Since most visitors travel to Palau for some of the most celebrated diving in the world, they rarely have time to savor other aspects of the unique natural environment that contribute to the unique diving observed here. On Eclipse and Safari guests have time to not just dive more each day, but some also engage in additional activities available only aboard an exclusive chartered liveaboard.
For experienced photographers or novices, chartering a dive boat with a crew dedicated to your agenda is by far the best way to get great photos. With no other divers to consider, you can take your time, no one will rush you or insist you keep up with a group. We can be at the right place for particular events or the right time for the best lighting. Both Eclipse and Safari have 12 and110 volt power sources for charging camera batteries, light sources and laptops. If you don’t have the necessary equipment or experience, one of our dive guides, both experienced photographers, will take photos and video clips of your dive trip, giving you a disc at the conclusion of the trip. Back to top.
Usually overlooked except by dedicated wreck divers are dozens of Japanese ships and aircraft destroyed and sunk during the Pacific War by American carrier based war planes, eliminating the usefulness of Palau as a major Japanese naval base. Most of the Japanese fleet were in port at anchor when attacked, therefore much closer to Koror than Palau’s famed reef dives, so liveaboards always visit wrecks on the first or last day of a dive trip. With Eclipse and Safari wrecks are an option for those that want to take the time to check them out. Both boats have aboard the books resulting from years of research and exploratory dives to find the remains of Japan’s wartime fleet in Palau. So look over the material and decide if you too, want to see real shipwrecks with artifacts, not artificial sanitized sunken reefs to attract divers. Back to top.
Spectacular snorkeling is found throughout Palau, especially at the famous dive sites since most of Palau’s walls descend straight down from waist deep water on the reef top. Snorkelers cruising along these precipices can peer down over sixty feet and share the excitement of meeting the sea creatures that have become the icons of Palau diving, sea turtles, sharks, eagle rays, and dense schools of large predator fish. Back to top.
Palau’s hundreds of islands, serpentine waterways and remote beaches produce world class paddling opportunities. We have kayaks available for both Eclipse and Safari. Kayaks are indispensable on trips that include children or non divers. But most of our guests do not avail themselves of the kayaks since their involvement in diving is so total and time so short. Kayaks do take up a lot of deck space, particularly on Eclipse, eliminating some of the best places to relax between dives, so bringing kayaks is best an option for those that know they want to love to spend some time paddling. Back to top.
Fishing in Palau can be amazing, and we usually troll for a large game fish or two since they are plentiful and delicious. If you fish too, you are welcome to bring your gear and help provide fish so fresh that we change how some feel about seafood. Trolling is the most productive method since we do that while traveling between dive locations. Spin casting also works but requires some time set aside, since by long custom and law, no one fishes near dive sites in Palau. Bait fishing may well be productive for those with patience, experience, the right gear, and lots of time. We are not qualified to say since we don’t have those attributes. Back to top.
Terrestrial Flora and Fauna
The number of birds in Palau is amazing considering the remoteness of the islands. In addition to scores of species both native and migrant, there are eight endemic varieties found only in Palau. Palau is so remote that bats are the only native terrestrial mammals. All other mammals, dogs, cats, pigs, even rats, are introduced species brought by the first human settlers, voyagers exploring the vast reaches of the Pacific at least two to three thousand years before the coming of European explorers. Dugongs are rare and illusive residents of mangrove swamps as are crocodiles, curiously quite timid in Palau. The flora of Palau is incredibly varied and specialized. The hundreds of limestone islands are devoid of soil, but the tropical forest is nonetheless very dense, with hundreds of species, many with special adaptations that evolved into endemic species, and even plants that prey on insects for their nutrients. Back to top.
Palau does not have extensive beaches since the encircling barrier reef absorbs most of the wave action that would normally produce sand by breaking down rock and coral. What beaches are found in Palau are remote and uninhabited, far from town, but with many close to the dive sites since waves do crash into the dozens of small islands dotted along the barrier reef. These beautiful rarely visited beaches are easily reached during intervals by swimming, snorkeling, or kayaking ashore. Back to top.
Trips with Children
Eclipse has proven to be the best trip available in Palau for families. There really is no other way for parents to experience the superb diving in Palau while still having time to share the wonder of such a rich environment with their children. With great snorkeling available between dives and kayaks for all during intervals, our trips make a memorable family legacy. In fact, families with children represent a large portion of our repeat guests. When asked about the minimum age we recommend for children aboard we advise that children should be mature enough to willingly take directions from adults. In fact, we insist that children listen to their parents. It is a matter of safety, after all. Safari can include a child or two by converting the dining area into a berth each night, but Eclipse is far better for family trips since all can have their own cabin and berth. Back to top.
Trips with Non-Divers
Many divers have non certified friends or relatives they love to vacation with, or even wish they could introduce to diving. Eclipse can do it all. With all the other activities we have available, non divers can be fully engaged. We even do a couple fabulous trips each year without any Scuba divers at all. Here is your chance to show your friends what they are missing. We can also do one-on-one intro dives with the non certified, but think that getting Open Water certification while aboard will cut too deeply into a fabulous vacation. Back to top.
Eclipse is a terrific sailing boat and some guests really want the experience of taking the wheel and feeling the surge of the trade winds as she puts her rail down and quickly covers the twenty miles to the best diving areas in Palau. This is best done the first day of a trip when winds are favorable and decks free of dive gear. But most are here for the diving and excellent wreck dives can be visited on the way south, so getting in a couple dives the first day usually takes precedence over sailing. Back to top.
A must for most visitors to Palau, we take guests there almost every week. Jellyfish Lake is not very close to the most extraordinary reef diving so we usually go there the first or last day of a trip while on the way. Since this amazing place is always a snorkel and never dived with scuba gear, the last day is usually best, particularly if guests are flying that night and need to decompress the last day aboard instead of diving. Back to top.