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Dive Review of Sam's Tours in
Micronesia/Palau

Sam's Tours, Nov, 2008,

by Henry & Carol Ziller, CO, USA (Sr. Contributor Sr. Contributor 25 reports with 5 Helpful votes). Report 4621.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 101-250 dives
Where else diving Cozumel, Belize, Florida, Cayman, Honduras, Bahamas, Dominica, Tobago, Hawaii, Indonesia, Curacao, Pohnpei
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, windy, rainy, cloudy Seas calm, currents, no currents
Water Temp 83 to 83 Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness 3
Water Visibility 50 to 70 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile ?
Enforced diving restrictions Depth, Time and Safety stops enfoced
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? N/A

What I Saw

Sharks Lots Mantas Squadrons
Dolphins None 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 5 stars Boat Facilities 2 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 4 stars Shore Facilities 5 stars
UW Photo Comments Cameara rinse at dock is great. Computers are available for viewing at dive shop.

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

Accommodations 3 stars Food 4 stars
Service and Attitude 4 stars Environmental Sensitivity 5 stars
Dive Operation 4 stars Shore Diving N/A
Snorkeling 4 stars
Value for $$ 4 stars
Beginners 3 stars
Advanced 4 stars
Comments We used Continental Airlines and their partner Alaska Airlines, flying from Denver to Seattle and onward the next day to Hawaii on Alaska. From Hawaii it was Continental to Guam, to Yap, to Palau. My wifes dive bag did not take the same flights. Continental provided a voucher for dive gear rental and some cash. Rental gear was good. We stayed at West Plaza Malakal Hotel. It was closest to Sams Tours. The rooms were clean and large enough, the A/C worked and there is television, only a couple of English channels. Power is 110 volts, but there are only a few outlets. The water is not safe to drink. Luggage is moved to your room via a dumbwaiter and you walk the stairs. A grocery store is across the street. The hotel is next to the Shell Bulk Fuel storage facility. The Longshoremans restaurant is across the street and was a bargain with great variety of meals. A cheese burger with fries and salad was $3.50! The restaurant at the hotel, Palm Bay Bistro, was very good. Red Rooster Brewery is also at this sight. The Porter was excellent. Kramer Restaurant is close by on the water and has good seafood. Next time we may stay at West Plaza-by-the-Sea. It is easy walking to downtown and is still on the water. Sams Tours picks up and drops off so where you stay is always easy. If you want to go downtown after diving just ask them to take you and pay a cab to take you back to your hotel, or walk.

Sams Tours dive shop area has bathrooms with showers (bring your own soap) and gear storage. Several rinse tanks, a couple for cameras only. The dive boats are equipped with radios, cell phone, oxygen, life preservers, drinking water, and Sams gives you a water bottle to keep. The covered boats have twin 175 hp Yamaha engines. You can store stuff in dry boxes under seating areas. My advice is to keep the wet suit on and bring a hood just for the wet rides. It rained everyday of our trip but we also saw sun most days. The water is warm and many divers do not wear any wet suit. There is no rinse bucket on the boat. They only put 8 divers/snorkelers on a boat so there is ample room. Back roll entry is the norm and ladders seemed sturdy enough. Captains were friendly and knew several routes around the Rock Islands, so the views varied. Dive masters were good and kept track of everyone, even when we were blown back over the reef into the channel at Blue Corner when the current changed directions. Our dive master furnished reef hooks for us. Most divers took advantage of free nitrox. Most divers were from Europe, Australia, or Japan so dive crews are not used to receiving tips. We tipped daily. We made two dives at Blue Corner and that was enough for me. They have some very nice reefs for diving too. Ngemilis Coral Garden and Siaes Tunnel were nice dives, so was Ulong Channel. We also made three dives at German Channel to see mantas and saw several mantas on two of those three dives. This can be a disappointing dive if there are no mantas. We were lucky. We saw lots of sharks on all dives, the 80-year old clams were huge, we also saw turtles on every dive, and large hump head wrasse and bump head parrotfish, as well as lots of reef fish, barracuda, clown triggerfish, anemone fish, schools of trevelly, tuna, jacks, etc. Lunch is included and is ordered the day before. The bento box is great as well as a variety of sandwiches. The dive of the Helmut Wreck is closer in to the main island and water clarity is poor, maybe 20 feet at best, but it was a dive we wanted to do because my father-in-law was involved in all of the battles that liberated these islands so there is some history there for us. We went to Jellyfish Lake twice. This was a huge plus for my wife as this along with the mantas and mandarin fish were highlights for her! The hike over the ridge is not an easy hike there are steps of limestone coral you climb with the aid of rope banister. If you have a pair of stiff sole dive booties bring them along for this and the Ngardmau Water Falls hike. Jellyfish Lake is great snorkeling. They are amazing creatures. The Koror Stat Government charges $35.00 fee for Jellyfish Lake and the Peleliu State charges a $20.00 fee for a diving permit. Permits are good for 7 days.

The kayak tour to Mandarin Fish Lake was great. Mandarin fish dont like the sun. We were fortunate in that it was raining so we saw several. Patience! The kayaking is not very exerting and waters around the islands are calm. The islands are under cut so you can keep out of the rain much of the time. Ask Jim, one of the dive masters where the mandarin-fish are right at Sams Tours docks, grab a tank (Depth about 13 feet and vis about the same) and watch them at their dusk mating ritual.

We did the land tour and it took us all around the island. They let you use rental booties for the Water Falls hike but if you have some thick rigid sole booties bring them. You do walk through mud up to your ankles for a good portion of the hike and to by-pass some of the mud you walk up the creek, but the rocks are not kind to your feet. Worth it though.
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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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