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Thread: Palau Trip Report 2-20 to 3-10 2011

  1. #1
    Shark
    Join Date
    08/01/2007
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    Temecula CA
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    Palau Trip Report 2-20 to 3-10 2011

    This year I took the long way around. I flew ANA from LAX to Tokyo spent the night then on to Guam and Palau. I have flown Continental for years starting in 2000 when they were flying the 777’s from LA to Guam. Then it was the 767’s then the 757’s to Hawaii and then 737’s. Although it was a bit longer going through Tokyo, ANA is a great Airline to fly. Coming back I flew United to LA…and I missed the earthquake by a day!

    Again this year I stayed at the West Plaza Malakal which is a basic hotel nothing fancy but it
    works and the Staff is wonderful. I met up a couple of friends who stayed at the Sea Passion and that was a definite notch or two above the WP. The grounds and rooms were very nice but if you do not want to spend the $30+ a night for the extras the WP works for me as I’d rather spend those $ at Bottom Time Bar and Grill, Kramers, Taj etc.

    I dove with Sams again this year. Sams has done a lot remodeling and updating of their operation and boats over the last 3 years, now they have added a new boat called the Bullshark. Very nice boat with a total of 8 seats that hold 2 people per seat and your tanks are behind the seat. There were no more than ten guests on the boat plus a DM and Guide. One thing I have heard from people (especially new people to Sams) is how chaotic it is in the AM. I look at it with amusement….all you need to do is look at the board for the boat your on and concentrate getting setup, if you need anything ask one of the people running around. They always resolve everything and your boat generally leaves around 8:30 to 9:00 am and since I do not have any pressing appointments…Never a worry!

    This year the weather was a factor, they are saying they are having more rain in the Dry season than in the Wet season. Usually February and March are exceptionally nice months. Of the 15 days I was there we had winds, rain and clouds for the majority of my trip, only 1½ days of sun and calm waters. One day we could not get out to the reefs and dove wrecks and sites like the lighthouse. Couple of the days we could only do two dives. Also I had caught a cold that went into my ears! Not fun and had to cancel one day of diving….at least that was a bad weather day!

    Diving-13 dive days (planned 14 days but caught that cold which went in my ears), 84 degree water temps and 37 dives. The visibility was not the usual due to the rain and winds. Had some spectacular dives one at the New dropoff that I saw at least 50+ schooling gray reef sharks. Ulong and the German channel had the Scad, Fusiliers and other schooling baitfish herded by Sharks, Wrasse, giant Jacks etc. The Blue corner…as usual was great with a couple of juvenile eagle rays (that were not afraid of getting very close), Spanish mackerel, Tuna, Dogtooth Tuna, Sharks, marbled rays, numerous wrasse and a couple of the large Napoleon Wrasse that come around to check you out when you are hooked up! Had a couple of stellar dives at the Blue Corner with a 50 minute hook up and Ulong when you get one of those days the current was perfect also saw a few mantas at the German channel, some people saw up to 5 and some did not see one….as they say timing is everything.

    Tried a couple of new spots this year, Ngercheong outside and the Teshio wreck. Found Ngercheong to be excellent with corals similar to Ulong which also had turtles, lots of flame angles, tropical’s, sharks, turtles here and there etc…great dive. The Teshio wreck is one of the better wrecks in Palau cannot believe I have not done it before!

    On my no dive day I went up to Babeldaob and saw the mini Washington DC. I think that money could have been spent elsewhere…LOL. The Beaches up there were magnificent! I asked Dermot and Nick at Sams if they have ever explored the diving up there and they had. But still the best dive spots are out on the reefs from Koror. Sams may in the next year or two offer trips up there but I am assured there would be a nice fuel surcharge!

    Overall I had a great trip, although the weather was so-so and had an ear infection….Cannot wait until next year!!!

    Now Cozumel or North Carolina for the summer!....or a long wait till Oct for Indo……Hmmmm

  2. #2
    Grouper Founding Member
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    another Palau notch in your weight belt :-) you always make your trip sound so wonderful....sorry you had a cold and a few foul weather days.....maybe the effects of La Nina??? anyway....thanks for sharing looking forward to your pics :-)
    Breathe in, Breathe out, Move on http://www.roatanchildrensfund.com/

  3. #3
    Shark
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    They say they are having the La Nina and probably the reason the water was a degree or two warmer than normal....Not complaining...about the water temp...just a bit too cloudy, rainy and rough waters!....One day on my boat there was an Air Force Doctor stationed in San Antonio...who was on a tour through out Micronesia (sure he is in Japan now). He works with NASA and specializes in motion sickness with the Astronauts....He got seasick one day!....LOL

    Here's some pics!
    Attached Images Attached Images

  4. #4
    Grouper Founding Member
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    too funny on the guy who got seasick....guess he didn't practice what he preaches......in pic 1 what I am I looking at something from WWII I suppose....not shot of the eagle rays and giant trident clam ....thanks for sharing...

    btw I see you are maybe going to Holbox this summer.....check into Isla Mujeres my friend who lives in cozumel told me the water was clearer and more blue.....not sure who she used but you can check out the videos on this sitehttp://islawhalesharks.com/default.asp
    Breathe in, Breathe out, Move on http://www.roatanchildrensfund.com/

  5. #5
    Shark
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    Those are live Grenades on the Helmet wreck from WWII, a couple of years ago I was swimming in that area of the wreck and I felt my BC being pulled to get me out of there. It was my dive guide as a couple of idiots (i did not see) were using a stick playing with the Gernades...They are still live!

    I've looked at Isla Mujeres and if I remember right you still have a hour+ boat ride near Holbox to see the Whalesharks. I really enjoyed Holbox I think it was 06...If I saw 1 Whaleshark I saw 50...they were everywhere!...I'll make up my mind next month...thanks for the info.

    Here's some more pics.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  6. #6
    Shark
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    Beautiful!
    Thanks for the report and pictures.

  7. #7
    Amazing pictures! thanks!

  8. #8
    Thought of two questions I'd love to ask a Palau veteran such as yourself.....

    1. Are there any particular things that you usually take boat diving but would advise we leave at home because Sam's provides (other than weights)?

    2. I've heard that the Sam's DMs don't really love it when you ask to dive Nitrox because of the depth limits involved - what do you dive?

    I have only had my nitrox cert a short while, and haven't really been convinced yet of the great advantage - unless it's being used for a specific circumstance (like wanting to stay longer on a wreck located at 80 feet or maybe liveaboard diving with more than 2/3 dives per day).....the shorter surface interval advantage certainly wouldn't apply with Sam's since I understand we're going to be lollygagging at least an hour between dives anyway....

  9. #9
    Shark
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    Take pretty much what ever you need on the boat as long as it is not to big and bulky. They have a dry storage area, drinks and lunch.

    The DM's do not like it when you ask for Nitrox???????....LOL...LOL.....where do those silly rumors start????....They love it if everyone dives Nitrox especially if you are doing 3 dives. The only thing the DM's are adamant about....do not go into Deco!...Nitrox helps with that as you will get better bottom times. They always do a 1 or 1+ hour surface interval....Do Nitrox!

  10. #10
    Great advice - thanks!

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