Stefan´s divetravel site

Dive trip reports from mailing lists

   Home | My Trip reports | Links to all trip reports | UW-Photos | Diving links | Email me   

Here I have collected good messages from various news groups and mailing lists that I read. I have tried to remove all names ( except for names of operators ). I have tried to email all authours to ask them if I can show their email on a web page, but I remove only thoose that ask me to remove their message. Also I only put their email address with their message if I have gotten a reply from them saying that that is OK.

The emails on this page are all written from late 1997 to 31:st of May 1998.

Subject: Fiji, Papua New Guinea

Xxx wrote:
> I intend to visit Fiji and Papua New Guinea and since it's kind of hard to
> get any bias free information, i was wondering if anyone has any good
> experiences with diving operators in these islands.

I've been on 7 live-aboard trips in PNG over the last few years. There are a number of good operators -- probably the best dive operation I've ever seen has to be the FeBrina which I've been on for 3 trips and am about to go back for a 4th. Trips leave from Walindi Plantation which also has some excellent land-based diving. They either do Father's Volcanoe area or the Witu Islands, both of which are phenomenal diving areas (I'm slightly biased towards Father's). You will also dive Kimbe Bay heading out and coming back which is also incredible diving. The macro opportunities are incredible, the wall/bommie shots great. You will certainly see plenty of shark, but they tend to be a little deeper and won't come really close.

If sharks are your thing, then go up to Kavieng -- I dove the Taleo Tambu which is a 50 foot catamaran operated out of Kavieng. It is not a dedicated dive boat (he does fishing, naturalist, as well as dive charters). I had heard that he is selling out, so I'm not sure if he is taking bookings. It's also less luxurious (limited fresh water, no A.C), but you have only 4-6 divers on board and have complete freedom since the group controls the itinerary. I've heard good things about the Tiata which also dives that area for part of the year. I've been on the Tiata for a tour, but haven't dived from it. It appears to me to be a little bit small if it's full (10 divers).

There is also the Milne Bay area -- I dove the Taleo Tambu, but that's not his regular area. The Telita (which just got bought by Mike Ball) and the Chertan dive that area. I found Milne Bay was unmatched for unusual critter diving, muck diving, and macro opportunities. When we got outside of the Bay in the Louisiades, the sharks were also incredible, but I haven't heard of the Telita or the Chertan heading out that far to the Louisiades, at least not on a normal charter. (We chartered the Taleo Tambu specifically to go explore the Louisiades.)

Have fun!! There's no where else I'd rather be diving than PNG.

Re: indonesian hot spots?

I haven't been to Manado but there's some superb diving available in East Nusa Tenggara. Can you fly direct to Kupang in Timor? There's an Ausralian father-and-son team (Graham and Donovan: I've been racking my brains but I can't come up with their surname) running an outfit called Pitoby Watersports. They dive around Kupang which is good, but vis isn't great, but they also do "away" trips to the hardly-dived islands like Roti and Alor. I did a week's trip to Alor (5 days diving) and it was fantastic, superb, unbelievable, umissable, possibly unrepeatable. There's a recent dive guide to Indonesia which goes into detail as well as Kal Muller's book (published by Periplus out of Singapore). Read it if you want to know more.

Re: Ambong, Indonesia

Do you mean AMBON? If you mean Ambon I can highly recommend it. Its mostly untouched area, and as far as I know there are only 2-3 diving operators in this area. that means diving is rather expensive compared to other places in indonesia. I havent been diving there, but i was many times snorkeling on the banda islands, and this was the best i ve seen in indonesia. ( better than manado, flores, bali..). There is nearly no tourism in this region, that means everything takes rather long. as far as i know there is one operator present on the web (search with alta vista) who organizes boat-trips around the ambon area.

Re: East Malaysia/Indonesia

XXX wrote:
>Indonesian government re:Sangalakki-I have never been able to get there
>when I've been to Borneo in the past, but I understand the mantas and
>cuttlefish are spectacular.

