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Dive Review of Sam's Tours/Sea Passion Hotel in

Sam's Tours/Sea Passion Hotel, Oct, 2013,

by Deborah Fulton, WV, US ( 2 reports). Report 7291.

No photos available at this time

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

Accommodations 3 stars Food 3 stars
Service and Attitude 4 stars Environmental Sensitivity 3 stars
Dive Operation 3 stars Shore Diving N/A
Snorkeling 2 stars
Value for $$ 3 stars
Beginners 3 stars
Advanced 4 stars
Comments The boat ride to the dive sites was an hour long. If I were to go back, I'd book a live aboard. The boats were 30' with zippy twin props but no frills. I was happy to have the shade of the roof. No drinking water, no snacks, no showers provided on board.
We were picked up by the dive boats at the hotel dock at 8am. Since the ride was so long, we typically did 2 dives, ate picnic lunch on a nearby beach, then did our third dive before heading back. Several islands have picnic sites equipped with picnic tables and outhouses.
I enjoyed diving Palau for it's lovely walls, diversity of tropicals, and shark-viewing dives. Very few nudibranchs and invertebrates, so most pics were of fish. Diving conditions were good most of the time. Sometimes vis was awesome, other times so so. We employed reef hooks at two 'shark alley' dive sites where the current was fairly strong. There was a typhoon in Japan so we had a few days with wind, waves. The docks at Sam's Tours provided one of my most enjoyable dives....a muck dive with some mandarin fish, and on rare occasions, a devil fish. Watch out for the man-eating damsel fish....and the filefish will gently nip if you try to pet them.
The people at the Sea Passion and at Sam's Tours were very nice for the most part. English spoken everywhere. Ran into more issues at the hotel than with the dive operator.
The Sea Passion Hotel enjoys a lovely waterside location. The room and bathroom were spacious enough and clean. Filtered water dispensers were provided on each floor. In addition to the lighting inadequacies at Sea Passion, it took repeated requests over several days and a small tantrum before the staff allowed us a second key to the room. This really created an inconvenience as my roommate and I were of no relation and we had different schedules, making it a challenge to share a key.
I enjoyed the breakfast buffet at the hotel. The menu catered to both Asian and Western appetites and I found the quality of the meal to be very good.
WiFi was available on a very limited basis in the lobby, not in the rooms. Others in my party reported that there were good times when the WiFi worked reasonably well in the open-air lobby...such as the pre-dawn hours when the thriving mosquito population showed up for their own breakfast buffet. I was successful in sending a few emails from the lobby, but the majority of the time I was stuck with the spinning pinwheel. Another guest did his internet work at Sam's Tours (5 minutes walk from Sea Passion) where WiFi could be purchased for a small fee.

Be aware that Sam's Tours has a 24-hour No Dive Pre-Flight policy.

Sam's Tours was very helpful when my high pressure hose sprung leaks midweek. I use an Oceanic Pro Plus computer and the hose needed to be Oceanic to be compatible. (Note to self..maybe carry redundant HP hose) No Oceanic hose to be had at Sam's Tours so my Pro Plus went into the suitcase. Jeremy at Sam's Tours charged me $15/day for the use of a wrist computer and a high pressure hose with pressure and depth gauges. I felt that was not unreasonable.
I spent time on two boats so became acquainted with 4 dive guides. Jim was the best about pointing out a few special critters such as the electric flame scallop aka disco clam. The others, pleasant enough, were simply shepherding us, it seemed.
If you go, there are a few good restaurants around Koror. The Palm Bay Bistro and Taj were my favorites.
Websites Sam's Tours   

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 251-500 dives
Where else diving Caribbean, Indonesia, GBR
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny Seas choppy, surge
Water Temp 82-85°F / 28-29°C Wetsuit Thickness 3
Water Visibility 50-120 Ft/ 15-37 M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile no
Enforced diving restrictions 100 foot, 60 minutes on first dive. Most dives were executed as a loose group following the guide. Two guides per group.
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? yes

What I Saw

Sharks Lots Mantas None
Dolphins None Whale Sharks None
Turtles > 2 Whales None
Corals 4 stars Tropical Fish 5 stars
Small Critters 1 stars Large Fish 3 stars
Large Pelagics 4 stars

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

Subject Matter 4 stars Boat Facilities 2 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 3 stars Shore Facilities 3 stars
UW Photo Comments Our group stayed at the Sea Passion Hotel and dove with Sam's Tours. Let's start with the hotel.
The Sea Passion rooms were not photographer friendly. My room had poor natural lighting and there was no lamp lighting...just weak overhead lighting geared for a guest seeking relaxation. I resorted to using my dive light to inspect o-rings. I requested a lamp at the front desk. It was reported that none were to be had.
The number of electrical outlets was comfortable for one photographer per room and only adequate for two photographers with careful planning and cooperative sharing of outlet time.

Sam's Tours had a camera rinse bin on board the boat and a rubber mat beside it for resting rigs in transit. At the dive shop, there were 2 large rinse tanks designated for cameras.
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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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