Thursday, 17 March 2016

"You just gotta come here!"

What to say about Palau? Well, firstly, it’s been a busy season. We have had a lot of trips, which means a lot of diving. And that is no bad thing. The diving here is as you would expect from Palau’s reputation. Exceptional!
So why is the diving here so amazing? Diversity is one of its key features. In a 6 diving day schedule, you can dive wrecks, caverns, reefs, walls and corners. You can swim casually along pristine hard coral gardens, drift through beautiful channels, hook in on strong current corner dives  and so on. It makes for an epic liveaboard because you never get bored. And this is all before you mention the marine life.
"Giving dive briefing"
I have honestly never seen so many sharks. And I’m not just talking about reef sharks. This season so far we have managed to see nine different types of shark. Palau’s status as the world’s first shark sanctuary is well deserved. Having been very lucky in my dive career in being able to dive some of the world’s top dive destinations, Palau has to be number one so far for large marine life. There is something very special about being hooked on a corner in a strong current, surrounded by anywhere up to fifty grey reef sharks.
  Pelagic life here is wonderful, and such a pleasure to see. It is definitely a “big stuff”, “wide angle” dive destination. There are huge schools of fish, hunting tuna, turtles and mantas to name just a few. And thanks to restricted fishing practices, a lot of the fish can be found on the dive sites. Also, because a lot of the marine life doesn’t perceive you as a predator it means if you move slowly and gently, you can almost kiss the fish they get so close.

Palau does lack macro life though. It is here, but there isn’t a lot of it. You can see nudibranchs, ghost pipefish and candy crabs, plus orang-utan crabs and pygmy seahorses. But it isn’t in abundance, and you really have to hunt for it. We also have it on good authority that there used to be a frogfish. There is so much other life to see here though, that the lack of macro doesn’t really affect the diving.
So yeah, the diving is pretty epic. And MV Solitude One has to be the nicest boat I have worked on. With a maximum of twenty two guests, this converted fishing research vessel feels super spacious, even when full. At no point does the full quota of guests, plus twenty crew make the boat feel crowded. And a boat doesn’t run without its crew. All of whom are awesome and so much fun to work with. There is always a lot of laughter.

The huge dive deck will definitely make an impression. There is a comfortable lounge area, spacious digital room for setting up your camera equipment, dining area, sundeck and Jacuzzi. The cabins vary in size depending on your budget, but all are spacious (for a boat), and very comfortable.
So I know this sounds a lot like “sales pitch”, but honestly, it really is worth the trip. The drawbacks (as there always are some) are that it isn’t an easy place to get to. All the flights are red eye, and arrive very early in the morning. The internet connections at present are super slow, but they do work and are an improvement on last year. Everything is imported, so most things are not cheap to buy. But the scenery is beautiful and the people are lovely.

Palau lacks good night dives. Because there is limited macro life, they can’t compete with other top class destinations. The water temperature can vary a lot too. Mostly it is a comfortable 29c, but it can drop as low as 18c at times with cold oceanic currents. That can make hook in dives feels a bit cold, as you aren’t swimming around a lot.
"Commuting for work"

Any of Palau’s drawbacks don’t outweigh its amazing advantages. It really is a little bit of diving heaven. Personally, the season has had its ups and downs. I have had some amazing dives, and ticked some things off the bucket list of what I want to see underwater. But I’ve also broken some toes and had a mistaken case of DCS and recurrent ear issues. But overall, it’s been worth every second!
Written by Scott Lindsay Diveguide & Scuba Instructor

Thursday, 18 February 2016

It's not just a SHARK sanctuary......

Mitch and I exploring Peleliu Island
Sharks. Jellyfish. When someone mentioned Palau, those were the first two things I thought about: the iconic photos of snorkellers floating in a sea of golden jellies and divers watching a wall of sharks. Thankfully, since I've been working in Palau, my mental images are secure! Palau had always been a bucket-list place for me to go for diving and so far it’s living up to expectations!

The diving can be challenging, with fierce currents rushing over the tops of the reef corners, but the fish life that comes hand in hand with those currents is spectacular. I’d done a lot of diving in currents before arriving in Palau, but the feeling of floating in the current whilst hooked in, with sharks patrolling just a few feet in front of you, is really amazing and like nothing I’ve experienced before.

