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JayKav

Palau in November: Liveaboard vs. Resort

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Hey all...

My friend and I are looking to do a big trip this November. Was tossing around Komodo, Palau, or a return trip to PNG. Have been leaning towards Palau. I'm a huge fan of liveaboards. But have talked to a few people who have said that a liveaboard would just be paying extra money for the same divesites in Palau. Anyone have any thoughts on whether or not a liveaboard is worth it? Also... any recs for liveaboards and/or dive resorts in Palau?

Thanks,

Jay

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Sites are close enough to stay shore based.

Do Truck when in the vicinity.

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The liveaboards do mainly do the same sites but are not bound by the travel time from Koror, which equals a couple of hours each day. Add to that their ability to get you in the water at the most popular dive sites when there is the least number of people so you avoid the rush hour that often ruins a potentially really good site. The extra price is more than made up for by the huge amount of food that they will feed you and if you want a boat that will only have 5 other divers on it for example there are those here too. There are enough companies running here now that the choice is good.

As far as quality of experience goes, the staff I know who work on them and the itinerary, safety and accommodation I can advocate the Aggressor, Dancer and Ocean Hunter 1 boats with the latter being the nicest boat I have ever been on, as far as crew and that relaxed dive vacation in paradise kind of thing you're maybe looking for.

Combine that with the ability to get in amongst some of the most beautiful island scenery in the world, you can't go wrong with Ocean Hunter 1.

Just my shameless plug, but it is awesome.

Hope that helps

 

Richard

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Hello Jay,

 

Palau is an awesome place to dive! =) I worked on a liveaboard there for a few months and I would recommend it over shore based. One reason is because on the safari you will be able to head down to the island of Pelelui and dive around there... Some amazing drift dives with plenty of shark action and also a trip on the mainland is quite interesting as it was the scene of a major battle in WW2.

 

On top of this, as a lot of the sites around Koror are within reach of day boats, its good to be on the liveaboard so you get into the water at the popular sites before they arrive. Eg sites like Blue Corner can get very busy during the day. Also, sites like German Channel (Known for mantas) are awesome when hit on an incoming tide, once again you can time this better on the liveaboard.

 

As far as recs for which boat... I would ask around to make sure they do head down to Pelelui, as I don't think all of them do. Especially if you are heading down later in the year.... I think its Nov/Dec when the Grey Reef sharks are mating and can be seen in huge numbers everywhere but in particular around Pelelui... When I was there it was not uncommon to have a scene in front of you with dozens of them gliding around in the current as you were hooked onto the reef. Really cool! =)

 

Enjoy mate, let me know what you decide and if you have any questions, fire away!

 

Cheers

 

McLovin

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The wife and I went with the Aggressor and it was fantastic. Like others have said, the factor of up to 3 hours a day getting to/from dive sites daily made the live-aboard a no-brainer for us. Aggressor also offers a 10 day excursion up north which looks like it might require a rtuen trip.

good luck and post pix

 

ed

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My wife And I did a liveaboard back in 2006. In my opinion, that is the way to do palau. Short skiff rides to the sites. Plus you tend to be with more experienced divers. We are going again on the tropic dancer in November. Can't wait!

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Thanks everyone for the great advice! Gonna do a liveaboard. Just trying to decide on whether to do the Ocean Hunter I or III, and whether to do the 7 or 10 day trip....

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Good decision doing the liveaboard, Jay.

I spent a week diving Palau land-based in 2005 and told myself that if I ever dove Palau again, I would most definitely do it via liveaboard.

As stated in some of the other posts, the amount of time you will spend traveling between Koror and the dive sites gets old very quickly! Also, with some of the more distant sites you will have to pay an extra fuel charge on top of the usual dive rate.

Liveaboard is definitely the way to dive Palau!

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Here is my 2 cents worth. Do the liveaboard option. Both times we have been to Palau, we have been on the Aggressor II. Great boat and staff. We were on the dive sites when no one else was and were able to go further down (as noted above) to Pelelui. Plus on a liveaboard you can do 4-5 dives per day with naps, food and leisure in between. Hop off of the skiff, run through the fresh water shower on the deck, hot towels, a snack waiting on you, do not have to touch your gear...what are you waiting for!

 

The tour of Pelelui is also worth it if you have never been. It takes about 2 hours.

 

Let us know how it goes. And happy diving - Diverpam

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Great destination and I would say Ocean Hunter III is the best option...You may visit www.BuceoPalau.com for additional info...

 

Have a superb trip !!

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When I went we did land base and used Sam's Tours. They are a great diving operation. They also do land tours, hiking, kayaking... all through the same company.

