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The Best Palau Liveaboards

INTRO

For our divers looking for a truly unique underwater world to explore – for dive sites that actually live up to their hype – your loyal Diving Squad has found it for you! That magical place is Palau.

Located in Micronesia, about 800 miles southeast of the Philippines, Palau is an archipelago of which only nine of its 300 islands are inhabited.

The 2015 Palau National Marine Sanctuary Act made these islands the sixth-largest fully protected marine reserve in the world. Over 300,000 km (80 percent) of Palau’s territorial waters are a no-take zone, with only 20 percent open to fishing – for locals only. This all translates to some unmatched, pristine diving!

If you’re thinking that a Palau liveaboard is the best way to discover Palau’s scuba diving wonders, we wholeheartedly agree!

But maybe you’re unsure what the best options are for your Palau liveaboard budget and needs. Whether you’re looking for cheap liveaboard dive boats or some luxury; whether you’re a beginner or advanced diver; no matter how much holiday time you have – Diving Squad to the rescue!

We’ve put together a full guide of best Palau liveaboard reviews for your convenience.

The table below summarizes our top liveaboard picks for a comprehensive, at-a-glance guide. If you prefer details, just keep reading for a deep dive into each liveaboard option. You’ll also find important diving information, like weather, water conditions and the best time to dive in Palau.

Ready? Let’s go!

^QUICK JUMP to Diving Sqaud's Favourite Palau Liveaboard!

Palau Rock Islands Fact

The Rock Islands of Palau are covered with Forest. But what is it that makes the forest here truly unusual? Hover Over this Box to Find Out!
It does not grow out of soil! How can vegetation grow from bare rock? Well, it grows from the humus of early plants. Limestone forests such as this are extremely rare - to add to the Rock Islands Forest's uniqueness they contain two species of palms found nowhere else!
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QUICK LOOK - The Best Palau Liveaboards

Best ForLiveaboard Daily Cost (Euros)Max Guest Capacity MAIN Itinerary Length (Nights)No. Of Logged Dives RequiredMonths of OperationDestinations Check Best Price  
OverallOcean Hunter 3€€€16A: 8 Days, 7 Nights

B: 11 Days, 10 Nights
0All YearMalakal Harbour, Peleliu Island, Ulong Island, Ngemelis Island, NgerchongGET BEST PRICE
BudgetPalau Aggressor II188 Days, 7 Nights0All YearMalakal Harbour, Peleliu Island, Ulong Island, Ngemelis Island, NgerchongGET BEST PRICE
LuxuryPalau Siren€€16A: 7 Days, 6 Nights

B: 11 Days, 10 Nights
20All YearMalakal Harbour, Peleliu Island, Ulong Island, Ngemelis Island, NgerchongGET BEST PRICE
BeginnersRock Island Aggressor188 Days, 7 Nights0All YearMalakal Harbour, Peleliu Island, Ulong Island, Ngemelis Island, NgerchongGET BEST PRICE
Advanced DiversDiscovery Adventure€€268 Days, 7 Nights50Oct – MarchMalakal Harbour, Peleliu Island, Ulong Island, Ngemelis Island, NgerchongGET BEST PRICE
Groups W. Non-DiversSolitude One€€228 Days, 7 Nights50 (or 0 if not diving)Nov – FebMalakal Harbour, Peleliu Island, Ulong Island, Ngemelis Island, Ngerchong, Jellyfish LakeGET BEST PRICE

Palau Liveaboard Reviews

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Diving Squad Presents:

Best Palau Liveaboard Overall

Ocean Hunter 3

  • Designed by divers, for divers – features eight cabins with private bath, two jacuzzis, an option for customized dive itineraries, plus night dives!

  • Visits the Palau Archipelago’s top dive sites with 5 dives per day

  • From €385/day

  • 8-day/7-night and 11-day/10-night itineraries offered for up to 16 guests

  • Operates year round

There are a lot of great Palau liveaboard dive boats out there, but let us show you why Ocean Hunter III earned our top overall Palau liveaboard review…

Maybe it’s because the 29-meter liveaboard has eight comfortable cabins with their own private bathrooms and air conditioning. Or perhaps it’s because she offers a spacious saloon with an entertainment system for post-diving leisure, plus a photography station and camera room with state-of-the-art facilities for even the most professional of underwater photographers.

It could also be because of the Ocean Hunter’s exterior features, like a sun deck with not one but two jacuzzis! With only a max of 16 guests onboard, there’s room for everyone to soak those tired diving legs. There’s also the spacious shaded diving deck, where guests can easily enter and exit Palau’s pristine blue waters.

Then there’s the food; all-day availability of snacks and a variety of Western and local dishes provide plenty of fuel for its hungry divers.

And, of course, there’s the diving! Guests can experience the best of Palau scuba diving year-round by journeying to the ultimate Palau scuba diving sites the islands have to offer. The beauty of the liveaboard’s intimate 16-max guest capacity is that it allows for the Ocean Hunter’s friendly crew to work with divers to develop individualized dive itineraries. Talk about personalized attention!

The great variety of dives offered on their 8-day and 11-day Palau Archipelago itineraries include historical shipwrecks, captivating blue holes, and gorgeous walls. You’ll be sure to see a vast variety of sharks – black tip, white tip, grey reef, leopard shark and hammerhead. Plus, there are a plethora of other marine creatures to observe, like parrotfish, resident Napoleon wrasses, manta rays, lionfish, and clownfish.

