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Dive Review of Dive Society/El Dorado in
Philippines/Dumaguete/Dauin

Dive Society/El Dorado, May, 2008,

by Jim Chambers, GA, USA (Reviewer Reviewer 3 reports). Report 4090.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 501-1000 dives
Where else diving Caribbean, Fiji
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather windy, rainy Seas choppy, surge, no currents
Water Temp 80 to 82 Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness 0
Water Visibility 30 to 40 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile no
Enforced diving restrictions Boat dives were strictly limited to 60 minutes.
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? N/A

What I Saw

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

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

Subject Matter 4 stars Boat Facilities 1 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 3 stars Shore Facilities 2 stars
UW Photo Comments The dive shop had rinse tanks, but no rinse tanks on boats. We were there with a group of 16 underwater photographers, and the boat crews seemed perplexed at how to handle cameras.

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

Accommodations 3 stars Food 3 stars
Service and Attitude 3 stars Environmental Sensitivity N/A
Dive Operation 1 stars Shore Diving 3 stars
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ N/A
Beginners 3 stars
Advanced 3 stars
Comments Of the three places our group travelled in the Philippines (Puerto Galera and Anilao were the other two), Dive Society was the only dive operation that was not well run and enjoyable. In fact, we will never stay at El Dorado again because of issues with their dive operation, the Dive Society. Unlike the other Philippine dive operations that were operated and staffed by Filipinos, Dive Society is owned by Europeans, and the divemasters were Europeans. The trip was close to being a disaster, and we are still upset about it. Dive Society had promised a big boat that our group of 16 could dive on together, but the big boat was broke and they didn't seem too interested in fixing it. They advertised free nitrox, but their nitrox compressor was broken, and after a couple of days even their air compressor broke and they had to bring in tanks from another resort.

The dive boats were monstrosities that, despite their size, were uncomfortably cramped and difficult to enter the water from. I have a bad back and mobility problems, and when I explained this to the divemaster and asked for some help, he said okay, but he didn't really help very much. It wasn't until I exited that I realized that I could have entered the water from a ladder, which the divemaster apparently never thought of.

Boat dives were strictly limited to 60 minutes because they had to have the boat back for the next dive. I'm not making this up - they insisted on limiting dives to 60 minutes. During the time we were in Dauin, the weather was bad, so boat dives were limited, and most of us did shore dives on most days. There is a great dive at a nearby pier, but they take you there on a little jitney-type vehicle, where you then have to gear up and make a very long walk with all your gear and cameras over broken terrain to make a shore entry.

Note: Dauin is 100% muck diving. To see coral reefs, you have to make boat dives to Apo Island several miles away. There is a protected marine sanctuary directly in front of the dive operation that offers great muck diving, but it also causes a problem. The dive boats can't enter the sanctuary, so they have to pull up on the beach about 100 meters north or south of the dive shop. After our first boat dive, the boat crew said they would bring our dive gear back. They did - by floating our tanks/BCs and dragging them through the water by the 2nd stage regulator and hose. When we noticed this, we ran out in the water and grabbed our gear and brought it back ourselves. There's no telling how many regulator hoses these guys have ruined by doing this.

A major irritant: The local politicians charge hefty fees for every dive, plus fees for taking a camera underwater, and they get a whopping $100 a dive for a video camera. The dive operators collect these fees when you check out. They are NOT included in your prepaid dive package, so be prepared for sticker shock when you check out.

The bottom line 1: my wife and I have dived with many dive operators over the 21 years we've been certified, and Dive Society is about as bad as we've seen. We will likely return to Dauin for the great muck diving, but we will certainly not waste our money with the Dive Society.

The bottom line 2: Dauin has great muck diving, but find a good dive operator if you plan to do boat dives.
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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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