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Dive Review of Butanding Center/Vitton Beach in
Philippines/Donsol

Butanding Center/Vitton Beach, Jun, 2010,

by Laura Todd, CA, US (Reviewer Reviewer 4 reports). Report 5536.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 0-25 dives
Where else diving [Unspecified]
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, windy Seas choppy
Water Temp 80 to 82 Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility 15 to 25 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile ?
Enforced diving restrictions [Unspecified]
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? N/A

What I Saw

Sharks None Mantas None
Dolphins None Whale Sharks > 2
Turtles None Whales None
Corals N/A Tropical Fish N/A
Small Critters N/A 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 N/A Food N/A
Service and Attitude N/A Environmental Sensitivity N/A
Dive Operation N/A Shore Diving N/A
Snorkeling 5 stars
Value for $$ N/A
Beginners 3 stars
Advanced 3 stars
Comments This trip was to snorkel with whale sharks, not to dive. The only place you'll want to stay is Elysia beach resort, with cool white rooms with french doors and new air conditioners, nice pool, shady hammocks and pretty restaurant. No matter where you stay, the whale shark trips are all organized out of the same center where you watch an orientation video,etc. They will organize groups of 6 - 10 on small local boats with a guide and spotters. The whale sharks are definitely here. In two outings we swam for long periods of time (max maybe 10 minutes) with at least 4 different animals. We would get back on the boat and catch up to the same shark and I would estimate that I got 3-4 sustained contacts with each of the four animals. The visibility is poor and the first couple times you get in are chaotic, but the guide will point you in the right direction. Snorkelers are supposedly not allowed closer than 3 meters to the sharks, but nobody told the sharks that! We had some very close contact, but no touching of course. The animals we swam with were about 20 feet or so in size, ie adolescents. Getting good photos is tough but trust me, you're going to remember this. Handy tips: do some sprints in the pool before you come - with a couple flicks of the tail, the sharks will leave you way behind. You will want to be confident in your free diving skills - this is deep water with poor viz and can be rough. Also even though it is calmer early in the day, there is no point in going out until about 10:30 or so as the whale sharks come to the surface to feed at mid day. And although the season is January thru May, come February through April. The sharks were starting to leave during our May 8 - 10 visit and some boats got skunked. The outings are popular with locals as well so best to avoid weekends. FYI no banks, no ATMs and no credit cards.
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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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