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Dive Review of Atlantis in
Philippines/Puerto Galera

Atlantis, Mar, 2009,

by Scott Johnson, ca, USA (Sr. Contributor Sr. Contributor 20 reports). Report 4688.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 26-50 dives
Where else diving Palau, Layang Layang, Fakarava, Rangiroa, Galapagos, Kiribati, Truk, Sipadan, Cozumel, Costa Rica, Lembeh Straits, Raja Ampat etc
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather cloudy, dry Seas calm, choppy
Water Temp 76 to 78 Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness 2
Water Visibility 40 to 100 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions 50 minutes
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? N/A

What I Saw

Sharks None Mantas None
Dolphins None Whale Sharks None
Turtles 1 or 2 Whales None
Corals 4 stars Tropical Fish 3 stars
Small Critters 3 stars Large Fish N/A
Large Pelagics N/A

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

Subject Matter N/A Boat Facilities N/A
Overall rating for UWP's N/A Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments [None]

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

Accommodations 4 stars Food 5 stars
Service and Attitude 5 stars Environmental Sensitivity 4 stars
Dive Operation 4 stars Shore Diving N/A
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ 4 stars
Beginners 4 stars
Advanced 5 stars
Comments [None]Getting to the Philippines was one of the most arduous journeys I have done. I flew Continental, left LA (at 10 AM), changed planes in Hawaii on to Guam changed planes again to Manila. Upon arrival around 9:30 pm and 22 hours later (my bag made it with all the connections) found the waiting Van and had a two hour and a half ride mostly through heavy traffic to the embarkation point to Puerto Galera. This was a twisting and turning, stop and go ride. Then to the boat that takes you to Mindoro-Puerto Galera was another 50 minutes as it was pitch dark and at times a very rough crossing. The boat driver a couple of times had to slow the boat down getting through what seemed like 4 plus seas. Finally, after 27 hours with virtually no sleep I got to bed at 3 AM. I have been to places much more remote like Layang Layang, Sipadan and Raja Ampat but I found this trip to be the most sleep deprived trip I have taken. Perhaps it was the routing with Continental.

I stayed at the Atlantis in Puerto Glaria. The resort, staff, and dive operation are excellent. The rooms were nice but very small (my feet had about a 3 overhang in the bed). Just enough room unload your dive bag! All the meals were excellent. I had a room over the dive shop and at around 6:30 AM had a faint alarm of the occasional clanking of the Scuba tanks also a view of the bay. The one thing in Puerto Galera is being pestered by the vendors selling everything from necklaces, fake Rolexs and Viagra. They do not take no for an answer.LOL! Puerto Galera reminded me a bit of a party town like Mazatlan at spring break, with floating bars in the bay, bars lining the walkways etc etc.

The diving: I had a great dive guide Rusty and there were only two or three of us diving with him at any given time. I found the diving to be good not great, good biodiversity and healthy corals. Water was a cool 76 to 78 degrees. I brought a 1mm Henderson fullsuit, layered with my 2mm shorty, a 2mm vest and a beanie. I have not dove in cool waters like this in a while so it took a bit getting used to, I was chilled a few times. The diving here reminded me a lot of Bali with wall and sandy bottom dives. However, I would rate this a couple of notches below Bali.

This has to be the Feather Star (Crinoids) capitol of the world almost every color you can imagine and they do get on your wetsuit. Many Mantis shrimp, Lionfish, Banded shrimp, Nudis (saw a really cool one I have not seen before call a Reticulidia helgardo), Clown fish etc. Three dive sites I thought were outstanding were the Giant Clam, kinda a critter hunt like Lembeh straits, lots of thorny seahorses, The Canyons, lots of fish action. The best one Verde Island about an hour away. The dropoff was the best site, the best Vis of the trip around 60 to 100, lots of marine life, nudis, schooling Trevallies etc. Best biodiversity I had seen on the trip. Unfortunately, we had a very poorly planned entry and exit. There were 4' to 6' swells with chop (thank god I took my seasick meds), 11 divers and 2 DM's. They had us all jump at the same time...being they limit the dives to 50 minutes we all came up at the same time. Remembering what the water was like when I entered I signaled the DM I wanted to stay about 18' under while the other people exited the water as I had 750 psi. No, I had to surface! I surfaced with my buddy and now we were in 7' to 9' swells and waves crashing over our heads....We tried to swim towards the boat looked for my dive buddy and he was drifting away and away from the boat that was about 75 yards away. I hollered at the DM to grab him and he did. It was impossible to swim towards the boat so the three of us locked arms for about 15 minutes until the boat loaded and came and got us. In addition, even when they got us it was hell getting back on the boat as only one person at a time can exit the water to get on the boat. Much of this could of been of been prevented by letting the first group go 10-15 minutes prior to our group going. The next day another boat went to Verde and the spaced the groups by 15 minutes.

Would I go again to PG?...I doubt it, if I do perhaps another time of the year when the water is warmer and visibility better, the diving was good but not great. I am assured there are many other places that maybe better in the Philippines like Malapascua that I may go to next year or I would rather spend my time diving in Indonesia.
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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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