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by Casey Mahaney &
Astrid Witte Mahaney

Operating Blue Kirio Travel and Photography, this photographic team specializes in underwater photography and exotic dive travel and have co-authored 10 books on marine life identification and dive travel, along with a vast number of articles for periodicals. Through the years, they have developed a special interest in exploring marine life habitats and identifying and photographing unusual and uncommon species of fish and invertebrates. While spending several months every year traveling on various assignments, they also specialize in organizing and escorting a limited number of live-aboard dive tours to select remote and exotic destinations around the globe.

Having received its share of superlative labels: One of the Seven Wonders of the Diving World, The Marine Life Capital of the Pacific and The Mecca of Diving, it is no secret that Palau's intricate and unique reef system is unsurpassed in diversity anywhere in the world.

And still, many divers who visit Palau, only experience one type of reef zone: The sheer, outer drop offs. While these types of dives are without a doubt thrilling, they only present one type of reef zone and marine life habitat. Since Palau boasts at least 10 different types of marine environments, each one brimming with a distinct array of marine species, we will attempt to explore as many as possible. We'll dive mangrove forests, seagrass beds, mud flats, marine lakes, submarine caves, as well as a few of Palau's current-flushed high voltage walls. Our cameras are prepped, our guides the best, and we are ready.

With the anxious anticipation all dive adventures induce, also comes the questions: Will we find the elusive, yet so stunning, mandarinfish, or perhaps the highly venomous stonefish? Will we get lucky and find the rare Ghost Pipefish or maybe one of those vividly hued Imperial or Harlequin Shrimp? Only bottom time will tell. But, one thing is for sure. We will encounter plenty of the prowling reef sharks Palau is so famous for!

And, dear readers, our top priority through all of this excitement will be to share every adrenaline-dripped minute of it with you. Armed with a digital camera and all the gadgets necessary to take it below, we'll be uploading daily broadcasts to keep you in the loop. Stay tuned for more from the nearly perfect diver's paradise of Palau.



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The Palau Pacific Resort

Considered one of Micronesia's most luxurious resorts, the Palau Pacific Resort features 160 guest rooms and suites nestled within a lush tropical landscape. Located along a beautiful white sand beach, just 25 minutes from the international airport it provides a vast selection of leisure and recreational activities. The 5 Star PADI Dive Center "Splash" offers instructional programs as well as guided scuba and snorkeling tours. "Photo Palau" provides a full-service photo and digital video center, while "The Poolside" is the center for watersports such as windsurfing, kayaking, sailing and snorkeling. The resort also offers a fitness center, outdoor tennis courts, nature trails as well as fine dining at the Meduu Ribtal Restaurant and the alfresco Coconut Terrace Restaurant.

Sam's Tours

Sam Scott has been exploring Palau's vast reef system, hidden waterways and forgotten jungles for more than 18 years and knows the best locations below and above the surface. An endless enthusiasm for showcasing Palau's diversified ecosystem for every visitor and a willingness to go the extra mile have earned Sam a reputation for unique and personalized service. With his first-class team of PADI instructors, marine biologists and trained naturalists, Sam's Tours offers an array of watersports, including diving, kayaking, snorkeling, overnight sailing and environmentally friendly sportfishing tours. In addition, Sam's offers thrilling land tours to towering waterfalls, ancient Palauan monoliths, prehistoric cave paintings and fascinating Yapese stone money disks.

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