Main Menu
Join Undercurrent on Facebook

The Private, Exclusive Guide for Serious Divers Since 1975 | |
For Divers since 1975
The Private, Exclusive Guide for Serious Divers Since 1975
"Best of the Web: scuba tips no other
source dares to publish" -- Forbes

Dive Review of Eclipse and Safari liveaboards/Safari in

Eclipse and Safari liveaboards/Safari, Jan, 2012,

by Jennifer Widom, CA, US (Sr. Reviewer Sr. Reviewer 11 reports with 3 Helpful votes). Report 6399.

No photos available at this time

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

Accommodations 4 stars Food 5 stars
Service and Attitude 5 stars Environmental Sensitivity 5 stars
Dive Operation 5 stars Shore Diving N/A
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ 5 stars
Beginners 4 stars
Advanced 5 stars
Comments Palau diving is typically either land-based (2-3 dives per day with long speedboat rides) or via one of the well-known liveaboards (e.g., Aggressor, Dancer, Ocean Hunter) that carry up to 20 divers doing 4-5 dives per day. There's a third option many are not aware of: Two small liveaboards, Eclipse and Safari, cater to 2-4 divers. You reap the advantages of sleeping at the best sites and diving several times a day, while getting a more customized, personal experience than on the bigger liveaboards. Furthermore, with four passengers (and free drinks!) the total cost can undercut even the least expensive of the large liveaboards, significantly.

Both boats are owned by John McCready and are affiliated with Sam's, where they dock. John normally captains the Eclipse, a 48' sailboat; his wife Charlie is the cook/divemaster. Our family of four chartered Safari, a 36' powerboat. Safari is nicely laid out with a comfortable master suite, a forward cabin with two small single beds, a galley, dining table, air-conditioning, three small deck areas, and a dive platform that works well for up to four divers. Even though we had a dinghy along, we were able to dive all sites easily from the main boat. Safari isn't perfect: She could use a quieter/faster compressor (apparently it's coming), a larger supply of fresh water, and a bit more shade, but we won't actually complain -- we loved the boat.

We had two crew: Jason the captain, and René the cook/divemaster. They worked together very well, getting amazing amounts done yet always seeming relaxed. Jason, a friendly American who's built, lived on, and piloted boats a good part of his adult life, was extremely competent at both driving the boat and keeping all of its systems humming. René, a charismatic and fun-loving German, runs a popular restaurant on Malakal Island with his wife. The food on board was truly gourmet, the best we've ever had on a liveaboard. (And since it was a private charter, the food could be customized to our tastes.) In addition to being an amazing cook and an excellent divemaster, René was a fount of information on just about any topic -- fun company and a perfect "cruise director" for our family.

As for the diving itself, what is there to say about Palau that hasn't been said a thousand times already? Blue Corner and New Dropoff had ripping currents and were teeming with sharks and large schools of fish. German Channel yielded lengthy encounters with multiple mantas each time we dove it. Other sites boasted healthy coral, beautiful walls, innumerable turtles, a few eagle rays, stingrays, eels, sea snakes, etc. The macro creatures weren't as numerous as, say, Indonesia or the Philippines, but they were made up for by the good visibility and frequent company of the big stuff. Our dive schedule on Safari had us doing four one-hour dives per full day, starting at 7:00am and finishing just after dusk. (We managed three dives the day we set out, and two dives plus Jellyfish Lake on the last day.) The wide spacing of the dives was useful and safe, given that some of them pushed our computers close to the no-deco limit. Where we dove was a decision made jointly between our desires and René's knowledge of currents, tides, and when each site was at its best. We also managed to plan our dives so we rarely encountered other groups underwater, no small feat given the hundreds of divers out there from the other liveaboards and the many dayboats.

In summary, for a group of 2-4 divers who want the "hard core" Palau diving experience, great crew, great food, a comfortable boat, and no company, consider Safari (or Eclipse, though we don't have first-hand experience to report). Depending on your group, it could even be surprisingly easy on your wallet.
Websites Eclipse and Safari liveaboards   

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 501-1000 dives
Where else diving Worldwide
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, windy, rainy, cloudy, dry Seas calm, choppy, currents, no currents
Water Temp 82-83°F / 28-28°C Wetsuit Thickness 1
Water Visibility 40-100 Ft/ 12-30 M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions All dives were about an hour.
Liveaboard? yes Nitrox Available? N/A

What I Saw

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

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

Subject Matter 5 stars Boat Facilities 4 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 5 stars Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments No dedicated camera/charging area but it's a private liveaboard so no problem creating one.
Was this report helpful to you?
Leave a comment (Subscribers only -- 200 words max)
Subscribers can comment here

Subscribe Now
Subscribers can post comments, ask the reviewer questions, as well as getting immediate and complete access to ALL 467 dive reviews of Micronesia and all other dive destinations. Complete access to all issues and Chapbooks is also included.

Featured Links from Our Sponsors
Interested in becoming a sponsor?
Reef & Rainforest, Let our experience be your guide -- Reef and Rainforest
Reef & Rainforest
is an agency for travelers that scuba dive. Looking for sharks, wrecks, kayaking, tropical islands? We specialize in adventures to Micronesia.

Want to assemble your own collection of Micronesia reports in one place?
Use the Mini Chapbook Facility to create your personalized collection.

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.

Undercurrent Home

Get more dive info like these and other important scuba updates sent monthly to your email.
And a FREE Recent Issue of Undercurrent

Free Undercurrent Issue
Get a free
monthly email and
a sample issue!

Find in  

| Home | Online Members Area | My Account | Login | Join |
| Travel Index | Dive Resort & Liveaboard Reviews | Featured Reports | Recent Issues | Back Issues |
| Dive Gear Index | Health/Safety Index | Environment & Misc. Index | Seasonal Planner | Blogs | Free Articles | Book Picks | News |
| Special Offers | RSS | FAQ | About Us | Contact Us | Links |

Copyright © 1996-2024 Undercurrent (
3020 Bridgeway, Ste 102, Sausalito, Ca 94965
All rights reserved.

Page computed and displayed in 0.1 seconds