Unique Dive Expeditions


Developed from years of data gathering, experience, and knowledge of Palau diving, Paul Collins and Richard Barnden created Unique Dive Expeditions.

The customized tours by Unique Dive Expeditions are designed to deliver the most spectacular diving Palau has to offer, as these rich waters are renowned for their marine biodiversity and home to over 1300 species of fish and more than 700 species of corals.

Based on the monthly lunar cycles, Unique Dive Expeditions offers a once-in-a-lifetime diving experience. During Full and New Moon, different species of fish gather in huge aggregations to spawn. Numbers can vary from hundreds to thousands depending on the species. These mind-blowing spawning events usually attract Palau's biggest predators as well. Take advantage and dive in a small and flexible group (maximum 7 divers), which enables us to show you the full potential of these exceptional dive sites.

Unique Dive Expeditions also offer individually tailored trips for photographers and underwater behavior enthusiasts. The team has been working with filming crews from the BBC, National Geographic and more.

Is Unique Diving for You?

Due to the nature of the strong currents affected by the moon phase, which also brings aggregations of fish together to spawn at dawn, Unique Dive Expeditions is not for everyone.

Unique Dive Expeditions is only open to experienced divers (over 150 dives) who are comfortable in the water; divers must be able to swim against strong currents and deploy their own surface marker buoy in case they separate from the group. Please don’t hesitate to contact us with any concerns or questions.

The Unique Boat

Enjoy Paul's premier dive sites with the Unique Dive Expeditions dive boat, built and designed to comfortably accommodate a maximum of 7 divers for exclusivity, small tailored groups and special unique dive expeditions. This customized 29 ft speedboat offers comfortable single seating with your individual private dry box. Each dry box can be used to store all your camera gear and accessories for our expeditions.

Full Moon Expedition


For several days leading up to and around the full moon, two huge known aggregations of Red Snappers (Lutjanus bohar) aggregate, ready to spawn in two different locations. This events will lead us either to the historical island of Peleliu, or to remote dive sites east of Koror (divers' preferences and weather condition will determine which site will be visited).

Expeditions will start at Palau’s premier dive sites in preparation for the possibility of challenging conditions resulting from strong currents and early starts. However, rewards are high!

As the sun rises, we will begin the dive to watch the spectacle that is about to unfold. A huge aggregation of snapper will rise from the deep, to ensure the continuation of their species. Witnessing this natural behavior--which only can be described as an underwater firework display of energy and excitement--also attracts the biggest predators in Palau such as bull sharks and hammerheads.

2017 Full Moon Expedition Schedule

  • Jan 8-11
  • Feb 7-10
  • Mar 8-11
  • Apr 7-10
  • May 7-10
  • Jun 5-8
  • Jul 5-8
  • August- no expedition
  • Sep 2-5
  • Oct 2-5
  • Oct 31-Nov 3
  • Nov 30-Dec 3

New Moon Expedition


One of the best loved sightings among divers is the Bumphead Parrot Fish (Bolbometopon muricatum). Often seen patrolling the reefs in schools of up to 20 or more, these encounters are favorites for many divers, but imagine an aggregation of nearly a thousand individuals!

The New Moon Expedition takes us to a remote dive site, where aggregations begin forming early in the morning. Awaiting the exact time for spawning, hundreds of Bumphead Parrot Fish from all around the area join one another for what is about to be an unforgettable event. 

Building up to this spectacular showdown, males begin their display of dominance, attempting to attract as many mating partners as possible. As females continue to gather, the school spills out into the blue where the tension erupts into a climatic mating dance.

2017 New Moon Expedition Schedule

  • Jan 24-27
  • Feb 23-26
  • Mar 24-27
  • Apr 22-25
  • May 22-25
  • Jun 20-23
  • Jul 19-22
  • August- no expedition
  • Sep 16-19
  • Oct 16-19
  • Nov 14-17
  • Dec 14-17

The Team

Paul Collins

An active marine researcher in Palau with a master's degree in Marine Science, Paul has worked in and around the dive industry in Palau for over 5 years. Paul's interest in these aggregations--other than the spectacle of the event--is in why these aggregations happen at these locations. By researching these sites, documenting the behavior on video, and collecting additional information such as tidal movements and bathymetric data, Paul has been able to build a picture of these locations that he hopes will help him understand why these spectacular events happen at these special locations.

Richard Barnden

Leaving the cold waters of his homeland (UK) behind, Richard found shelter in the tropical waters of Palau. His fascination for all underwater life soon turned into an addiction in animal behavior, spawning aggregations and underwater photography. Over the next 6 years, Richard has had the great opportunity to work with some of the world's leading underwater scientists, photographers, and enthusiasts. It's not just a life style; it's a way of life for him to be able to share his knowledge with friends, divers and fellow guests.


Please contact Unique Dive Expeditions' Reservations Desk at uniquediving@samstours.com for trip schedule and additional information; Unique Dive Expeditions is part of our Reservations Team dedicated to these special dives; we will gladly help you custom-build a package including accommodations and diving.