The mantas truly are, with at least a dozen to two dozen whizzing around us on every dive. The best way to see them however is snorkling: they seem much less spooked than if you sat at the bottom on scuba waiting for them. However, the mantas at Sangalaki are not anywhere as large as the solitary ones or those found in small groups throughout the region: a LARGE manta flying by at close quarters is quite a different experience. A day of mantas at Sangalaki will be quite enough to wean you off mantas for the next few months or so.

But Sangalaki is only one of a group of islands in the area: the others include the larger islands of Derawan, Kakaban, and the huge Maratua atoll group. All are as interesting as Sangalaki in their own right, and if I had to choose just one, I would settle for Maratua and not Sangalaki: very wild and testing conditions, but magnificent pelagic life and extremely varied underwater topography in the way of walls, steep slopes etc. I would rate Maratua above Sipadan, which Maratua resembles in terms of underwater life and architecture, except that Maratua is many umpteen times larger! Kakaban has a brackish jellyfish lake enclosed by high (and very sharp) limestone walls, in which live seasnakes, two kinds of jellyfishes, jellyfish-eating white anemones, and curious cardinalfishes or sweepers most of which seem to be unique to the lake. The lake is bordered in parts by sulphurous swamps infested with man-eating mosquitoes, so bring the repellent stuff. There are tunnels in the reef at various locations in the group of islands.

The drawback is that these islands are tough to get to - generally a whole-day exercise starting in the early morning from Jakarta, then to Balikpapan, then to Berau by small plane via Samarinda, and then you get into a speedboat for the trip down the river (about 1 1/2 hrs just to clear the river mouth) and then out to sea to the islands (perhaps 3/4 to 3 hours, depending on your destination island, assuming a fast speedboat). Dodging floating logs at high speed on the river can be fun ...


Re: indonesia

> Have anybody been at gili trawangan in Indonesia

Real nice place to hang out, the diving is good, but there are many destinations in Indonesia that are much better. Look at Derawan (off coast of Kalimantan), Manado (North Sulawesi), Ambon (The Moluccas), Alor and Komodo (in Nusa Tenggara - challenging diving) or one of the several live-aboards that cruise the areas mentioned. Let me know if you need more information.

Trip Report - Nimrod III (GBR) and Telita (PNG) - Long

Trip Report - Nimrod III (GBR) and Telita (PNG)

This was a major trip for us with about 2 weeks in Australia, and 2 weeks in Papua New Guinea. It included a 4 day liveaboard to the Great Barrier Reef on Nimrod III, and a 12 day liveaboard in the Milne Bay area of Papua New Guinea on Telita. A total of about 50 dives each for my wife and I. The rest of the time was land tours in Australia and PNG.

General: A wonderful trip where a year of planning came together, 3 travel agents in 3 countries, a total of 17 air flights - all basically on time and no luggage problems, the weather cooperated, and the people were all wondeful. A downside was the water visibility in both locations was below normal, so concentrated more on macro than landscape.

Itiniary: April 3, Left home about 3.00 PM , Ottawa-Toronto (1 hr)- Honolulu (10 hrs) - Sydney (10 hrs) at 6.30 AM April 5, a total of about 26 hours. Rented a car and spent 2 days touring the Blue Mountains and Jenolan Caves, then 1.5 days touring downtown Sydney (Zoo, Aquarium, Harbour, Opera House).
April 8 - 17 Cairns, made the Coral Tree Inn our base, they stored luggage for us while on Nimrod and in PNG, and had a nice pool, a guest kitchen, laundry facilities. Reasonable cost and well located. Made 1/2 and 1 day tours to Kuranda, the rain forest, the rivers etc. Lots to do, and saw crocodiles, kangaroos, platypus, wallabies, fruit bats etc , all in the wild. Did not do any beach things as there are no beaches in Cairns, and it was jellyfish season on the beaches north of Cairns.

