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Dive Review of Atlantis Dive Resorts in
Philippines/Dumaguete

Atlantis Dive Resorts, Aug, 2010,

by Jonathan Bank, AE, US (Reviewer Reviewer 4 reports with 1 Helpful vote). Report 5676.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 251-500 dives
Where else diving Belize, Malta, Curacao, Hawaii, Costa Rica, Papua New Guinea, Red Sea, Maldives
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny Seas calm
Water Temp 82 to 86 Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness 1
Water Visibility 30 to 50 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile no
Enforced diving restrictions Dives were generally kept to 90 feet and shallower. Dive times limited to 60 minutes.
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? yes

What I Saw

Sharks None Mantas None
Dolphins None Whale Sharks None
Turtles > 2 Whales None
Corals 4 stars Tropical Fish 4 stars
Small Critters 5 stars Large Fish 3 stars
Large Pelagics N/A

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

Subject Matter 4 stars Boat Facilities 4 stars
Overall rating for UWP's N/A Shore Facilities 4 stars
UW Photo Comments [None]

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

Accommodations 4 stars Food 5 stars
Service and Attitude 5 stars Environmental Sensitivity 2 stars
Dive Operation 5 stars Shore Diving 5 stars
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ 4 stars
Beginners 5 stars
Advanced 4 stars
Comments Diving in the Philippines spoils you..no other way to say it. When you see banded sea snakes, sea horses, turtles, and three different frogfish on your first splash, the bar's set pretty high for the rest of the trip. Luckily, the diving in Dumaguete was pretty close to beating that standard most of the time. If the language is somewhat equivocating, it's because I spent the previous three days diving in Puerto Galera, to my mind, one of the most amazing dive locations in the Pacific. Dumaguete sites are generally a little tamer, shallower, and less "wow" than the PG sites, but that's one man's opinion.

All dives were about a five to ten minute boat ride from the resort with either backroll or giant stride entries, depending on the size of the boat. Points like Sahara featured long expanses of sandy bottom, hiding stingrays, shovelheads, stargazers, and sea horses, rewarding the careful hunter. A number of dives (a few too many in my opinion) featured a number of artificial reefs created by sunken tires or sunken cars. While these were chock a block with macro critters - frog fish, scorpion fish, lion fish, sea snakes, ghost pipefish, pipefish, etc., artificial reefs are....well....artificial. There's something a little bothersome about two dozen uniroyals sunk into the sand....for whatever reason, i prefer ships, autos, train cars, etc for my artificial reefs. The twilight mandarin fish dive is very special - sneaking up with dimmed lights to a reef to watch the beautiful mandarin fish do their mating ritual is something very special.

The dives at nearby Apo Island, about an hour's boat ride, were the high light of the trip. Wall and drift diving featured turtles, larger oceanic fish, some giant groupers. I kept looking off into the blue expecting to see a shark, manta, or other pelagic in light of the current and schools of fish, but alas, was not rewarded. The coral life in Apo is extremely healthy with an abundance of hard and soft coral, generally in excellent shape. Currents ranged from mild to quite heavy with significant downward surges. The amount of polution - beer bottles, plastic bags, diapers, bottle caps, etc was rather discouraging. Every dive i seemed to fill my bc pocket with odd bits of debris.

Atlantis is a professional dive operation and it shows. All divers are assigned a spacious cubby area in the dive shop, preselected with their name, dive dates, and any special needs printed out on the dive area. The dive masters are capable although a little amusing in the contrast between their "rules" on the surface and enforcement beneath. Dives are limited to 60 minutes and the DMs go out of their way to ensure the divers see everything and know what they're seeing. All carry noteboards and are well versed in the local fauna and flora. Interestingly, the biggest concern to the DMs was titan triggerfish, which had attacked a number of divers and DMs in the past several days. While I don't downplay what these buggers with their nasty teeth can do, it was a little funny to see DMs tense up when the winged by. All boats, regardless of size, were in excellent shape, all had communications, emergency kits, and well marked emergency action plans. In drift dives and night dives, the DMs did an excellent job of keeping track of their charges - in one case I watched (and helped) a DM track down a pair of divers who had wandered off in virtually zero viz. Nitrox fills were good, generally between 32-34 EAN.

A few little complaints: The biggest complaint/concern is the lack of sufficient surface interval in the morning dives led by the younger dive masters. Trying to stick to a four-five dive day schedule seems to push DMs into rushing surface intervals - sometimes down to 40 minutes after deep morning dives to 100 feet or deeper. By the end of a five dive day with diving taking place essentially between 0900 and 1800, my head was a little cottony and my computer not at all pleased. An earlier start to the dive day could serve to alleviate this. While dive plans are discussed in details (sometimes excrutiating) prior to splashing, once underwater, a great deal of improvisation tends to rule. Despite surface instructions, I never saw the DMs check air status more than occasionally during dives. Last complaint: there is far too wide use of pointer sticks allowed among divers -- I saw too many inexperienced divers using the sticks to molest critters or jam them into reefs for stability. Either teach divers to use them or better yet, just restrict their use to DMs as pointers.

The lodgings were excellent. The rooms were comfortable, well air conditioned, with color TVs, WiFi, reliable current, The beds were very comfortable and allowed me to drift off most nights. The food was far and away the best dive resort food I've had and frankly, the best resort food I've had. The menus were creative, well executed, and worthy of a great restaurant. Breakfasts were hearty, cooked to order, and featured limitless espressos, cappucinos, etc. Lunches and dinners were gourmet level.

I can't say enough good things about the staff. They all immediately seemed to learn my name, were unfailingly friendly, and couldn't do enough to make my stay comfortable. Despite arriving at the tail end of a visit of a 30 plus member dive group from New Jersey and in the midst of a smaller group from Italy, I never felt like an "also ran" just along for the ride.

Small concerns aside, I would unhesitatingly recommend this resort. As long as you don't expect big pelagics, you will leave more than happy.
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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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