The best dive trip I have taken so far was in March of 2011 with Jack’s Diving Locker (out of Kona, Hawaii) to the Philippines. I flew from Seattle to Kona to meet up with the other folks going on the trip, and then we flew from Kona to Manila. From there, we caught a flight to Dumaguete and then caught a shuttle to the Atlantis Dumaguete dive resort. The resort itself was very nice, and the room had a great ocean front view with a hammock on the deck that allowed for very relaxing rests between dives. We typically had 3-4 boat dives a day as well as unlimited shore diving, and the house reef was great, especially at night. The staff at the resort are very friendly indeed, and my word the amount of good food was simply overwhelming (I thought for sure I would have gained weight, but luck that diving burns calories too so I turned out losing 2 pounds over the course of 2 weeks). In Dumaguete the typical diving is “Muck Diving” which is really cool to find all kinds of smaller critters and such, and I have lots of video and photo’s that I will process and post now that I have a home to publish my content.
After a week in Dumaguete, we said our fond goodbye’s and then flew to Puerto Princessa in order get on the live aboard charter, the Atlantis Azores to start the long journey (10 hours or so) to Tubbataha (located in the Sulu Sea, at the center of the Coral Triangle between Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines). Because Tubbataha (pronounced Tooba-Ta-ha) is a marine preserve and very protected, very few people get to visit this amazing reef. They only let 6 boats a year travel to the reef, and there is no land on which to set foot on while in the reserve. The diving here was amazing as well, and being on a live aboard, all you do is eat, sleep, dive, rinse and repeat. I loved it, and the people on board where very friendly, and again, the food was amazing.
If you are an avid diver, and ever get the chance to head to the Philippines, do yourself a favor and find a way to do it, it will be the most amazing diving you will ever do.
This was a great (hopefully not once in a lifetime) trip. It wasn’t all just diving as my friend Mongo (Michael Hazard) captured in some video. We went to the once a week Dumaguete market and we got the dive resort to include us in their “entertainment”:
Here is a highlight video of our time in the Philippines:
More pictures and video will be added to this post shortly.
Here is a quick taste of what I saw in Dumaguete. This Flamboyant Cuttlefish that was simply amazing to see: