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Dive Review of Atlantis Dive Resorts in
Philippines

Atlantis Dive Resorts, Apr, 2013,

by Patricia A. Sinclair, LA, US (Top Contributor Top Contributor 31 reports with 9 Helpful votes). Report 7407.

No photos available at this time

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

Accommodations 4 stars Food 5 stars
Service and Attitude 5 stars Environmental Sensitivity 5 stars
Dive Operation 5 stars Shore Diving 5 stars
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ 4 stars
Beginners 4 stars
Advanced 5 stars
Comments April 28, 2013 to 5/5/2013

Saturday afternoon, Atlantis Resort – Dumaguete
We check in, our luggage is taken to our rooms, we get lunch and they bring us our room keys during the meal. There is only one key per room. So you are constantly making arrangements with your roommate as to how to handle when she or I are at the spa, or diving when the other isn’t in the same place at the same time and wants to go to the room. With work and constant communication we made it work out fairly well. I was tired from the travel and hot, so I opted for a nap and most everyone else goes out on a boat dive. A people few opted for the bar, these were the diehard drinkers, and you know there are always a few in every group.

Sunday morning, we are up early, get breakfast and meet our DM for the week. Mine was a little guy named Genie – he was so funny and had eyes that found the littlest critters and he was just the nicest person. He gives us a rundown of where our gear goes, there are slots for each diver and what our diver number is, when to analyze tanks and how many and when the briefings are for each dive. We can do up to 5 dives a day, 2 morning, 2 afternoon and 1 night dive. So, I plan on doing 22 dives this week as the goal.

As I learned, other than trips to the two islands in the distance, all diving is pretty much small reef and muck diving in Dumaguete. At the islands you get walls and reef, no muck diving. We did two island trips, Apo Island and Sijiour Island. On the island trips you only do 3 dives, and you are served snacks between dives and lunch on the boat. At Apo Island, there are shops to visit on the SI and if you look at the rocks, you can see a date carved into the rock. That year is when the first plane came to that island.
Now they have a couple of hundred inhabitants and some even have electricity. They are very happy with their lives there, and as calm and peaceful (no rushing to work, to the store, to hither and yon) as it is, I totally understand their feelings. Sijiour Island has even fewer inhabitants and no shops.

I did do 22 dives, and that included two tries at the Mandarinfish site attempting to get pictures in the coral rubble. I managed to get one picture and not a good one at that , and some video of two mating. The problem is they don’t like light, and if you use light they hide. So, when they finally come out, hopefully it is not too dark to see them, and you can only use the flash on your camera…strobes will scare them off for the rest of the night.

There was absolutely no current at Dumaguete! I loved that, and as far as I could tell, no little stingers either, but I continued to wear the nylon hood just in case. I found I LOVE muck diving! All the little critters, and I got to see flamboyant cuttlefish! I got to see cuttlefish period! I had never seen any before and I was so happy to see them. My squid dance doesn’t work on them, but thinking nice calming thoughts helped me to go nice and slow in their direction and get closer to them than anyone else did. The roughsnout and robust ghost pipefish – they can look like leaves floating in the water, the ornate ghost pipefish are so danged small! I got to see a blue ringed octopus mating, a solitary blue ringed octopus, a mimic octopus (missed getting a picture of this, battery died) and a wunderpuss and so much more! Again, there were so many things to look at I felt that I was having sensory overload on each and every dive.

I will not bore you with a recital of all 22 dives, but again I will provide a list of the sites to which we went:
Daruin North, Daruin South, Ceres, Mandarinfish Dive, Ceres, Ceres, San Miguel North, Mandarinfish Dive, House Reef, Masaplod Norte, San Miguel, Sahara, House Reef, Daruin North, Sahara, Ceres
Apo Island: Chapel, Katipanan, Rock Point West
Sijiour Island: Palton Wall (left shoulder to wall), Palton Wall (right shoulder to wall) and Staghorn

On that last Friday, most of the people went to see the Whale Sharks, a trip that did not guarantee that they would be there (they were) and cost extra. I decided my extra money would go to tips for the people at this resort, they were so nice and helpful and deserved a bigger than normal tip. Instead of doing that whale shark trip, two other people and I went diving – 3 dives that last day. On my last dive of the trip, Ceres, the two guys backed out and I was the only person on the boat, Genie was a wonderful dive buddy and DM. He tried really hard to find a mimic octopus for me, but no luck. He did find another regular octopus and he got inked by it! We did an hour and 17 minutes in the water and I still came up with over 1000 psi. I did not want the dive to end. Unfortunately, my throat felt scratchy and I started to have mucus flow, further, I started sneezing while underwater and I knew I was getting sick.

