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Dive Review of Sam's Tours in

November, 2008, an Instant Reader Report by Henry & Carol Ziller, CO, USA
Sr. Contributor   (23 reports, with 1 Helpful vote)
Report Number 4621
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
101-250 dives
Where else diving
Cozumel, Belize, Florida, Cayman, Honduras, Bahamas, Dominica, Tobago,
Hawaii, Indonesia, Curacao, Pohnpei
Closest Airport
Getting There


Dive Conditions

sunny, windy, rainy, cloudy  
calm, currents, no currents  
Water Temp
83   to 83    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
50   to 70    Feet  
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
Enforced diving restrictions  
Depth, Time and Safety stops enfoced  
Nitrox Available?
What I saw
Whale Sharks
> 2 
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
  4 stars
Tropical Fish
4 stars  
Small Critters
  3 stars
Large Fish
4 stars  
Large Pelagics
  4 stars
Underwater Photography  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Subject Matter
5 stars  
Boat Facilities
2 stars
Overall rating for UWP's  
4 stars  
Shore Facilities  
5 stars  
Cameara rinse at dock is great. Computers are available for viewing at dive
Ratings and Overall Comments  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
3 stars
4 stars
Service and Attitude
4 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
5 stars
Dive Operation
4 stars  
Shore Diving  
4 stars  

Overall Rating

Value for $$
4 stars    
3 stars   
4 stars    
We used Continental Airlines and their partner Alaska Airlines, flying from
Denver to Seattle and onward the next day to Hawaii on Alaska. From Hawaii
it was Continental to Guam, to Yap, to Palau. My wifes dive bag did not
take the same flights. Continental provided a voucher for dive gear rental
and some cash. Rental gear was good. We stayed at West Plaza Malakal Hotel.
It was closest to Sams Tours. The rooms were clean and large enough, the
A/C worked and there is television, only a couple of English channels.
Power is 110 volts, but there are only a few outlets. The water is not safe
to drink. Luggage is moved to your room via a dumbwaiter and you walk the
stairs. A grocery store is across the street. The hotel is next to the
Shell Bulk Fuel storage facility. The Longshoremans restaurant is across
the street and was a bargain with great variety of meals. A cheese burger
with fries and salad was $3.50! The restaurant at the hotel, Palm Bay
Bistro, was very good. Red Rooster Brewery is also at this sight. The
Porter was excellent. Kramer Restaurant is close by on the water and has
good seafood. Next time we may stay at West Plaza-by-the-Sea. It is easy
walking to downtown and is still on the water. Sams Tours picks up and
drops off so where you stay is always easy. If you want to go downtown
after diving just ask them to take you and pay a cab to take you back to
your hotel, or walk. 

Sams Tours dive shop area has bathrooms with showers (bring your own soap)
and gear storage. Several rinse tanks, a couple for cameras only. The dive
boats are equipped with radios, cell phone, oxygen, life preservers,
drinking water, and Sams gives you a water bottle to keep. The covered
boats have twin 175 hp Yamaha engines. You can store stuff in dry boxes
under seating areas. My advice is to keep the wet suit on and bring a hood
just for the wet rides. It rained everyday of our trip but we also saw sun
most days. The water is warm and many divers do not wear any wet suit.
There is no rinse bucket on the boat. They only put 8 divers/snorkelers on
a boat so there is ample room. Back roll entry is the norm and ladders
seemed sturdy enough. Captains were friendly and knew several routes around
the Rock Islands, so the views varied. Dive masters were good and kept
track of everyone, even when we were blown back over the reef into the
channel at Blue Corner when the current changed directions. Our dive master
furnished reef hooks for us. Most divers took advantage of free nitrox.
Most divers were from Europe, Australia, or Japan so dive crews are not
used to receiving tips. We tipped daily. We made two dives at Blue Corner
and that was enough for me. They have some very nice reefs for diving too.
Ngemilis Coral Garden and Siaes Tunnel were nice dives, so was Ulong
Channel. We also made three dives at German Channel to see mantas and saw
several mantas on two of those three dives. This can be a disappointing
dive if there are no mantas. We were lucky. We saw lots of sharks on all
dives, the 80-year old clams were huge, we also saw turtles on every dive,
and large hump head wrasse and bump head parrotfish, as well as lots of
reef fish, barracuda, clown triggerfish, anemone fish, schools of trevelly,
tuna, jacks, etc. Lunch is included and is ordered the day before. The
bento box is great as well as a variety of sandwiches. The dive of the
Helmut Wreck is closer in to the main island and water clarity is poor,
maybe 20 feet at best, but it was a dive we wanted to do because my
father-in-law was involved in all of the battles that liberated these
islands so there is some history there for us. We went to Jellyfish Lake
twice. This was a huge plus for my wife as this along with the mantas and
mandarin fish were highlights for her! The hike over the ridge is not an
easy hike there are steps of limestone coral you climb with the aid of rope
banister. If you have a pair of stiff sole dive booties bring them along
for this and the Ngardmau Water Falls hike. Jellyfish Lake is great
snorkeling. They are amazing creatures. The Koror Stat Government charges
$35.00 fee for Jellyfish Lake and the Peleliu State charges a $20.00 fee
for a diving permit. Permits are good for 7 days.

The kayak tour to Mandarin Fish Lake was great. Mandarin fish dont like
the sun. We were fortunate in that it was raining so we saw several.
Patience! The kayaking is not very exerting and waters around the islands
are calm. The islands are under cut so you can keep out of the rain much of
the time. Ask Jim, one of the dive masters where the mandarin-fish are
right at Sams Tours docks, grab a tank (Depth about 13 feet and vis about
the same) and watch them at their dusk mating ritual.

We did the land tour and it took us all around the island. They let you use
rental booties for the Water Falls hike but if you have some thick rigid
sole booties bring them. You do walk through mud up to your ankles for a
good portion of the hike and to by-pass some of the mud you walk up the
creek, but the rocks are not kind to your feet. Worth it though.
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