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Dive Review of Atlantis Dive Resorts in

August, 2010, an Instant Reader Report by Jonathan Bank, AE, US
Reviewer   (4 reports, with 1 Helpful vote)
Report Number 5676
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
251-500 dives
Where else diving
Belize, Malta, Curacao, Hawaii, Costa Rica, Papua New Guinea, Red Sea,
Closest Airport
Getting There


Dive Conditions

Water Temp
82   to 86    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
30   to 50    Feet  
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
Enforced diving restrictions  
Dives were generally kept to 90 feet and shallower.  Dive times limited to
60 minutes.  
Nitrox Available?
What I saw
Whale Sharks
> 2 
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
  4 stars
Tropical Fish
4 stars  
Small Critters
  5 stars
Large Fish
3 stars  
Large Pelagics
Underwater Photography  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Subject Matter
4 stars  
Boat Facilities
4 stars
Overall rating for UWP's  
Shore Facilities  
4 stars  
Ratings and Overall Comments  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
4 stars
5 stars
Service and Attitude
5 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
2 stars
Dive Operation
5 stars  
Shore Diving  
5 stars  

Overall Rating

Value for $$
4 stars    
5 stars   
4 stars    
Diving in the Philippines spoils other way to say it.  When you see
banded sea snakes, sea horses, turtles, and three different frogfish on
your first splash, the bar's set pretty high for the rest of the trip. 
Luckily, the diving in Dumaguete was pretty close to beating that standard
most of the time.  If the language is somewhat equivocating, it's because I
spent the previous three days diving in Puerto Galera, to my mind, one of
the most amazing dive locations in the Pacific.  Dumaguete sites are
generally a little tamer, shallower, and less "wow" than the PG
sites, but that's one man's opinion.  

All dives were about a five to ten minute boat ride from the resort with
either backroll or giant stride entries, depending on the size of the boat.
 Points like Sahara featured long expanses of sandy bottom, hiding
stingrays, shovelheads, stargazers, and sea horses, rewarding the careful
hunter.  A number of dives (a few too many in my opinion) featured a number
of artificial reefs created by sunken tires or sunken cars.  While these
were chock a block with macro critters - frog fish, scorpion fish, lion
fish, sea snakes, ghost pipefish, pipefish, etc., artificial reefs
are....well....artificial.  There's something a little bothersome about two
dozen uniroyals sunk into the sand....for whatever reason, i prefer ships,
autos, train cars, etc for my artificial reefs.  The twilight mandarin fish
dive is very special - sneaking up with dimmed lights to a reef to watch
the beautiful mandarin fish do their mating ritual is something very

The dives at nearby Apo Island, about an hour's boat ride, were the high
light of the trip.  Wall and drift diving featured turtles, larger oceanic
fish, some giant groupers.  I kept looking off into the blue expecting to
see a shark, manta, or other pelagic in light of the current and schools of
fish, but alas, was not rewarded.  The coral life in Apo is extremely
healthy with an abundance of hard and soft coral, generally in excellent
shape.  Currents ranged from mild to quite heavy with significant downward
surges.  The amount of polution - beer bottles, plastic bags, diapers,
bottle caps, etc was rather discouraging.  Every dive i seemed to fill my
bc pocket with odd bits of debris.  

Atlantis is a professional dive operation and it shows.  All divers are
assigned a spacious cubby area in the dive shop, preselected with their
name, dive dates, and any special needs printed out on the dive area.  The
dive masters are capable although a little amusing in the contrast between
their "rules" on the surface and enforcement beneath.  Dives are
limited to 60 minutes and the DMs go out of their way to ensure the divers
see everything and know what they're seeing.  All carry noteboards and are
well versed in the local fauna and flora.  Interestingly, the biggest
concern to the DMs was titan triggerfish, which had attacked a number of
divers and DMs in the past several days.  While I don't downplay what these
buggers with their nasty teeth can do, it was a little funny to see DMs
tense up when the winged by.  All boats, regardless of size, were in
excellent shape, all had communications, emergency kits, and well marked
emergency action plans.  In drift dives and night dives, the DMs did an
excellent job of keeping track of their charges - in one case I watched
(and helped) a DM track down a pair of divers who had wandered off in
virtually zero viz.  Nitrox fills were good, generally between 32-34 EAN. 

A few little complaints:  The biggest complaint/concern is the lack of
sufficient surface interval in the morning dives led by the younger dive
masters.  Trying to stick to a four-five dive day schedule seems to push
DMs into rushing surface intervals - sometimes down to 40 minutes after
deep morning dives to 100 feet or deeper.  By the end of a five dive day
with diving taking place essentially between 0900 and 1800, my head was a
little cottony and my computer not at all pleased.  An earlier start to the
dive day could serve to alleviate this.  While dive plans are discussed in
details (sometimes excrutiating) prior to splashing, once underwater, a
great deal of improvisation tends to rule.  Despite surface instructions, I
never saw the DMs check air status more than occasionally during dives. 
Last complaint: there is far too wide use of pointer sticks allowed among
divers -- I saw too many inexperienced divers using the sticks to molest
critters or jam them into reefs for stability.  Either teach divers to use
them or better yet, just restrict their use to DMs as pointers.

The lodgings were excellent.  The rooms were comfortable, well air
conditioned, with color TVs, WiFi, reliable current,  The beds were very
comfortable and allowed me to drift off most nights.  The food was far and
away the best dive resort food I've had and frankly, the best resort food
I've had.  The menus were creative, well executed, and worthy of a great
restaurant.  Breakfasts were hearty, cooked to order, and featured
limitless espressos, cappucinos, etc.  Lunches and dinners were gourmet

I can't say enough good things about the staff.  They all immediately
seemed to learn my name, were unfailingly friendly, and couldn't do enough
to make my stay comfortable.  Despite arriving at the tail end of a visit
of a 30 plus member dive group from New Jersey and in the midst of a
smaller group from Italy, I never felt like an "also ran" just
along for the ride.  

Small concerns aside, I would unhesitatingly recommend this resort.  As
long as you don't expect big pelagics, you will leave more than happy.
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All Philippines Dive Reviews and Reports
Diving Guide to Philippines
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