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Let us take you on a journey to hidden gems within the Rock Islands, offering pristine coral gardens, reef fish nurseries, hidden lagoons, marine caves, limestone tunnels, forgotten WWII sites, ancient Palauan villages and breathtaking tropical beaches accessible at certain tidal conditions.
Our daily kayak tours are a relaxing yet exciting educational experience for all, a balanced mix of paddling, snorkeling, birding and exploring in Palau's diverse biological environment.
Guests leave Sam's Tours by speedboat and are dropped at the tour's location in the Rock Islands. The boat shadows the tour until it brings you back to the dive shop for an afternoon cold beer and snacks at Bottom Time Bar and Grill. A perfect experience for outdoors fans, snorkelers and divers alike!
Sam's Tours offers four different kayak tours, giving you the chance to explore a variety of different habitats within Palau's Rock Islands. Learn the history of the archipelago, and open your eyes to the amazing beauty around you. Our tour offering includes: Nikko Bay, Risong Bay, Long Lake and Tarzan Tour.
What should you bring (on all tours): hat, sunglasses, sunscreen, light rain jacket, camera and footwear. Snorkeling gear is included if you haven't got your own. Water, lunch and refreshments are provided on all Sam's Tours activities.
This is an excellent tour for kids and adventurers. This well-sheltered bay holds pristine coral gardens with world-class snorkeling sites, hidden marine caves full of geologic wonders, and forgotten WWII bunkers and artifacts. When the tides are just right, we're able to sneak through a marine tunnel into a normally inaccessible world called Disney Lake.
Nikko Bay is nestled by castle-like walls of the limestone rock islands providing calm water paddling undisturbed by wind, waves, surf or surge. This fortress also protects corals from physical damage, allowing for the multi-species assemblages to grow into an impressive array of old-growth coral forests. In snorkel sites like Lettuce Coral Wall, Rembrandt's Cove and Disney Bay, giant basket-like coral formations grow right up to the surface of the sea. We respect this showcase of nature's greatest accomplishments by not allowing the use of fins. Our naturalist tour guides will explain the ecological significance of these treasured coral forests.
As the best day care system nature can create, Nikko Bay's delicate nature is an ideal habitat for baby reef fish. Snorkeling amongst ancient coral colonies, our experienced guides lead guests to secret nursery sites where baby fish can live and grow before moving on to the outer reef.
Nikko Bay is also home to an awesome variety of limestone caves, marine tunnels and natural archways. Paddling through the castle walls, one is left to wonder if nature herself had designed the Rock Islands for the silent kayak. Sunken shipwrecks and forgotten bunkers, littered with artifacts, soundlessly beg us to reflect on the drama of the Second World War's Pacific Theatre. >> Back to top
Hidden within Risong Bay's arm-like walls, six secretive pockets of bays and lagoons allow kayaks to easily pass through tunnel entrances to shallow lakes and bays where speed boats just can't reach. For millennia, these bays have served as nurseries for baby sharks, stingrays and eagle rays. As we paddle quietly amongst these youngsters, they hone their hunting skills before they graduate to the outer reef. Our Risong Bay tours also take you to pristine coral gardens such as Blue Devil Gardens and the Sunken City. Undisturbed by divers or fisherman, these habitats are rich marine biodiversity centers bursting with baby Butterfly Fish, Honeycomb Groupers and the unusual Crocodile Fish.
The tranquil waters of Risong Bay also allow us to explore the unusual botanical wonders of our remote archipelago. Dragon Palms strive to reach out past all other competitors for life-giving sunlight, while treacherous pitcher plants wait anxiously for their next insect meal. For centuries, Palauans have utilized this botanical cornucopia for their medicines, dyes and poisons.
