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Dive Review of Fish 'n Fins/PPR and West Plaza by the Sea in
Micronesia/Palau

Fish 'n Fins/PPR and West Plaza by the Sea, Feb, 2013,

by Jeff Bloomer, IL, US (Contributor Contributor 17 reports with 2 Helpful votes). Report 6915.

No photos available at this time

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

Accommodations 5 stars Food 4 stars
Service and Attitude 3 stars Environmental Sensitivity 5 stars
Dive Operation 3 stars Shore Diving N/A
Snorkeling 5 stars
Value for $$ 5 stars
Beginners 3 stars
Advanced 5 stars
Comments We had to start our stay at West Plaza by the Sea...Ugh due to an Asian holiday that had PPR booked. The place is worn down and depressing. It was clean but that is about all I can say for it. Luckily we only had 2 days there and on to Palau Pacific Resort. For Americans there probably isn't a better choice on the island. The resort is very nice and there is a great beach bar to swap stories. The restaurant is very expensive so most meals we went to town.

Fish n Fins is a different operation. The dive shop is not well organized, the woman who works the counter doesn't seem to know how to get paperwork setup when you first arrive. She was very slow and helping with small purchases and when we were done she had the charges wrong on our final bill. We were steered to them by our travel agent as the other large operator, Sam's, caters more to the Asian market and without sounding Xenophobic if you haven't dived with a lot of Asians lets just say that most of them need practice. Everyone shows up at the shop around 8:30 and all the boats (maybe 8?) are lined up 2 deep along the dock. You are assigned a boat and crew (could be different each day) and if your boat is not at the dock you have to climb over 1 boat to get to yours. Doing this with all your gear, camera, etc. while everyone else is doing the same thing can be daunting. Nitrox is included, so that was nice. The crew doesn't help with gear which isn't a problem but just coming from Mana Ray Bay Resort on Yap where they do everything for you including cleaning it up you do get spoiled. Once you are out of that fire drill things settle down. The boats are small and not well protected from rain (we had rain every day and froze during the hour long boat rides) and they don't handle waves very well with their V haul. We had chop on most days due to the weather so the rides were rough. Our first DM seemed to think floating over vast canyons of coral and pointing to schools of fish 100 feet away was what people wanted. Luckily we got a different DM and I told him that although impressive these encounters don't make interesting pictures so from then on we worked to get a lot closer to the animals. Lunch is provided, we would stop on a beach and eat our box lunches along with other boats that would stop. We had some great dives including Blue Corner where the current was ripping, get a Reef Hook the first day-no one tells you this they just assume you have one (buy it at PPR and save a few bucks), no sharks on that one but lots of fish. We made up for sharks on other dives thou like Big Dropoff. All in all we really enjoyed the dives. The weather could have been better but each day we had sun shine.

A bit about the town. It is a bit seedy by day. All the buildings have seen better days but you need to go inside as the interiors were almost always nice. At night the place is lit up like a Xmas tree and looks much better. On Fridays there is a gathering where there is music, food and crafts to buy. A good time and a chance to mingle. As restaurants go I can recommend The Dropoff, Taj and Kramers are all good choices. If you like Indian food don't miss Taj. The Dropoff is cool, you sit outside on picnic tables. The food was good, fairly priced and service was super. Kramers was equally good and on the water. Check out the Jail for local wood carvings (trust me on this). Don't pay full price either, you should be able to get 30% off.
Websites Fish 'n Fins   

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience Over 1000 dives
Where else diving All through the Caribbean, US, Hawaii, South Pacific.
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather rainy Seas
Water Temp 82-82°F / 28-28°C Wetsuit Thickness 2
Water Visibility 70-100 Ft/ 21-30 M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions No real restrictions.
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? yes

What I Saw

Sharks Lots Mantas 1 or
Dolphins Schools Whale Sharks None
Turtles > 2 Whales None
Corals 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 5 stars Boat Facilities 1 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 4 stars Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments The boats don't have accommodations for cameras. I use a collapsible cooler that works great but there is not a lot of extra room on their boats.
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Subscriber's Comments

By Ms Lynda Durfeein VA, US at Mar 13, 2013 11:28 EST  
The above report just supports my view that the best Palau diving experience is aboard a liveaboard. Good value for what you get, compared to the daily rate at PPR, hassle with day boats, etc. Liveaboard gets you to the dive sites ahead of the day boats and the option to change sites in the afternoon if there are other boats there. Can't beat 5 dives a day and one-time set up for your gear. Going on Tropic Dancer in July. Did Palau Aggressor in Sep 2010.
By Julie Finleyin CA, US at Sep 05, 2013 02:07 EST  
I have dived Palau a lot. Sam's Tours is a great dive operator. Office is well organized, gear can be left in storage locker at night. Dive staff is very helpful and friendly. Whoever said Sam's caters to Asians was misinformed. About half of the divers are usually Americans, with a lot of Europeans and a few Asians. Try Sam's and I am sure you will be pleased. Julie Finley.
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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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