I wouldn highly recommend them if not going the liveaboard route. It is a great place to dive.

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Anyone that comes here for only 7 days is nutz......kinda about all I can add to the topic!

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Thanks everyone again for all the great feedback. Just got back from Palau a couple of weeks ago. Was a great trip.

I had originally booked a 10 day liveaboard on the Ocean Hunter 1. However, when I arrived, myself and the other guest were informed that there was a problem with OH1s generator. So we spend the 1st 6 days on the larger Ocean Hunter 3, before transferring for the last 3 days onto OH1.

The OH3 was a very nice boat, and the food was excellent. I even had the pleasure of meeting fellow wetpixel member and contributor John Bantin, who was highly entertaining. Especially if you enjoy listening to old, senile men ramble on endlessly about the "good 'ole days"! :)

As far as comparing the 2 liveaboards.. For the social aspect, OH3 was great. For the diving, OH1 was significantly better. I contribute this to the fact that on OH3, there were at least 12 guests out on each dive. So it was tough getting close to the big animals, especially at Blue Corner and German Channel. Whereas, on OH1, there were only 3 guests on the boat. As a result, almost all of my best pics were taken over the last 3 days. There were just too many people in the water at one time with OH3!

At the end of the day, the trip was great. I got to experience the great social aspect of diving on the OH3 and the amazing diving Palau has to offer on OH1! Food and Crew were some of the best I've had on a liveaboard on both boats!

 

Here's a sample of some of the pics: http://www.flickr.com/photos/kavmd/sets/72157628154000265/

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You most definitely want to take a liveaboard in Palau, the dive sites are far (an hour at least) and Peleliu is not accesible by "mainland" land based shops, and to beat the crowds and dive the best conditions you need to be on a LA.

 

OR an even better option is to stay on Peleliu and use Peleliu divers as your land based option, Peleleiu has without a doubt some of the best diving in the world and is the top spot in Palau IMHO, even the LAs cant access Peleliu on every trip.

 

post edit: its been awhile since i was in palau so my memories may not be totally correct and I never dived with any landbased option in Peleleiu, just something worth looking into.

Edited by Fontaine

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Sorry to dispel any myths but Koror based operations do dive Peleliu, the ride is about 75 minutes of so. If the weather is bad even Peleliu based shops won't dive there.

I'm not saying any more, don't want too many people coming here.

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...and Pelelui also has a heathly population of nic nic's to entertain you in the evenings!

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JayKav is right of course. Of the four trips I did to Palau, the one where I was shore-based and went out alone with my host produced the best pictures by far. The Ocean Hunter III trip was excellent in other ways. It gave me a chance to mix with a few young kids, especially one that was unique - an American who had the sense of humour (note the spelling JayKav) to live in Australia and understand a piss-take! (Still having trouble with the acid reflux JayKav? I've got news for you. It gets worse!)

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Thanks everyone again for all the great feedback. Just got back from Palau a couple of weeks ago. Was a great trip.

I had originally booked a 10 day liveaboard on the Ocean Hunter 1. However, when I arrived, myself and the other guest were informed that there was a problem with OH1s generator. So we spend the 1st 6 days on the larger Ocean Hunter 3, before transferring for the last 3 days onto OH1.

The OH3 was a very nice boat, and the food was excellent. I even had the pleasure of meeting fellow wetpixel member and contributor John Bantin, who was highly entertaining. Especially if you enjoy listening to old, senile men ramble on endlessly about the "good 'ole days"! :)

As far as comparing the 2 liveaboards.. For the social aspect, OH3 was great. For the diving, OH1 was significantly better. I contribute this to the fact that on OH3, there were at least 12 guests out on each dive. So it was tough getting close to the big animals, especially at Blue Corner and German Channel. Whereas, on OH1, there were only 3 guests on the boat. As a result, almost all of my best pics were taken over the last 3 days. There were just too many people in the water at one time with OH3!

At the end of the day, the trip was great. I got to experience the great social aspect of diving on the OH3 and the amazing diving Palau has to offer on OH1! Food and Crew were some of the best I've had on a liveaboard on both boats!

 

Here's a sample of some of the pics: http://www.flickr.com/photos/kavmd/sets/72157628154000265/

 

Unfortunately your experience is not an isolated occurrence. Guests who have pre-booked OH1 are regularly told only once they have arrived that there is a "problem" with something on the boat.

You thought you were going on a exclusive max 6 diver trip, now you are bundled in with 18 others. Time and time again this happens. So my advice is to check with the operator and make sure you are actually going to get what you want and paid for.

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Leave in one weeks time for Siren Fleet trip to Palau and Pelilieu. Bets outfit for photogrpahy. Gorgeous boats

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