This year I flew Asiana to Seoul and arrived in Koror at 4am. Thus did not dive on my arrival day. I stayed at my usual place the West Plaza Malakal which is like a motel 6 nothing special but nice people and basic room. Hung out at Kramers (some of the best food on the island) and Bottom Time bar and grill at Sams. I dove with Sams which is always exceptional, the management, facilities, dive guides etc are great.

I met a few Scubaboard members from Arizona at Sams who have read my previous Trip reports and sent me emails asking about Palau and who to dive with. I guess the weather had been Very Rainy and Windy a few days before I arrived and they were about to send me a nasty gram….LOL….then the weather got marginally better when I arrived and they ended up having some great dives. During my stay the weather was just OK. It was windy and generally a bit overcast with a few light rainy days…..the second year I experienced marginal weather. This is the dry season and typically very nice with occasional showers and a few windy days. Must be climate change or the more controversial Global warming! Regardless the reason it was not the typical weather pattern I have experienced in the past years in January, February or March.

Diving-This year I did not have as many of as I say “WOW” dives (yes I am a spoiled diver). Visibility was not as good as I have seen in the past years and they said this was due to the heavy rains and wind they had been having. Also we may have hit currents at the wrong time (or they switched) for optimum diving i.e. one day at the New Dropoff the currents looked like they were ripping at the surface…got to the reef hook up point and the currents died down to nothing. I also did some new spots up north (that I had not done before) the dive guides were not familiar with thus we did not hit those at a good time! Sams was concerned that I did not like those dives (nobody on the boat did)….but as we all know if you do not hit the area at the right time the marine life can be very disappointing. Not necessarily the dive guides fault but the concern expressed by Sams was appreciated. Plus I have to thank the staff for putting up with me for the first few days jumping boats looking to go on the dives and locations I wanted to go on!...I would of sent me to Maml divers….LOL!

The last few days of diving the visibility cleared up and we hit the currents right thus I had some spectacular dives (what I am used to in Palau) at the German Channel, Dexter’s wall, Blue corner, Ulong channel etc. Saw a lot more Turtles and Sharks this year than I have seen in the past 3 years. Saw a few Mantas in the German Channel, large dogtooth tunas at the Blue corner, big schools of Trevally, some very large schools of Fusliers along with all the other marine life and bio-diversity. This year I did not see the large schools of Scad that I have in the past couple of years.

Was hoping to get in dive #900 but being the winds were playing with the visibility and currents, I chose to jump on some 2 tank boats that were going to spots I wanted to go…..thus missed #900 by a few dives. So I will accomplish that in Indonesia later this year and next year perhaps do my #1000 in Palau.

Dove with some great guides Shirley, Neil, Dexter, JC, Kostas etc who were always concerned you had the best dive time!

Sams will have an exciting new addition in September a Liveaboard which will be part of the Siren fleet and being built in Indonesia, it will be called the Palau Siren. Seen pics of the boat and it is the Indonesian style LOB, interior and exterior are exceptionally beautiful. They hope to start sailing in late September. Would love to be there for the trial runs but gotta go to Indonesia for the month of October. I am not a big LOB person so I am hoping in the future they may have some 3 or 4 day options open for people diving with Sams...would love to try the boat.

Cannot believe all the airlines that now come into Palau besides United now Asiana, Korean, China airlines, JAL (think I’m missing another one) and Delta came in a couple of years ago. Years ago I remember the old Airport and Continental was the only game in town. With all these additional airlines I really have not noticed a difference in the number of boats at the dive sites!

Overall it was a great trip, just the weather was not corporative thus messed with the vis and currents. Now I have to decide do I go next year in July or August the traditional wet season which has been turning out to be their dry season….Hmmmm….LOL. Of course on my no dive day no wind and brilliant blue skies were peaking through the clouds!