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Dive Review of Sams Tours/Lhens Motel in
Micronesia

Sams Tours/Lhens Motel, Feb, 2007,

by Steve Belmont, AK, USA . Report 3331.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 501-1000 dives
Where else diving Roatan Honduras, Manzanillo Mexico, Ohahu/Maui Hi. Various Carribbean Islands.
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny Seas calm, currents
Water Temp 82 to 84 Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness 5
Water Visibility 40 to 100 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions Stay within sight of the group and a mandatory 3 minute safety stop.
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? N/A

What I Saw

Sharks Lots Mantas 1 or 2
Dolphins 1 or 2 Whale Sharks None
Turtles > 2 Whales None
Corals 4 stars Tropical Fish 5 stars
Small Critters 3 stars Large Fish 5 stars
Large Pelagics 1 stars

Underwater Photography 1 (worst) - 5 (best):

Subject Matter N/A Boat Facilities 1 stars
Overall rating for UWP's N/A Shore Facilities 3 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 N/A
Dive Operation 5 stars Shore Diving 1 stars
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ N/A
Beginners 1 stars
Advanced 5 stars
Comments Russelle Carig of Sams Tours assisted me in putting together a dive stay package. She works with all of the hotel operations and can take care of everything from 3 star to 5 star accomodations. I chose Lhens Motel. This is a working mans apartment/motel with large simple rooms with cable tv and efficiency kitchens. The rooms are very clean and all of the staff are very friendly, just remember that this is a 3 star hotel. My price per night was $64.00 with tax and air port transfers included. We opted to dine out and the most expensive meal was $15.00. Most evenings we ate in local establishments for 5 to 7 dollar per meal.
Sams dive operation was the best that I have ever seen. Sams offers 12 dive boats that can handle up to 12 divers. They are covered for protection from the elements but have no bathroom facilities. The shop is very well equipped with free Nitrox (32%). Boat dives run $119 for a two tank dive with lunch and refreshments included. My cost was $107 for two tank dives since I dove for 14 days. The boats offer no photographic wash tubs or tables however there is a professional photography shop attached to Sams. Sams boat captains are very knowledgeable and they will give you wonderful tours through the Rock Islands to and from the dives.
My Dive Master was Daniel and I consider him to be one of the finest DM's that I have ever dove with. He taught me how to dive the extream currents of Blue Corner and the Peleliu Express using a reef hook and neutral bouyancy. His knowledge of the marine life was tremendous. He showed me how to detect current changes by watching the smaller reef fish. The drifts in the Palau waters are strong so be prepared to change dive direction if you encounter a current change.
Daniel's dive plan was wall on the left, Sharks on the right or Wall on the right and sharks on the left. Using a white board he would profile the dive with depths and times. He sent up his safety sausage to signal the boat and did a count after each dive. I suggest that each diver have his own sausage just in case.
Blue Corner has been a dream for 22 years. Once there I was mesmerized by the number of White Tips, Grays, Dog Tooth Tuna, Giant Trevally, and a giant school of Barricuda that completly engulfed me. Once the group is together you begin your drift to the Corner. Once there you hook off to the reef and watch the show. It is like an IMAX movie with the sharks just hovering in the current. When it is time to leave, you drift to the elbow and cross over to a shallow plateau. Here you will find more sharks, turtles, and a Napoleon Wrasse who will swim right up to your mask. This became my number one dive out of 769 life time dives.
That lasted all of two days and then we dove the German Channel. The start of the dive was dissappointing with a sandy bottom and poor visibility. All of a sudden a 12 foot Black Manta came on the scene. He stopped at a cleaning station to get worked on. Then the most wonderful dive experience of my life happened. Mr. Manta swam over to me and we spent two minutes just swimming together and playing. He liked my bubbles when they tickeled his under side. He stayed directly above me and just about encircled me with his wings. The rest of the group got some great photos of this event and I had a new number one dive. The next day we had some new divers on board and they wanted to do the Channel to see the Manta. Would you believe that my friend again came over and we did an encore performance of our swim together. Only in Palau.
Most dives had an additional DM along and he would trail the group and stay with photographers while they completed their pictures. When in a drift the dive keeps going. The extra DM would also take air challenged divers to the surface for pick up. I personaly averaged 57 minutes per dive out of 28 dives. Daniel would get the group together once a diver reached 750 psi and we would surface after completing a mandatory 3 minute safety stop. Be prepared to do live boat entries and exits. The captain always goes to neutral when the divers are near the boat and there is a line attached to the boat that divers hang on to while individuals climb aboard.
Don't overlook the history of the area especially Peleliu. This Island saw one of the bloodiest battles of WW2 in 1944/45. Dive the Express, Yellow wall and also do the shore tour. Put yourself in the shoes of an 18 year old Marine fresh out of Kansas and making a landing on Orange Beach. It gave me shivers and made me extra proud to be a free American.
Diving Palau gave me my first international dive experience since I dove with Brits, French, German and Belgium divers. There was a Japanese diver but none of the large Asian groups that one would expect. One will get more bang for your dollar by doing a live aboard, but I enjoy the comradary of a local dive shop. Sams has a bar and grill and we all sat around and watched the sun set after logging our dives. After two days everyone will know your name and you will be considered another local diver. I hope to someday return to my new friends Daniel and Mr. Manta and Sams Tours.
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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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