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Dive Review of Sams Tours in
Micronesia/Palau

Sams Tours, Mar, 2009,

by scott johnson, ca, usa (Sr. Contributor Sr. Contributor 20 reports). Report 4696.

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

Weather sunny, cloudy, dry Seas calm, choppy, currents, no currents
Water Temp 82 to 84 Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness 1
Water Visibility 60 to 100 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions 55 to 60 minutes
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? N/A

What I Saw

Sharks Lots Mantas None
Dolphins Schools Whale Sharks None
Turtles > 2 Whales None
Corals 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
UW Photo Comments [None]

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

Accommodations 3 stars Food 4 stars
Service and Attitude 5 stars Environmental Sensitivity 5 stars
Dive Operation 5 stars Shore Diving N/A
Snorkeling 5 stars
Value for $$ 5 stars
Beginners 5 stars
Advanced 5 stars
Comments [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 certified.

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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