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Dive Review of Turtle Bay in
Philippines/Moalboal, Cebu

March, 2011, an Instant Reader Report by Kimberley Fox/Michael O'Reilly, AP, US (2 reports)
Report Number 5991
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
501-1000 dives
Where else diving
Bunaken, Lembeh, Wakatobi, Sippadan, Indonesian Borneo, GBR, South
Australia, PNG, Tanzania, Philippines many locations, Little Caymen,
Belize, Turks and Caicos
Closest Airport
Getting There


Dive Conditions

Water Temp
27   to 28    Celsius  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
12   to 16    Meters  
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
Enforced diving restrictions  
60 minute duration (irregularly enforced)  
Nitrox Available?
What I saw
Whale Sharks
> 2 
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
  4 stars
Tropical Fish
2 stars  
Small Critters
  3 stars
Large Fish
1 stars  
Large Pelagics
Underwater Photography  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Subject Matter
3 stars  
Boat Facilities
1 stars
Overall rating for UWP's  
2 stars  
Shore Facilities  
3 stars  
Boat has no clean water dedicated to cameras.  Camera rinse tank at dive
hut not always clean.
Ratings and Overall Comments  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
4 stars
3 stars
Service and Attitude
4 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
2 stars
Dive Operation
2 stars  
Shore Diving  
3 stars  
2 stars  

Overall Rating

Value for $$
3 stars    
4 stars   
2 stars    
     A three-hour drive from the Cebu airport, Turtle Bay is one of several
dive resorts on Moalboal. Owned by the pleasant Brit/Filippina couple Chris
and Fe, the resort has accomodation for up to 50 people.  Standard schedule
includes a two tank morning dive; destination alternates between nearby
tiny Pescador Island and multiple sites (mostly wall dives) on Moalboal's
coast.  Pescador is about 30 minutes by boat.  The Moalboal sites are all
within 15 minutes or so.
     Pescador's signature attraction is a large school of swarming
sardines, around which barracuda and hunting jacks are often found.  Divers
can swim through parting clouds of sardines to appreciate the swarm up
close.  Thresher sharks and whale sharks are rarely seen here.  Threshers
apparently made routine appearances at Pescador until about two years ago.
Aside from the sardines, Pescador has an interesting variety of frogfish
and scorpionfish and an occasional octopus.  At the Moalboal sites over the
course of a week we saw about 10 orangutang crabs on bubble coral, a
variety of scorpionfish including several species of leaf scorpionfish and
probably 100 common pipefish (no ghost pipefish.) There is a nearby
mandarin fish dive, but the site is very small and the resort tries to
limit the mandarin dives to only two divers.  Our best dive may have been a
night dive at Moalboal Bay - very shallow - where we saw octopus, many
species of translucent shrimp, a sargassum file fish, unusual decorator
crabs and an eel-tailed catfish.  Afternoon dives are available, though
sometimes only shore dives on the house reef.  This is not a bad reef, but
it's not so interesting that you will want to do it every day.  
     The boats used at Turtle Bay, of the bangka type common in this
region, have little shade; no space dedicated to cameras; at low tide
divers are shuttled to and from the pier by a smaller motor boat.  The
bangka felt crowded with 12 divers on board for Pescador trips. Guide
quality is highly variable.  
     Although the corals seem healthy, the overall volume and diversity of
marine life is much lower than anywhere else we've been in the Philippines.
 This may be due to the abundance of local fishermen line fishing at many
of the dive sites.  On the last trip to Pescador I counted 13 fishermen's
bangkas lined up nose to nose with dive boats.  Apparently the locals have
abandoned net fishing, but they are politically powerful and no protection
of the reefs from line fishing is imminent.  The impact on the reefs is
clear: almost none of the larger reef fish were spooted by us during a week
of diving.  Another factor may be in play here, however, as we saw few
nudibranchs in our dives here, very unusual for the Philippines.  
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