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Dive Review of Sams Tours in

March, 2009, an Instant Reader Report by scott johnson, ca, usa
Sr. Contributor   (20 reports)
Report Number 4696
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
501-1000 dives
Where else diving
Galapagos, Costa Rica, Lembeh Straits, Raja Ampat, Little Cayman, Bali,
East Timor, North Carolina etc etc.
Closest Airport
Getting There


Dive Conditions

sunny, cloudy, dry  
calm, choppy, currents, no currents  
Water Temp
82   to 84    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
60   to 100    Feet  
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
Enforced diving restrictions  
55 to 60 minutes  
Nitrox Available?
What I saw
Whale Sharks
> 2 
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
  4 stars
Tropical Fish
5 stars  
Small Critters
  3 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  
Ratings and Overall Comments  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
3 stars
4 stars
Service and Attitude
5 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
5 stars
Dive Operation
5 stars  
Shore Diving  
5 stars  

Overall Rating

Value for $$
5 stars    
5 stars   
5 stars    
[None]Leaving Puerto Galera at 3:30 pm and then having to take an 11:30 pm
flight out of Manila and arriving in Guam at 4:30 AM made a very long day.
I saw sunrise by the time I was checked into my day room at Days Inn at
around 5:30 am at 8:30 am I was awoken by hammers pounding in the room
next-door, as they were installing new carpet. Had a few choice words for
the Manager of the Hotel!

I finally made it to Palau on the 6:30 pm flight. I have been going to
Palau every year since 2000 except last year I went to Layang Layang (big
mistake). I could not believe the improvements at Sams Tours over the last
couple of years. The parking lot is now fully paved and they added an
internet area to an enlarged camera room, also a nice equipment and gear
locker room. The bar area is fully tiled, it used to be old cement. I
remember years ago, he had a bathroom at the top of the dirt parking lot
and the gear storage room was a small shipping container and very over
crowded. Looks like a very different operation. Talking with Dermot (GM)
more improvements are to come. I have also heard some negative comments
about the Lunches at Sams. I found the lunches to be very good, I usually
had the Bento/Asian with Chicken or Fish. Many other people had sandwiches
and everyone was pleased with the quality of the food. You can order
lunches from the Taj etc for an additional charge.

I forgot how much I missed Palau diving, 83 to 84 degree water! I had a
couple of the dives at Ulong channel where I saw my first ever-large Bait
ball of Mackerel with Sharks, Groupers, Wrasses, Dogtooth tuna etchaving a
nibble, quite an experience to see. In addition, a team from National
Geographic who was diving with Sams was here filming it. Overall the diving
was exceptionally great this year, I noticed many more schools of fish and
an exceptionally large school (largest I have ever seen, beat Raja Ampat)
of Snappers off the Peleliu wall. One negative issue was the lack of Grey
Reef Sharks especially at the Blue Corner. I had five reef hook ups at the
Blue Corner, three with a good three-knot plus current. Plenty Whitetip
Sharks but perhaps three to seven Grey Reef Sharks would show up at any
given time. I am used to seeing ten to fifty on a given hook up. I hope
they were on holiday and not finned. The National Geographic team who were
at the New Dropoff and said they saw up to 50 Grey reef sharks, perhaps I
had bad timing as it did not seem the Blue Corner was happening this year
for me, Ulong channel was the dive. The weather was near perfect. When it
rained, it was mostly at night and the ocean was like glass (except for a
couple of days). Most of the boats had no more than six people on them. Two
boats which had 10 people had an extra DM on board.

We also had a couple of people on the boats over the last 10 days who were
getting their Certification dive on the Blue Corner. We all thought these
people needed to buy us a round of drinks! As one person on the boat said
he had waited 25 years to dive the Blue Corner and here these people were
getting their final certification dive there! What a place to say you got

One thing Id like to do is more three tank dive days. I got in a couple in
but it is a bit difficult to get four to six other people to go along with
you. Sometimes as a Single Diver you do not get your way (can that be
grounds for discrimination?...hmmm). Sams does tries to work with the
customers for the third dive but some people who spend an hour going out
and back in do not want to do it.

One thing I have wanted to do for years is the land tour of Peleliu. Toured
Orange beach, Monument to the 81st infantry, Museum, Bloody nose ridge etc.
What a humbling experience to see where so many Americans died and to think
what those men went through in the Pacific theater during WWII so we could
have our freedoms today. Like Scuba diving!

When in Palau, one thing not to miss is the Taj restaurant and I do not
particularly like Indian cuisine, I Love this place and the Butter Chicken!
Robert the owner is a wonderful host and I was introduced to the Hookla. I
dined with a couple from the UK/Brunei and they said the food was like back
home, the Taj is a lot of fun and great food! 

I had a great trip cannot wait till next year!
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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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