And if that’s not enough, get ready for turtle sighting mania – hawksbill, green, olive ridley, leatherback, and loggerhead – that will leave you awestruck!Scuba divers onboard can enjoy four dives per day, including a fifth night dive, at potential dive sites that include Big Drop Off, New Drop Off, Blue Holes, German wall, Peleliu Coral Garden, and Iro Maru shipwreck – just to name a few.

Plus, guests also have no-oxygen-tank-required exploring opportunities, like a venture to Jellyfish Lake for some hiking and snorkeling, and an available land tour on the island of Peleliu, which was a major battlefield during WWII.

We hope we’ve proved to you, with all of the above, why the Ocean Hunter III gets our top overall Palau liveaboard review. Be sure to book ahead if you want to secure a spot for your next diving holiday!

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Diving Squad Presents:

Best Budget Palau Liveaboard

Palau Aggressor II

  • Budget-friendly cost for luxury-like accommodations, such as nine staterooms equipped with private bathroom and shower and a sun deck with bar service

  • Visits various Palau dive sites, with popular sites like Blue Corner, Blue Holes, Chandelier Caves, and Siaes Tunnel.

  • €235/day

  • 8-day/7-night yacht cruise for up to 18 guests

  • Operates year round
  •  

For our budget-conscious Diving Squad folks looking for a cheap Palau liveaboard option, the Palau Aggressor II will not disappoint. And not just because of its €235 per day cost (the cheapest you’ll find for Palau liveaboards), but because of all that, this price will get you. After reading what this liveaboard yacht has to offer, you’ll think we made a mistake here, and that we meant to list the Aggressor II under the best luxury category, not best budget category. Let us show you what we mean:

Not only does her interior boast nine luxury staterooms with en-suite bathrooms, private showers, storage, and individual climate control, but guests can also relax in the comfortable spaciousness of the air-conditioned lounge. Outside, the sun deck provides plenty of lounging splendor, with loungers, deck chairs, and bar service. Oh, and beer and wine are complimentary.

You’ll be well taken care of by the Palau Aggressor’s attentive crew of six, readily on hand to tend to their 18-max guests. It’s the type of service you’d expect at a much higher price!

This Palau yacht doesn’t skimp out on the diving side of things either – not one bit. The liveaboard diving includes up to five dives each day, along with unforgettable night dives at popular sites, where divers can explore shipwrecks, dazzling blue holes, and sheer walls. Favorite site destinations include Blue Corner, Blue Holes, Chandelier Caves, German Channel, Ngerchong, Siaes Tunnel and more.

With such a fascinating variety of diving site options, you can expect to see all the sea creatures on every diver’s wish list – turtles, white tip sharks, hammerhead sharks, gray reef sharks, giant manta rays, eagle rays, cuttlefish, barracuda, lionfish, octopus, grouper, butterflyfish, clownfish, starfish, every coral and anemone under the sea…and the list goes on!

I think you’d agree with us when we say that the Palau Aggressor II could be quite a contender for the best luxury liveaboard, but at €235/night, it floats proudly as the best cheap liveaboard Palau holiday divers could ask for!

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Diving Squad Presents:

Best Palau Liveaboard for Luxury

Palau Siren

  • 40-meter lavish liveaboard with eight spacious cabins featuring en-suite bathrooms and entertainment systems, plus a 42-inch flat screen in the air-conditioned lounge and massages available daily!

  • Cruises through the Palau Islands to favorite sites like the German Channel, Chandelier Caves, Peleliu Cut, and Blue Corner

  • From €368/day

  • 8-day/7-night and 11-day/10-night itinerary options available

  • Operates year round

The Palau Siren knows the true meaning of a luxury liveaboard experience. She delivers on all fronts – from lower deck to upper deck, and everything in between. With exemplary service, this Palau liveaboard has it all.

All staterooms are equipped with en-suite bathrooms, warm water showers, air conditioning with individual control, and an entertainment system. As with all truly lush indulgences, the luxury is in the details – all the Palau Siren’s cabins include bathrobes, hair dryers, towels, and even individually controlled mood lighting.

The Palau Siren’s lucky guests can relax pre, post, or in-between dives in the comfort of her cool AC lounge, decked out with sofas and an entertainment system. Enjoy a movie on the 42-inch flat screen TV while sipping on a refreshing drink from the cocktail bar.

For outdoor deck lovers, you can eat your delicious buffet-style meals in the covered dining area with an ocean view. You also have the option of sinking yourself into one of the cozy cushioned loungers on the sun deck to enjoy a refreshment or catch a quick power nap.

Perhaps the most crucial deck to us Diving Squad enthusiasts is the diving deck. You won’t be disappointed with the Palau Siren’s huge shaded deck, that gives each of its divers their own storage lockers and personal stations.

Not only that, but you’ll also be provided with tanks, regulator, BCD, diving weights, fins, mask and 3mm wetsuit – all free of charge.

For you underwater photographers, you’ll be spoiled with the professional-quality video and camera area offered in the main lounge.

Oh, and did somebody say massage? Yep. Daily massages are available too. Didn’t we tell you she has it all?