Nimrod III - flew to Lizard Island to board and headed back to Cairns thru the great barrier Reef. 11 dives including 2 night dives. Water temp 79 F, visibility 30 - 60 ft (mainly 30 - 40 ft). Dives varied >from ordinary to excellent. In general they were very good with lots of fish life and good corals. Best dives were Steve's Bommie, Fantasia, and The Kremlin. The Cod Hole was interesting because of the potato cods, large wrasse, and sharks, but was not as good a dive as the previous ones named. Nimrod is a great boat with a great crew, and good food. We had 9 divers out of a max of 18. Its a very spacious boat, and the diving is well run. They run to a tight schedule though and use smaller tanks than I am used to (70 cu ft at a guess) which reduced our bottom times. We rarely saw other boats at the dive sites. Did all my diving with a polartek skin and was just warm enough. Because of the light load they encouraged us to take our own gear, which pleased us. They do provide all gear including wet suits. If they have a full load they have weight problems on the one-way air transfer and discourage your own gear.

April 17- May 3: Flew to Port Moresby in PNG, 1 night at Travelodge and did not feel safe to leave the hotel (there is a 10 PM curfew because ofunrest). Next day flew to Gurny and then by bus to Alotau to board Telita.

Telita: This is why we were on this trip and we were not disappointed. An amazing dive experience. I did 38 dives, my wife 40 dives (including 6 dusk or night dives) and we could have done lots more. This is the first liveaboard for me (out of 5) where unlimited diving and night dives were encouraged. 2 mornings we did 2 dives before breakfast. The normal routine was a cold breakfast, dive, hot breakfast, dive, hot lunch, dive, snack, dive (day or night), hot dinner, dive. Though they were very flexible. Most travel between sites did not seem to interfere with diving. Only rules were no alcohol before diving, and do safety stops. The dive crew I would rate as superb, they anticipated your needs, handled all the cameras correctly, and frequently came and found the unusual fish life. There was no pressure to limit bottom time, one person routinely did 75 min dives.
The boat itself was comfortable, not luxury, 2 heads/showers (did not seem to be a problem). Cabins adequate with only the passage air- conditioned, . This was not a major problem as it was not the hot season. Our cabin was poorly ventilated. The food was very good and plentiful. There were 8 divers on board instead of the normal 10. Water temperature did not usually vary from 81/82 F, and my polartek skin was perfect even for 60 min dives 4/5 times a day. Visibility was 15-60 ft, usually about 30-40 ft, which was unusually poor for the area. This might be why we saw less pelagics than normal - they were out of visual range. Currents were not usually noticable, maybe medium strength on 4/5 dives, high on 1 dive that I did not do. Most dives were from the Telita, a few were handled from the inflatable run-about, either entry or exit.
The overall impression of the diving is that about 30% of the dives I rate as outstanding, about 20% as average, the rest very good. This compares with the Red Sea, Cocos Isle, the Caribbean (mainly Tobago - 5 times, Turks & Caicos - 2 times). If visibility had been normal, I think the outstanding dives would have been over 50%. This was definitely a world class dive area. Great fish variety and numbers, lovely corals, lots of creatures (nudibranch, shrimp, worms, octupus, giant clams etc). Some of the rarer fish were lacy scorpion fish, cockatoo wasp fish, ghost pipe fish, ringed pipe fish, sea horses, with excellent photo opportunities for all these.
My favourite dives were:
Lauadi (or Dinah's Beach) - this was an amazing site with 3 different kinds of dives:
1. A 10 ft "muck" dive on an apparently empty mud bottom, but this is were we found the cockatoo wasp fish (looks just like a dead mangrove leaf), tiny sea horses, dwarf scorpion fish, manta shrimp, various nudibranch.
2. A small cleaning station at 25 ft, full of life.
3. A medium size coral area at 15 ft, full of large octupus, lion fish, ribbon eels, colourful sea urchins, lots of other fish including ghost pipe fish.
I did 3 dives here the first time, then we asked to come back a few days later and I did 3 more dives. I would willingly have returned again.

