Mike Gerken: Evolution Underwater Imaging | Dive Palau Photo Dive Trip

German ChannelGerman ChannelA Manta Ray and Black Snappers at German Channel. Join Sea Fan IISea Fan IIThe sea fans of Palau's walls are stunning and this model demonstrates that perfectly.

Mike Gerken




Sam's Tours  


Unique Dive Expeditions

highlighting the

Red Snapper Spawning 

March 16-23, 2019

Price: $2,395.00pp; single occupancy

$1895.00pp; w/dbl occupancy

(not including airfare)

Dive Back to Back Truk Lagoon & Palau!!!

(Learn more here.... Mike's Truk Lagoon Photo Expedition)

Contact mike@evolutionunderwater.com to reserve today!

Red Snapper Spawning April 2013Once a month, at the turn of an early morning outgoing tide, Red Snappers (Lutjanus bohar) aggregate by the thousands in order to spawn. They mill about in groups until a seemingly spontaneous moment when dozens at a time collide while ascending and release eggs and sperm respectively. The pattern is repeated up and down the reef dozens of times while Bull Sharks cruise the perimeter with the hope of securing an easy meal due of the distracted snappers. Enjoy this rare event captured on video. Please watch this video short of the Red Snapper spawning.

For six months in 2013, I lived in worked in Palau as a captain & photographer. During this time, I experienced first hand the beautiful underwater realm there. The highlight was diving with crew from Unique Diving Expeditions (UDE). UDE is a part of Sam's Tours and led by friends, Paul Collins and Richard Barnden. The two have spent years studying marine life behaviors specializing in fish spawning. By studying the lunar cycles, they determined accurately, down to the minute, when one can witness thousands of fish spawn such as red snapper, bumphead parrotfish and sail fin snapper. It is a spectacle you won't soon forget. Not only do these species gather in large numbers but many other species like big eye trevally, barracuda, giant trevally and bull sharks come to the gathering. The reef is abuzz with activity!  (Please take a look at the video short above.)

Not only will we be diving with UDE for this awesome marine event but, we will be diving the sites that have made Palau famous such as, Germa n Channel, Blue Corner, Ulong Channel and a snorkel excursion to the famed Jelly Fish Lake. Manta rays, sharks and healthy populations of fish make these sites worth traveling around the world to see.

Sam's Tours has been offering exciting diving in Palau since 1990. They are an organization committed to providing safe and professional service taking divers to see the amazing world of Palau both above and below the water. The professional staff and conveniently located facility on Malakaal Harbor make for the perfect launch pad for the high speed boats that will race you off to the many premier dive sites in the south. I believe this organization is the best dive operator in Palau. I will go with no other. 


While diving with Sam's Tours, we will be staying at the newly refurbished Palau Central Hotel located only steps away from downtown Palau and the many activities, restaurants and shopping located there. The hotel prides itself on service and comfort while offering the best value in Palau. I'm confident we will be comfortable in this fine establishment and well rested for the busy days of diving.

Photo Services

I will be offering my professional photo and video services for the duration of the entire trip not to mention my personal knowledge of Palau above and below the water. Depending on demand I will put togther free workshops at Sam's Tours conference room after the diving is done for the day. 

Jelly Fish LakeJelly Fish LakeAnnette frolicking with the Jelly Fish. Schedule - All dives are two tank dives; snorkel tour of Jelly Fish Lake will be included on one of these days. 

•Sat, March 16 - Arrive on or before this day and relax after your journey.

•Sun, March 17 - Day one diving with Sam's Tours. Intro check out dives. 

•Mon, March 18 - Day two with Unique Dive Expeditions Red Snapper spawning 

•Tue, March 19 - Day three with Unique Dive Expeditions Red Snapper spawning

•Wed, March 20 - Day four with Sam's Tours (maybe with Unique)

Thu, March 21 - Day five with Sam's Tours (Maybe with Unique)

•Fri, March 22 - Land tour of Peleliu Island; location of a historic WWII battle. An optional dive day can be made on this day for anyone not flying out on Sunday early morning. This can be arranged on individual basis. 

•Sat, March 23 - Departure - Some of us will be heading to Truk Lagoon on an early morning flight. 

What's Included?

