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

June, 2010, an Instant Reader Report by Laura Todd, CA, US
Reviewer   (4 reports)
Report Number 5536
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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 
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
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  
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  
 
 

Overall Rating

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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