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Dive Review of Palau Siren in

Palau Siren, Jan, 2014,

by Jeanne Downey, PA, US (Top Contributor Top Contributor 52 reports with 16 Helpful votes). Report 7515.

No photos available at this time

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

Accommodations 5 stars Food 4 stars
Service and Attitude 5 stars Environmental Sensitivity N/A
Dive Operation 4 stars Shore Diving N/A
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ 4 stars
Beginners 5 stars
Advanced 4 stars
Comments The frigid Pittsburgh temperatures in our rearview mirror, the 13 of us made the long journey to Palau. We spent two nights at the West Plaza by the Sea hotel, walking around Koror, taking a taxi tour of Babeldoab Island, getting $20 massages, and sleeping, and then we boarded the Palau Siren for our nine days of diving.

My two favorite dives were Blue Corner when the current was doing what it was supposed to and the sharks came cruising by, and German Channel with the giant tridacna clams and the magnificent lettuce coral patch, even though the current was outflowing instead of inflowing. Chandalier Cave was pretty cool with the stalactites hanging down into the air pockets, and I really enjoyed snorkeling Jellyfish Lake in the rain, as the jellyfish were concentrated in the middle of the lake, there was no sun beating down, and we were the only ones there.

The Siren is a beautiful wooden boat with spacious cabins and bathrooms, an outdoor dining area which got interesting when it was stormy, and a unique dive deck. There wasnít any carpeting anywhere in the boat, so no one got bent out of shape if someone in a wetsuit had to retrieve a forgotten item from inside. Cabins #1 & #2, in the bow, had raised double beds and raised commodes, and huge sink counters. The other cabins had two single beds, which could be pushed together in a couple of the cabins. There was also a closet and an overabundance of upper and lower cabinet space and a shelf running the entire length of the outside bed. The bathrooms had marble walls and floors, which in cabins #7 & #8 transferred the engine room heat, creating a sauna with hot walls and floors, and a great place to dry things.

The lounge area had several couches, a TV with dozens of available movies, a low ceiling which forced everyone to stoop until seated, and AC that just couldnít keep up. The three camera counters were inside the lounge and could accommodate at least 3 large camera rigs. Each person had assigned large and small drawers to keep camera and personal items organized and contained, a nifty idea. The open-air dining area worked great until a multi-day front came through, necessitating lowering the plastic walls. The kitchen was under the dining area and food was passed up a narrow staircase and through a small doorway.

Moving toward the stern, tanks and fins were kept on two hard sided skiffs. Each diver had an assigned area along the perimeter of the boat with a drawer to keep small dive items secure. Between the diver areas was a large raised platform to hang towels, swimsuits, etc; it was also the massage area. Yes, there were $30 massages, and Raine was kept quite busy. Dry towels were available after every dive, along with fruit juices or whatever was requested. There were two large camera rinse tanks and two large plastic garbage bins for rinsing wetsuits. Everything was rinsed for you; they would even help you undress if you wished, and these bins were emptied and refilled after every dive. A fresh water hose was also available for rinsing masks.

The flexible schedule consisted of a light pre-dive breakfast at 6am, first dive briefing at 6:30am, hot breakfast, second briefing around 10:30am, lunch, third dive briefing around 2:30pm, snack, and night dive briefing around 6pm, followed by dinner at 8pm, for a total of four dives most days. Nitrox was included in the cost of the trip.

The hard corals looked healthy, but there wasnít a lot of color; I didnít see much in the way of soft corals. There didnít seem to be many small critters, but there were tons of fishy cleaner stations with small cleaner wrasses doing a brisk business. We saw many turtles and dozens of sharks, mostly grey reef and white tips. One dive I was cruising a short distance from the wall at Turtle Cove and was startled to see a leopard shark coming from the rear at 40 feet. At German Channel we saw three mantas being cleaned and at Turtle Wall, we had a quick glimpse of an eagle ray. Unlike many other places, the bumphead parrotfish were pretty easy to approach.
I did two night dives. At Muchacha I saw my first sleeping pipefish, so cute, and at German Channel we spotted a small Spanish dancer, a moon snail with its mantle extended, and two black velutinids in a high speed chase (well, as fast as two snails can chase).

The crew was fantastic. A windy front made the seas hump up for several days, forcing all the liveaboard boats to retreat to calmer waters and making it impossible to dive some of the outer sites. Divemasters Megan, Vernie, and Leo did their best to get us to good dive sites. Several times we would venture outside the protected area to see how big the surf was, only to be forced back to calmer waters. Ngerechong Outside and Turtle Wall were sites not normally dived, but actually turned out to be two of my favorites. Although we were disappointed that we couldnít dive Blue Corner or German Channel as much as we wanted, and couldnít get to the Peleliu sites at all, I give credit to the crew for trying.

Meals were good, but too spicy for some. Grocery shopping in Palau can be challenging, so considering what was available, Chef Andre did a bang-up job. He also did his best to accommodate special requests. Pop and beer were included and wine and spirits were available.

I was impressed by the Palau Siren, the first in their fleet, and will probably try another of their boats in the future.

Websites Palau Siren   

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience Over 1000 dives
Where else diving Bahamas, Caribbean, Australia, Socorro, Cocos, Galapagos, Indonesia, Malaysia, Micronesia, Philippines, etc.
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather windy, rainy Seas choppy, currents
Water Temp 82-84°F / 28-29°C Wetsuit Thickness 5
Water Visibility 5-100 Ft/ 2-30 M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions Nitrox limit, one hour time limit.
Liveaboard? yes Nitrox Available? yes

What I Saw

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

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

Subject Matter 4 stars Boat Facilities 4 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 4 stars Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments Two large rinse tanks. Inside camera counters could handle 3-4 large rigs. Each person had two assigned drawers inside to contain gadgets and small cameras. One medium size rinse container on skiff that could handle one large rig plus a couple smaller ones.
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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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