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Dive Review of Expedition Fleet/Oceanic Explorer in
Philippines/Tubbataha Reef

Expedition Fleet/Oceanic Explorer, May, 2007,

by Gayle & Bob Bringas, OR, USA (Contributor Contributor 13 reports with 1 Helpful vote). Report 3416.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 501-1000 dives
Where else diving North Sulawesi, Raja Ampat, Bali, Fiji, Solomon Islands, Red Sea, Papua New Guinea, Australia, Plau, Truk, Tahiti, Costa Rica, Belize, Honduras
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny Seas calm
Water Temp 84 to 87 Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness 0
Water Visibility 50 to 75 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile no
Enforced diving restrictions guided dives
Liveaboard? yes Nitrox Available? N/A

What I Saw

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

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 3 stars Food 3 stars
Service and Attitude 4 stars Environmental Sensitivity N/A
Dive Operation 4 stars Shore Diving 1 stars
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ N/A
Beginners 4 stars
Advanced 4 stars
Comments We were in Cabin A1. A1 and A2 have more space than A3 and A4, because A1 and A2 do not have the storage that A3 and A4 have. A3 and A4 are next to the dining area. The dive deck is B deck. A Deck is split fore and aft. So, to get to the dining area from A1 or A2, you go down a set of atairs to B Deck, cross B Deck and climb a set of stairs to the aft A Deck. Between Cabins A1 and A2 is the generator, so it was like having Magic Fingers in the bunk, without the quarters! But we got used to it by the end of the trip. Oceanic Explorer is a faster boat than the Stella Maris, another Expedition Fleet boat that made the same trip at the same time.

Food was served buffet style, typically Asian/Filipino cuisine, rarely any western dishes. Dessert was usually fresh mangos. Snacks were usually store-bought cookies and crackers.

Diving was done off of two skiffs. Crew always ready to give you a hand on and off. Dive guide gave briefings on the skiff, but it was generally limited to which way the current was running. Crew transferred gear on and off the skiffs, set up tanks, etc. A crew member analyzed Nitrox tanks while the diver observed, then the diver filled out the percentage and MOD in a notebook, with date and signature. Gear was left on the skiffs during the day, and taken aboard at night or during crossings. We had calm seas for the entire trip.

The diving was good. Some rubble areas. Never had more than slight current on any dive site. Routinely saw turtles, white-tip and reef sharks, lots of garden eels, big schools of big fish: jacks, banner fish, spade fish, humphead wrasse. Divemaster Danny led the dives, but wasn't inclined to point out much. The few photographers in our group seemed happy enough to find their own subjects. Visibility varied from 50 to 75 feet. Encountered some thermo clines, but water temperatures ranged from 84 to 87 degrees. Bob did 18 dives in the four dive days (with two night 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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