Check out the Coco Beach Resort report.
By Simon Spooner
SAFETY AND EXPERIENCE
I have been diving since 1983 and have been a senior instructor with BSAC, PADI & CMAS for most of that time. I have dived all over the world and have logged over 5,000 dives, recently doing on average 700 dives a year with North Caribbean Research in the Dominican Republic.
Whenever I go diving, the things I look for, are the quality of instruction and the safety of the diving in general. I look to see that there are dive briefings, buddy checks, good equipment, well-staffed boats and in general professionalism all round.
Above: Would you go diving with these guys?. © SQS
|I like to see that instructors are actually instructors with their certificates hanging on the wall for all to see. |
I was very impressed with what I saw at Philippine Divers. The whole operation was well run by Thomas who was the instructor in charge. He was assisted by two very able instructors, John and Nick, and I enjoyed diving with them both.
Above: Final preparations before the first dive. © SQS
|The diving headquarters and school are situated directly in CoCo Beach Island Resort. Full tuition can be given here, which for beginners is ideal, as some of the dives are fantastic with plenty of marine life to see. Diving instruction follows the guidelines of PADI and IANTD. There are comfortable classrooms for the instruction, and Nitrox is readily available for divers to learn about or use. The dive sites locally have been preserved for years, and the dive operators aim to keep it that way. Even at your first shallow water dive, you will already see the great variety of species in the reefs. Countless different kinds of stone and soft coral in all colours and also other animal species like nudi branches or sponges await the divers. The numerous colourful coral fishes make the reefs livelier. Diver with experience of many different tropical locations, will be impressed. |
Above: The reefs are packed stunningly beautiful.© SQS
Usually Thomas plans about four dives a day, all of which are boat dives and night dives can be arranges on request The diving base is equipped according to the most modern international standard. For your safety, the WENOLL - Oxygen System is available.
If you have problems with baggage allowance you can hire equipment here. I left my wet suite in the Dominican Republic, and was very pleased to find that Philippine Divers had a suite tall enough for me. If there were two 6ft 7inch divers wanting suites at the same time, it was no problem as they had a whole room full of suites and equipment to either rent or buy. Diving Around Puerto Galera
In the information below, I have tried to give an overview of most of the dives. As you will see I have rated them which should help divers to plan ahead. Thomas is very flexible, and can arrange a dive to any site on the morning of the dive. Do ask him for his local knowledge, as tides, currents and visibility do change on a daily basis. For most of the year the dive sites have an amazing variety from aquarium-like conditions, from shallow dives to high voltage drift dives. It is a paradise for UW Photography.
Following is a brief description of some of the dive sites with depth range, dive profile and experience level ( * easy, ** advanced, or *** experienced) and what to see!
|Odie's Ding-Ding (wall) ** |
24 to 38m, free descent, free ascent with safety stop, a very colourful wall in deep water with very big fan corals, black coral bushes, all kinds of reef fishes and occasionally big fish passing by.
Manila Channel *
10 to 24m, multilevel dive, three walls with colourful fish life, moray eels, fan corals, sometimes turtles, can have a little current.
Coral Gardens *
Max. 10m, it is just like in the big aquarium with all sorts of corals, reef fishes and crabs, great fun!
The Hill * to **
8m to 15m, very fancy coral growth with interesting fish life, crocodile fishes, frog fishes, crabs, moray eels, sometimes turtles and rays. Not easy when current, best on slack tide.
Laguna Dry Dock **
27m, our newest wreck site, multilevel, can be current, a little adventure.
St. Christopher **
25m, multilevel, free descent, a nice wooden wreck with some big snappers on it, easy to finish the dive in colourful shallow water. An excellent photo site for beginners and pros, which is followed by a pleasant swim to a very colourful shallow reef.
Sabang Junk *
18m, multilevel, an older Chinese junk with plenty of fish, big lion fishes, big surgeon fishes, batfish and more. Easy finish in shallow water around Sabang. A good night dive too.
Sabang Point * to **
22m, multilevel, a nice small wall with lots of corals and fishes, often rays, angelfishes and frogfish. This is where I lost my diving knife. This was an impressive knife with serrated edge all over, which I find the best. The sheath broke and I was devastated. Having looked in all the local dive shops for a replacement without success, Rex one of the local instructors with Philippine Divers found it whilst taking novices diving. Well done to Rex and many thanks for finding it!
Monkey Beach * to **
Average 15m, multilevel, along our house reef with all sorts of corals and fishes, one point with real big groupers.
Ernie's Cave **
28m, multilevel, 2 small caves with very beautiful coral rocks and fan corals. Occasionally bigger fish in or around the caves.
Monkey Wreck ***
40m, free descent, free ascent, safety stop. Quite an adventurous dive to a wooden wreck with big fishes inside. Sometimes possible to finish in shallow water at reef.