Black & Silver Reef - a lovely dive for fish and coral, but also had 2 lacy scorpion fish, a black one and a yellow/green one, needs to be seen. Again we asked to return here for a second look at these fish.

Dale's Reef - the most amazing coral formations, towers of blue coral, landscape formations of green cabbage coral, one delight after another. I wish for good visibility.

Banana Bommie - an overload of fish and coral on a small bommie, think of an over-stocked aquarium then keep adding to it.

Mike's Bommie - another overload of fish and coral on a small bommie.

All this plus mooring in bays of small islands; one note in my log:
Double rainbow with pod of dolphins at the end of it.

One dive the rest of the boat requested was a 150 ft dive to the wreck of a world war II B17 bomber. We didn't go (dont like wrecks, and dont want to dive to 150 ft), but the rest of the divers raved about it. It was very carefully planned with 12 mins bottom time and staged de-compression stops. Instead we did a normal dive on the nearby reef which I will always remember for the twin-spot gobies we watched for 5 minutes, they mimic the actions of crabs.

April 29 - Flew to Mt Hagan, with an overnight there, then a charter flight to Karawari Lodge for 2 nights. A wonderful experience in the rain forest with visits to the local tribes. Mt Hagan is at 5400 ft, Karawari lodge at 0 ft. Flew to 14200 ft to get there in a small plane. Need to watch your flying after diving times.

May 2 - back to Port Moresby, and an overnight at the Travelodge.
May 3 - Back to Cairns for 2 nights at the Coral Tree Inn.
A memorable white water rafting trip on the Tulley River - 5 hours on thewater. We waited until all the diving was over for this, in case of injuries.

May 5 - back home, a 5.55 AM flight, 27 hours travel, need I say more !

Some observations:
The PNG trip was thru See & Sea travel (now closed) who interfaced to Trans-Niugini Tours for the PNG land trips. Trans Niugini was excellent, we were met at each flight in PNG and transferred to the hotel or next flight.They even took us to a local hotel in Mt Hagan when we had a 4 hour wait, so we could sit by a pool. They also stored unneeded luggage for us at each stage (e.g. dive gear when we flew to Mt Hagan, land clothes while on the Telita).
The Nimrod III and the Coral Tree Inn was thru Diversions near Cairns. We will deal with them again (they are an Internet/e-mail only agency). International flights Ottawa - Cairns was thru our local agent who gets us the best prices.

Flew Canadian/Qantas to Cairns. Qantas is one of the best airlines I have used. We had no luggage problems, but we really cut back on carry-ons.
Luggage is a problem in PNG, 3 of the divers on Telita were hit with excess charges on the return flight to Port Moresby (using Milne Bay Air).

Tipping: Australia and PNG do not seem to be tipping areas, it was so pleasant to get perfect service when a tip was not expected, e.g. taxi drivers cheerfully helping with luggage. Coming from North America I never did get the tipping sorted out. I did tip about half/third what was normal to me and I suspect I was over-tipping.

PNG: Major population areas are not pleasant, remote areas are wonderful.

Telita: Mike Ball has bought it, and is replacing it with a 24 diver boat next year. Some sites we were on may not support this number. Go now if you want to repeat our experiences.

Prescription masks: I have new lenses in my mask, bi-focals with short distance in one eye, and medium distance in the other, the bi-focal part is larger than normal. Works for me, after 10 years struggling with a straight presription I can now see all distances (my eyes are bad).

Photography: I just upgraded from an Aquashot to a Nikonos III, 20 mm lens, SB103 strobe, Sekonic light meter. I am still struggling with it, I never get all 4 settings correct at one time. I now have an Ikelite optical viewfinder, as I could not see through the Sea & Sea 20 mm one. My wife inherited the Aquashot and she was at least as succesful as me. She got better pictures of nudibranch, ghost pipe fish, dwarf scorpion fish.

Malaria: PNG is a bad area. We used Lariam as the best compromise between a deadly disease and nasty side effects. We had no problems so far. Each to his own here.