After that last dive, I needed to clean and dry my gear. There was no water in any of the tubs except the camera tub, and it was draining (albeit slowly). I asked Genie and he told me he was going to clean out all the tubs once they were drained. So, I went ahead and dunked the BCD, knowing that Genie was going to scrub the tub out and then refill it with clean water. Genie then left to get some lunch. As I did this, a man from a group that had just had arrived at the resort that day started screaming at me about using the camera tub. Didn’t ask why just lit into me and it was rather embarrassing. I absolutely hate being yelled at in public, especially when I am not doing anything wrong (even though the other person looks like an AH under those circumstances.) At some point during his blessing me out, I lost my temper (about 2 minutes into his tirade, I think), I informed him that I thought he was no gentleman and that had he but asked I would have explained what and why. He kept screaming and I then, as calmly as I could, told him he was the rudest excuse for a human being I had ever had the bad fortune to be exposed to. Then I sneezed in his face…hope he caught the bug!  Further, he was leaving on a dive boat for a dive, and had NO NEED for that tub at that time. He was just another A-H who thought screaming at someone else would make their day better or because they could. As I walked out and away from that confrontation, one of the men whom I had been diving with (same boat) came up to me and asked me if I wanted him to talk to that guy, that his treatment of me was uncalled for and I said no…I thought I had handled it. I took the BCD to a sunny area and let it dry. Regulator and sausage went to the room to hang dry. I then came back and helped Genie scrub the 5 tubs and refill them. As I had yet to clean off, Genie said to jump in one of the tubs for BCDs or Wetsuits. He them jumped into one, so I did as he said, OH MY, the water was WARM!!! Now I knew why he jumped into those tubs!  All the while I was in the tub, I kept thinking what would that guy have to say if he saw Genie and me soaking in those tubs, then I started laughing! I felt much better after that laugh and was able to let the incident go.

I got a wonderful massage on Friday night, an hour and a half of pure bliss…and no tight muscles after that!

The Trip Home
Saturday morning, I feel like absolute garbage and I had to retrieve and pack my dive gear, now that it was dry. I also finished packing my clothing and camera gear. Once all packed I went to breakfast and sat well away from everyone else, in order to not infect them. I went back to the room and napped until we were to leave for the Dumaguete Airport.

During the flight to Manila I kept feeling worse and worse. We get to Manila and do the 4 hour layover thing and though I am hungry, it is not for anything on offer at that airport (I wanted some nice chicken soup.) Once we got on the big plane, I found my seat, got my stuff into the overhead and luckily, the two seats between myself and my roommate were never filled. We both used them (she too was feeling ill.) I slept the whole trip – something I never do! Once in LAX, I walked to Terminal E, where United is and checked in. Slept on that flight to Houston. Then had a 2 hour layover in Houston and got on a small regional jet for NOLA. I don’t remember a lot about the walk from the plane at the airport to the Park and Fly bus, but I do remember trying to make sure I did not fall asleep while driving home that Sunday morning. I got to the house and called my mother to let her know I was back safe, but sick. I then called the vet and told them I would pick up my dogs on Monday or Tuesday, because I was too sick to do it that Sunday. I then fell asleep until 9PM. I got up, made a can of soup (chicken) and headed to the bedroom and slept and slept. I called into work on Monday sick – yeah that was good!

How did I get sick – well, as it turned out, a lady in the group whom I had sat with several time for dinner at Magic Island, was sick and did not avoid people that first week…incubation time was a little over a week, which explains why I got sick on that last day. She is an ER nurse and should have known: a) that she had been exposed to the bug while in NOLA and b) when she got ill to stay away from the rest of us. Another reason for me to avoid the Group trip thing.

Bottomline –
For the whole trip, I got in 40 dives and over 43 hours in the water. The average dive time was one hour and about 5 minutes. I did my 400th dive while at Magic Island Resort and I am looking forward to making my 500th dive next year either in Roatan or Bonaire.

Would I go back to the Philippines – you bet I would. Defiantly not with that group, but I sure would go and dive with a friend or two or three. The Philippine people are warm and friendly and the diving is fantastic. The food was very good at each resort and on the last night at each resort we were treated to Philippino Roast Pig – it was so succulent and rich! The time of year was the summer there, and the water was about 84 to 86 degrees and a skin is all you need. I did not see anything larger than turtles, but oh there were so many turtles and they did not run/swim away as they do in the Caribbean. I did not miss seeing sharks or other large fish as there were so many small and interesting critters to see (like the black ribbon eel and the blue ribbon eel and the list goes on and on.) Wonderful diving!!!




Websites Atlantis Dive Resorts   

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 251-500 dives
Where else diving Rotan, Jamaica, Grand Bahama Island, North Bimini, Curacao, Bonaire, Little Cayman, Cayman Brac, Grand Cayman St. Eustatius, Florida Keys, Miami, Fl
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, dry Seas calm
Water Temp 80-85°F / 27-29°C Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility 50-100 Ft/ 15-30 M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions usually limited to an hour per dive, since we were doing 4 to 5 dives a day.
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? yes

What I Saw

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

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 While there was not any type of storage for cameras on the pangas, the camera room at the resort was fabulous./
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