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Dive Review of SMART in

October, 2006, an Instant Reader Report by Phil Gans, Co, USA
Reviewer   (5 reports)
Report Number 3094
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
251-500 dives
Where else diving
Jamaica, Dominican Republic, Utila, Roatan, Cozumel, Belize, Hualtaco,
Playa Del Carmen,Philippines, Bali (Komodo), Thailand
Closest Airport
Getting There


Dive Conditions

Water Temp
82   to 84    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
30   to 60    Feet  
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
Enforced diving restrictions  
The last day we were limited because of flights.  A few days I had to come
up a few minutes ealrier than I would have preferred.  If I had been in
boat with beginners or a more crowded boat, the times would have been
Nitrox Available?
What I saw
1 or 2 
Whale Sharks
> 2 
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
  5 stars
Tropical Fish
5 stars  
Small Critters
  5 stars
Large Fish
4 stars  
Large Pelagics
  2 stars
Underwater Photography  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Subject Matter
4 stars  
Boat Facilities
4 stars
Overall rating for UWP's  
4 stars  
Shore Facilities  
4 stars  
They had tanks.  It was fine for digital photographers.  (what do we need
Ratings and Overall Comments  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
4 stars
4 stars
Service and Attitude
4 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
Dive Operation
5 stars  
Shore Diving  
4 stars  

Overall Rating

Value for $$
5 stars   
5 stars    
The resort is on the Island of Mabul, about 15 minutes from Sipidan.  The
diving is exceptionally good.  At Sipidan where we went for 2 of the three
daily dives, there were tons of turtles and white tip sharks.  I, of
course, got excited with my first turtle sighting, but then I saw a few
more, and then a few more, and then, I just expected to see turtles
everywhere.  They were sleeping on coral or on walls, just swimming about. 
It was truly wonderful.  There were also lots of white tip sharks, resting
on the botttom.  On two days we saw a school of barracuda.  There thousands
of them swimming in circles at one point.  Some of the divers just got
among them and were surrounded by them.  It was truly extraordinary.  We
also saw a very large school of Jacks twice or three times.  There was also
a school of very large bump head parrot fish that we saw twice.  The school
was not large, about 25 fish, but the bumpheads were about 2 or even 3 feet
long.  the corals were gorgeous and healthy.  We only saw a couple of
hammerhead at a distance.  They are ususally found at Technical deepths. 
We also saw losts of healthy and large reef fish at both Sipadan and Mabul,
plenty of nudibranches, including a flamingo dancer at night, and things
like a pigmy seahorse, frog fish, leaf fish pipe fish, ghost pipe fish,
junivnile frog fish, crocodile fish,etc etc.  the island we stayed on.
Mabul is pretty small.  You can walk around it in less than an hour.  It
has a few resorts, including some water bungalows owned by the same people.
 There is a converted well station that acts as a resort, another set of
water bungalows and another resort on the island.  The village on the
island is very poor, but the peole are very nice.  Smart had good food, and
a good staff.  Wehn I was there there they wer ony at half capacity until
the last two days when they hit full capacity.  At the point the dive boats
became too full, and the dives on some of the baots became shorter to
accomodate less experienced divers.  This would have made the experience
much less fun if I had been on one of those dive boats with 10 or 12
divers.  Overall, it was a great experience.
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