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Dive Review of Sam's Tours/Sea Passion in
Micronesia/Palau

Sam's Tours/Sea Passion, May, 2012,

by Robert S Kuhn, IL, US (Sr. Reviewer Sr. Reviewer 8 reports with 1 Helpful vote). Report 6569.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 501-1000 dives
Where else diving Philippines, Hawaii, Carribean, Grenada, Cayman, Belize, Aruba, Bonaire, Curacao, St. Croix, Cozumel
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, cloudy, dry Seas calm, currents
Water Temp 81 to 85 Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility 30 to 80 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile ?
Enforced diving restrictions Nitrox 32 or Air, You are not herded but the DM sets profile. Computers are highly recommended. Get Nitrox certified before you arrive.
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? yes

What I Saw

Sharks Lots Mantas 1 or 2
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 N/A

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

Subject Matter 3 stars Boat Facilities 1 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 2 stars Shore Facilities 2 stars
UW Photo Comments Camera rinse tank available by request if there is room. Boats are not designed for camera storage with minimal space for cameras. With currents and limited space on boats, cameras are limited.

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

Accommodations 4 stars Food 4 stars
Service and Attitude 3 stars Environmental Sensitivity 3 stars
Dive Operation 3 stars Shore Diving 2 stars
Snorkeling 3 stars
Value for $$ 3 stars
Beginners 1 stars
Advanced 4 stars
Comments We spent two weeks diving with Sam's Tours Palau in May 2012. Sams seems to be the dive operation of preference on Palau for English speaking divers. Get Nitrox certified before you go as you will enjoy maximum bottom time if you are with a group of easy breathers.

Diving:
The diving in Palau ranged from good to excellent depending on currents and tides with visibility from 30 80ft, water temperatures from 81 85F and dives depths from 50 100ft. Diving was done in a swimsuit or 3/2MM for those who are easily chilled. Palau diving is not for beginners as many dives had currents, drift diving conditions and even used reef hooks to stay on the reef. Good buoyancy control skills and dive computers are needed. Most of the dive operators in Palau use similar boats and dive the same sites. At times there were up to 5 boats in the same general area but never more than two groups at one specific dive site. Our favorite sites included: Peleliu, Blue Corner, Blue Hole, Ulong Channel and Siaes tunnel. We saw sharks on most dives and turtles on many dives. A Manta and Marble Ray was at the German Channel. The coral and walls are beautiful with amazing color, quality and quantity. Travel time to the sites ranged from 45 60 minutes (Peleliu is farther). Its a pleasant trip through the rock islands.

Sams Tours:
The dive operations and Dive masters at Sams varied greatly. Our first week, Sams had 5 boats operational and the second week Sams had up to 12 boats going out. With 12 dive boats and over 100 divers Sams sometimes ran out of flash lights and not enough tanks available in DIN/Yoke valve and Nitrox/Air combinations. The rinse tank and dive locker at Sams are inadequate for the large number of divers they have and the rinse tank is sometimes used by little kids as their swimming pool (pee pee pool) There are no fresh water rinse showers in the boats. You had to request a camera tank and the Nitrox procedures are very lax. You must check the Nitrox and air fills for all your tanks before departing as several tanks were short fills. Nitrox is free at Sams and the Nitrox will allow you extended bottom time if you are lucky enough to get on a dive boat with other experienced divers you may enjoy dive times that exceed an hour depending on depth and air consumption. Arrive a day early and do a shore dive to check out your weight and dive gear.

Many of the dive sites were repeated during our two week trip and there could been have been better dive site planning based on tide and currents. Make sure to request any special dives early in your trip as there is sometimes a required minimum to schedule. If you want to do three or more dives a day or night diving, you need to work this out in advance before you arrive on your intentions. We had much higher expectations for Sam's and with a little work Sams could be a phenomenal operation.

Sea Passion:
We booked a two week dive package through Sams Tours and stayed at the Sea Passion resort where Sams provides a daily morning pickup for divers at the Sea Passion dock. Sea Passion has a breakfast buffet (offering Asian and American options), A/C, Cable TV, large rooms, reverse osmosis water dispensers on each floor, nice pool, deck and small beach area. Internet is available in the lobby/breakfast area. There is a one time charge. Access was sometime slow, but we could always connect. Sea Passion and Sams Tours are a good combination and no car is needed for divers. There are at least 5 good restaurants within a 5 10 minute walk from Sea Passion.
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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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