Moving on to the diving, this world-class Palau liveaboard offers 8-day and 11-day options to explore the pristine waters of the Palau islands. Guests will cruise out to the best sites – including the German Channel, Ulong Channel, Blue Corner, Iro Maru shipwreck and Peleliu – for some seriously impressive dives; from exhilarating drift dives to plunging deep dives.

The two dive tenders allow the Palau Siren’s diving guests further customization, as divers can be put into separate groups based on diving level and dive destination preference. Three professional instructors lead the dives with a max of six divers per instructor – but if you have a diving buddy you would rather break away and explore with instead, you’re welcome to do so.

Your logbook will fill up quickly with all the marine life you’ll encounter – giant clams, whitetip sharks, manta rays, batfish, devilfish, triggerfish, turtles and colossal Napoleon wrasse. Not to mention all the other underwater gems, like hard coral, lettuce coral, cup coral and anemones and much, much more!

In our opinion, the Palau Sirens sets the bar in every category of luxury liveaboard comfort and offerings. All this combined with the unforgettable diving adventures available, and you’ve got yourself a cream-of-the-crop Palau diving holiday!

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Diving Squad Presents:

Best Palau Liveaboard for Beginners

Rock Island Aggressor

  • No minimum logged dives required to dive with this crew

  • Visits popular Palau scuba diving sites like Big Drop-Off, Blue Corner, Denges Passage, and Pelelieu

  • €235/day

  • 8-day/7-night cruise for up to 18 guests

  • Operates year round

The Rock Island Aggressor and the Palau Aggressor II are sister ships (described above in best liveaboard for budget travelers), which would explain their strong family resemblance. In terms of features, you’ll enjoy the same accommodations – nine luxury staterooms with an en-suite bathroom, private shower, storage, and individual climate control.

She too has a sun deck, bar service, and complimentary beer and wine. The Aggressor’s 18-max guests are well taken care of by their professional crew of six. Another sweet treat kept within the family is her budget-friendly 235€ daily rate!

In general, Palau is not known as a primary destination for beginner divers; strong currents at popular sites like Blue Corner and Ulong Channel present too much of a challenge for most newbies. But the Aggressor doesn’t require a minimum number of logged dives for any of its guests; you can count on your knowledgeable dive team to advise you on what conditions are right for your level.

For those beginner divers who are up for a bit of a challenge and ready to take the plunge, what better dive sites for your logbook than ones like Blue Holes, Chandelier Caves, Ngedebus Coral Gardens and Ngerchong? Divers of all levels will brag about their encounters with sharks, manta rays, parrotfish, turtles, squirrelfish Mandarin fish, and butterflyfish.

If there is a dive that is not recommended by the crew for beginners, not to worry – you have plenty of other options if you decide to skip a dive or two. Two trips ashore are provided during the week to Peleliu and Ulong Beach. Plus, there’s always the option to snorkel with the equipment provided; you definitely don’t have to worry about missing out on some fantastic sea life sightings, even without an air tank!

Did we mention there’s a hot tub? Nothing wrong with hanging up your diving fins and relaxing in some warm bubbles – perhaps even with a glass of bubbly.

The Rock Island Aggressor creates a memorable Palau liveaboard diving adventure for all guests who want to partake in the archipelago’s many underwater wonders – beginners and advanced divers alike. You really can’t go wrong!

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Diving Squad Presents:

Best Palau Liveaboard for Advanced Divers

Discovery Adventure

  • This 47-meter vessel was refurbished in 2016 as a liveaboard catering to divers only, requiring Advanced Open Water certification from its diving guests with a minimum of 50 logged dives

  • Some of the highlights of the Palau diving itinerary include Blue Holes, Blue Corner, Ulong Channel, Peleliu Wall, German Channel, and Chandelier Caves

  • From €350/day

  • 8-day/7-night cruise for up to 26 divers

  • Palau itineraries available Oct-March (months may vary by year)

For Advanced Open water scuba divers who want to add an impressive list of dive sites to their 50+ logged dives, this 47-meter liveaboard diving vessel will meet all your needs, both above and below water.

The 13 cabins are comfortably equipped with central air conditioning and en-suite bathrooms. For lounging and socializing with fellow liveaboard divers, there’s an air-conditioned indoor saloon and an outdoor sun deck. Guests can fill up those hungry diving bellies with buffet-style Western and local dishes while soaking up the view in the ample dining area. There’s also a camera room with table and charging port for underwater photography aficionados.

The Discovery Adventure has diving cruises to Palau between October and March – they also offer cruises to Tubbataha in the Philippines. If the Philippines is of interest, you can check out that itinerary too.

For Palau, the Discovery Adventure will deliver an awe-inspiring mix of colorful reefs, wrecks, thrilling drop-offs and enchanting blue hole visits at dive sites like German Channel, Blue Corner, New Drop Off, Blue Holes, Peleliu Wall, Iro Maru, and Ngemis Coral Garden.

And as for Palau’s favorite attraction – its marine creatures – you’ll be sure to encounter plenty! A partial list includes blacktip sharks, whitetip sharks and grey reef sharks, schools of jacks and huge Napoleon wrasse, octopus, turtles, reef fish, manta rays, giant grouper, and schooling batfish.

