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Dive Review of Palau Siren/West Plaza By the Sea in
Micronesia/Palau

Palau Siren/West Plaza By the Sea: "Palau Siren, A very Professional Liveaboard Experience", Mar, 2015,

by elizabeth idell, AL, US (Reviewer Reviewer 4 reports with 5 Helpful votes). Report 8171 has 3 Helpful votes.

No photos available at this time

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

Accommodations 5 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 $$ 4 stars
Beginners 3 stars
Advanced 5 stars
Comments I arrived early a couple of days and stayed at an adequate hotel. Hotels are not cheap and you can stay at a resort for far more money. I had a clean room and the hotel had a place to eat, good breakfast, ok dinner. WiFi cost either $5 for PMCN, very slow. Or $20 for Palau WiFi. I tried both. Don't waste your time with the first. The second one is also slow but if it isn't raining it will eventually work. Use the phone to talk on the island. It's free. you can also buy a phone card that is about 20 minutes for $20 if you want to call the States. I had to do this when having problems with flights. The hotel, and many other establishments, offer US Military and retired Military discounts at 50% cost. I arranged tours through the hotel or with a taxi driver I got to know. Again, expect to pay well for tours. After the Liveaboard 4 of us did a helicopter tour. Certainly worth the $480 for 45 minutes with the doors off. Our pilot extended the flight to about an hour. This is about the only way to see dugongs at all. Seeing the islands, German Channel, the Blue Hole, Blue Corner, 2 of the three Jellyfish Lakes and other places from the air gave it all a new perspective.
The liveaboard is affiliated with Sam's Tours and they pick you up from the hotels or airport to join the vessel. They were punctual. On board, the crew handles baggage and a safety briefing for your room. Diving safety Briefings and Boat Emergency Procedures were later. The cabins are spacious and comfortable. The food was exceptional. even though their is often a shortage of staples, like eggs, fruit, vegetables, etc. on land, not so on the boat. We were there to see sharks and we did see a lot of Gray, white tips, black tips, and a bull shark. We expected Gray Shark mating season but were told that happened a little early this year. Mantas were not super plentiful but we did see some. Lots of turtles and large schools of fish.
We did go to Jellyfish lake. We went early in the morning before the rangers got there. A big advantage because the lake can get very crowded. We had it to ourselves and listened to the jungle waking up. And yes, it is a hike, up hill both ways. Still worth it. We visited Pelileu, site of Japanese headquarters during WWII. there is a museum and artifacts scattered around the island. We were offered a tour but had to miss diving and pay an extra $45. No one took it. We had a picnic and took the leaward side ride to catch the Siren that had taken the Windward side in high winds. It was a long ride but better than the Siren had so well worth it.
16 guests. Dive groups were designed to be small guided groups in potentially strong current. two groups per skiff. All diving was from Skiffs. The skiffs were well appointed. Gear stayed in the skiff. a rinse tank for cameras. after dives the crew took care of transferring cameras and any tanks necessary to the Siren. We were happy with our group of 4 and a very relaxed dive guide, Vernie. Two groups of 4 though stayed together all week due to the training of a new dive guide. That group was a little large.
Dive guides ensured we were courteous to other divers when hooked in at places like the Blue Corner. I wish other boats dive guides were equally as courteous.
At the end of the trip we were transferred to our hotels and/or flights. I had a three day layover because i was doing Truk Lagoon after. A Typhoon made that connection difficult. The hotel did a good job helping me communicate with the airlines. Between the hotel, Ben and Bonnie Jackson of Equator Diving, and being a persistent and involved self advocate i was able to get out on the first rescue flight. That made my delay into Chuuk only a day, within the margin Equator Diving had worked for me to get to the Truk Siren on time. Others were told they had confirmed seats but showed up at the airport to be put on standby with 60 plus other people. It wasn't a happy crowd. The difference, when told I was confirmed I asked for my seat numbers which forced them to assign me seats before I arrived. That ensued I had a boarding passes waiting for me.
Siren Crew, Very Professional and a very positive experience. Hotel staff, Helpful and friendly. Helicopter Company, Professional and a very good, if pricey experience. Equator Diving, I can't say enough good things about them. I had lots of problems in Truk and they were very helpful there as well.
Fish: there is a question about Mantas and dolphins in the form. We didn't see dolphins underwater. We saw several on the surface but not up close. We saw about 10 mantas over the course of the trip. That is more than 2 but not squadrons.
Websites Palau Siren   West Plaza By the Sea

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 501-1000 dives
Where else diving Cocos, Socorro, Caribbean various locations, Africa, Sea of Cortez, Red Sea, Coral Sea, Pacific Northwest USA, Gulf of Mexico, East coast Florida, Southern Canada, Puget Sound, etc.
Closest Airport Koror Getting There United Airlines: Atl-Hawaii-Guam-Koror. United seems to be having LOTS of maintenance issues. Also, 2 typhoons added to flight issues. Entertainment systems in AC do not work. If they are working you need your own external charger to watch on your smart phone or tablet. Food for sale 8-12 USD. This is more than the $7 a day they authorize if you have flight cancelled for maintenance.

Dive Conditions

Weather windy, rainy, cloudy Seas choppy, currents
Water Temp 79-82°F / 26-28°C Wetsuit Thickness 3
Water Visibility 30-100 Ft/ 9-30 M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile no
Enforced diving restrictions Our own profile. Maybe a few times. But the type of diving we were doing made that impractical. On the other hand, we really weren't required to cut dives short. We were consistently in the water from 60-80 minutes.
Liveaboard? yes Nitrox Available? yes

What I Saw

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

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

Subject Matter 4 stars Boat Facilities N/A
Overall rating for UWP's 4 stars Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments Camera tables were good. We still overflowed but that was worked out. plenty of outlets and adapters available. Storage for each Camera as well as for each diver was available. This is an upgrade from older Sirens.
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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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