Dive Centre: Unique Dive Expeditions, Palau

Manta rays heading straight through at German Channel, Koror, Palau


A recent extension of Sam’s Tours is Unique Dive Expeditions run by Richard Barnden and Paul Collins – two vastly experienced veterans of Palau diving.  UDE offers the chance to experience a different type of diving in Palau, one that is structured around the moon phases and the tides. The moon has one of the biggest influences on the oceans and can trigger some rare and unique biological events such as spawning aggregations.

Looks like the moon behind a sea fern but its actually Blue Holes at Blue Holes, Koror, Palau

Unique Dive Expeditions (UDE) owns and runs a 10m speed boat with twin 150’s which Jimmy, our skipper navigated superbly.  Each diver gets their own spacious seat, their own dry box beneath it, and their own three tanks of nitrox for each day’s three dives.  In order to give guests the maximum experience, the expeditions are offered exclusively to small groups guided by the two veterans.

Team photo with Richard Barnden and Paul Collins of Unique Dive Experiences Sam's Tours Wharf, Koror, Palau


Training School Type: none Nitrox Fill:
Air Fill
Number of Guides 2
Gear Hire
Number of Boats 1
Gear Sales
Number of Dive Sites 30
Gear Servicing


Unique Dive Expeditions is run out of Sam’s Tours, Koror, Palau.

What to expect

Before each dive, Richard would brief us not just on what we should expect to see, but also when during the dive, and how to behave when we did.  For example, I wasn’t aware of the correct etiquette to observe a manta ray cleaning station.  I am now, and I’ve got some pretty impressive video footage to prove it.  And so it was with each of our 18 dives over the six day period: each dive well executed, maximising what we got to see and time in the water.

Shark at a cleaning station Grasslands, Koror, Palau

Amongst the many things we experienced: a squadron of 6 manta rays feeding in formation returning again and again over a 20 minute period; sharks of every hue, up close and personal; the different cleaning stations of turtle, shark and manta; shoals of schooling fish; red snapper spawning; the electric (disco) clam; turtles; and a very big friendly grouper who couldn’t seem to get enough of our company.   We were also taken to number of sites where we just hooked onto the reef with our reef hooks and watched the sea life come to us.

Richard gets up close and personal with Maori Wrasse Blue Corner, Koror, Palau

During our trip we also stayed on Peliliu.  Something I would definitely recommend as it gives great access to some of the more challenging dive sites and the bigger sharks.