Guests will be delighted with the liveaboard essentials and knowledgeable crew that caters to a serious scuba diver’s every need. Liveaboard diving in the spectacular waters of Palau is something every diver needs to check off their diving bucket list, so don’t miss out!

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Diving Squad Presents:

Best Palau Liveaboard for Groups W. Non-Divers

Solitude One

  • An ex-merchant vessel entirely made over into a liveaboard built for advanced divers, but also caters to non-divers with onboard kayaks, snorkeling gear, SUPs, and on-shore excursions

  • Some of the popular diving destinations on the Palau itinerary include Blue Hole, Peleliu Wall, German Channel, and Chandelier Caves, with on-shore excursions available to Jellyfish Lake, Milky Way and a Peleliu Island Tour

  • From €339/day

  • 8-day/7-night cruise for up to 22 guests

  • Palau itineraries available Nov-Feb (months may vary by year)

When the Solitude One got her makeover in 2013, the ten newly designed cabins complete with air conditioning, TV, and en-suite bathrooms were just one of her improvements. Guests have the luxury of lounging options, like the outdoor lounge furnished with comfortable plush chairs, and the modern sun deck.

This Palau liveaboard kept hardcore divers in mind when she was suited up with a shaded diving area, tenders for diving, digital camera studio, and camera set up bench. Divers onboard are required to have a minimum of 50 logged dives, so this is not the ideal liveaboard diving boat for beginners.

But that doesn’t mean that the Solitude One forgot about non-divers! Quite the opposite; non-divers will find plenty of onboard and topside activities to give them a fulfilling Palau experience.

Onboard, non-divers have the choice of enjoying Palau’s infamous clear blue waters with available snorkel equipment and kayaks. Why not cruise around on one of the available stand-up paddleboards and do some serious exploring?

Even out of the water, non-divers can blissfully while away the hours on the sun deck, or the leisure deck, or in the air-conditioned saloon, or in the hot tub…with so many options, eight days won’t seem like enough!

Then there are the onshore activities, like a tour of Jellyfish Lake – a unique site where millions of jellyfish have lost their sting, allowing guests to mingle with them without fear of those pesky stinging tentacles. Then there’s Milky Way – a tucked-away enclave with special mud lying beneath its turquoise waters.

This antioxidant-rich mud is said to be beautifying and healing, so lather up for an all-natural beauty treatment! Also offered is a tour of Peleliu Island, full of WWII landmarks and relics, for a taste of Palau’s rich history.

The Solitude One offers the 8-day/7-night Palau cruise from November to February – a 7-day/6-night cruise to Tubbataha in the Philippines is also offered during other months of the year. For Palau, Solitude One visits the best of Palau dive sites, like German Channel, Blue Corner, New Drop Off, Blue Holes, Peleliu Wall, and Ngemis Coral Garden.

There is nearly a 1:1 crew-to-guest ratio onboard the Solitude One liveaboard, so you’ll be sure to get plenty of personalized service and attention. Professional dive guides are readily available to assist even the most advanced diving guest, while the rest of the crew is on hand to give all their guests the best liveaboard experience possible.

Whether you’re an avid diver or not a diver at all, we think you’ll agree that the Solitude One will deliver the best that Palau has to offer for a liveaboard vacation of a lifetime!

Palau Liveaboards - What You Need to Know

Diving Insurance in Palau – It’s absolutely essential that you’re covered by proper diving insurance before you start your liveaboard adventure.  Find out more. 

Scuba Gear – You’ll need to either bring along your own scuba gear or rent it from the liveaboard for an additional fee. 

Find out more. 

Palau Liveaboard Packing List – To ensure an enjoyable and comfortable trip, there are several must bring items. Find out more. 

Palau Diving Season –

Palau offers divers excellent diving year round, but like all tropical locations, it gets a lot of rain. Thankfully, most of that rainfall occurs at night and doesn’t significantly affect a Palau diving holiday. For the most part, Palau diving can be divided into two seasons: Find out more.  

Weather in Palau –

Palau enjoys a consistently warm climate year round, with an annual average temperature of 30°C. You can also expect high humidity throughout the year.

The water temperature stays within the 28-30°C range, making a 3mm adequate for all diving.

In the dry season (Dec-March), maximum temperatures reach 32°C with lows of 27°C. The months with the most frequent rain are July-October, but overall air temperatures stay within the 27-32°C range.

Palau Diving Conditions –Palau is known for having very strong currents, so it’s more common to find more experienced divers in the water.

However, there are some shallow, mellow reefs where all levels of diving are welcome.

But, if you are a newbie, just be aware that the conditions may be challenging at some of the sites and will require Advanced Open Water certification.

Water Visibility Palau – Visibility in Palau is excellent, usually over 40 meters, and can even go up to 61 meters on its best days. Because of more torrential rains and stronger winds, water visibility can drop down to 15-20 meters during the months of July to October.

National park fees – There are some additional fees to keep in mind when visiting Palau. Divers are required to have a Peleliu State permit, which costs $32 per person.

If your liveaboard also offers a visit to Jellyfish Lake, the permit costs $102 per person. Also, be aware that there is a $20 departure tax and $30 green fee tax that can be paid at the airport.

Diving Insurance in Palau

SPLASH! It’s important to remember that scuba diving is an extreme sport. Accidents can happen. Sorry to burst anyone’s bubble.

