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Dive Review of Sam's Tours/Palau Pacific Hotel in
Micronesia/Palau

Sam's Tours/Palau Pacific Hotel, Apr, 2007,

by Chip Kamin, PA, USA ( 2 reports). Report 3300.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 101-250 dives
Where else diving Mainly Caribbean including Bonaire, Aruba, Cozumel, Roatan, Utilla, St. Lucia, Dominica, Truks & Caicos, Florida
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny Seas choppy, currents
Water Temp 83 to 85 Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness 3
Water Visibility 50 to 100 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions Come up with 500 PSI
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? N/A

What I Saw

Sharks Lots Mantas 1 or 2
Dolphins Schools Whale Sharks None
Turtles > 2 Whales None
Corals 3 stars Tropical Fish 4 stars
Small Critters 4 stars Large Fish 5 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 5 stars
UW Photo Comments When asked we were provided with water on the baot for camera. We had three small digital camers in our group so there was no problem.

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 5 stars Shore Diving 3 stars
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ N/A
Beginners 1 stars
Advanced 5 stars
Comments This was our first trip for our dive group to the Pacific. Our 8 divers had about 6,000 dives accumulated but mainly in the Caribbean. Although it was difficult to set up, we planned on visiting Palau and then Yap. This turned into an eighteen-day adventure. This was about the minimum amount of time considering the long air flights we were looking at since we were all based in Pennsylvania. We found Tina at Island Dreams www.divetrip.com to help us with making reservations and figuring out how to put this complicated trip together.

Palau had been on our radar for a long time so we had high expectations. Those expectations were met in every way. The Palau Pacific is a wonderful resort. We were met at the airport at 8:00pm and within minutes made a stop to pick up liquor, sodas and of course a beetle nut kit.

The Palau Pacific has beautiful grounds but it is a bit spread out. Our particular room was at the far end of the resort and required a 6-minute walk, many times a day. One might prefer a more centrally located room. Ocean view was not terribly important since the view to the front was limited by the small deck. We opted for the breakfast package $22 per breakfast and it was the best meal of the day. An incredible buffet of just about anything you might want with many Japanese and American delights. Dinner was a different story. When the buffet ($30) was good (seafood night) it was a treat but normal meals were on the expensive side. We ended up eating in town and found many good inexpensive restaurants. A short $7.00 cab ride got us into town. Emaimelei was a locals restaurant recommended by one of the guides. It was very cheap, had a great menu and had great air-conditioning; well recommended by everyone in the group. We did a customary stop at the local jail and bought storyboards.

Sams Dive Tours was selected based upon reader comments in Undercurrent and we were not disappointed. We had Dexter as dive master and Jake as boat captain. I cannot say enough about both of those fellows. They were very knowledgeable as to the marine life, dive locations, and above water life. It is unusual to have both a talkative dive master and a talkative and knowledgeable boat captain. I would highly recommend the pair for any future dive trips. Our group of 8 was perfect for the twin-engine outboards they use to move quickly between dive sites. Lots of cold sodas and a varied lunch was provided each day as well as cold water.

Diving in Palau is a bit tricky due to currents and wind. Dexter grew up diving on the Island so he knew currents and locations intimately. He rarely guessed wrong as to the time and direction of the dive. We opted for three tank dive days with Nitrox (it is free). This made the boat rides less of a problem since we were out most of the day. The rides could be long, up to an hour but they were always fun since we were high speed cruising between the rock islands and discussing local fauna and flora with both guides.

Diving was some of the best we had ever done. Visibility was good to excellent and the water was warm. I ended up diving with a shorty wet suit. The group quickly figured out the use of reef hooks after the first stop at Blue Corner. Our favorite dive was Ulong Channel which started off with a reef hook shark fest, followed by a fast cruise up the channel catching huge lettuce coral, anemones, turtles, giant clams and the most incredible ending to a dive we had ever seen, a huge (25 feet in diameter) ball of swarming fish that was being herded by resident sharks. Dexter told us this fish ball had been around for years and could be found at the end of this dive. We came back to do the dive again and found it a second time!

We made it out to Peleliu and did two dives on Yellow Wall and then did the 2-hour land tour. The dives were worth it but no better than what we had on the main Island. The land tour brought home the magnitude of the war and was well worth it.

In general we saw a lot of big fish. Sharks and turtles were everywhere, lots of small stuff, and schools of fish. Things looked pretty healthy and we never had a disappointing dive. We did the Chandelier Cavern dive on a two tank rest day and although it was a short shallow dive it was fun to visit the three caverns and just relax a bit. We did 17 dives and averaged over one hour per dive.

We did a land tour and spent some time at the Ngardmau Waterfall. This was a great waterfall; the rest of the land tour was just OK with one other highlight, a restored Mens House near the new Capitol building. If I were going again I would just go to the waterfall and then drive to the Mens House and call it a day.

On our other rest day we did a kayak Rock Island tour that included Jelly Fish Lake. We went straight to Jelly Fish Lake to beat any other boats and had the place to ourselves. It is better to do the lake on an off day than to try and squeeze it in at the end of a dive day. The kayaking was fun but a little kayaking goes a long way.

We were off at 3:00am to Yap to complete the dive trip. Going to Palau first was the only way we could make the airlines work but we were looking forward to a more relaxed time on the Island of Yap and again we were not disappointed.






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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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