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

February, 2006, an Instant Reader Report by Chrisanda Button/Rickie Sterne, Arkansas, USA
Report Number 2333
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
251-500 dives
Where else diving
Bahamas, Bay Islands, Belize, Cozumel, Turks & Caicos, Sea of Cortez,
Australia, Fiji, Truk, Yap
Closest Airport
Getting There


Dive Conditions

sunny, rainy  
choppy, currents  
Water Temp
81   to 0    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
70   to 100    Feet  
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
Enforced diving restrictions  
This was group drift diving.  We were asked to notify the DM when we
reached 700 psi.  
Nitrox Available?
What I saw
1 or 2 
Whale Sharks
> 2 
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
  4 stars
Tropical Fish
4 stars  
Small Critters
  4 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  
Dive Operation
5 stars  
Shore Diving  
3 stars  

Overall Rating

Value for $$
3 stars   
5 stars    
 There are a lot of fish and critters in Palau, and Sam's Tours made sure
we saw many of them.  DM's Daniel and Jim treated us as competent divers,
focusing on pointing out interesting critters and formations rather than
herding us. Our dives were unrushed, usually ending when we were close to
deco limits. Both DM's were sharp-eyed and knowledgeable about marine life
and marine life behavior.  When they turned their eyes and minds to finding
the small stuff, we were shown dragonets, juvenile palette surgeonfish,
tiny juvelinle fire dartfish, several types of scorpionfish, and neat
nudis. On our first dive at German Channel, three of the mantas we had not
seen in Yap swam in close.  And we also saw shrimp-goby pairs, groupers,
triggerfish, and parotfish getting cleaned, three kinds of lionfish, and
several nice clams.  On to Blue Corner!  The current was not ripping (fine
with me, as this was my first reef hook dive), but there was plenty of
action: over a dozen black- and white-tipped sharks, dogtooth tuna, schools
of fusiliers, jacks, barracudas, and red-tooth triggerfish.  DM pointed out
smaller stuff like anemonefish
eggs.  The current was stronger at New Drop Off, and when we surfaced
Rickie said, "We saw it all."  I didn't know there were so many
pyramid butterflyfish in the world.  Besides the sharks and schools of
larger fish, we admired balled carpet anemones, nudis, a porcelin crab, sea
stars, and clown triggerfish.  A Napoleon wrasse accompanied us throughout
the dive, often coming within a foot of divers. Until we reached Ulong
Channel, Palau was not living up to my Fiji standard.  I am more a lover of
coral than sharks, and the corals had not been gorgeous or luxuriant on the
walls at the first four sites we visited. At Ulong Channel the soft corals
were large and multihued, the hard corals healthy, and a patch of lettuce
coral amazing.  We saw sharks, many fish, and nudis along the way.  We
ended the dive watching a large turtle chomping on a sponge. The wall
beyong Saie's Tunnel, itself pretty neat, was a hard coral and anemone
lover's delight.  Probably the most impressive wall we have dove on. The
wall also offered multiple nudis (3 types in one six-inch circle),
anemones, a flatworms. Sam';s Tours' boats look just like all the other
dive boats on the island.  They are covered and carry two tanks for each
diver.  Nitrox is free.  Our gear was set up on the boat each morning when
we were picked up at the PPR dock.  The DM's would have switched our gear
between dives had we not done so ourselves.  The box lunches were really
good: choice of a half dozen sorts of sandwiches, a shushi tray, or the
very popular bento box.  While the rides to the reef were long, we enjoyed
cruising past the Rock Islands.  We were taken to Jellyfish Lake to
snorkel.  Wow!  And we must recount the very special Sam's Dock dive.  The
DM's heard us saying that we had never seen mandarinfish, and asserted that
these little critters were on parade every evening right in front of the
shop.  They invited us to ride back to the shop with them.  Five of us
accepted the invitation.  They gave us full tanks, and we backrolled into
thirteen feet of rather murky water.  We swam past trash to a pile of
concrete rubble and within two minutes were observing over a dozen
mandarinfish.  We also saw pajama cardinalfish, nudis, a barramundi, a
banded sea serpent, ringed pipefish, brown-banded pipefish, strapweed
filefish, and broken plastic forks.
     As many divers before me have written, Palau Pacific Resort is very
nice but pricey.  Our second-floor gardenview room in the 700 cluster was
in a perfect location.  Little foot traffic passed, and our balcony
overlooked a large fishpond with resident turtles. The rooms are large with
good linens.  The swimming pool is big enough to swim in, the beach
beautiful, the snorkeling off the beach good, and the the two inground
jacuzzis hot.  Food in the Coconut Terrace is also good but expensive.  We
were spoiled by the attentive surface.   
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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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