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Dive Review of Cashew Grove in
Philippines/Busuanga Coron

Cashew Grove, May, 2014,

by Mike-y, Kehl, DE (Top Contributor Top Contributor 36 reports with 24 Helpful votes). Report 7600.

No photos available at this time

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

Accommodations 5 stars Food 4 stars
Service and Attitude 5 stars Environmental Sensitivity 3 stars
Dive Operation 5 stars Shore Diving 3 stars
Snorkeling 3 stars
Value for $$ 5 stars
Beginners 3 stars
Advanced 5 stars
Comments Next stop then was Cashew Grove on the other side of Busuanga. From the airport it´s a 1 h drive on bumpy dirt roads, where you pass by small villages, see water oxen standing up to their chest in mud with a heron on their back and a beautiful country side with banana cultures, Papaya and rice fields and sometimes catch a view across the smaller islands offshore. Cashew is smaller than Sangat, has some beach cottages of which I got one equipped with AC this time, which I prefer to the fan on the ceiling in such alike climate. There is a small pool, cause at low tide you can´t swim in the sea or you have to walk 50 m through some sea grass and coral field to reach deep water . Again it was the one bigger wreck of the Kyokuzu Maru which brought me here and naturally the Dugongs they promise you to find for you. Dugong Divers has it´s main center on Paradise Island, 30 min away from Cashew but there was a small dive center at my place too. They told me in a short dive briefing right away, maximum depth would be 40 m and I ought to make sure not to get into deco. Most days I was picked up after breakfast for a short ride to Paradise Resort where we took a bigger boat and some more divers hopped on. The first day brought us to the big wreck. Vis was much better here the first day compared to Coron Bay, later it got worse with lots of plankton in the water. Coral growth on the wreck was beautiful, plenty of fish life around, a bunch of bat fish welcomed us on the buoy rope down to the ship. We did some penetration, saw an old car with headlights, wheels, motor still in rather good shape. We swam down into the engine room and found a place with a lot of cups and plates all broken. For this dive I had asked for Nitrox (EAN 32) to give me a bit more bottom time. We did 2 dives on the wreck and a shallow afternoon dive on a lovely reef coral garden with lots of makro stuff around which the guide had to point out for me, as I´m not that good in spotting nudibranchs yellow ribbon eel or others. Next day we dove at Dimipac Island where I enjoyed a coral field with some soft pinkish coral in between a field of table coral. A big turtle cruised by. In the afternoon we tried our luck with the Dugongs close to the shoreline. They gave us a solid briefing how to best approach them. I expected to find them in some sea grass field feeding, however they were swimming along the shore. When you think these animals are fat and therefore slow moving you are wrong. When the captain saw the first dugong he pointed out the direction, we immediately glided into the water and looked for it. I really had to crawl hard to stay next to the animal, I just could not believe it moves that fast. Serveral times it surfaced for air and opened it´s mouth wide. The first dugong we found had a lot of scars on it´s back, due to maybe some collision with smaller boats and propellers. These animals seem to be rather shy, each time I tried to get closer it moved away or turned round or accelerated so that I could not follow. This was my first impressive encounter with such animals. Next we motored to Diboyuyen Island where I spotted a cuddle fish which stayed quite some time and showed us all it´s tricks with color change and camouflage in a nice coral field, above us some squids were rushing past. Apo Reef was on the agenda for the next day. Wake up call came at 5, as it takes 3 hours to reach in a bigger Bangka. In the boat to Paradise we had a stunning sunrise. On the long ride to the reef we several times met schools of dolphins and two times had a group of melon head whales in front of us. On a dive show in Germany Duesseldorf the “Boot” Dugong divers had told me they offer trips to Apo three times a week. What they however did not tell me is, it requires a minimum of 5 divers to go there. This they did not manage, as there weren´t that many divers on both resorts. So I only once had the chance to go there, a real shame. Apo proved to be everything you wish for. It is a wall dive and marine sanctuary at the same time. Breathtaking was the fish life all. Hundreds of various colorful small fish around us, barracudas in the deep blue, angelfish, trevallies, tuna, trigger fish, sweetlips and a bunch of humphead parrot fish on the first dive already. It was the same again on the second with a few sharks shyly circling below. The dive guide gave us a maximum of 25 m for the third dive. My buddy was a Switzerland guy – we looked at each other and went down to 37 m, to make the most out of this spectacular and maybe once on a lifetime dive site. We lost our dive guide or he lost us, we met again and he pointed on his slate on which he had: “you are to follow me not the other way round”. Later on deck he was seriously pissed off, told us not to repeat that, asked why we gave our o.k. to the briefing but then did not follow the profile he explained, accused us of reverse profile diving which we had not done. Later the brother of the owner said, we were lucky to continue diving, the boss would have taken us off after such an incident. I told him and the guide that this was the one chance in years to do such a dive, it cost a hell of a lot of money, he just could not ask us to follow his briefing. I normally have no problem following the briefing advice of dive guides for example not to touch anything under water which I anyway wouldn´t do. But to obey that would have been similar to asking for a 15 m maximum at Blue Corner in Palau of Blue Hole Belize, which is absolutely preposterous. For the Apo trip I had asked to dive Nitrox which they could not obtain, they said. I guess they just wanted to keep the dive as short as possible, try to stay real conservative in all. Later I told the instructor what happened, she supported the dive guide with a “ it is a safety issue which we should listen to and keep in mind”. On our way back again dolphins and a sunset which left you breathless in awe. The whole trip lasts from dawn to dusk, I´m not sure I would have done the same again. Diving Apo was spectacular but a hell of a long trip. A live aboard would be the better choice there, they offer 2 or 3 night stays. For the 13 dives I paid 726 US $ which again is extremely expensive. They charge extra for everything, torch , nitrox, fuel, marine park fees, where the last two are the biggest parts. Coming home Paris CDG couldn´t cope with the many international flights which arrived that morning. They had no better idea than to send all arrivals to the same customs check. So more than two football fields of tourists were standing in line at far to few custom checks, a disgrace and far worse than what you experience at customs and immigration even in US.
Websites Cashew Grove   

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience Over 1000 dives
Where else diving worldwide
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, dry Seas calm, no currents
Water Temp 28-31°C / 82-88°F Wetsuit Thickness 5
Water Visibility 10-20 M / 33-66 Ft

Dive Policy

Dive own profile ?
Enforced diving restrictions 40 m max. no deco dive
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? yes

What I Saw

Sharks 1 or 2 Mantas None
Dolphins Schools Whale Sharks None
Turtles > 2 Whales > 2
Corals 4 stars Tropical Fish 5 stars
Small Critters 3 stars Large Fish 3 stars
Large Pelagics 4 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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