Re: need info on yap/palau

Xxx wrote:
> Yyy wrote:
> >
> > i'm planning a trip to yap and palau and would appreciate any feedback
> > on land based operations in yap and palau live-aboards.
> >
> > thanks, khp
> Cannot help on Yap, but Palau has Peter Hughes and Aggressor liveboards.
> You can find Peter Hughes home page on the Web.

I stayed on Yap one month ago (7 days)at the Manta Ray Bay Hotel and Yap Divers. The Mantas were awesome!!!!A must do! Also check out Yap Caverns/Lionfish Wall when you go. By far the Manta Ray Bay Hotel Bill Ackers operation is the most professional on the island and will take exceptional care of you during your stay. I am in the dive travel business and checked out the other two operators and hotels on the island ...they are Ok but very small. Why depend on one boat working when Yap Divers has four boats? If you go tell Bill Acker (the owner) you talked to will give you a little special edge on service. also here is the web site for Manta Ray Bay Hotel - Yap Divers

Bring a camera or video camera - Wow!

More Questions?? Ask away!! Happy Diving!

Trip Report - Cocos Island

Abstract: It was FANTASTIC. Sometimes when I do a dive trip, I say I'll go somewhere else in the future. Sometimes I say I'll come back sometime. This is the first time I've said I'll come back NEXT YEAR.

I did a trip from May 25 to June 04, 1997. From talking to the crew, the best time for hammerheads is July and August. My plan (waylaid by Continental Airlines) was to spend the nights before and after in San Jose, Costa Rica.

Sea Hunter is a 115' diesel monohull carrying up to 18 passengers. There is only one level of cabin quality. They have a Jobo CPE processor, but they didn't push it at all, and the operator is not a photographer, so I elected to have my film processed at home.

She has a slightly smaller sister ship, Undersea Hunter, that does the same trips to Cocos. The Okeanos Aggressor also sails to Cocos.

The food was three-star. I'm a tough grader on food.

I flew Continental. You do NOT want to miss the boat because, unlike most liveaboard situations, there is NO way to catch up with it -- it's 300 miles offshore. If you miss the boat, you are SOL. So I made my reservations with a five-hour layover in Houston to change planes, and an overnight in San Jose, Costa Rica. Unfortunately the weather, and Continental's incompetence (they sent a crew to the plane that were not legal to fly the flight) conspired to produce an unscheduled overnight in Houston. And there were almost no hotel rooms to be had. Quick thinking on the part of Leon, a fellow Sea Hunterite (crew, sort of -- he was there to teach the owner to use a new high-tech closed circuit rebreather) had us grabbing a cab instead of waiting for the hotel shuttle, and we ended up with a very valuable commodity -- a room for the night. Back to the airport by 5am the next morning for a 6:30am departure, and guess what, Continental sends ANOTHER crew that's not legal to fly the segment. We finally got off at about 8:30am and into San Jose, Costa Rica in time to catch the bus 90km to Punta Arenas to get on the boat.

The good news is that there were a total of seven Sea Hunter passengers on the flight, so they probably would not have left without us.

You can also get to Costa Rica on American via Miami and Mexico City via LACSA.

The tanks were aluminum 80s pumped to about 3000 psi. They could be filled on the dive deck or on the pangas. Nitrox was available and most folks dived it.

There were no deco bars for safety stops. Most dives are >from the pangas, and there's just no way to find the panga until you surface. So make sure your buoyancy control is up to snuff. Besides, lots of cool stuff happened while drifting into the blue on safety stops: Mobilos (small 4' wingspan manta cousins), dolphins, turtles, a couple of people claimed a Sailfish, more hammerheads, schools of tuna.

The staff hands you a rather smallish towel after the each dive. The chintzy size of these towels was one of my few complaints.

