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Let us take you on a journey to hidden gems within the Rock Island, offering pristine coral gardens, reef fish nurseries, hidden lagoons, marine caves, limestone tunnels, forgotten WWII sites, ancient Palauan villages, and breathtaking tropical beaches, which are often accessible with 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, through 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 six 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, Tarzan Tour, Ulong and German Lighthouse.
This is an excellent tour for kids and adventurers. This well-sheltered bay holds pristine coral gardens with world-class snorkeling, 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 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.
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 and feeding skills before they graduate to the outer reef. Our Risong 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 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.
Risong's grand finale, a turquoise oasis known as Mandarin Fish 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 amongst Pajama Cardinal Fish, Red Breasted Wrasse, Colorful Clams, and the lake's name sake, the unforgettable multi-colored 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.
Motor-less 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 Feather Tail Stingrays, which glide 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 multi-colored collections 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 time enough to have the privilege to snorkel and admire these ancient brain coral colonies.
The long lake tour also includes a stop at Megapode Beach, where powder 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 multi-colored 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 “The Milk Way” to a completely opaque sky blue color. >> Back to top
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 “The Milk Bowl” to a completely opaque sky blue.
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 Take, where we paddle through a forty-foot tunnel carpeted with pink and purple Dendronepthya soft corals, we enter a forgotten world where baby fishes dart and dash amongst 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 so few.
Then 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, the multi-chambered cavern features hanging stalactites, soda straws, and “the Bees Hive”. Extreme adventurers may venture with tier guide into the distant “Ice Room.”
Soft Coral Arch, The Natural Arch, and The Dreadlock Cave are all added bonuses to this exhilarating day. For our grand finale, our acrobatic guides may demonstrate vertical cliff jumps and rope swings. >> Back to top
As the Rock Island’s greatest
archeological treasure, Ulong Island tells takes of a human history spanning
over 4,000 years. Palau’s Rock Island people had firmly established a presence
on Ulong Island, as remnants of their defensive walls and terraced village are
still found below the rich tropical forest canopy. Scattered clay pot shards
and shell artifacts portray the idyllic existence of these early
The ancient Palauans also left behind some samples of their artistic prowess amongst the undercut cliffs. A vertical climb and hike leads to an impressive display of ancient pictographs, still open to interpretation and debate.
Ulong also hides a remnant of yet another Micronesian neighbor, the Yapese, sailors who braved the open oceans of the Pacific in search of Palau’s crystal calcite. Once found, the Yapaese would eagerly carve these reflective stones into their giant Stone Money, which they would then transport back to Yap. Forgotten by time, one can still see intact stone money on Ulong Island along with the Yapese quarry site and tools.
Ulong Island was also the site of the first recorded history between England and Palau, when Captain Henry Wilson’s ship, the Antelope, was shipwrecked on the western reef. With the cooperation of Chief Ibedul, Wilson and his men were able to rebuild their ship on Ulong Island and return to England.
Although Ulong Island is the most distant of our schedule day tours, about 45 minutes from Koror, world class tropical beaches, sheltered blue lagoons, and towering limestone peaks are added bonuses to this historical kayak tour. We'll also snorkel the mysterious Jurassic Lake in search of juvenile crocodiles and the Natural Arch where clown fish hide amongst their stinging hosts. >> Back to top
This century old lighthouse sits on
top of the tallest peak in the rock islands. The commanding view from the
lighthouse looks down over Palau’s famous rock islands. While most of the rock
islands are composed of vertical cliffs and tumbling boulders, the Light House
trail was made accessible by Japanese engineers at the height of WWII. The now
canopy covered trail was once an access road that delivered cannons and
ammunition to the Japanese defensive effort. The song of the bush
warbler has now replaced gunfire and the trail is now unquestionably the finest
walk within the limestone rock islands. This is the best opportunity
to explore Palau’s botanical and ornithological wonders in addition to the
This full day tour also includes paddling through Fantasy Lake and Wood Swallow Bay. Soaring white tailed tropic birds dance overhead while Cockatoos and Eclectus Parrots dive for cover in these rarely visited bays. The shallow waters provide habitat for the incredibly shy Yellow Sea Horses and Scribbled Pipefish. The grand finale of this tour is a magnificent drift snorkel at Lolita’s coral Gardens. Dominated by sun loving branching and table corals this gentle swim is packed with hordes of schooling damselfish, delicate bicolor angels, and the curious long nosed filefish. >> Back to top
Paddling Palau has been offering luxury kayak, snorkeling, & 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 & teaching experience in Palau. Contact Paddle Palau at www.paddlingpalau.net
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