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Dive Review of Scuba Coiba/Sol y Mar in
Panama/Santa Catalina

Scuba Coiba/Sol y Mar, Jan, 2007,

by Janice R Melara, TX, United States . Report 3284.

No photos available at this time

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

Accommodations 1 stars Food 4 stars
Service and Attitude 1 stars Environmental Sensitivity N/A
Dive Operation 1 stars Shore Diving 3 stars
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ N/A
Beginners 1 stars
Advanced 3 stars
Comments Diving was mediocre. The long (hour to hour and a half) boatrides to the dive sites were very uncomfortable because the captain drove excessively fast and there were no cushions on the metal bench seats. We had read that there were amazing amounts of fish to be seen in Panama, but we found the amount of fish to be average or below average. We specified before making our reservations that we did not want to dive in strong currents or do any difficult dives because my husband is a novice diver. Ernie, the owner of Scuba Coiba, assured us that he could accomodate our needs. Currents were so strong that divers had to be pulled on a rope by the captain from the point of entry to the anchor line for descent. While descending on the anchor line, it took all my strength to hang on and not be swept off the line.

On the first day of diving, the divemaster sat on my husband's mask and broke it. She promised to have it repaired, but never did so.

On our second day of diving, things went from bad to worse. The crew forgot to load our wetsuits and we had to wait on a beach for an hour and a half while they went back to get them. Before we started the trip we made it clear to the divemaster (a different one that day)that we did not want to struggle against heavy currents. Since we were the only people on the boat, it seemed likely our request would be honored, but instead we were taken to a rocky point with currents so strong that we were flying straight out like flags in a strong wind as we descended on the anchor line. My husband had to abort the dive after about 20 minutes because he was exhausted trying to struggle against the current. The divemaster seemed very inattentive-he didn't even notice that my husband was in distress until I signalled repeatedly with my noise maker. By that time, we were already about halfway to the surface. We cancelled the rest of our dives.
Accomodations at Sol y Mar were primitive at best and yet the rates were quite high for Panama. The only hot water was in the shower-none for the sink-and it was supplied by a small heater at the showerhead with exposed electrical wiring running along the waterpipe from the wall to the showerhead. The lights in the room dimmed whenever we used the shower. The breakfasts provided by the owner's wife in the owner's home were delicious and really the best part of the dive trip.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 101-250 dives
Where else diving Cozumel, Bonaire, Curacao, Roatan, Dominica, Hawaii, Zhuatenajo
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny Seas choppy, currents
Water Temp 78-80°F / 26-27°C Wetsuit Thickness 3
Water Visibility 50-60 Ft/ 15-18 M

Dive Policy

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

What I Saw

Sharks None Mantas None
Dolphins None Whale Sharks None
Turtles None Whales None
Corals 3 stars Tropical Fish 3 stars
Small Critters 3 stars Large Fish 2 stars
Large Pelagics 2 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]
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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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