5 stars    
This was our first trip for our dive group to the Pacific. Our 8 divers had
about 6,000 dives accumulated but mainly in the Caribbean. Although it was
difficult to set up, we planned on visiting Palau and then Yap. This turned
into an eighteen-day adventure. This was about the minimum amount of time
considering the long air flights we were looking at since we were all based
in Pennsylvania. We found Tina at Island Dreams to help us
with making reservations and figuring out how to put this complicated trip

Palau had been on our radar for a long time so we had high expectations.
Those expectations were met in every way. The Palau Pacific is a wonderful
resort. We were met at the airport at 8:00pm and within minutes made a stop
to pick up liquor, sodas and of course a beetle nut kit. 

The Palau Pacific has beautiful grounds but it is a bit spread out. Our
particular room was at the far end of the resort and required a 6-minute
walk, many times a day. One might prefer a more centrally located room.
Ocean view was not terribly important since the view to the front was
limited by the small deck.  We opted for the breakfast package $22 per
breakfast and it was the best meal of the day. An incredible buffet of just
about anything you might want with many Japanese and American delights.
Dinner was a different story. When the buffet ($30) was good (seafood
night) it was a treat but normal meals were on the expensive side. We ended
up eating in town and found many good inexpensive restaurants. A short
$7.00 cab ride got us into town. Emaimelei was a locals restaurant
recommended by one of the guides. It was very cheap, had a great menu and
had great air-conditioning; well recommended by everyone in the group. We
did a customary stop at the local jail and bought storyboards. 

Sams Dive Tours was selected based upon reader comments in Undercurrent
and we were not disappointed. We had Dexter as dive master and Jake as boat
captain. I cannot say enough about both of those fellows. They were very
knowledgeable as to the marine life, dive locations, and above water life.
It is unusual to have both a talkative dive master and a talkative and
knowledgeable boat captain. I would highly recommend the pair for any
future dive trips. Our group of 8 was perfect for the twin-engine outboards
they use to move quickly between dive sites. Lots of cold sodas and a
varied lunch was provided each day as well as cold water.

Diving in Palau is a bit tricky due to currents and wind. Dexter grew up
diving on the Island so he knew currents and locations intimately. He
rarely guessed wrong as to the time and direction of the dive. We opted for
three tank dive days with Nitrox (it is free). This made the boat rides
less of a problem since we were out most of the day. The rides could be
long, up to an hour but they were always fun since we were high speed
cruising between the rock islands and discussing local fauna and flora with
both guides.

Diving was some of the best we had ever done. Visibility was good to
excellent and the water was warm. I ended up diving with a shorty wet suit.
The group quickly figured out the use of reef hooks after the first stop at
Blue Corner. Our favorite dive was Ulong Channel which started off with a
reef hook shark fest, followed by a fast cruise up the channel catching
huge lettuce coral, anemones, turtles, giant clams and the most incredible
ending to a dive we had ever seen, a huge (25 feet in diameter) ball of
swarming fish that was being herded by resident sharks. Dexter told us this
fish ball had been around for years and could be found at the end of this
dive. We came back to do the dive again and found it a second time!

We made it out to Peleliu and did two dives on Yellow Wall and then did the
2-hour land tour. The dives were worth it but no better than what we had on
the main Island. The land tour brought home the magnitude of the war and
was well worth it. 

In general we saw a lot of big fish. Sharks and turtles were everywhere,
lots of small stuff, and schools of fish. Things looked pretty healthy and
we never had a disappointing dive. We did the Chandelier Cavern dive on a
two tank rest day and although it was a short shallow dive it was fun to
visit the three caverns and just relax a bit. We did 17 dives and averaged
over one hour per dive.

We did a land tour and spent some time at the Ngardmau Waterfall. This was
a great waterfall; the rest of the land tour was just OK with one other
highlight, a restored Mens House near the new Capitol building. If I were
going again I would just go to the waterfall and then drive to the Mens
House and call it a day. 

On our other rest day we did a kayak Rock Island tour that included Jelly
Fish Lake. We went straight to Jelly Fish Lake to beat any other boats and
had the place to ourselves. It is better to do the lake on an off day than
to try and squeeze it in at the end of a dive day. The kayaking was fun but
a little kayaking goes a long way. 

We were off at 3:00am to Yap to complete the dive trip. Going to Palau
first was the only way we could make the airlines work but we were looking
forward to a more relaxed time on the Island of Yap and again we were not

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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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