What’s more, because diving can take you all around the world, it’s absolutely essential you make sure you are properly covered by the best scuba diving insurance before leaving your home country.

We recommend going with Dive Assure. Why?

  • Unbeatable prices.

     

  • They offer both short term and long term insurance.

     

  • Cover loss of diving equipment, emergency medical and evacuation expenses and flight/accommodation costs following injury.

Squad Inventory - Scuba Gear for Palau

Ok Squad! Here’s the deal. Scuba Diving requires a ton of gear. This should come as no real surprise, considering that the very nature of this sport is to breathe underwater – the exact opposite of what us humans are evolved to do! 

When you go on your liveaboard adventure, you have two options on the gear front:

  1. You can either rent the gear, at an additional cost, per piece. This generally costs around $25 for a full equipment rental per day (exact prices provided in the liveaboard links).

  2. Or you can buy and bring along some or all of your own scuba gear. This comes with two distinct advantages:
  • You get scuba gear that perfectly fits you and suits your tastes, budget and style. And hasn’t been peed in.

     

  • You will never again have to pay to rent scuba equipment! Think about all the diving you have ahead of you. Ultimately this can save a lot of money.

     

Below is a full listing and description of the entire inventory required to scuba dive. Let’s jump right in:

Diving Mask – Full Face Snorkel Masks are taking the world by storm but they can’t withstand pressure beyond several meters depth.  For diving you need an old school dive mask.

BCD – A BCD is the jacket divers wear to maintain optimum buoyancy, which they can adjust by operating the inflate and deflate buttons. This makes sure they neither sink to the bottom nor rise to the top of the water! As well as this, the BCD holds the divers regulator(s), dive gauge and air tank.

Regulator / Octopus – The regulator reduces pressurised breathing oxygen to ambient pressure and delivers it to the diver through a mouth piece. Remember, you need two – one for you and a spare for a buddy in case of emergencies!

Diving Torch – Absolutely essential for Deep Dives and Night Dives. So you can…you know – see. Bioluminescent plankton anyone? 

Scuba Tank – This contains the pressurised breathing gas – i.e. oxygen, that you will be breathing underwater (after it’s been reduced to ambient pressure by the regulator). Pretty essential right? 

Scuba Weight Belt – A diving weight belt assists with maintaining optimum buoyancy, by stopping divers from floating to the top of the water. How much weight you take will depend on your build, weight and diving ability.

Dive Computer – The Dive Computer is used to measure the time and depth of a dive. In doing so, it calculates a safe ascent profile, vital for avoiding decompression sickness. 

Dive Gauge – Essential for keeping track of your air consumption and the depth at which you are diving. The best ones also feature compasses and can read the water temperature (useful for bragging rights when you go on extremely cold dives!).

Scuba Fins – Fins greatly reduce water resistance when swimming and thus help to conserve energy and swim faster / against currents. They also allow you to unleash your inner mermaid/man. 

Dive Boots Designed to be worn under your fins, dive boots prevent rubbing and skin irritation from said fins – whilst also keeping your feet toasty and warm. 

Wetsuit – Crucial for keeping you warm. Even in hot countries, when you dive deep, it gets cold. Which one you pick will depend on the climate of where you’re diving. 

Ultimate Combo Package Whew! That’s a lot of gear we’ve covered. If you don’t yet have any scuba gear and want to bulk buy at great quality and value, this is the number one scuba starter pack out there.  

Palau Liveaboard Packing List

Whether you decide to rent scuba gear or buy  your own, there are some essential items that won’t be provided for you. You would not want to go on your liveaboard adventure without: 

Reef Safe Sunscreen It’s a little known fact that some sunscreens contain products that are highly toxic to coral reefs. Dive responsibly, avoid burning to a crisp and use eco friendly sunscreen. 

Reef Safe Body Wash and Shampoo – Many brands of body wash and shampoo also contain chemicals that are toxic to coral reef and fish. Dive responsibility whilst still not smelling like a Dead Whale.

Diving Camera –  Any normal camera will break if taken diving – even if it’s waterproof it won’t be able to withstand high depth pressure and the focus will not be designed for underwater photography. To share your diving adventures with the world, make sure you have a proper scuba diving camera.   

Full Face Snorkel Mask – In between dives, you’ll get countless snorkelling opportunities on your liveaboard trip. For snorkelling, it’s much better to utilise a full face snorkel mask for maximum comfort and 180 viewing! The best ones have an attachment mount for GoPros. 

Reusable Water Bottle Having a durable, reusable and recyclable water bottle that’ll keep liquids cold is essential for both eco awareness and hydration = scuba success! We love the TankH2O – It is all of those things and looks like a scuba tank!

Microfibre Towel Essential for getting all those bits of ocean off you. Microfibre towels are compact, dry quickly and lightweight. To look like a ninja of the sea, wrap around face. 

The

diving squad title 300

Backpack of Choice

After trying and testing an ocean of backpacks, we’ve come to the coralusion that the Dometool Waterproof Dry Backpack is the number one backpack for divers! Why? Well:

  • It’s completely waterproof and also floats.

  • Front zip pocket for easy access, waterproof storage of your phone, wallet, etc. 

  • Equipment ring at one side, water bottle bag at the other. 

  • PVC tarpaulin materials = resistent to tearing, corrosion and aging.

