Communication / Punctuality
Diving in Palau is on top of the bucket list of every diver. Picking the right diving center will certainly make the difference between a successful trip and a disaster.
It was in March of 2013 when I last visited Palau and “Fish ‘n Fins” was the diving operator we used. Fish ‘n Fins is the oldest diving center of the island, established back in 1972 and since 1998 it is run by Tova and Navot Bornovski. The couple are almost always present at the shop, ready to intervene when needed and solve any problems. It is always a plus to have the owner on spot.
Fins ‘n Fins handled the accommodation as well as the diving of our 11 people group. The overall pre-trip communication was very good (having in mind the extremely slow internet speed Palau has). It never took them more than 1 day to reply to my numerous pre-trip inquires.
The arrival pick up was fairly fast and on time. As on time were all the pick up services we used through our 10 day stay in Palau. For their transfers they use air conditioned mini vans which are rather comfortable.
Our diving-day pick ups (and due to the fact that our hotel was on the beach) were done directly by our diving boat. There is a great advantage here, we were leaving our scuba gear on the boat and Fish ‘n Fins’ crew took care of its rinsing day after day.
They own 5 dive boats which are overhead covered and have limited dry storage area. A dry bag for your non waterproof stuff is highly recommended. We used their big boat (38 feet long) and one of the smaller ones (32 feet long). The big one provides ample space to move and to shelter from the sun. The small one is considerably narrower, making it rather unstable while cruising on choppy seas (nothing dangerous, just a little bit uncomfortable). Having several dive boats, Fish ‘n Fins manages to keep the diving groups small, which is a plus plus for every diving traveler.
The rental gear is well maintained but keep in mind that the rental rate is on the top end of the worldwide range of prices. The quality of air and nitrox was superb, which unfortunately is not the standard in the diving industry these days. Nitrox is for free and Fish ‘n Fins can support technical diving activities too.
There is a restaurant on site, which on every diving day was providing us a lunch box with tasty food in moderate portions. There is also a shop here where you can buy all kinds of souvenirs, from books to baseball caps. The prices are on the expensive side of the hill.
The diving guides we had were very professional, with deep knowledge of the sites, flora and fauna and sea conditions (ie. currents). The captains were pure fun to be with, very helpful and overall excellent on their duties. All of our diving wishes were made true and every surface interval included another activity for my group (snorkeling in jelly fish lake, relaxing on uninhabited islands, swimming among the Rock islands etc.).
Overall Fish ‘n Fins’ rates are a bargain for the quality they offer and I will use them again in the future. If I have to describe this diving operator in one sentence, I would say that it is a well maintained machine with a soul. It is not that often that you get to dive with such a good diving center. I definitely recommend it!
DISCLAIMER: A diving center is a living organism! Its overall quality is based on its leaders’ decisions, but the true heart of it lies on its personnel’s efficiency and attitude. Dive masters come and go, diving centers’ reputation may come and go as well!