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Dive Review of Palau Pacific Explorer/Caroline's Resort in
Micronesia/Palau

Palau Pacific Explorer/Caroline's Resort, Aug, 2005,

by Shawn and Jackie Nelson, MN, USA . Report 2977.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 101-250 dives
Where else diving Cozumel, Dominica, Roatan, Maui, Grand Turk
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather cloudy Seas calm
Water Temp 84 to 86 Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness 3
Water Visibility 70 to 100 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions [Unspecified]
Liveaboard? yes Nitrox Available? N/A

What I Saw

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

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

Subject Matter 3 stars Boat Facilities 2 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 3 stars Shore Facilities 3 stars
UW Photo Comments Because there were so few guests aboard the liveaboard there was ample space to set up camera gear in the salon. There was a fresh water rinse bucket solely for cameras as well. On the actual dive boat cameras were stored on a towel on the floor. With Sam's diving, you kept your camera with you or under the bench where you're stationed. An exclusive rinse tub was available back at the shop.

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

Accommodations 5 stars Food 5 stars
Service and Attitude 5 stars Environmental Sensitivity N/A
Dive Operation 5 stars Shore Diving 3 stars
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ N/A
Beginners 4 stars
Advanced 5 stars
Comments Our time spent in Palau was everything we hoped it would be. We spent our first week aboard the Palau Pacific Explorer. We originally were to spend the week aboard the Big Blue Explorer but a couple weeks before our departure we were notified that there were too few guests to operate the Big Blue so we were moved to the Pacific Explorer. This was great for us as we ended up with a larger room. As it turned out we were the only two guests for the first 4 days at which time a really neat young couple joined us for the remainder of our live-aboard trip.

The crew were all awesome as they made our stay comfortable. The food was endless and was surprisingly very very good. The 2 dive guides were excellent! They were really pivotal in making our trip enjoyable. They spent all of their time with us - eating, socializing and of course diving. Richard from the UK was also the trip photographer for the week and took some incredible pictures for us. Jamie from Pennsylvania was an extremely interesting young lady who was great at guiding our dives and pointing lots of creatures out to us. We dove 5 dives most days with at least 60 minutes per dive. We used Nitrox ($150/week extra) so our max depth was no more than 100 fsw. We saw sharks on almost every dive. The fish variety (big and small) was amazing. The coral seemed to be in great shape. The water wasn't quite as clear as we had hoped but the temp was a very comfortable 86 F. We dove a couple of sites (Blue Corner and German Channel) multiple times. Blue Corner is everything that we expected - hook on and watch the action! German Channel was great as we saw lots of Manta Rays on each visit there. We dove a couple WWII wrecks and snorkeled in the amazing Jellyfish Lake. One beautiful night was spent on Ulong (Survivor) beach for a barbecue.

Our second week there was spent at the lovely Caroline's resort in their bungalows with an amazing view. They offer a shuttle service ($4) to Palau Pacific Resort where you can enjoy all the amenities they have to offer with no additional charges. We dove 3 days with Sam's tours. Diving with Sam's was quite good but after having been spoiled on the live-aboard with 5-10 minute rides the 45-60 minute rides with Sam's were long. The sea conditions were great so the long rides were beautiful instead of potentially miserable. The dive guides were nice, helpful, knowledgeable, and good at pointing stuff out. We always made an effort to get to know them but there was no real connection. It seemed odd to us that they would assign a different dive guide each day (Jim, BJ and Dexter). Of the 7 dives, 3 of them were essentially unguided because the guide and the rest of the group (no more than 4 other divers) left us trailing by ourselves with no safety sausage. Each day I would tell them I wanted my own to carry and they said they had one and they would stay close to us. At the end of one particular dive when we were left in the "dust", the guide said he held up the group to wait for us for a few minutes but when they didn't see us they kept going - not real responsible in my book. On the wall dives we were told to go slow and easy which we did but apparently it was too slow for the guides. They said it was because they had to stay by the divers that were eager and going fast. I would think as a guide you should be able to slow everyone down if necessary to wait for the group to be together. This was not exactly a problem for us and they probably assumed that we were very comfortable after having spent a week on the live-aboard prior to diving with them. We certainly could have stayed with the group if we chose to but seeking out creatures to photograph was more important to us.

We rented a jeep one day and explored the area as we headed to a wonderful waterfall (Nardmau) where we spent many hours playing around in the "pools" on our hike to the falls. We were the only visitors at the falls during our time there which made it quite nice. We dined out a number of times on the island and found the food to be fantastic. We ate at Kramers a couple times - the owner/cook is a very interesting guy from the states. We ate at Suriyo Thai restaraunt - excellent and cheap (they don't take credit cards which I found out after our meal). They had no problem with me coming back the next day to pay our bill. We also ate at Rock Island Cafe - an incredible menu but we were in the mood for pizza which was excellent. Also our breakfasts at Caroline's were all great. Sam's tours also provided us lunch on the 3 days we dove with them and the food (espcially the sushi meal) was great.
We had virtually no complaints on this trip except maybe the long flights which were actually more tolerable and comfortable than I thought they would be.

Shawn and Jackie Nelson
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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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