•7.5 nights at Palau Central Hotel double occupancy (including late check out on Sat March 24)

•Dive Permit; Rock Islands (including Jelly Fish Lake)

•Breakfast at the Palau Central

•Airport Transfers

•5 days of diving; (2 tank dives; 3 days on Sam's Tours standard tours and 2 days with UDE)

•Professional Photo & Video Instruction by Mike Gerken

•Peleliu Land Tour - Full Day

•Jelly Fish Lake Snorkel Excursion (part of a 2 tank dive day)

•Chandelier Cave Dive (part of a 2 tank dive day)

•Professional guides, tanks, weights and nitrox up to 32%. 

•Unlimited diving at "Sam's Wall" (Mandarin fish & superb macro fish life)

Battle of PeleliuFirst wave of amphibs head to Orange Beach on the island of Peleiu.


What's NOT Included?

•Peleliu dive permit $30.00 (if we dive Peleliu)

•Lunch & Dinner (box lunch can be provided by Sam's Tours)

•Departure Tax $50.00

•Trip Insurance - It is strongly suggested you invest in trip insurance upon initial deposit to protect yourself against unforeseen events that will cause you to cancel. 


You must have an Advanced Open Water certification or equivalent to participate in the UDE dive tours. Be prepared  to fin against stiff currents on steep walls with changing conditions. 

Getting There

•Several airlines can get you to Palau connecting through Narita, Japan or Tapei, China or Guam, USA or Manilla, Philippines.

•Airlines: United, Korean Air, China Air, Asiana Airlines & Delta

•If your flight arrives late Sat evening or early Sunday morning, early check in at the Palau Central has been reserved. Some flights may arrive Sunday night. Diving commences Monday morning March 18, 2019.

•Please contact me if you need assistance in making your airline reservations. I'm here to help. 


•A $500 deposit per person required

•Full payment will be due 60 days before charter date. Late payments may cause you to forfeit your spot and lose your deposit. 

Cancellation policy:

  1. More than 9 months prior to charter date:  Refundable less $100 Administrative fee per person.
  2. 9 months to 181 days prior to charter date:  $250 of the deposit is forfeited.
  3. 180 days to 91 days prior to charter date:  $400 of the deposit is forfeited.
  4. 90 days to 61 days prior to charter date:  Forfeit entire deposit amount of $500.
  5. Less than 60 days prior to charter date:  No refund for entire amount. This will be strictly enforced. See below.

Dive Insurance: We strongly recommend every passenger carry diving accident insurance such as Divers Alert Network (DAN). No Dive Insurance is included in this package.

Trip Insurance: We strongly recommend every passenger purchase comprehensive accident, medical, baggage and trip cancellation/interruption insurance. The insurance will protect the passenger from financial disappointment in the event of an unforeseen circumstances. No trip insurance is included in this package. 


Photo/Video Gallery

Manta's of German ChannelBy far, there are few other dive sites in Palau if not in the world that elicit more excitement from divers than German Channel. Dug out by the German's during the early part of the 20th century, the channel was created to aid in transporting mined phosphates to the main port of Koror in the north. The funneling currents in and out of the channel attract the entire food chain to the nutrient rich waters. Schools of black snapper, barracuda, trevally and dog tooth tuna are only the secondary attraction. It is the manta rays that come to be cleaned and to feed that draw grab the headlines. Divers in from all over the world come to gaze upon these magnificent creatures. This video shows a strong gathering of manta rays in mid-water performing barrel rolls, twists and turns feeding on plankton. It is a show stoppers.

The Manta Rays of German Channel


Spawning Red Snapper


Mating Mandarin Fish IIIMating Mandarin Fish IIIMandarin Fish are one of the most colorfully stunning fish in the sea and capture the hearts of anyone who had ever laid eyes on them. These two Mandarin's are engaged in spawning. Once the female chooses her mate, they rise off the bottom like helicopters releasing sperm and eggs simultaneously in to the water. Mating Mandarins at "Sam's Wall"


Ulong ChannelUlong Channel is one of the most famous drift dives in Palau if not in the world. Located very close to the small island of Ulong on the south western side of Palau, this false channel funnels nutrient rich water in and out of the lagoon attracting sharks, schooling fish and providing a food source for lush and prolific coral growth. When the incoming tide is strong the ride down this picturesque channel is memorable. See for yourself! Ulong Channel


Red Snapper Spawning IIIRed Snapper Spawning IIIA cloud of Red Snappers as seen from a distance. Even shooting with a super wide angle lens made it difficult to fit the entire mass of fish in the frame. Red Snapper Spawning (video)


Napoleon VNapoleon VA sunlit Napoleon Wrasse. Napoleon Wrasse of Blue Corner


Siaes SharkSiaes SharkA Gray Reef Shark comes in close for a look inside Siaes Tunnel. Gray Reef Shark

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