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Dive Review of Thalassa Dive Center/Santika/Grand Luley in

October, 2012, an Instant Reader Report by Scott Seidman, CA, US (2 reports)
Report Number 6739
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
Over 1000 dives
Where else diving
Closest Airport
Getting There


Dive Conditions

sunny, dry  
calm, surge, currents, no currents  
Water Temp
82   to 84    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
40   to 90    Feet  
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
Enforced diving restrictions  
Fingerless or no gloves.  Depth and time per briefing.  Most dives about 60
Nitrox Available?
What I saw
Whale Sharks
> 2 
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
  4 stars
Tropical Fish
4 stars  
Small Critters
  3 stars
Large Fish
3 stars  
Large Pelagics
Underwater Photography  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Subject Matter
3 stars  
Boat Facilities
4 stars
Overall rating for UWP's  
3 stars  
Shore Facilities  
Good rinse buckets on boats.  No dedicated camera platform, but plenty of
space on enclosed seating areas.  I took my camera back to the room each
Ratings and Overall Comments  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
4 stars
4 stars
Service and Attitude
4 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
5 stars
Dive Operation
5 stars  
Shore Diving  

Overall Rating

Value for $$
5 stars    
4 stars   
5 stars    
This was my second visit to Santika  now the Grand Luley Resort  over the
past five years.  The resort has just changed ownership, and they were
clearly in a transition phase with new computers, staff and more. 
None-the-less, for a hotel that is really an aging Queen, the
accommodations remain superior.  We were in a Garden Bungalow, and our
friends in a Deluxe Room.  We were all very satisfied.  The rooms were
clean and comfortable, with complimentary bottled water and plenty of
contemporary amenities.  The restaurant menu was extensive and all
inclusive except for drinks, although it did begin to wear thin at the end
of a week.  
Thalassa Divers remains a class act.  On arrival there is an orientation,
and then your gear is labeled with tags.  Every day it is transported and
set up on your boat, which is welcome, as the walk down the endless path
over the mangroves to the jetty would be daunting carrying dive gear daily.
 It is then returned to the shop and rinsed.  Multiple daily dives are
offered, and you select how many you would like each day.  Thalassa now
provides nitrox, a new addition.  The guides are fun and friendly, and do
their best to find the unique.  Most of the boats are spacious, and they
are in good repair.  There is plenty of potable water, and large camera
tanks.  Because of the location of the resort, the trips out to Bunaken are
brief, often no more than 15-20 minutes.

Diving in Bunaken is a combo of walls and sloping reefs.  There are plenty
of healthy hard corals, and moderate amounts of soft corals.  Currents are
variable, from none to the proverbial washing machine, although most of
the time the current is mild and fun.  Guides are attentive to this, and
try to avoid the nasties.  There are clouds of pyramid butterflies,
immature triggers, and fusiliers.  Larger species are scarce, although
there are plenty of turtles.  Nudibranchs, stonefish, lionfish and such are
present to a moderate degree.  But, as with most of the underwater world,
there has been some decline in the health of the reefs compared to 5 or 6
years ago.

If considering a visit in 2012 or 2013, remember that the resort is to be
undergoing major renovation.  New buildings are to be built, and current
structures are expected to undergo major renovations.  From our discussions
with staff and management, it sounds like the intent of the new owners is
to create a very upscale resort, themed less for the diver and more towards
conventioneers and non-diving vacationers. 
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Note: The information here was reported by the author above, but has NOT been reviewed nor edited by Undercurrent prior to posting on our website. Please report any major problems by writing to us and referencing the report number above.

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