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Dive Review of Asia Divers/El Galleon in
Philippines/Puerto Galera

Asia Divers/El Galleon, Nov, 2009,

by Rosemary Chengson, CA, US ( 1 report with 1 Helpful vote). Report 5320 has 1 Helpful vote.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 501-1000 dives
Where else diving Indonesia (Bali, Kamodo, Sulawesi); Papua New Guinea; Philippines; Bonaire; Sea of Cortez; Monterey, CA; Channel Islands, CA
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny Seas calm, choppy, currents, no currents
Water Temp 81 to 82 Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness 5
Water Visibility 15 to 60 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions While booking this trip we were told the bottom-time limit was 1 hour plus, the reality is that it depends on the dive guide, with stated times as short a 45 minutes. My longest dive was 63 minutes and the dive guide was annoyed.
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? yes

What I Saw

Sharks None Mantas None
Dolphins None Whale Sharks None
Turtles > 2 Whales None
Corals 4 stars Tropical Fish 4 stars
Small Critters 5 stars Large Fish 2 stars
Large Pelagics N/A

Underwater Photography 1 (worst) - 5 (best):

Subject Matter 4 stars Boat Facilities 3 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 4 stars Shore Facilities 3 stars
UW Photo Comments Nowhere to set-up camera except in your room. Had to carry camera back to room between dives b/c there was no secure area. Boat crew had limited experience handling/receiving cameras. For example, several times the port was used to balance the camera on the side of the boat when transferring into/out of the water. Both wide angle and macro ports were scratched during this trip. Separate rinse tank was available for cameras. Initially chastised for not staying with group while taking photos and group swam away - after repeated discussions with dive guides prior to each dive buddy and I were able to dive our own profile and trail behind the group.

Ratings and Overall Comments 1 (worst) - 5 (best):

Accommodations 4 stars Food 3 stars
Service and Attitude 3 stars Environmental Sensitivity N/A
Dive Operation 3 stars Shore Diving N/A
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ 4 stars
Beginners 3 stars
Advanced 4 stars
Comments Despite the fact that it's against the law in the Philippines, prostitution appears to be alive and well in Puerto Galera. Virtually every morning, very young teenage local girls were seen leaving the resort, often times dawdling to text message/phone their colleagues who had also spent the night at the resort so they could meet up. Four of the first six nights at the resort I was awoken by loud partying at the pool. At a minimum, large signs should be posted in each room and by the pool reminding guests to be quiet after 9 p.m.

The diving was very nice, with primarily muck diving at the near by sites and great tropical reef diving at Verde Island. There is a surcharge (approx. $25/person) for the Verde Island trip for two morning dives. The speed boat makes it easy and fast to get there, but currents can be quite strong and is not recommended for inexperienced divers. There is also a surcharge for night dives which was not disclosed until we were presented with the bill. The travel agent we worked with said there were one hour plus time limits but once there we were asked to keep our bottom time to 50 minutes. After negotiating with the dive staff I was able to get them to grudgingly agree to a one hour bottom time limit. Given the abundance of sea life at some sites it was a shame to have such a restrictive bottom time when I consistently came up with over 1,000 pounds of air.

Bottom line: The Philippines has some great diving and I'll skip the sex tourism of Puerto Galera to dive other areas of the Philippines.
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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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