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

April, 2009, an Instant Reader Report by David Dornbusch, CA, USA
Sr. Reviewer   (10 reports, with 1 Helpful vote)
Report Number 4783
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
251-500 dives
Where else diving
Galapagos, Red Sea, Fiji, Sipidan, Great Barrier Reef, Cozumel, Roatan,
Belize, Turks & Caicos, Tahiti, British Virgins, Puerto Rico, Bahamas
Closest Airport
Getting There


Dive Conditions

sunny, rainy, cloudy, dry  
calm, choppy, surge, currents  
Water Temp
83   to 84    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
40   to 80    Feet  
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
Enforced diving restrictions  
Really no restrictions.  Our group of 5 agreed to maximums of 80 feet and
profiles that gave us an hour or more for every dive.  
Nitrox Available?
What I saw
1 or 2 
Whale Sharks
> 2 
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
  5 stars
Tropical Fish
5 stars  
Small Critters
  5 stars
Large Fish
5 stars  
Large Pelagics
  5 stars
Underwater Photography  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Subject Matter
Boat Facilities
Overall rating for UWP's  
Shore Facilities  
Ratings and Overall Comments  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
5 stars
5 stars
Service and Attitude
5 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
5 stars
Dive Operation
5 stars  
Shore Diving  

Overall Rating

Value for $$
5 stars    
3 stars   
5 stars    
Fantastic 7 days of diving.  Had a boat exclusively for our group of 5 most
days.  Never more than 8.  Jade, our dive guide, was one of the best we've
ever had, letting us dive as we liked, pointing out what I never would have
seen by myself, such as tiny red crabs I could barely see even with my
magnifier, leaf fish, and a baby shark tucked deep inside a hole.  2 manta
rays together, many sharks, turtles, free swimming morays, sweetlips,
schools of snappers, jacks, numerous schools of barracuda (hundreds),
clouds of pyramid butterflies, 5 ft. giant clams, nudibranchs of all sizes
and colors, napoleon wrasse, humphead parrots, leaf fish, lion fish, and a
nudi that Jade said, "I never saw that one before."  Most dive
sites were extremely plentiful with huge varieties and schools of fish as
well as hard and soft corals, all living up to Palau's reputation for
bio-diversity.  We hooked into Blue Corner and were dazzled for nearly an
hour on three dives, watching a parage of fish of all sizes, some in huge
schools of a dozen varieties.  Snappers were scraping themselves against
the reef sharks like, "who can touch the meanest kid on the playground
and get a way alive?"  Jellyfish lake every bit as fascinating as its
reputation.  Do it between your 2 dives and miss the after-dive crowd.

Palau is everything its reputation and pictures say it is.  The dive sites
are almost all 45 min. to an hour away, but accessed through a beautiful
maze of limestone lush islands.  The live-aboards might access more, and
more remote, sites.  But, I got as much as I wanted and more at Blue
Corner, the manta cleaning station in German Channel, and a half dozen
other wonderful sites.

The walls drop to beyond where you want to dive.  We stayed above 80 ft.
and extended all our dives to over an hour.

Sam's had excellent equipment, very well maintained. Service was great,
even rinsing and hanging out our wetsuits and putting them back on the boat
ready for us in the morning.

Palau Pacific Resort is extremely comfortable, even luxurious, with
wonderful plentiful breakfast buffets of fruits, pastries, etc. and eggs,
pancakes, french toast to order.

A few bugs, but no biters, not even at sundown.  But, make sure to bring
rain gear for the dive boat!  And not just a shell.  Take something with
warmth.  85 degree rain is comfortable on land, but not in downpours
hitting you at boat speed for 45 minutes.  All the dive masters have full
length coats with hoods.  It rained off-and-on for 3 out of our 7 dive days
(mostly on for one day), but the rain influenced our choice of sites only
one day.  7 days of diving was perfect.

Get a massage.  There's a blue & white place on the right heading north
from the town center.  It has terrific masseuses from China.  Can't recall
the name.  But, if you ask for a cab driver named Ninus, he'll know the
place and get you the $40/hour massage for $30.  All the women and men in
our group loved it.  Nadine went twice.  Visit the acquarium on your day
off.  It's small but excellent.  Ask about their coral cultivation

For dinner, do not miss the Taj!  Our group agreed that it's the best
Indian food we've ever had, including everything we've tried in the Bay
Area.  Next best was the Penthouse.  Forget Rock Island.  I know it has
good reviews, but the food was only fair to bad.  Kramers was plentiful,
but only good to fair.  Nice setting though.  Dragon Kai for Japanese food
only fair to poor.  We tried rock crab or mangrove crab every place we
went.  Neither is particularly tasty without a good sauce, which was
wonderful at the Taj.  Same for lobster.  Did I mention the Taj?  We went
there 3 of our 8 dinners in Koror and still talk about our dinners there as
much as we mention the diving.  I know, I know - "Bay Area
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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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