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Dive Review of Crystal Blue Resort in
Philippines/Anilao

Crystal Blue Resort, Feb, 2013,

by William R Kimlinger, MO, US ( 2 reports). Report 6916.

No photos available at this time

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

Accommodations 4 stars Food 3 stars
Service and Attitude 5 stars Environmental Sensitivity N/A
Dive Operation 5 stars Shore Diving N/A
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ 5 stars
Beginners 2 stars
Advanced 5 stars
Comments Crystal Blue Resort is a relatively new property being developed under the direction of Mike Bartick, an engaging and ambitious American who is a talented photographer. The physical layout of the resort is pleasant, open, clean and well-kept. It is built on a hillside and has stairs; one of our group had mobility challenges and was accommodated with a room with the fewest stairs. The camera room was the best I've seen.
Mike's staff is top-notch and friendly, helpful, courteous and always accommodating. The van arrived at the airport and helped us load bags. Diving was arranged at our convenience, not a rigid schedule. Most dives were 70+ minutes. We had three dives daily plus a twilight or night dive. The muck diving was superlative with a heavy helping of nudibranchs (many of which were mating), many frogfish (including hairy frogfish, two of which we videotaped feeding), mimic octopus, blue ring octopus, hairy octopus, seahorse, various ghost pipefish, scorpionfish, banded sea kraits, and many unusual critters. Unexpectedly, there were also healthy wide-angle reefs a short distance from the resort with many small reef fish and a juvenile spadefish but no large fish. A few jacks swam by in the distance- the only large fish I saw. The water was a little nippy and I wore a 5mm suit with a vested hood (but I always need more insulation than most...) There were some dives with stiff currents, many with only moderate currents.
Dive guides Edgar and Freddie were very skilled in finding creatures and were safety conscious. They successfully sought out certain creatures on demand. We twice had a tank with low air pressure on the boat but these were quickly replaced with extras on-board.
At the resort I enjoyed the food. Members of my group with more refined palates were less impressed but no one skipped any meals. We had fresh delicious mangoes for breakfast every day. There was a noticeable decline in food quality mid-week when the main chef was not there. There were always two entries at lunch and dinner, some combination of pork, chicken, or sea food- all edible, some delicious (especially the lumpias- more native dishes would have been appreciated.) The daily soups were especially rich and tasty. Snacks on the boat were hot chocolate, coffee and saltine crackers. At our request, watermelon was also sent.
As a new property, there is room for improvement- small things like mosquito nets around the beds that fully close, a hot tub (under construction at this time), railing on the stairs for those with mobility challenges and native breads between dives and at meals- but these are quibbles. The overall experience at the resort was professional and pleasant and the diving was excellent. Muck divers and photographers/ videographers will be especially pleased. Bring your macro lenses!
Websites Crystal Blue Resort   

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 501-1000 dives
Where else diving Indonesia, Solomon Islands, Fiji, Cocos Island, Red Sea, Saba, Bonaire, Little Cayman, California, Bahamas, Honduras, Mexico, Florida
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny Seas choppy, surge, currents
Water Temp 78-80°F / 26-27°C Wetsuit Thickness 5
Water Visibility 30-60 Ft/ 9-18 M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions Restricted only by computer and air usage.
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? yes

What I Saw

Sharks None Mantas None
Dolphins None Whale Sharks None
Turtles None Whales None
Corals 4 stars Tropical Fish 3 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 5 stars Shore Facilities 5 stars
UW Photo Comments The custom-built photo room at the resort was well set up with electric outlets,lint-free cloths, drying towels, and storage room. The crew was very careful handling the cameras both in loading the boat and while on the boat, covering the cameras from the sun. There were not rinse tanks on the boat but the dive sites are close to the resort and the cameras were placed in the rinse tank immediately on return. There were never more than 4 divers per guide. When one photographer "lingered" on a subject the guides found another critter for the other divers.
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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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