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Dive Review of MV Coral Star in
Panama

MV Coral Star, Apr, 2006,

by Tracy Johnson, CA, USA (Sr. Reviewer Sr. Reviewer 9 reports with 2 Helpful votes). Report 3016.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 251-500 dives
Where else diving California, Florida, St. Lucia, Martinique, Turks & Caicos, Curacao, Aruba, Bonaire, San Salvador, Cozumel, Hawaii, Bahamas
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny Seas currents
Water Temp 74 to 82 Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness 3
Water Visibility 20 to 70 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile ?
Enforced diving restrictions 130 feet max, most diving was on pinacles with a dive master
Liveaboard? yes Nitrox Available? N/A

What I Saw

Sharks Lots Mantas 1 or 2
Dolphins Schools Whale Sharks None
Turtles 1 or 2 Whales None
Corals 2 stars Tropical Fish 4 stars
Small Critters 4 stars Large Fish 5 stars
Large Pelagics 5 stars

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

Subject Matter 5 stars Boat Facilities 3 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 4 stars Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments Had to ask for fresh water cameera tub but wasn't a problem

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

Accommodations 4 stars Food 3 stars
Service and Attitude 4 stars Environmental Sensitivity N/A
Dive Operation 5 stars Shore Diving 3 stars
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ N/A
Beginners 1 stars
Advanced 5 stars
Comments This was my sixth trip on a Panamanian live-aboard. I love watching the big animals. Lots of white tip sharks resting in caves and on the bottom. In addition to the large animals we saw frog fish, lots of lobsters and eels, plus sea horses. On one previous trip I spent my safety stop in the middle of a school of dolphin. The trip starts with the first night at the Caesar Park Hotel Panama City. Early the next morning we fly to David and it's a short ride to the boat dock. We board pursuits for a two hour ride down river to the mother ship. The ship has 8 cabins and each have baths and air conditioning. There is also a small personal fan in each cabin also which worked well for me since I like a cool cabin.

On this trip we had 3 fishermen (2 ladies, 1 man) and 9 divers. The fishermen leave early in the morning on 28 foot Pursuits. Coral Star has a fleet of of ocean fishing/diving boats to take us to dive sites quickly. Fishing is an option during intervals. The size of their fleet provides the Coral Star with more than adequate backup should there be mechanical failure on any of the support boats. They even have a 56 foot LCM support boat to bring fuel to the mother ship. Most dive trips were on the 34 foot Delta. I used a 1.5mm wet suit with a vest. One of the nice things about diving in Panama is the opportunity to do exploration diving. We tried a site that had not been explored to date, unfortunately visibility was bad but there was still the excitement of exploring new sites in addition to the tried and true sites which don't see divers more than 10 times a year. This is a great trip for experienced divers due to the huge tidal changes creating strong currents.
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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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