Swingin' on a Star

Ship's log for the circumnavigating Saint Francis 50 catamaran, "Swingin on a Star".

01 April 2010 | Palau
13 July 2009 | Palau
05 July 2009 | Yacht Harbor
03 July 2009 | Peleliu
02 July 2009 | Palau
01 July 2009 | Two Dog Beach
30 June 2009 | Mecharchar
29 June 2009 | Mecharchar
28 June 2009 | Ulong
27 June 2009 | Ngeruktabel
17 June 2009 | Ngeruktabel
16 June 2009 | Ngeruktabel
15 June 2009 | Ngeruktabel
14 June 2009 | Ngeruktabel
13 June 2009 | Ngerutable
25 May 2009 | Yacht Harbor
30 April 2009 | Malakal
29 April 2009 | Koror
28 April 2009 | Malakal
27 April 2009 | Malakal

Diving Palau

05 April 2009 | Ulong Channel
We went out for our first dives in Palau today. Sam's Tours is our shop of choice. We haven't tried anyone else here but Sam's is a good operation and we have no reason to look elsewhere.

The Sam's tours outfit has two docks and welcomes cruisers. Dinghies are best tied up at the end of the dock as the sides are frequently loading and unloading divers, snorkelers and kayakers. Sam's will have anywhere from three of eight boats out and about per day.

Ashore they have a nice bar and grill, a good dive shop with all of the basics, rinse stations with separate bins for wetsuits, cameras and other gear. They also have great storage and hanging facilities for your dive gear. There's a digital photo center and Nick the underwater video pro will video you or teach you how to video or take stills yourself. The only thing Sam's doesn't do is house you, thus, if you are on a yacht, it is a one stop shop.

Our dive boat was well set up and had two outboards with plenty of room to gear up. The trip to the dive sites is usually 30 minutes to an hour.

We did the Nautilus dive at Short Drop Off on the east side of the islands first. We had originally thought it was a dive in an area where you might see a Nautilus. As it turns out they trap them with chicken bait and bring them up for divers to see. We're not too keen on feeding, trapping or otherwise tampering with the wildlife. The Nautilus are not harmed directly but I wonder how being brought up from 1,000 feet into daylight affects them. Other species are often found dead in the trap. Our friend Margaret saw a free Nautilus in Vanuatu on a night dive and I would highly recommend taking this approach if you want to see one of these illusive fossils.

The Short Drop Off dive was a lot of fun and a nice introduction to Palau. It wasn't spectacular but it was good, with lots of coral and fish. I was pleased to see the amazing diversity of corals. This part of the pacific leads the world in species diversity, having perhaps 4 times the variety found in the Caribbean for instance.

Our second dive was on the West side of the islands. It was a good boat trip to the other side. The dive at Siaes Corner was great and many divers used reef hooks. The reef hook is basically a big metal hook on the end of some nylon with a clip that you hook on to your BC at the waist. This allows you to effortlessly float at the end of the line in the, sometimes substantial, current, watching the wildlife go by.

While I try not to be too negative, I'm a little down on the reef hook concept as well. There are just too many people diving here. If 20 divers hook in a day, in the same area, you are going to have a noticeable increase in pressure on the health of the reef. Careful experienced divers can probably leave a very small foot print, but unfortunately not all divers are so described.

After our second dive we motored over to a lovely rock island for a lunch break. The islands are spectacular and definitely do justice to the postcard. Traveling through the limestone towers is a highlight of the dive excursions. A kayak tour of the rock islands would be well worth the day spent.

You get to select your lunch from a list of Bento Boxes and sandwiches. The list is good, the food is so so. The brownies are tasty though.

After lunch we went out for a third dive. Three dives out on the reef makes for a long day. The last dive at Ulong Channel was a relaxed one. This is a spot that Mantas frequent but we didn't see any. We did see white tipped reef sharks and grey sharks on every dive. Palau's reefs are loaded with fish as well. It is a beautiful place to dive. So far I can't give it the number one ranking but we are just getting started.

We ate dinner at the Bottom Time Bar and Grill at Sam's. The burgers are great and there's lots of onion rings, French fries and various other fried food to harden your arteries. All very tasty.

We headed back to the boat after dinner to get some rest before another day of diving tomorrow.
Vessel Name: Swingin' on a Star
Vessel Make/Model: Saint Francis 50
Hailing Port: Las Vegas, NV
Crew: Randy Abernethy
Home Page: http://swinginonastar.com
Swingin' on a Star's Photos - Swingin on a Star (Main)
Selected photos of Swingin' on a Star at anchor.
7 Photos
Created 18 September 2007
31 Photos
Created 15 September 2007
copyright 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 Randy & Hideko Abernethy, all rights reserved