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View Full Version : Palau, Fiji, Galapagos, Red Sea??? Opinions...



misdmnr
10-05-2009, 01:21
Looking for a trip of a lifetime. My boyfriend and I are recently AOW certified, (I also went nitrox). We mainly dive fresh water quarries here in WI, no currents, no vis, cold as heck (45 degree water). Both approx 25 dives, we've done some Caribbean diving. Looking for a variety of life, corals, big fish, turtles, dolphins, small fish, super night dives, etc. I hear Galapagos is great for big fish, but how is it for everything else? Looking for maximum "kid in a candy store effect". Cost is something to consider also...trying to stay under $4K if possible. Not sure if I'd prefer resort or liveaboard(haven't tried one). Our LDS is planning Galapagos in 2012, but if something else sounds better, I'm game to try it. Thanks in advance for the opinions!

Lulubelle
10-05-2009, 01:54
Looking for a trip of a lifetime. My boyfriend and I are recently AOW certified, (I also went nitrox). We mainly dive fresh water quarries here in WI, no currents, no vis, cold as heck (45 degree water). Both approx 25 dives, we've done some Caribbean diving. Looking for a variety of life, corals, big fish, turtles, dolphins, small fish, super night dives, etc. I hear Galapagos is great for big fish, but how is it for everything else? Looking for maximum "kid in a candy store effect". Cost is something to consider also...trying to stay under $4K if possible. Not sure if I'd prefer resort or liveaboard(haven't tried one). Our LDS is planning Galapagos in 2012, but if something else sounds better, I'm game to try it. Thanks in advance for the opinions!

There will be others on this board with more ideas for you as they have been diving and traveling since the Stone Ages (sorry to those of you to whom this rings tru) and have been everywhere. Personally, I would recommend that you try to squeeze in the time to get a little more ocean experience BEFORE your big trip so that you are ready for any destination, not just those with gentle currents. Trust me, from someone who often is in strong current/6 foot seas. I was certified in January 2008. That summer, I had a trip to Australia/Fiji semi-planned. I started thinking about it and decided that I wanted to make that trip when I had a bit more experience. Well, that, and the real estate market crashed so I bought myself a diving launch pad at the beach and needed the cash there. So I cancelled the trip.

Good decision for me! I have a lot more experience now and think I would get more out of it now.

I would strongly recommend considering a liveaboard. You will double your number of dives in a week, will spend all of your energy diving and not slogging your equipment around, and you will dial in those parts of diving that you may not have mastered yet. I did one of these this past January in the Turks and Caicos Islands. I loved it. There is a long thread I posted somewhere called a newbie's first liveaboard which focuses more on what it was LIKE.

Have fun!

mrm777
10-05-2009, 16:00
"I would strongly recommend considering a liveaboard. You will double your number of dives in a week, will spend all of your energy diving and not slogging your equipment around, and you will dial in those parts of diving that you may not have mastered yet."
__________________________

Liveaboards are good "boot camps" for new divers. Many put a DM in the water on every dive and often you'll have him/her all to yourself. Plus, there are enough dives through the week that you don't feel so bad if you decide to forego for any reason.

misdmnr
10-05-2009, 17:59
Thanks...you make a good point about putting more dives under your belt, in the ocean. So, in regards to current...is the Great Barrier Reef worth considering as a liveaboard, or is there a lot of current diving there also? Doing Roatan in April 2010. Would like to go somewhere every year, and save a little extra for the trip of a lifetime. Thanks both of you for the response.

jet126
10-06-2009, 08:59
Do a thread search on any one of those destinations and you'll find a trip report from someone on this forum. That should help you narrow down your choice. And do think about getting more ocean dives before you go anywhere exotic. Florida or Cozumel are reasonable options coming from the midwest.

The reality is once you get the travel bug there won't be just one "trip of a lifetime." As soon as you're home from one you'll be anxious to start planning and saving for the next.

Take your time and enjoy!

Travelnsj
10-13-2009, 14:53
Thanks...you make a good point about putting more dives under your belt, in the ocean. So, in regards to current...is the Great Barrier Reef worth considering as a liveaboard, or is there a lot of current diving there also? Doing Roatan in April 2010. Would like to go somewhere every year, and save a little extra for the trip of a lifetime. Thanks both of you for the response.

The northern Good barrier reef is beautiful topside on an LOB (Carins to Cod Hole)....the diving is good...one of my favorite spots is Heron Island (southern part)...stunning island and the diving is good.

Trip of a lifetime go to Palau!

sassyalice
10-16-2009, 19:17
Hey Travelnsj
I see you have a lot of Palau experience, and was wondering if I could ask a few questions? My husband and I go in January and would like to chat with someone who has RL experience. Like one question I would like to know is what would be considered a good gift for a chief? We would like to bring deflated soccer balls (and pump, we are not that sadistic) for the children, how would that be received? The best dive shops. I would like to go down with a gift for a great DM or 2 that we can find out all about before we go so when we get there we can request him. Hotels? Is there internet?

I am new here and not sure about post etiquette. So my apologies to all for jumping in like this.
:smiley9:

Travelnsj
10-16-2009, 20:59
I cannot answer all your questions.....My experience is mostly Diving land based, land tours in Peleliu and with organizations like Bentprop.org. I have only done one tour of the Island Babeldaob (main island) years ago. I have met a Chief at the Taj one night and he was a nice person but they serve at the pleasure (or appointment) of women!

There are many levels of accommodations in Palau. What is your budget? The PPR or Nikko are the nicest, The Carolinas and Sunrise (they have a new name) are nice, I stay at the West Plaza which is like a Motel 8. I have stayed at all of them but since I am there to dive and the West Plaza works for me. There are many good restaurants and yes Internet.....I dive pretty much with Sams Tours being I know everyone I always have a great time. Palau is very Americanized! As far as bringing toys for the kids etc...Palau is not like Indonesia or some parts of the Caribbean....your tax $$$ are at work in Palau....if you book with Sams perhaps Airleen or Russelle can give you some pointers.

I do not know if Scubarobin has done the village tours but I know she has been to the jail and I think purchased a storyboard...perhaps she could tell you more.

Let me know if I can answer some specifics...happy to help.

Zeagle Eagle
10-22-2009, 00:18
If you choose Palau as your dive destination you won't regret it. It is perhaps some of the best diving I have ever done. I recommend a live aboard there as most of the really world class dives are a 45 minute boat ride. The day boats are good too; they just take longer. As someone else mentioned they are very americanized. Money is always welcomed as a tip. What is good for American kids is good for the Palauan kids. Video games like PSP and Nintendo are great little gifts and pack well. Cool T shirts- Aerosmith, Hard Rock, Harley Davidson, Hollister are some good ones.
Make sure to take a really good SMB with you as you will probably encounter some ripping currents.

Consider leaving some of your dive gear behind that you can live without. Getting decent dive gear on the island is very expensive. Don't leave without doing the Jelly Fish lake snorkel or buying a "story board" a the jail.