The grand finale of the Risong Bay tour is a turquoise oasis known as Mandarin Fish Lake. The 10 feet/3 m deep lake treats paddlers and snorkelers to the ultimate tropical haven. After winding through a channel filled with pink sea fans, you will enter crystal blue waters purified by a natural limestone filter. Separated from the world, we swim among Pajama Cardinal Fish, Red Breasted Wrasse, Colorful Clams and of course, the lake's namesake: the unforgettable multicolored Mandarin Fish. >> Back to top
This tour is a naturalist's dream come true. The tour begins with a gentle ride along tidal currents through a crystal-clear mangrove forest. This effortless journey through exotic plants and mysterious sounds eventually leads us into the best birding experience in Palau: Long Lake. This long saltwater lake is a tranquil habitat for nesting birds, baby eagle rays, turtles and giant clams. We combine this experience with visits to Megapod beach, Secret Lake and the unbelievable waters of the Milky Way.
Motorless kayaks certainly have their benefits, as rising tides carry us through a mile-long, winding mangrove forest channel. As we slip effortlessly through this unique clear water river, the forest resonates with the calls of our endemic birds. Kingfishers, Palauan Flycatchers and Fruit Doves can all be seen and heard while drifting past the overhanging mangrove forest trees. There's time to admire Curtain Ferns, Bird Nest Ferns and Epiphytic Mosses dripping from the rain forest canopy above. Once inside the lake, we watch for baby Spotted Eagle Rays and juvenile Feathertail Stingrays gliding over the shallow sandy bottom in search of their meals.
Einstein's Coral Gardens, fed by the 250 foot long “Tunnels of Doom”, is a multicolored collection of brain coral, unique to this singular location. Physical protection for wind and waves, shade from overhanging trees, as well as an inordinate nutrient flow, all combine to create a one of a kind coral garden in only a few feet of water. There will be enough time to snorkel and admire these ancient brain coral colonies.
The Long Lake Tour also includes a stop at Megapode Beach, where powdered white sands lead to a rich tropical rainforest. Kayakers can also enjoy the solitude of Secret Lake. Accessible only at low tide via an arch-like tunnel, this natural pavilion is a sheltered habitat for multicolored sponges, sea squirts and soft corals.
If tide and time allow, we'll visit the sunken WWII Japanese Zero fighter plane. This classic 1940 aircraft dominated the Pacific skies until 1944 when US Hellcats, Corsairs and P-38 Lightnings evened the score. As the Zero sits in only 3-4 feet of water, it's possible to slip back into the pilot's seat and relive the drama of aerial combat.
The mysterious chalky waters of the Milky Way were formed by millions of years of calcium carbonate, which accumulated in this unusual geologic phenomena. Unique to the waters of Palau, the silty bottom turns this milky bowl into a completely opaque sky blue color. >> Back to top
For the adventure-seeker, our hand-crafted Tarzan Tour has earned its reputation as an action-packed series of quests. Beginning in the isolated Lost Lake, where we paddle through a forty-foot tunnel carpeted with pink and purple Dendronephthya soft corals, we enter a forgotten world where baby fishes dart and dash among the delicate corals of this landlocked marine lake.
After paddling through a labyrinth of islands west of Ngeruktabel, we drift into the turquoise waters of Belochel Bay. As the tide continues to drop, thrill-seeking snorkelers with dive lights in hand enter the darkness of a secret tunnel passage. Filled with Arabian Cowries and brightly colored nudibranchs, this winding limestone maze leads to the secluded Tarzan Lake, where Banded Pipe Fish and unusual Fungus Corals enjoy a remote habitat seen by only a few.
Thereafter, take a free dive into the shadows of the Blue Room, a limestone cave that radiates the soft blue light reflected from the clear waters of Palau’s lagoon. Discovered by Paddling Palau’s founder, Ron Leidich, the multichambered cavern features hanging stalactites, soda straws and 'bee hives'. Extreme adventurers may venture with their guides into the distant Ice Room.
Soft Coral Arch, the Natural Arch and Dreadlock Cave are all added bonuses to this exhilarating day. >> Back to top
Paddling Palau has been offering luxury kayak, snorkeling and camping safaris for over a decade. The safaris include our hand crafted itineraries which allow our guests to enjoy Palau’s 'Greatest Hits,' as well as many of our best kept secrets. The safaris are led by our veteran expedition tour leaders with years of guiding and teaching experience in Palau. Contact Paddling Palau at www.paddlingpalau.net.
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