Diving Season in Palau

Palau offers divers excellent diving year round, but like all tropical locations, it gets a lot of rain. Thankfully, most of that rainfall occurs at night and doesn’t significantly affect a Palau diving holiday. For the most part, Palau diving can be divided into two seasons.

 

April – November: This is considered low season in Palau. The reason is that these months tend to have the most rain and wind. As expected, the upside is fewer crowds and cheaper airfare.

But many dive sites are still accessible, and many liveaboards do offer cruises year-round (though not all), so be sure to check your preferred liveaboard’s calendar carefully if you’re considering a low-season liveaboard trip.


December – March: These months make up the high season. The best Palau diving happens during this time because it’s when Palau’s waters are at their calmest and warmest, with less rain.

Also, March and April are the best time to see sharks. The downside, of course, is that dive sites are more crowded, and it may seem like you have less ocean to yourself. If you decide that you want to book a liveaboard diving holiday during this time, be sure to plan ahead and book well in advance.

Palau Liveaboard Destinations

While actual dive sites are determined onboard by each Palau liveaboard’s knowledgeable crew, depending on weather and overall diving conditions, we wanted to give you a description of the primary diving destinations on their itineraries and examples of dive sites you may be visiting. No matter where you drop anchor, rest assured that you’re in for a treat!

Malakal Harbour

This dive destination provides easy access for liveaboards departing from Koror Harbor, as it lies nearby on the south side of Koror Island. It boasts many popular dive sites – with just a few listed below – where divers can expect to see a plethora of reef fish, barracudas, goronians, octopus, groupers and more.

Chandelier Cave

Enter a unique cave system – consisting of five connected caves (four of which can be explored) – by swimming through a shallow tunnel located at a depth of ten meters.

This one-of-a-kind site got its name from the breathtaking stalagmites and stalactites that have formed over the millennia and dangle from the cave ceiling like giant chandeliers. Fresh air from outside reaches inside the chambers through tiny holes, enabling divers to surface and take a regulator-free moment to admire the scenery.

The natural formations here are a wonder in themselves, but you will also see sponges with their shrimp and crab inhabitants. You may even be lucky enough to encounter the ever-elusive Mandarin fish. Don’t forget your dive light!

Iro Maru Shipwreck

Considered the most famous shipwreck dive in Palau, with a rich war history and unique position, Iro Maru rests upright in 40 meters of water with its deck at 30 meters.

American bombers sunk this 44-meter Japanese merchant ship in 1944 during World War II. Now, its remains have created a sanctuary for a thriving community of clams, soft corals and hard corals. Divers can explore the black coral tree-covered bow, and more advanced divers can penetrate the wreck to view the engine room and crew’s quarters.

Also plentiful here are many species of fish – like lionfish and clownfish – that have claimed this WWII historical relic as home. Divers should take heed and be careful, as some of the ammunition could still be live!

Short Drop-Off

In very close proximity to Karor Harbor, you’ll find the famous inclined wall dive known as Short Drop-Off. Divers can admire the giant sea fans that line its wall and enjoy a swim through the coral garden found at the top, where they’re likely to encounter sharks, eagle rays, Napoleon wrasses, turtles, and large schools of batfish, parrotfish, and butterflyfish.

Dive into the Squads' Favourite Read

ATTENTION! Diving Squad Member – Do you love a great book? Yarp!? We already know you love diving

Dive Atlas of the World, offers a beautifully photographed and professionally detailed tour of the worlds best dive sites, including both classics and new discoveries.

This stunningly presented book covers everything from Wrecks to Reefs, Muck Dives to Macro Photography, Blue Holes to Epic Walls and adrenaline soaked Drift Dives

Get inspired, learn something brand new and prepare for your next diving adventure.

This is hands down the most informative, stunningly presented and all encompassing scuba diving book known to Diving Squad. 

Ngemelis Island

Ngemis is where most of Palau’s best and most famous dive sites can be found. Here you’ll find marine life galore –  grey reef sharks, leopard sharks, whitetip sharks, turtles, endless coral and anemones, gorgonians, Napoleon fish, triggerfish, and so much more.

Big Drop-Off

A stunning wall dive that starts at a mere one meter and can drop off to 30 meters in depth, dependent on tides, with an ocean floor that extends all the way down to 275 meters.

Violet to pink soft corals, leather corals, and sea fans provide a magical background to the abundance of grey reef sharks swimming gracefully with schools of butterflyfish and tropical fish. It’s easy to see why many consider Big Drop-off the most beautiful wall dive in Palau.

Blue Corner

Known as the most requested and most recommended dive site in all of Micronesia, and perhaps the planet – for good reason. An underwater wonderland is created by Blue Corner’s plateau of coral that juts out into the Philippine Sea, with a 25-meter vertical reef wall on one side and an 18 to 27-meter wall on the other.

When currents swell over the wall, they bring in large schools of barracudas and hunting reef sharks to the walls’ upper edges. Other residents and locals to Blue Corner include Napoleon wrasses, dogtooth tuna, eagle rays, manta rays, white tip and hammerhead sharks, turtles, and schools of reef fish. Be aware that these currents can be quite strong, so this site is recommended for more experienced divers.

Blue Holes

This site is made up of four massive holes laying on the reef, less than five meters from the surface – they come together and create a giant underwater cavern.