Dungon Wall ** and Twin Wreck **
27m, multilevel, mostly dived together. Start deep at an old catamaran wreck up to a small very nice wall with an easy finish in shallow water. Lots of reef fishes, moray eels, scorpion fishes and like always plenty of colourful corals. Possible sea snakes and big trigger fish.
|West Escarcero **|
25m, multilevel, mostly a slow drift dive, very nice with plenty of fish and corals, often bigger fish like tuna or mackerel circling above, a very beautiful finish in shallow waters with big table corals and soft corals.
Hole in the Wall **
14m, multilevel, a nice swim through the hole to a beautiful shallower area with amazing colours and fish life and very common big fishes circling above, often current.
Pink Wall *
12m, easy dive along a pink soft coral area full of fantastic small animal life, manu scorpion fishes, whip corals to 3 beautiful overhangs. A god night dive as well.
Canyons ** to ***
30m, free ascent with safety stop. Breathtaking beautiful canyon like landscape with colourful corals, soft corals and sponges. If you want to see big fish, schools of fishes, this is the dive. Often rays, turtles, sharks and barracudas, etc. maybe strong currents, not an easy dive! This was a fantastic drift dive with strong currents whisking you along. A must for the expert experienced diver!
Fish Bowl ***
40m, free ascent with safety stop. You follow the current down to a slope where you hold on and look into the bowl to see big sweet lips, snappers and very often free swimming sharks.
Shark's Cave **
27m, free descent and multilevel shallower finish quite easy to dive but an adventure, a high chance to see sharks at hand hold distance.
The Atol **
30m, free descent multilevel finish. A huge rock with often big fish around, like groupers, batfish, mackerels, finish in shallower waters.
Kilima Drift ***
27m, multilevel if possible. A high voltage drift dive, more like flying.
Sinandigan Wall and Nudi Branch City **
27m, multilevel. A big wall where it's easy to go deep and often big fish passing by. Easy shallow finish with lots of soft corals and many nudi branches very colourful. A paradise for macro photography.
Jap Wreck ***
Free descent to 40m, free ascent with safety stop. A pretty short deep dive to an old big engine block with two really big giant moray eels. Can be a little scary sometimes for the unexperienced.
Verde Island ** to ***
Depth is open, a very beautiful drop off down the deep blue, with a good chance of bigger fish and always clouds of thousands of small red fishes. Second dive in the washing machine 15m, 4 small canyons with lots of fish, often strong current in all directions, a mix between diving and rock climbing. All this is done as a day trip with beach BBQ in between.
Philippine Divers do no-decompression drift dives (boat follows) . However BSAC divers wanting to do deco dives can do them if they are planned prior and are well organized. All dives are guided. They prefer little groups and short boat trips. There are a minimum of 2 dives a days all year round. Water temperature between 25C and 3OC.
Below I outline and list the dive costs. These are correct at time of writing, 10/01/2000
|Discover Scuba Diving ||US$ ||50.00 |
|Follow-Up-Dive after Discover Scuba Diving Program ||US$ ||32.00 |
|PADI Open Water Diver Course (4-5 days) ||US$ ||295.00 |
|PADI Specialty Course Night Diver ||US$ ||145.00 |
|PADI Specialty Course Drift Diver ||US$ ||95.00 |
|PADI Advanced Open Water Diver Course (2-3 days) ||US$ ||215.00 |
|PADI International Diving Certificate ||US$ ||30.00 |
|Scuba Single Lesson ||US$ ||37.50 |
|VDTL "Test" International Diving Certificate ||US$ ||30.00 |
|PADI Medic First Aid Course ||US$ ||125.00 |
|PADI Rescue Diver Course ||US$ ||295.00 |
|PADI Divemaster Course ||US$ ||595.00 |
|VDTL Holiday Brevet ||US$ ||130.00 |
|VDTL Elementar ||US$ ||225.00 |
|Diver's Logbook || ||15.00 |
| || || |
|Rental Equipment || || |
|Dive Suit ||per dive ||US$ ||3.50 |
|UW Light ||per dive ||US$ ||4.50 |
|Dive Computer ||per dive ||US$ ||5.00 |
|Inflatable Signal Buoy ||per dive ||US$ ||0.50 |
|Boat Trip ||per dive ||US$ ||5.00 |
|Optical Mask ||per dive ||US$ ||4.00 |
|Boots (pair) ||per dive ||US$ ||2.50 |
|Mask ||per day ||US$ ||2.00 |
|Optical Mask ||per day ||US$ ||7.00 |
|Fins (pair) ||per day ||US$ ||2.00 |
|Snorkel ||per day ||US$ ||1.00 |
For Further Information Contact:
Coco Beach Island Resort, Puerto Galera, Oriental Mindoro. Philippines 5203
Fax No. ++63-(O)-912-305-0476
E Mail: email@example.com