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Dive Review of Dive Society/El Dorado in

May, 2008, an Instant Reader Report by Jim Chambers, GA, USA
Reviewer   (3 reports)
Report Number 4090
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
501-1000 dives
Where else diving
Caribbean, Fiji
Closest Airport
Getting There


Dive Conditions

windy, rainy  
choppy, surge, no currents  
Water Temp
80   to 82    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
30   to 40    Feet  
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
Enforced diving restrictions  
Boat dives were strictly limited to 60 minutes.  
Nitrox Available?
What I saw
Whale Sharks
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
  1 stars
Tropical Fish
2 stars  
Small Critters
  4 stars
Large Fish
3 stars  
Large Pelagics
  3 stars
Underwater Photography  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Subject Matter
4 stars  
Boat Facilities
1 stars
Overall rating for UWP's  
3 stars  
Shore Facilities  
2 stars  
The dive shop had rinse tanks, but no rinse tanks on boats. We were there
with a group of 16 underwater photographers, and the boat crews seemed
perplexed at how to handle cameras.
Ratings and Overall Comments  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
3 stars
3 stars
Service and Attitude
3 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
Dive Operation
1 stars  
Shore Diving  
3 stars  

Overall Rating

Value for $$
3 stars   
3 stars    
Of the three places our group travelled in the Philippines (Puerto Galera
and Anilao were the other two), Dive Society was the only dive operation
that was not well run and enjoyable. In fact, we will never stay at El
Dorado again because of issues with their dive operation, the Dive Society.
Unlike the other Philippine dive operations that were operated and staffed
by Filipinos, Dive Society is owned by Europeans, and the divemasters were
Europeans. The trip was close to being a disaster, and we are still upset
about it. Dive Society had promised a big boat that our group of 16 could
dive on together, but the big boat was broke and they didn't seem too
interested in fixing it. They advertised free nitrox, but their nitrox
compressor was broken, and after a couple of days even their air compressor
broke and they had to bring in tanks from another resort.

The dive boats were monstrosities that, despite their size, were
uncomfortably cramped and difficult to enter the water from. I have a bad
back and mobility problems, and when I explained this to the divemaster and
asked for some help, he said okay, but he didn't really help very much. It
wasn't until I exited that I realized that I could have entered the water
from a ladder, which the divemaster apparently never thought of.

Boat dives were strictly limited to 60 minutes because they had to have the
boat back for the next dive. I'm not making this up - they insisted on
limiting dives to 60 minutes. During the time we were in Dauin, the weather
was bad, so boat dives were limited, and most of us did shore dives on most
days. There is a great dive at a nearby pier, but they take you there on a
little jitney-type vehicle, where you then have to gear up and make a very
long walk with all your gear and cameras over broken terrain to make a
shore entry.

Note: Dauin is 100% muck diving. To see coral reefs, you have to make boat
dives to Apo Island several miles away. There is a protected marine
sanctuary directly in front of the dive operation that offers great muck
diving, but it also causes a problem. The dive boats can't enter the
sanctuary, so they have to pull up on the beach about 100 meters north or
south of the dive shop. After our first boat dive, the boat crew said they
would bring our dive gear back. They did - by floating our tanks/BCs and
dragging them through the water by the 2nd stage regulator and hose. When
we noticed this, we ran out in the water and grabbed our gear and brought
it back ourselves. There's no telling how many regulator hoses these guys
have ruined by doing this.

A major irritant: The local politicians charge hefty fees for every dive,
plus fees for taking a camera underwater, and they get a whopping $100 a
dive for a video camera. The dive operators collect these fees when you
check out. They are NOT included in your prepaid dive package, so be
prepared for sticker shock when you check out.

The bottom line 1: my wife and I have dived with many dive operators over
the 21 years we've been certified, and Dive Society is about as bad as
we've seen. We will likely return to Dauin for the great muck diving, but
we will certainly not waste our money with the Dive Society.

The bottom line 2: Dauin has great muck diving, but find a good dive
operator if you plan to do boat dives.
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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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