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Dive Review of Sam's Tours and Werner Lau/Palau Pacific and Trader's Ridge in

Sam's Tours and Werner Lau/Palau Pacific and Trader's Ridge, Jun, 2005,

by Pamela Turner, CA, USA ( 2 reports). Report 1765.

No photos available at this time

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

Accommodations 4 stars Food 3 stars
Service and Attitude 4 stars Environmental Sensitivity N/A
Dive Operation 5 stars Shore Diving 1 stars
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ N/A
Beginners 5 stars
Advanced 5 stars
Comments We spent 8 days in Palau, 5 diving and 2 kayaking with Sam's Tours. Blue Corner and New Drop Off were some of the best dives my husband and I have had in 21 years of diving. So many sharks (reef, blacktip, whitetip) that we lost count, big Napoleon wrasses, schools of barracuda. We didn't see any mantas underwater in Palau, but saw two that cruised by our boat for five minutes, which was a great photo op. In Yap, visibility at the manta cleaning stations was limited, but we saw 2 big mantas. Our second dive was actually better--through an underwater canyon with barracuda, baby whitetip sharks, big lobsters, and a huge barracuda. Best time for mantas in Yap, according to our dive guide, Nikko, is February. Both Palau and Yap exceeded expectations, and we've dived enough to be pretty spoiled.

We stayed at Palau Pacific in Palau. Nice, especially the beach access, though some of the rooms are starting to look like they need new wallpaper. Best restaurant on the island is The Taj (great naan and butter chicken) followed by Arirang (Korean). We dived with Sam's Tours. They are very committed to conservation--the general manager, Dermott, helped push through a shark finning ban and is actively involved in getting a new zoning plan to further protect the reefs. Our guides, Dexter and Daniel, were excellent. Our youngest (12) was certified during the visit by the very affable Ronnie. Our kayaking guide, Jake, was extremely entertaining and an incredible athlete. If you want to see mandarinfish, go kayaking to Risong Bay--you can snorkel with them in 2 feet of water and enjoy as long as you like.

In Yap, we chose the upscale Trader's Ridge and its Werner Lau dive center over Manta Ray Bay Hotel, which attracts the package tour crowd. Trader's Ridge is nicer, has a lot more atmosphere, and Werner Lau has a brand-new facility a short walk from the hotel. We had a boat to ourselves (family of five) while the Manta Ray Bay divers were crowded shoulder-to-shoulder. Service is generally slower in Yap--they have less experience than in Palau--but friendly and laid back.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 251-500 dives
Where else diving Australia, New Guinea, Malasia, Thailand, Philippines, Hawaii, Costa Rica, Mexico, Haiti, Dominican Republic, US and British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Jamaica, Florida, California
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather rainy Seas calm, currents
Water Temp 80-82°F / 27-28°C Wetsuit Thickness 0
Water Visibility 20-80 Ft/ 6-24 M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions [Unspecified]
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 3 stars Tropical Fish 5 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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