The cavern dazzles divers with a glorious wall found through a large opening that’s decorated with black coral, soft corals, sea whips and beckoning sea fans. Large pelagics cruise around here, like various sharks –grey tip and white tip – eagle rays, and barracuda. Don’t be surprised to also run into grouper, turtles, triggerfish, butterfly fish, Napoleon wrasse, anemones, and more.

Info

German Channel

This often-visited liveaboard destination – the only channel in Palau that was man-made – was created by German miners in the early 19th century.

One popular site here is Manta Rock, where giant manta rays flock to get primped and polished; the accommodating local cleaner wrasses and butterfly fish cleanse the rays of their parasites and waste. Gray reef sharks are also known to stop by for a good cleaning.

At the sandy bottom, you’ll encounter garden eels and blind gobies, plus other regulars like barracudas, triggerfish, lionfish, and octopus. Be sure to swim on over to its neighboring coral garden to visit the colorful clownfish and anemones.

New Drop-Off

This wall dive site is made up of two reef walls that meet to create a corner, with a shallow plateau that protrudes into the open water, much like Blue Corner. Similarly, an upwelling is generated by the current, which draws in large groups of butterflyfish and barracudas, followed by numerous lurking grey reef sharks.

Triggerfish, Emperor angelfish, Napoleon wrasse, and turtles are also no strangers to this area. Large gorgonian fans and colorful soft corals line the steep reef wall, creating a dive site well worth the oxygen!

Ngedebus Coral Gardens

Turtles, white tip sharks, and cuttlefish are just a few of the sea creatures roaming through this reef, made up of deep, fascinating canyons and alluring crevices. This reef dive boasts sightings of some of the South Pacific’s most impressive throngs of hard coral.

Another diver favorite is the giant clams – Tridacna clams – that are quite a sight to behold. Black tip reef sharks commonly get up close and personal, so be ready for a possible intimate encounter with these guys!

How to Give up Plastic - A Crucial Guide

“It is one world. And it’s in our care. For the first time in the history of humanity, for the first time in 500 million years, one species has the future in the palm of its hands. I just hope he realises that that is the case.”
Sir David Attenborough
Broadcaster, Natural Historian and Knight.

Some 12.7 million tonnes of plastic enters the ocean every year, devastating the marine ecosystem by killing countless fish, seabirds, turtles, marine mammals and other creatures. 

How to Give Up Plastic is the definitive guide to learning what you can do in your home, commune and workplace to start bringing about the end of our plastic dependent age.

It covers everything from easy wins such as using a reusable keep cup for your morning coffee, to lesser-known hacks like fixing a filter to your washing machine to catch some of the microfibres released from your clothes (microfibres are responsible for up to 30% of plastic in the ocean).

This is an essential overview of why we should all be working together no matter where we are in the world to reduce the amount of plastic being produce. Diving Squad is thoroughly committed to ending plastic pollution and marine conservation. 

Ngerchong

Ngerchong Coral Gardens

Also known as Ngerchong Inside, this site is considered by many to be the best diving destination for observing the most extensive assortment of hard corals. Some of the varieties found here are table coral, mushroom coral, staghorn coral, brain coral, and elkhorn coral.

Serving as a cuttlefish breeding and hatching ground year round, divers can inspect the edge of the reef for a look at these cute marine mollusks. You’ll also find eels, turtles, and rays here.

Ngerchong Outside is a steep drop-off wall dive hosting its own bright community of hard corals, along with soft corals, anemones and graceful sea fans. September through November, this area is an aquatic nursery for baby gray reef sharks. You can spot large schools of young sharks about 25 cm long, and be sure to keep an eye out for mama shark!

Denges Passage

A diver’s favorite, this popular channel is populated by a whole community of cuttlefish. Related to the squid family, these oceanic critters are a special treat because of their rarity, and can only be found at select places around the world. Photographers in the group will want to take this opportunity to snap away!

Jellyfish Lake

You can swim at this natural wonder, but because of its delicate ecosystem, diving isn’t allowed. Jellyfish Lake is a saltwater lake that was once connected to the ocean but is now completely separated. This isolated lake underwent a jellyfish boom, with a golden jellyfish population that lives peacefully with no threat of outside predators.

Humans can’t feel their mild sting, so visitors have the pleasure of being surrounded by an ebbing bubble of these beautiful, floating creatures sting-free. The lake recently reopened to tourists after a two-year closure to allow recovery of the declining jellyfish population. This highlight is truly a must-see!

Peleliu Island

Most liveaboards travel all the way down to the Palau archipelago’s most southern point to reach the island of Peleliu. Thankfully, this diving paradise destination is well worth the voyage, with its variety of exquisite dive sites – like Peleliu Wall, Peleliu Corner, Orange Wall, White Beach Wall, Dolphin Bay Wall, and more.

As you can see by the many wall sites mentioned, Peleliu island is best known for its steep wall dives – beautiful plunging walls wallpapered with soft corals accented with colorful sea fans, anemones, and sea whips. For enthusiasts of large pelagic marine life, especially sharks, Peleliu is a spot you won’t want to miss.

