Frequently Asked Questions
• How do we find Eclipse? When can we move onboard?
We will pick you at the airport or your hotel and take you to the boat at Sam's Tours. Guests move aboard Eclipse Wednesday afternoon, Safari on Saturday afternoon, so that unpacking, checking gear and discussing objectives and options over a couple beers doesn't cut into your six action packed days starting the next morning.
• How rough are the waters typically in Palau?
If we are prone to seasickness will this be a rough trip for us?
Not rough at all. The prevailing winds and waves from November through June are out of the northeast, opposite the side of the islands where all the best diving is found. That is the reason for Palau's "high season". Eclipse does not do dive trips from July through September, only occasionally in October, since that time of year the wind blows from the southwest, onshore at Palau's most celebrated dives, occasionally hard enough to disrupt diving a week at a time. Safari is more flexible since she can more easily seek a calm anchorage if onshore swells become too uncomfortable for easy sleep.
• Is there a generator on board such that we can use our laptops to download pictures 'n such?
Yes, we have generators aboard both boats and can run everything, 12 volts, 110 volts or 220 volts. We also have power inverters so that we can charge camera and strobe batteries and run laptops when the generator may not be running. The generator is used principally to power the scuba compressor aboard Eclipse, on Safari the generator also powers air conditioning, so runs far more.
• Will we have lights so we can read or play games at night?
Yes, there are bright lights over the cockpit table aboard Eclipse, and over the salon table on Safari, plus reading lights over each berth on both boats.
• Is it possible to do Jellyfish Lake while chartering our own dive yacht?
We go there every week.
• With 4 people, can we do as many dives as we want per day? We would probably like to do 4-5 per day.
You are welcome to dive as much as you like. Most guests do four dives a day; five is achieved by a few. But the first and last days of the trip involve three hours or more travel time so the number of dives is necessarily less. We do great night dives, too, on Palau's famous walls, something not offered by the dive shops in Koror because of the distance.
• Is Nitrox available?
No, not readily, Nitrox apparatus is too expensive to justify for the small number of divers we serve. On the upside, the best reef diving in Palau is not very deep. We easily get one hour bottom times four times a day.
• How bad are the bugs that bite?
Non existent, for the most part, there is no standing water in the Rock Islands or near any dive sites. Mosquitoes are only found where people live, Koror and Peleliu, and we can protect you there in any event.
• Will there be opportunities for stops on land to hike around, relax on a beach or mingle with the locals?
Yes, we are often anchored near uninhabited beaches and islands that you are welcome to visit by kayak, on foot, or snorkeling. But locals are only encountered in towns, like Koror and Peleliu, or on passing boats.
• Can we increase the trip to 7, 8, 9 days - or does it have to be 6 or 10 days?
No, intermediate length trips mess up our scheduling. But there is so much to experience in Palau that ten or twelve day trips are superb.
• What kind of food will we be eating?
Fabulous, a bit spicy, definitely exotic, with fresh local veggies. Charlie and Rene are both great with fresh caught fish. In addition to her native North China cuisine Charlie does great Mexican, Japanese, Korean and Thai specialties each week as well.
Rene has pioneered Island/Asian fusion in his celebrated Koror restaurant, Krammer's. Vegetarian or low carb cuisine is no problem either, there are lots of fresh local veggies available, just tell us ahead of time. Check out the Guest's Comments for their descriptions of the cuisine.
• Will we be freezing the whole time...is it cold or warm at night?
Hey, we are only seven degrees north of the Equator; if not for the ocean it would be too hot to live! Seriously, we have electric fans over each berth to insure comfortable sleeping. Fortunately, air conditioning is not essential in Palau, but is always available on Safari. Do bring a light rain jacket or wind breaker, also a long sleeve shirt, big hat, and polarized sunnies, cheap one work fine. Dive booties are adequate for the hike to Jellyfish Lake.
• Is there bottled water and sodas available in addition to beer and rum punch?
Always, ice cold, too.
• We like camping and such, but is this going to be a ton of work? How much work do we have to do on the boat?
No dishes to wash, or floors to sweep, or tanks to fill, that's the crew's job. Our chefs are so inspirational they often get offers to help. But with such small galleys, it is better for guests to just watch and learn instead. About the only time we like assistance is when guest choose to sail Eclipse. Guests are welcome to steer either boat if they like.
• How do we get in and out of the water with dive gear? Is there a small zodiac or some similar smaller boat to take to dive sites and for easier entry/exit?
While we have large inflatable launches with outboards along for safety, we have found it far more convenient to dive directly from our charter boats, so no transferring gear, tanks and guests in and out of small boats all day. The reason the large liveaboards use an outboard powered speed boat for diving is so they don't have to move from their moorings all week, thus saving a lot of fuel. Our efficient yachts use less fuel that even their outboards, and are far more comfortable while traveling between dive sites. Eclipse has a boarding ladder extending well below the surface for easy climbing out, and tanks are filled right where divers suit up on the cabin top. Safari has a custom dive deck, the design based on our years of experience diving aboard Eclipse. It is four feet wide extending across the full ten foot width of the stern, with fill whips and tank racks, seating and gear compartments for easy suiting up, less than a foot above the water. A large ladder extends well below the surface, and a warm fresh water rinse available on deck. This is the best system we have yet seen for safe and convenient diving, and by far the most comfortable conveyance between dive sites as well.
• Do you have life jackets or a life boat in case the boat gets crushed by some strange Micronesia whale or something?
No strange whales here, but both boats have full safety gear, flotation jackets, radios, phones, oxygen, and hard bottom inflatables with powerful outboards.
• Do we need to bring towels?
No, nor sheets either, these trips are not camping out.
• Is there somewhere where we could safely lock up luggage that would not be going on the boat with us?
Yes, the rental locker at Sam's Tours has secured space for luggage.
• How does the divemaster thing work? Is he/she on the boat with us the whole time and ready to dive whenever?
Charlie and Rene are dive masters as well as gourmet chefs. We can dive night and day, but do like to eat, too.
• Are there ever opportunities to stop on land during the week to get a good full shower in? Is the shower onboard fresh water?
No, we dive in wilderness areas, 20 to 30 miles from town. The sun warmed showers aboard Eclipse are fresh water, always available after dives, and remarkably refreshing. Safari not only has fresh warm showers on deck, but full hot showers down below, but not unlimited amounts of water. Safari is still a boat, after all.