Day 1 of my Palau Diving Adventure onboard the Black Pearl: Orientation and Briefings
Palau has been very high up on my list of destinations to dive for a long time now, so when the opportunity to join the Black Pearl on a 7-day literary arose, it did not take much arm twisting to convince me to go.
The Black Pearl is a 45-meter super yacht of a dive boat that began running trips in Palau in 2019. There are 14 spacious, well-appointed, and air-conditioned cabins, all ensuite with hot water.
On the lower deck, the dive platform is equipped with two large freshwater rinse tanks for cameras and vie equipment and freshwater showers for after the dives. Also on this deck is the compressor room and equipment room. Dehumidifiers and fans make sure that wetsuits dry overnight, which I thought was a nice touch.
The main deck comes complete with a jacuzzi, comfortable seating, a camera station and a generous wet area where drinks and snacks are always available after the dive. Inside is the dining area, where hot drinks and water are always on offer.
The pilot deck has comfortable alfresco seating and a bar perfect for sunset drinks. This deck also has an indoor lounge with large TVs, a camera preparation and charging area and a business centre.
The next level up is a huge sundeck with plenty of space for lounging after a hard day of diving. All in all, the Black Pearl is the height of luxury.
All the diving is conducted from two large, completely covered dive tenders. The equipment remains on the tenders, and tanks are filled with long whips from the compressor room on the Black Pearl, so there is no need to keep changing tanks.
The first day I joined the vessel was a dry day. We were welcomed onboard at around 3.00 pm and, after the grand tour, were given a briefing on the boat and safety features. After this, we were divided into our dive groups, 4 divers per guide. Bags were taken directly to our rooms and created provided for us to decant our dive gear into. A crew member then collected the creates and set up our gear.
The entire crew were very friendly and helpful, and the curies directors and dive guides were accommodating and seemed to know the area well. Local Sim cards were available for purchase at only $10 and came with 8GB of data. I thought this was an excellent service as it saved me the hassle of finding one and meant I did not have to use the expensive roaming rates on my plan. I also liked that the plug sockets were universal and plenty of adaptors were available.
Once all the admin and paperwork was out of the way, we set sail for the German Channel area, where the dives for the following day would take place. Time to kick back, relax, and enjoy the stunning scenery.
After dinner, the cruise directors explained the plan for the week and the type of diving we could expect. I was pleased to discover plenty of variety, including coral gardens, sheer walls, drifts, currents, blue holes, caverns, wrecks, and a focus on the big stuff. This sounded like my kind of diving.
Day 2 of my Palau Adventure onboard the Black Pearl: Barnum's Wall, Blue Corner, German Channel
Photo Credit: Gabriel Herminda, Adrian Stacey