Peleliu Express

Found at Peleliu Island’s southern tip, this dive site attracts adrenaline rush-loving divers for a high-speed trip down its sheer wall. The strong current races divers along and makes for an exhilarating ride! Grey reef and whitetip sharks, sea snakes, triggerfish, manta rays and turtles are just some of marine friends that join the fun.

Ulong Island

Because of its strong currents, Ulong is known for some of the world’s best drift diving. Divers will be dazzled by the variety of underwater gems found here, like hammerheads, whitetip sharks, grey reef sharks, unicornfish, angelfish, barracudas, turtles and the list goes on.

Ulong Channel

This popular channel welcomes lucky divers with an entrance teeming with gray reef sharks patrolling its coral-topped walls during incoming tide. Divers can leisurely drift through this 2.5 km channel with the current’s gentle push while admiring the coral-decorated walls that accompany them on both sides.

Soft and hard corals, sea fans and anemones line the shallow ridge that runs in the channel’s center. Perhaps what’s most special about this site is the enormous garden of plate coral – also called lettuce coral due to their strong resemblance to lettuce leaves. The unique lettuce patch is inhabited by large schools of fish, like soldierfish and squirrelfish.

Siaes Tunnel

Better suited for more advanced divers, the Siaes Tunnel is a deep cavern with three openings along the reef wall. The tunnel’s opening starts at around 28 meters after plummeting down a vertical wall.

A large chamber makes up the inside, whose bottom lies at 45 meters, where whitetip reef sharks and stingrays can be found resting. Bushes of black coral, gorgonian fans, turtles, sharks, angelfish, and big-eye jacks, and sharks can be seen throughout.

While swimming through, be sure to take a moment to enjoy this dive’s highlight –  a peek through the hole in the tunnel wall that provides a magnificent glimpse out into the endless blue ocean.

Diving Squad Debriefing

There it is, squad! The full report on Palau liveaboard dive boats based on your needs and desires, the best dive sites available, and essential general information.

You should now consider yourself a Palau diving encyclopedia with all the knowledge you hold. You know the Diving Squad’s full evaluation of the best Palau liveaboards for every category – the best overall Palau liveaboard, the best luxury and budget Palau liveaboards, and the best Palau liveaboard for beginner, advanced and non-divers.

You’re also fully equipped with the info on top diving destinations in Palau and what makes these world-renowned diving sites so special. We’ve probably whet your appetite to dive into Palau’s many blue holes, walls, historic wrecks, reefs, tunnels, and caves – so our job here is done!

So, what’s next? Clean up that diving gear and get to booking your unforgettable Palau liveaboard diving adventure, that’s what!

Happy diving, squad mates!

 

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Help Diving Squad with Marine Conservation

EPIC FAIL HUMANITY:

  • Over 18 billion pounds of plastic enters the World’s Oceans every year. That’s enough trash to cover every foot of coastline around the world with five full trash bags of plastic (Every. Year).

     

  • As well as containing it’s own toxic chemicals, like BPA, plastic absorbs even more potent toxins from other pollutants in the Ocean such as oil, untreated sewage and radioactive waste.

     

  • Plastic is indestructible and never degrades. Instead it simply breaks down into smaller pieces which accumulate together, en masse.

     

  • Today, each square mile of ocean has over 45,000 pieces of plastic floating in it.

     

  • Plastic is mistaken for food and eaten by marine animals. Because it can’t be digested, it fills their stomachs and causes them to starve to death.

     

  • For those “lucky” individuals that don’t eat plastic, the toxic chemicals present in every part of sea water from plastic, wreck havoc throughout the ecosystem causing changes in animals behaviour, immune systems and reproduction.

     

  • There are 200 known ‘dead zones’, or areas deprived of oxygen and devoid of life, (area between 1 and 70,000 km²),  in the world ocean, due to plastic: this number has doubled every decade since 1960.

     

  • Chemicals in heavily polluted waters can make their way back to us and cause serious health issues like reproductive problems, hormonal problems, kidney damage, and nervous system damage.

     

  • It’s estimated that by the year 2050, there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish (by weight). AND IT’S GETTING WORSE

The Time to Act is NOW

To Diving Squad, the grizzly stats above are appalling, tragic and completely UNACCEPTABLE. That’s why we are working hard towards combating plastic pollution in the ocean.


How do we do this? Through spreading awareness, providing informative guides on eco friendly diving and donating
10% of all profits that we make towards combating plastic pollution in the Ocean.


So, how does Diving Squad make money? Through You! Every time you click on one of our painstakingly, yet lovingly researched liveaboard, gear or insurance links and spend money – we earn a % commission thanks to affiliate partnerships.


We then donate 10% of this towards Marine Conservation Schemes that target plastic pollution.


What does this mean? It means that if you book a Liveaboard through a Diving Squad link – some of that money goes directly towards Marine Conservation. Buy a piece of Gear through a Diving Squad link?

 Nice! You’ve just contributed money towards Marine Conservation. Booked yourself Diving Insurance through Diving Squad? Go, go Marine Conservation!


So help us…help you…help the Ocean. Together, we can do this.


To which Marine Conservation charity do we donate, you might ask?
Our squad is already hard at work selecting the ideal candidate. The winner will be announced at the end of 2019. Have a suggestion? We’d love to hear… If we pick your suggestion, there just might be something in it for you…


Contact us at: Alex Hatton:
[email protected] (Grand Admiral at Diving Squad).