One of the main reasons I’d wanted to work in Palau was due to its distinction of being the world’s first shark sanctuary – anywhere that marine and eco-friendly surely has to be a great place to dive! The government efforts have paid off, you really notice the difference in pelagic life compared to places with slightly more relaxed fishing rules. I was lucky enough to see my first tiger shark this season, a very exciting encounter!

There’s not as much macro life as I’d have expected, especially being so close to the coral triangle, but I suppose the strong oceanic currents have discouraged the little things! Having said that, our finds of pygmy seahorses, ghost pipefish and orang-utan crabs are all the more welcome when you’re not used to seeing them all of the time J

Me @ Jelly Fish Lake
One of the nicest things about Palau, for me, is the variety. From caves and wrecks to walls and reefs, it’s difficult to be bored! The trips have a great variety of dives so it’s brilliant to be able to show the guests the range of things Palau has to offer. My favourite dive sites are Blue Corner and Chandelier Caves (it’s impossible to just pick one!). Blue Corner is just one of those dive sites you can dive over and over and it’s always fantastic – depending on the strength and direction of the current, the dive changes each time with different marine life to see, even a bad Blue Corner dive is always a good dive! Apart from the sharks, I love the schooling jacks we find there, they’re beautiful to watch shimmering together as they swim against the current. Chandelier Cave is just a seriously iconic dive site – it’s not really a ‘dive’ in that you spend most of the time above the water, but the caverns are stunning with so many different stalactites and helictites to see, plus the reflections that are cast from the daylight coming in through the entrance are awesome.

Palau itself is a lovely place, albeit a little small! Once you escape the port it becomes beautiful lush countryside full of flowers and tropical plants – a day off exploring showed the more tropical side of the island. It’s hard sometimes being so remote, the internet connection is pretty dismal (thank goodness for the satellite internet on board to be able to send Christmas messages back home!), but the perks of tropical island life (sand, sea, sun!) plus the great diving makes it all worthwhile. 

They do say that all good things must come to an end – we have only a couple of trips left of the season before we head off to the Philippines and Tubbataha (which should prove to be some equally epic diving!).  However, good things also come to those who wait - I'm looking forward to being back in Palau next season!

Written by Amanda Jayne Bond - Dive Guide & Scuba Instructor

Tuesday, 2 February 2016

DIVE SHOWS......




As part of the diving industry we are, our assistance to the Dive Shows is  a MUST and we are pleased and super excited to do that.

For us it is really important to attend them in order to know  at first hand more details of  which are the likes, dislikes, food preferences, suggestions, additional information required from our agencies, customers, followers, friends……. 

We spend part of the year travelling all over the world to enjoy the time with all of you in the Dive Shows and meet personally some of you or to have a nice chat with the ones that we have already met personally in previous Shows.

Whatever it  is the situation ….we love to be there.... in the main stage to keep going our path of our well-known outstanding service, hospitality, safe diving…in summary  to provide you  unforgettable moments and experiences on board!.

If you would like to know when it will be the next Dive Show….we happily invite you  to follow us in our facebook page: Solitude Liveaboards …latest news are posted there!

As you know, we operate in Palau and Philippines (Tubbataha, Malapascua Island, Visayas, Cebu) and we have chosen these destinations because there are AWESOME places to be & dive but we should not forget that we are all linked to the oceans.

The oceans are the world’s great caretakers. We all need to do our part to keep the oceans clean and free of pollutants; we must leave it in a pristine state if we expect to go and enjoying its natural beauty.

For us, as divers the oceans may be playgrounds clean and well maintained!

THANKS ALL FOR YOUR UNCONDITIONAL SUPPORT! See you in the PARADISE..

Monday, 7 December 2015


OUR 2nd ANNIVERSARY!


I remember the day that Andrew Lok call me to ask me if I was interested be part of amazing project called MV Solitude One…..at that time I was based in Spain working in my family business, Ali/Sub Dive Center,  happy  with what I was doing but at the same time I was so curious to take part in the new challenge that I was call for...... and I went for it!

The 9th of December is the second anniversary of this great company and I feel so proud to be part of it. A company that is already part of my life.




After all these months , when I see the boat sailing in the middle of the Pacific Ocean I cannot express with words what I feel, I feel more than happy . We cannot like everyone of course , but our service, our hospitality , our safety and our passion for what we do is there.....proof of it are our positive results! 
We are so grateful  for every single guest we have host on board, we learn every single day from all of them because we want to be better and improve in the industry that we are working for.