Sea Hunter sails on Sunday afternoon or evening, depending on the tide. It's a 30-36 hour crossing to Cocos. I hear that about 1 trip in ten is rough, but our trip out was OK (I could feel the boat motion, but no big deal) and the trip back downright glassy. The trip out gives you lots of time to setup dive gear and cameras, meet your fellow divers, and swap lies. The boat also provides transport to the staff that mans the "ranger station" at Cocos, and to scientists studying there. We had Manfred Peters, a senior member of the ecology department of Costa Rica, and a wild pig scientist from Argentina named Claudine on board. We arrived at Cocos in the wee hours of Tuesday morning, had breakfast, and were ready to dive.

The day dives are done from two pangas. "Panga" evokes visions of a beatup 15-footer with a 15-horse outboard that won't start. These were 25-foot fibreglass boats with tank racks and twin outboards totaling 140 HP.

Cocos is famous for big pelegics, and we got them. There were more White-Tipped Reef Sharks (3-5 feet mostly, with the odd six-footer) than I could count - dozens on each dive. They got boring unless they were doing something interesting like mating or feeding. We had some Scalloped Hammerheads (all about 8 feet) on most dives, but we were a little early this year for the big schools. 8-foot Silky Sharks showed up occasionally on the day dives, and every night around the boat at one anchorage. Mobilos, Spotted Eagle Rays, and Marbled Rays turned up on almost every day dive. One site had a school of about a thousand (I made a semi-scientific effort to count them) big jacks. The other panga found a Pacific Manta (the BIG ones) while we were chasing a Whale Shark about 200 meters away.

On the way to one dive, we found a bait ball under construction while on the way to the dive site. We snorkled with it (under strict instructions to stay RIGHT next to the boat -- the silkies were acting aggressive) for about ten minutes, We then did the dive, getting strafed by 27 moblilos for ten minutes on the safety stop. I ran out of film, got down to 250 PSI, put tank and camera on the boat, and went back and snorkled. Then we drove back to where the bait ball had been. The action was over, but the pod of a dozen Bottlenose Dolphins that had herded up the bait ball was happy to play with us for a half hour.

I saw dolphins underwater on four dives!

I shot mostly wide angle, with macro on about four dives. Cocos has a well-deserved reputation as a wide-angle site, but there is some really neat macro too. The photo highlight was the 27 mobilos and a dozen dolphins all the same roll. That goes down as my best dive ever, and there darn well better be some good pictures on that roll.

If you are a photographer, and you have two bodies, mount your spare body with widest lens you aren't using on the dive, set it up for available light, and leave it on the panga. You never know what you will get to snorkle with (or do a REAL long safety stop with).

Sea conditions were flat - I never felt queasy, and I didn't take any drugs for seasickness. I don't think anyone got seasick, but some folks were medicating. The worst day was about like a good day off Monterey.

Water temperature was about 86-88F, with a thermocline down to about 80 at varying depths. I wore just a Darlex skin, but I also had 1/8" shortie and a 7mm hooded vest with me, and I'll bring them next time too -- usually the water is cooler.

I did 24 dives on the trip, with 16 hours 54 minutes of bottom time. The deepest dive was 136 feet on Bajo Alcyone.

They do three dives per normal day from the pangas, with an option for a fourth dive from the dive deck at night. Every diver was using a computer. The crew doesn´t check or record anything.

Most people were diving Nitrox. Get Nitrox certified if you are going. You will be 30+ hours from a chamber. On Nitrox 32 I was diving profiles that were more conservative than what I dive in Monterey (which are REALLY conservative anyway), but would have been deco dives on air.

I got rebreather certified on the trip. The semi-closed circuit rebreather (such as the Draeger Atlantis) definitely allows you to sneak up (or at least not terrorize) the critters. A fully closed system like the Biomarine would be even better. The profiles on the rebreather are amazing: try 57 minutes at a max of 92 feet (and about 25 minutes of it at 85 feet), with no skip breathing, and therefore no CO2 headache. The down side is that a rebreather is a LOT of maintenance work (equal to or greater than a UW camera), and the mixtures used limit your max depth to about 95 feet. But I'll rent one for the whole trip next time.

