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Dive Review of Atlantis Dive Resorts in
Philippines

Atlantis Dive Resorts: "Puerto Galera, Great Invertebrate, No Peleagics", Dec, 2017,

by Paul Barrett, NM, US (Reviewer Reviewer 6 reports with 5 Helpful votes). Report 10078 has 3 Helpful votes.

No photos available at this time

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

Accommodations 4 stars Food 4 stars
Service and Attitude 3 stars Environmental Sensitivity 4 stars
Dive Operation 5 stars Shore Diving N/A
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ 4 stars
Beginners 4 stars
Advanced 4 stars
Comments After a thirteen hour flight to Manila we were picked up the airport and driven to Batanga City in two vans. We stopped for a snack along the way. In Batanga City we boarded a ferry for the thirty minute trip to Atlantis Puerto Galera.

The enclave of Puerto Galeara where the Atlantis operation is based is a small but bustling area with many dive shops. The majority of the divers are Chinese or Korean, although Atlantis seems to focus on Americans and Europeans. The bottom line is this is not an isolated beach resort. In fact, there is no beach although at low tide there is a large sand flat.

The hotel orientation by Luke, a British ex-pat and others was quite complete and the staff is very friendly and enthusiastic. They seem to immediately know your first name. However, I was with a group of eight and we arrived the first week in December. The resort was full and the staff at first was a little overwhelmed, particularly at breakfast. Orders were slow to be taken, and slower to arrive. We sometimes had to ask the waitstaff about our order several times before it arrived. Luke was aware of the situation and in fact had recently lost several very experienced staff. The efficiency improved as the week progressed but we still needed to occasionally remind the waitstaff that we had already ordered and check that the order was correct when the food when it arrived.

Free WiFi is offered to guests and a strong WiFi signal can be found throughout the property. Some technical glitches required frequent reconnection early in our stay but the management called in a consultant and the issue was solved after a few days.

There is no shore diving at Atlantis Puerto Galera. However no boat dive was more than ten minutes away. Our group was broken in two with a dive master for every four divers, but we usually dove the same site at the same time. We traveled to the dive sites on either a small speedboat or a slightly larger bangka. In either case we entered by back rolling off the rail benches. Before leaving the dock we would test the nitros level in the tanks and label them. The dive masters and boat crew mounted the tanks on our BCs and helped up gear up.

DIVING

Visitors can dive up to four times a day. Nitrox is extra but if you have four dives in a given day you are only charged for three tanks. Visibility was less than I expected, from 25 to 50 feet. On the murkier dives close coordination between dive buddies under water is critical.

Generally the diving was very good. The area offers both coral and muck diving and the diversity is impressive. In particular, nudibranchs, crinoids, and other invertebrates are much more diverse than the Caribbean or other Indo-Pacific areas Iíve visited. Our two dive masters, Thax and Mak were very good at locating cryptic fauna that even a trained eye will have difficulty finding. Our divers ranged from very experience to a couple of first timers. The dive masters took everyoneís abilities into consideration and helped the new divers gain comfort under water.

Atlantis offers three dive trips including lunch and snacks to Verde Island, about a 30 minute boat ride from Puerto Galera. The first two dives are on the Pinnacles and the third dive is a choice between the very high current Washing Machine, or the more sedate Coral Gardens. On one dive to the Pinnacles we encountered a very strong current and a one of our group was swept off the coral into the open ocean. Thax saw it occur and launched himself after her, caught up and had them both let the current take them into the open ocean where the current receded. They then did a safety stop and were picked up by the boat.

At least half the dives had significant currents but the dive operators were very safety conscious and even the new divers felt at ease. Nevertheless, if you do not care for drift diving, this may not be the place for you.

Although the invertebrates were amazing, large pelagics were almost non-existent. Throughout our week of diving our group only encountered one turtle; no sharks or other large pelagic fishes.

Interestingly, although highly vegetated Puerto Galera had almost no birds. We saw a few Eurasian sparrows and something foraging on the ocean off of Verde Island but little else. Even gulls were absent!

So the bottom line is if you enjoy invertebrates and can handle currents, albeit with very good supervision, and donít need to see large pelagic this is a very good diving destination.None]
Websites Atlantis Dive Resorts   

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 251-500 dives
Where else diving Bonaire, Caymans, Cozumel, Honduras, Truk, Sipidan
Closest Airport Ninyo Aquino, Manila Getting There Fly to Manila, van to Batanga City, Ferry to Puerto Galera

Dive Conditions

Weather rainy Seas currents
Water Temp 81-82°F / 27-28°C Wetsuit Thickness 3
Water Visibility 25-50 Ft/ 8-15 M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile no
Enforced diving restrictions Divers in groups of four with DM. All safety stop then surface when the first diver reaches 50 bar/750 psi
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? yes

What I Saw

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

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

Subject Matter 5 stars Boat Facilities 3 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 4 stars Shore Facilities 5 stars
UW Photo Comments Bring a macro lens
Was this report helpful to you?
Report currently has 3 Helpful votes

Subscriber's Comments

By Barbara Raulston in NM, US at Dec 21, 2017 18:23 EST  
Same trip-We saw 2 large turtles on our twilight dive at the Western Escarceo. Lots of banded sea snakes all week and the nudibranchs were lovely! Likely Hawksbill turtles. From my brief experience in restaurant work, when the owner is on the premises, things tend to go haywire. This may have been the reason service was a bit off as the owner, Gordon, was there that week. Makes everyone nervous to have the big boss around. SO thankful Thax and Mak were on top of it when my dive buddy disappeared in the current. There was some confusion at first figuring out that Mak saw Thax go after her, because I did not and I don't think anyone else did either. It happened so fast. Good lessons learned! Once the situation was cleared up with writing slates and hand signals, the rest of us continued the dive. We did cut it short - about a 30 min dive, and were very happy to find the missing on the boat. Some pretty choppy surf waiting on the boat to come get us and was tricky getting in the boat around the stabilizers on the bangka. Great trip!
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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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