I would like to take this opportunity to say a big thank you to the whole team for their great , hard and exclusive job  are doing , without them will be impossible to be where we are! THANK YOU GUYS!

I would like also to say thank you, even bigger thank you to Andrew Lok  ( founder of Cocotinos Manado & Odyssea Divers)  together with Alfonso Ribote  definitely both of them have been my main support during these 2 years. We have been crying , smiling , suffering , celebrating  and sharing so many feelings and emotions together. THANK YOU !

Starting next year 2016, as well as begin operating in Philippines ,  MV Solitude One, will make long journeys, more exciting that no one else can do…. PALAU-YAP, PALAU-SORONG (INONESIA), PALAU-PHILIPPINES and many more to come …..keep posted !

HAPPYBIRTHDAY MV SOLITUDE ONE!




Tuesday, 20 October 2015

WHY TUBATTAHA....

TUBATTAHA REEFS NATURAL PARK

Here you have some of the reasons of why we have decided to add Tubattaha ( Philippines ) to our Solitude One’s liveaboard diving service.

It’s no surprise that scuba divers would want to experience Tubbataha firsthand. Recently nominated as one of the ‘New Seven Wonders of the Natural World’, this marine protected area is home to a staggering wealth of biodiversity. 

It is located in the Sulu Sea, Philippines – at the geographic centre of world marine biodiversity – lies an underwater nature reserve that is considered both a mecca for scuba divers, model for coral reef conservation and the largest marine protected area (MPA) in the Philippines.

Tubattaha Reefs Natural Park contains roughly 10,000 hectares of coral reef, lying at the heart of the Coral Triangle - the global centre of marine biodiversity in keeping our oceans alive.


Scientists have been visiting these reefs since the 1980s, and their research has shown that Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park is home to no less than:

600 species of fish
360 species of corals (about half of all coral species in the world)
11 species of sharks
13 species of dolphins & whales
100 species of birds
And also nesting Hawksbill & Green sea turtles.

Since it was discovered by divers in the late 1970s Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park (TRNP) has been considered one of the most extraordinary dive sites in the world, a dream trip for most scuba divers.

It is only reachable by boat,  as everyone knows MV Solitude One will be there, starting in 2016…book NOW and don’t allow anyone to tell you the beauty of Tubattaha live the experience by yourself!


Wednesday, 26 August 2015

WRECK LOVERS.....

We dive in Channels, Blue Holes, Walls, Corners, Caves and of course in HISTORY....

It is well known that Palau offers a big spectrum of wrecks and Solitude we would like to introduce you all of them little by little, you will dive in some of them....or if you wish in all of them...

TESHIO MARU WRECK ….. lies at 25m



The Teshio is a Japanese army cargo ship. It is 100m long and was sunk on March 30, 1944 as it was trying to escape from an inner lagoon. Its lies on its starboard side with a hole in the hull just between the two forward holes caused by a torpedo dropped by a fighter plane from the USS Bunker Hill.
Both anchors are still in stow position at the bow. A small gun is mounted at the bow but it is barely recognizable due to the heavy marine growth of oysters, black coral and sponges.  The two forward holds are empty but it is possible to swim through the torpedo hole to get to the hull.


Few artefacts are found within the superstructure and much of the engine room is damaged from salvaging. The rudder and the shaft are easily seen.
Large sea whips and sponges drip off the hull.

More wrecks history and specifications are coming soon…keep posted!

Tuesday, 21 July 2015

Solitude Philippines Dive Team Leader - Bo Mancao!


Bo in Action! Photo by Ryan Alegre
Solitude Liveaboards warmly welcomes Bo Mancaoour Philippines Dive Team Leader! A dive connoisseur who knows the Philippine waters intimately and extensively, he is also a great supporter of Solitude and a personal friend. 

He is internationally known for proudly promoting the amazing dive experiences of his native Philippines and empowering local dive guides through The Dive Local Network, a Scuba and Adventure tours company. 


Photo courtesy of Bo
In addition, Bo is an award-winning underwater photographer and has been published in newspapers, books and publications like Asian Diver and EZ Dive that have a huge international following.

Together with cruise director Alfonso Ribote, Bo will ensure our guests have the best, most memorable Solitude Liveaboards experience. Bo will also announce his team of guides closer to the Tubbataha season in 2016!

Cruises are getting booked steadily but there are still some available cruises available for Tubbataha! For more information, please emailus@solitude-liveaboards.com