Cocos is for advanced divers. The currents are strong, the dives are deep (over half below 95 feet), and the fish are BIG. I would not recommend it for anyone who doesn't have a hundred dives in the last couple of years. And you should be a self-sufficient diver. The currents and depths are such that you will be own best rescuer.

Be prepared to surface a LONG way from the panga. They will come get you, but be prepared to get their attention. I carried a safety sausage, Dive Alert horn, whistle, and flashlight, and left my night dive cylumes on the tank round the clock. You do NOT want to get lost. Several years ago in Australia, I met a fellow who had been to Cocos and had a dive buddy swept away. It took six hours to find him. He did not have a sausage.

The Europeans have much better sausages than we do. At the end of the trip, I bought a used one made by AP Valves from a Brit. It's well made, and designed to also function as a lift bag. That's one less piece of gear I need to haul around Monterey Bay.

The Dive Alert horn really does work. It may not be audible to the distances they claim, but it can be heard a LONG way off. Great for getting the Panga driver to look your way.

Bring gloves. The bottom is lava, not coral, mostly, and it's OK (and often necessary) to hang on. I was REAL glad I had thrown an old pair of 3 mil gloves in my dive bag.
Bring your favorite ear infection potion -- we had LOTS of them - including my first ever.

There are lots of very spiny sea urchins. About half the people got stuck at least once.

When comparing prices, compare the number of diving days. The Aggressor is slower than Sea Hunter and Undersea Hunter, and that cuts into the number of dives. And check whether the $15/day park fee is included in the price. It is on the Hunters, I hear it is NOT on the Aggressor.

Sea Hunter has a web page:

Re: Where to go? Phillipines, Guam, or Okinawa?

>Was looking for some feedback from anyone who's been to Phillipines,
>Guam or Okinawa for diving. Do you enjoy diving there? As for the
>Phillipines and Guam, are there live-a-boards there, if so, how much?
>Would appreciate any information you can provide. Thanks...Rich

I've been to both Guam and the Philippines and the Philippines is much better. I dove at Mactan (off Cebu), Dakak (northern Mindanao), and Panglao (off Bohol.) Panglao was my favorite. There are many dive operations there along Alona (sp?) beach and a boat ride takes you to Baligcasai (sp?) for superb diving. I understand the diving at Palawan is the best in the Philippines, but I didn't get there. In the Philipines I think there's a livaboard that does the Tubbataha reefs in the Sulu sea and that would probably be a great experience. Try checking the archives for "Tubbataha."

John & Dee's Nekton Pilot Trips

Nekton Pilot. We booked on this SWATH boat in 1996 and 1997. The NP has three itinaries, Northern, Mid and Southern Bahamas, with the first two leaving out of Ft. Lauderdale. The boat is as advertized; very stable. It does not roll, although it does "waddle" a bit while underway. The top deck is big with a hot tub and lots of patio furniture. The next down contains cabins and the lounge/dining area. Comfort in the lounge is adequate but somewhat spartan. The food is great . . . simply great. Never had a bad meal and you get snacks all day including hot cookies between dives. The next deck down contains the laundry, cabins and crew quarters. The crew is friendly and seems to actually get along well. The days go by as folllows: A great breakfast followed by a dive briefing to include a map of each area. Dive at your own level. Go on your own and use your computer -- or ask for a DM if you want. Come up and have a snack, and go back in. Come up and have lunch (the boat moves to the next spot) and dive; and snack; and dive. Then supper and a night dive. The dive deck can be a little crowded . . . but you have plenty of time to wait a bit and go in after the crowd. There is a hot shower right on the dive deck. Photo facilities are very good. There is a slide show or class each night should you want to be entertained. This is a great value and although not a luxury boat, it is a great way to dive.

   Home | My Trip reports | Links to all trip reports | UW-Photos | Diving links | Email me   

Last modified: 31:Th of May 1998
 visitors since May 31:Th, 1998.

© Stefan Sarin 1998