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Dive Review of Thalassa Dive Center/Santika/Grand Luley in
Indonesia/Sulawesi

Thalassa Dive Center/Santika/Grand Luley, Oct, 2012,

by Scott Seidman, CA, US ( 2 reports). Report 6739.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience Over 1000 dives
Where else diving Worldwide
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, dry Seas calm, surge, currents, no currents
Water Temp 82 to 84 Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness 3
Water Visibility 40 to 90 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile ?
Enforced diving restrictions Fingerless or no gloves. Depth and time per briefing. Most dives about 60 minutes.
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? yes

What I Saw

Sharks None Mantas None
Dolphins Schools Whale Sharks None
Turtles > 2 Whales None
Corals 4 stars Tropical Fish 4 stars
Small Critters 3 stars Large Fish 3 stars
Large Pelagics N/A

Underwater Photography 1 (worst) - 5 (best):

Subject Matter 3 stars Boat Facilities 4 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 3 stars Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments Good rinse buckets on boats. No dedicated camera platform, but plenty of space on enclosed seating areas. I took my camera back to the room each day.

Ratings and Overall Comments 1 (worst) - 5 (best):

Accommodations 4 stars Food 4 stars
Service and Attitude 4 stars Environmental Sensitivity 5 stars
Dive Operation 5 stars Shore Diving N/A
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ 5 stars
Beginners 4 stars
Advanced 5 stars
Comments This was my second visit to Santika now the Grand Luley Resort over the past five years. The resort has just changed ownership, and they were clearly in a transition phase with new computers, staff and more. None-the-less, for a hotel that is really an aging Queen, the accommodations remain superior. We were in a Garden Bungalow, and our friends in a Deluxe Room. We were all very satisfied. The rooms were clean and comfortable, with complimentary bottled water and plenty of contemporary amenities. The restaurant menu was extensive and all inclusive except for drinks, although it did begin to wear thin at the end of a week.

Thalassa Divers remains a class act. On arrival there is an orientation, and then your gear is labeled with tags. Every day it is transported and set up on your boat, which is welcome, as the walk down the endless path over the mangroves to the jetty would be daunting carrying dive gear daily. It is then returned to the shop and rinsed. Multiple daily dives are offered, and you select how many you would like each day. Thalassa now provides nitrox, a new addition. The guides are fun and friendly, and do their best to find the unique. Most of the boats are spacious, and they are in good repair. There is plenty of potable water, and large camera tanks. Because of the location of the resort, the trips out to Bunaken are brief, often no more than 15-20 minutes.

Diving in Bunaken is a combo of walls and sloping reefs. There are plenty of healthy hard corals, and moderate amounts of soft corals. Currents are variable, from none to the proverbial washing machine, although most of the time the current is mild and fun. Guides are attentive to this, and try to avoid the nasties. There are clouds of pyramid butterflies, immature triggers, and fusiliers. Larger species are scarce, although there are plenty of turtles. Nudibranchs, stonefish, lionfish and such are present to a moderate degree. But, as with most of the underwater world, there has been some decline in the health of the reefs compared to 5 or 6 years ago.

If considering a visit in 2012 or 2013, remember that the resort is to be undergoing major renovation. New buildings are to be built, and current structures are expected to undergo major renovations. From our discussions with staff and management, it sounds like the intent of the new owners is to create a very upscale resort, themed less for the diver and more towards conventioneers and non-diving vacationers.
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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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