Deep Water Diving in Palau

Separated from Yap in Micronesia by the West Caroline Trench and from the Philippines to the east by the Philippine Trench, Palau is a remote Pacific Island nation enveloped by exceptionally deep waters. When it comes to deep water diving, Palau offers an abundance of options, boasting numerous world-class sites, including renowned destinations like Blue Corner, Big Drop Off and Peleliu Wall. These sites are characterized by plunging coral-encrusted walls that extend far beyond recreational diving limits. Your depth capability here will be determined by your Nitrox blend rather than the ocean floor. Palau's underwater world is also teeming with marine life at various diveable depths. Occasionally, it's advantageous to opt for regular air rather than enriched air, granting you the freedom to explore the more profound points of interest without the constraints associated with using additional oxygen in your gas supply...

Blue Holes

While Blue Corner is the most requested dive site in Palau, some of the best deep water diving in Palau is centred around the neighbouring Blue Holes. The site takes its name from the four holes in the reef flat that descend into a cavernous cathedral-like sanctuary, sheltered from the strong currents. Shafts of light pierce through these four holes, illuminating the cathedral and providing photographers with stunning vistas to capture.

The floor of the cathedral is around 40 metres deep, and at its rear, you can find two narrow entrances to the Temple of Doom, an off-limits cave that contains the skeletons of turtles that ventured in but couldn't find their way out. After exploring the cavern, divers can follow the wall on the left, leading towards Blue Corner and often patrolled by a plethora of grey reef sharks.

Siaes Tunnel

Located a short distance north of one of Palau's most sought-after dives, Ulong Channel, lies Siaes Tunnel. Siaes Tunnel is a large cavern open at both ends and serves as a favourite napping spot for whitetip reef sharks. Aside from sleeping sharks, myriad nudibranchs and flatworms can be found along the tunnel's floor and walls.

Given that divers often descend beyond 30 metres, it is reserved for experienced divers with a background in deep-water diving. In Palau, you're never too far from a shark or two, and as you exit the tunnel and follow the wall back to the shallower depths, be sure to keep an eye on the blue for the grey reef sharks. If you're in the right place at the right time, a downward glance may reveal a passing thresher shark on its way to deep cleaning stations.

The Iro Maru Wreck

While Palau is primarily known for its shark sanctuary and its thriving population of these pointy-toothed predators, it also bears the historical scars of World War II. There are a number of wrecks to explore, many of which are found in deep water. Diving in Palau usually involves Nitrox, although it may have some limitations when exploring the deeper wrecks. The Iro Maru wreck is one such dive, where opting to dive with regular air allows deeper exploration, albeit with the restriction that divers must remain on the decks.

The Iro Maru served as a fleet oiler and supply ship for the Japanese Navy until her demise in 1944 during Operation Desecrate One when a torpedo launched from the submarine USS Tunny struck the bow. To view the impact area, divers must descend over the bow rails near the starboard anchor chain. However, this option is only available to those diving with regular air.

Our team of dive travel specialists can't get enough of the deep water diving in Palau and are ready to share their knowledge to help you plan your perfect Palauan adventure. Palau's remote location, nestled between Micronesia and the Philippines, makes it a great choice for a dual-destination trip, but if one stop is enough and you just want to focus on deep diving, Palau's dive sites will not disappoint.

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Emily C, Eleanor, Rachel and Jacqui are our 'Deep Water Diving in Palau' experts and as seasoned travellers they have the inside track on the most memorable adventures.

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