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Dive Review of Fish 'n Fins/Ocean Hunter 1 in

Fish 'n Fins/Ocean Hunter 1, Oct, 2013,

by Graham McGregor, Kilmacolm, GB (Top Contributor Top Contributor 39 reports with 22 Helpful votes). Report 7203.

Photos Submitted with this Report

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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 4 stars Shore Diving N/A
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ 5 stars
Beginners 4 stars
Advanced 5 stars
Comments It is a long way (pretty much from anywhere!) to Palau but it is a great allround dive destination. We had Ocean Hunter 1 to ourselves, 4 of us spread through the 3 cabins they have. Cabin 3 at the rear is by far the best (a double bed and a single) the other two cabins were 2 sharing bunk arrangements and pretty cramped if you were sharing. The boat itself isn't big (about 20m) and there isn't a lot of space. Fine for a group of 4 friends but you might find it a bit claustrophobic if you were on your own and sharing a cabin!
That said, the crew of three were great. Captain Troy knows the area like the back of his hand and knew the best times to dive to avoid crowds. Dive guide Richard was a really good guide (he and Troy were interchangeable either sometimes driving the chase boat and the other acting as dive guide). Roy took care of the cooking and upkeep of the boat. The food was really good and plentiful, with good variety at all meals and definitely aimed at the American/European palate.
Palau had had 3 weeks of unseasonally wet and windy weather prior to our arrival. We were lucky, heavy rain on the first morning but the weather brightened up thereafter to a mixture of bright overcast and sunny. Service from Fish & Fins was good throughout. They met us at the airport at 2am, took us to their shop, which was open so we could pick up our rental BCDs and regs and finalise paperwork. We then went straight outside to the boat which was moored there and spent the next 7 days aboard. Normally OH1 travels independently and takes you over the dive sites. Because the weather had been bad, with rough seas on the outer reefs, we took a 29ft chase boat with us. It was capable of holding 8 to 10 divers so plenty big enough for the 4 divers in our group. That meant we anchored OH1 in sheletered spots along the way and used the chase boat to get to and from dive sites. This added a bit to journey times but did not cut down our diving. Overall we had 26 dives in 6 days, including 3 night dives and a twilight manadrin fish dive. I thought that was good value, as most dives were min 60 mins and a couple were 70/80 mins. Nitrox was available (at an extra charge) and fills were consistently in the 30 to 33 range, which was fine for the profiles.
The rough seas on the outer reefs meant that we did not get down to Peleliu. We spent the first morning around Koror and the next 3 days anchored near German Channel in the Rock Islands. Last two days were at Ulong Channel and the back to Koror for the last day. The variety of diving was good. We dived four WW2 wrecks, including the Helmet wreck, Buoy 6, the Jake seaplane and the Iro, all good in their own way. We also had a couple of Palau's "novelty" dives (Chandelier Cave and Mandarin fish lake (both also interesting). The bulk of the dives were walls and channels. We dived German Channel several times but that was no hardship, as we saw multiple large schools of fish and many sharks (Greys and Whitetips) on every dive and 3 mantas on one dive (up close on a cleaning station). We did persuade the crew to take us out to Blue Corner three times. The seas were pretty lumpy (6 to 10 foot swells) which made for interesting boat exit and reentry. That was the downside. The upside was that no other boats attempted the trips and we had Blue Corner to ourselves each time, which was fabulous. Many so-called "world class" dive sites don't live up to their reputation but I can say that Blue Corner certainly did! What it would be like with the 20 plus day boats and liveaboards over it when conditions are calm, I'm not so sure? We visited the "novelty snorkel" site, Jellyfish Lake. It was interesting and a bit surreal but I felt that the $50 charge to go there isn't really value for money. Overall, I thought Palau was an excellent all round destination. It has a bit of everything really - some interesting wrecks, some good current (hook/drift) dives, nice walls and drop offs, interesting small stuff and loads of shark action, turtles and some mantas - with world class dive sites that actually lived up to their reputations! We saw a lot of day boats around Koror and in the German Channel area. If you can - go liveaboard, otherwise you might find yourself on some pretty crowded sites!! OH1 is great for a small group albeit a bit tight for space. We had a look round Ocean Hunter 3 which is much bigger and well appointed but you'll probably have more divers.
Websites Fish 'n Fins   

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 251-500 dives
Where else diving Galapagos, Sipadan, Malapascua, Maldives, Red Sea, Hawaii, Caribbean (various), Bermuda, Spain
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, windy, rainy, cloudy, dry Seas calm, choppy, surge
Water Temp 29-30°C / 84-86°F Wetsuit Thickness 3
Water Visibility 10-30 M / 33-98 Ft

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions We were a group of 4 divers and were the only divers on Ocean Hunter 1, so the guides were pretty flexible in terms of dive profiles, times etc
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? yes

What I Saw

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

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

Subject Matter N/A Boat Facilities N/A
Overall rating for UWP's N/A Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments camera rinse tank on boat and crew would help with entry/exit to/from the water with cameras
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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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