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Dive Review of Sam's Tours/Palau Pacific Resort in

Sam's Tours/Palau Pacific Resort, Feb, 2006,

by Chrisanda Button/Rickie Sterne, Arkansas, USA . Report 2333.

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 N/A
Dive Operation 5 stars Shore Diving 3 stars
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ N/A
Beginners 3 stars
Advanced 5 stars
Comments There are a lot of fish and critters in Palau, and Sam's Tours made sure we saw many of them. DM's Daniel and Jim treated us as competent divers, focusing on pointing out interesting critters and formations rather than herding us. Our dives were unrushed, usually ending when we were close to deco limits. Both DM's were sharp-eyed and knowledgeable about marine life and marine life behavior. When they turned their eyes and minds to finding the small stuff, we were shown dragonets, juvenile palette surgeonfish, tiny juvelinle fire dartfish, several types of scorpionfish, and neat nudis. On our first dive at German Channel, three of the mantas we had not seen in Yap swam in close. And we also saw shrimp-goby pairs, groupers, triggerfish, and parotfish getting cleaned, three kinds of lionfish, and several nice clams. On to Blue Corner! The current was not ripping (fine with me, as this was my first reef hook dive), but there was plenty of action: over a dozen black- and white-tipped sharks, dogtooth tuna, schools of fusiliers, jacks, barracudas, and red-tooth triggerfish. DM pointed out smaller stuff like anemonefish
eggs. The current was stronger at New Drop Off, and when we surfaced Rickie said, "We saw it all." I didn't know there were so many pyramid butterflyfish in the world. Besides the sharks and schools of larger fish, we admired balled carpet anemones, nudis, a porcelin crab, sea stars, and clown triggerfish. A Napoleon wrasse accompanied us throughout the dive, often coming within a foot of divers. Until we reached Ulong Channel, Palau was not living up to my Fiji standard. I am more a lover of coral than sharks, and the corals had not been gorgeous or luxuriant on the walls at the first four sites we visited. At Ulong Channel the soft corals were large and multihued, the hard corals healthy, and a patch of lettuce coral amazing. We saw sharks, many fish, and nudis along the way. We ended the dive watching a large turtle chomping on a sponge. The wall beyong Saie's Tunnel, itself pretty neat, was a hard coral and anemone lover's delight. Probably the most impressive wall we have dove on. The wall also offered multiple nudis (3 types in one six-inch circle), anemones, a flatworms. Sam';s Tours' boats look just like all the other dive boats on the island. They are covered and carry two tanks for each diver. Nitrox is free. Our gear was set up on the boat each morning when we were picked up at the PPR dock. The DM's would have switched our gear between dives had we not done so ourselves. The box lunches were really good: choice of a half dozen sorts of sandwiches, a shushi tray, or the very popular bento box. While the rides to the reef were long, we enjoyed cruising past the Rock Islands. We were taken to Jellyfish Lake to snorkel. Wow! And we must recount the very special Sam's Dock dive. The DM's heard us saying that we had never seen mandarinfish, and asserted that these little critters were on parade every evening right in front of the shop. They invited us to ride back to the shop with them. Five of us accepted the invitation. They gave us full tanks, and we backrolled into thirteen feet of rather murky water. We swam past trash to a pile of concrete rubble and within two minutes were observing over a dozen mandarinfish. We also saw pajama cardinalfish, nudis, a barramundi, a banded sea serpent, ringed pipefish, brown-banded pipefish, strapweed filefish, and broken plastic forks.
As many divers before me have written, Palau Pacific Resort is very nice but pricey. Our second-floor gardenview room in the 700 cluster was in a perfect location. Little foot traffic passed, and our balcony overlooked a large fishpond with resident turtles. The rooms are large with good linens. The swimming pool is big enough to swim in, the beach beautiful, the snorkeling off the beach good, and the the two inground jacuzzis hot. Food in the Coconut Terrace is also good but expensive. We were spoiled by the attentive surface.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 251-500 dives
Where else diving Bahamas, Bay Islands, Belize, Cozumel, Turks & Caicos, Sea of Cortez, Australia, Fiji, Truk, Yap
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, rainy Seas choppy, currents
Water Temp 81-0°F / 27--18°C Wetsuit Thickness 5
Water Visibility 70-100 Ft/ 21-30 M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile ?
Enforced diving restrictions This was group drift diving. We were asked to notify the DM when we reached 700 psi.
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? N/A

What I Saw

Sharks Lots Mantas 1 or 2
Dolphins None Whale Sharks None
Turtles > 2 Whales None
Corals 4 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 N/A Boat Facilities N/A
Overall rating for UWP's N/A Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments [None]
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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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