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Dive Review of Sam's Tours/Sea Passion in

May, 2012, an Instant Reader Report by Robert S Kuhn, IL, US
Sr. Reviewer   (8 reports, with 1 Helpful vote)
Report Number 6569
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
501-1000 dives
Where else diving
Philippines, Hawaii, Carribean, Grenada, Cayman, Belize, Aruba, Bonaire,
Curacao, St. Croix, Cozumel
Closest Airport
Getting There


Dive Conditions

sunny, cloudy, dry  
calm, currents  
Water Temp
81   to 85    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
30   to 80    Feet  
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
Enforced diving restrictions  
Nitrox 32 or Air, You are not herded but the DM sets profile.  Computers
are highly recommended. Get Nitrox certified before you arrive.    
Nitrox Available?
What I saw
1 or 2 
1 or 2 
Whale Sharks
> 2 
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
  4 stars
Tropical Fish
4 stars  
Small Critters
  3 stars
Large Fish
4 stars  
Large Pelagics
Underwater Photography  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Subject Matter
3 stars  
Boat Facilities
1 stars
Overall rating for UWP's  
2 stars  
Shore Facilities  
2 stars  
Camera rinse tank available by request if there is room.  Boats are not
designed for camera storage with minimal space for cameras.  With currents
and limited space on boats, cameras are limited.
Ratings and Overall Comments  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
4 stars
4 stars
Service and Attitude
3 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
3 stars
Dive Operation
3 stars  
Shore Diving  
2 stars  
3 stars  

Overall Rating

Value for $$
3 stars    
1 stars   
4 stars    
We spent two weeks diving with Sam's Tours Palau in May 2012. Sams seems
to be the dive operation of preference on Palau for English speaking
divers.  Get Nitrox certified before you go as you will enjoy maximum
bottom time if you are with a group of easy breathers.  

The diving in Palau ranged from good to excellent depending on currents and
tides with visibility from 30  80ft, water temperatures from 81  85F and
dives depths from 50  100ft.   Diving was done in a swimsuit or 3/2MM for
those who are easily chilled.  Palau diving is not for beginners as many
dives had currents, drift diving conditions and even used reef hooks to
stay on the reef.   Good buoyancy control skills and dive computers are
needed.  Most of the dive operators in Palau use similar boats and dive the
same sites. At times there were up to 5 boats in the same general area but
never more than two groups at one specific dive site.   Our favorite sites
included: Peleliu, Blue Corner, Blue Hole, Ulong Channel and Siaes tunnel. 
We saw sharks on most dives and turtles on many dives.  A Manta and Marble
Ray was at the German Channel.  The coral and walls are beautiful with
amazing color, quality and quantity.  Travel time to the sites ranged from
45  60 minutes (Peleliu is farther).  Its a pleasant trip through the
rock islands.

Sams Tours:
The dive operations and Dive masters at Sams varied greatly.  Our first
week, Sams had 5 boats operational and the second week Sams had up to 12
boats going out.    With 12 dive boats and over 100 divers Sams sometimes
ran out of flash lights and not enough tanks available in DIN/Yoke valve
and Nitrox/Air combinations.   The rinse tank and dive locker at Sams are
inadequate for the large number of divers they have and the rinse tank is
sometimes used by little kids as their swimming pool (pee pee pool)  There
are no fresh water rinse showers in the boats. You had to request a camera
tank and the Nitrox procedures are very lax.  You must check the Nitrox and
air fills for all your tanks before departing as several tanks were short
fills.   Nitrox is free at Sams and the Nitrox will allow you extended
bottom time if you are lucky enough to get on a dive boat with other
experienced divers you may enjoy dive times that exceed an hour depending
on depth and air consumption.  Arrive a day early and do a shore dive to
check out your weight and dive gear.  

Many of the dive sites were repeated during our two week trip and there
could been have been better dive site planning based on tide and currents. 
Make sure to request any special dives early in your trip as there is
sometimes a required minimum to schedule.  If you want to do three or more
dives a day or night diving, you need to work this out in advance before
you arrive on your intentions.  We had much higher expectations for Sam's
and with a little work Sams could be a phenomenal operation. 

Sea Passion:
We booked a two week dive package through Sams Tours and stayed at the Sea
Passion resort where Sams provides a daily morning pickup for divers at
the Sea Passion dock.  Sea Passion has a breakfast buffet (offering Asian
and American options), A/C, Cable TV, large rooms, reverse osmosis water
dispensers on each floor, nice pool, deck and small beach area.   Internet
is available in the lobby/breakfast area.  There is a one time charge. 
Access was sometime slow, but we could always connect. Sea Passion and
Sams Tours are a good combination and no car is needed for divers.  There
are at least 5 good restaurants within a 5  10 minute walk from Sea
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