medas2005 - Bluewater Dive Travel



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Reviews (22)

Iguana Crossing Isabella Island Galapagos


My son and spent 5 days here before we left for a week on the Aggressor for a week of diving. I wanted to expand our experience to include more than just live aboard diving.

First, getting here is grueling. After a flight into Baltra, you take a "taxi" to Santa Cruz and then taken a rough boat ride to Isabela. Once there, the ride is only five minutes to the Iguana Crossing Hotel. The hotel is spectacular--right on the beach with a beautiful view. The Junior Suite that we had was one of the nicest resorts that we have ever stayed at anywhere. If you have a family, you will never have a better experience anywhere. The resort had wireless, but not very good. Best to use it early in the morning before people wake up.

The food was good, but pretty limited. We walked into town one night and had a nice meal for a very good price. I would recommend this option.

We did a variety of activities, the best being a hike to the top of the volcano and a boat ride to Tunneles. On the way there, we saw dozens of mantas doing barrel rolls on the surface. Wow. We went snorkeling there and a couple of other locations along the southern coast of Isabella. We also saw flamingos which were close by to the hotel. Very cool.

We went diving once along the southern coast and saw a few sharks and rays. It was all very fun. I would recommend that you spend 3 to 5 days here.

Visited on 07/2013 - Submitted on 02/07/2014

Jean Michel Cousteau Resort


The Jean Michel Cousteau Resort is a well known eco resort on Fiji's second major island of Vanua Levu. It is near the small city of Savusavu which is not really a tourist town, but fun to visit nonetheless.

I think that this is the best place on the planet for diving parent who have young children through teens who might be learning to dive. I got certified when I was here with my family a year prior and have now accumulated about 700 dives so the hobby stuck. They have nannies to take care of your children (up to 12 I think), so every morning after breakfast, they get swept away and spend the next 10 or 12 hours with a Fijian nanny while you get to be a couple.

My then 8 year old son said it was the best vacation ever because they only gave him food that he loved. Simple view of life. He also got to go out into the ocean on a bubble marker which to him was like diving. He got certified 3 years later when he was 11, so it had a profound impact on him too. My oldest daughter who was then 15 got certified along with me and has now been on over a dozen liveaboards, so their formula for hooking divers is amazing. She came home wanting to be a marine biologist which didn't happen, but her love for the ocean has never left her.

Every night the resort would have a resident marine biologist give a talk on what they saw during the dives of the day, so there was very strong focus on diving.

The resort really caters to people learning how to dive or have family learning how to dive. The divemasters were all very good at persuading the snorkelers to become divers and regular divers to become advanced divers which I did in my return to the resort this time.

They had two very nice boats that held about a dozen folks each. Very comfortable and pleasant.

The resort went diving in three locations: inside the reef, outside, and Namena. The outside reefs were anywhere from 45 to 90 minutes away. One special dive was Dreamhouse which was a nice pinnacle at about 90 minutes. We saw a hammerhead there and sometimes they saw tiger sharks which we did not see. All of these dives were classic wall dives and some had swim throughs down at about 100 feet. We saw mantas and an eagle ray or two on most dives.

The food was fantastic with incredible variety. We had a combination of buffets and single entres. A lot of fish and chicken with an occasional piece of beef. Deserts were a stand out as well.

The inner reef dives were also good with some nice pinnacles and a good variety of hard and soft corals, but they were affected by the sediment of runoff so they were OK.

The twice a week trips to Namena were the highlight for divers. They were about a two hour boat ride away and thus left early in the afternoon and returned at about 5PM. Chimneys were my favorite dive site although most patrons who had been there multiple times like Grand Central Station (I was not able to go there until 5 years later on the Nai'a Liveaboard boat--it is very good.

Fiji has a lot of seasonal weather patterns. April is the end of summer and we had some pretty nasty storms but rarely missed some diving. This area can get hit by some pretty strong tropical storms in February and March. Water temperature was in the low 80s but drops pretty rapidly as you get into May and June.

We also went on a few night dives and they were very good as well.

We stayed here twice and my wife cried both times when we left because she liked it so much. She does not dive, but had plenty of activities and enjoyed her time sans small children. The Fijian people are loving and kind and have a great heritage. We got to visit a native chief's home and shared in a kava ceremony which was quite unique as well.

Visited on 04/2002 - Submitted on 02/14/2014



I do not think of the Kona as a true destination for diving. But it is a great multi-purpose family vacation spot with many things to do.

By far and away the best diving is the manta night dive. It is very good for divers and for snorkelers. The diving is about 30 feet deep and you all sit down in a circle around the projector which brings in plankton which brings int he mantas. The arrival rate is very high. We had one female show up and she was a show animal. She swooped and danced for as long as we had air in our tanks. At one point she swooped over my daughter and looked like she was going to crash right into her but then belly rolled on top of her instead. My wife, who does not dive, saw the whole show from right overhead. I have talked with others who have been there recently and they have seen up to 30 mantas on a night. For divers and snorkelers, this is just fantastic.

The diving topography is kind of boring, even compared to the Caribbean. Because of the remoteness of the islands, they do not get many eggs to setup shop. But we did see a lot of interesting animals. We saw lots of eels and several of them were quite interesting and unusual. We saw a half dozen turtles in 4 days of diving. We saw a leaffish, a frogfish at about 100 feet, and several interesting snail like creatures. I was surprised to see just how many things we saw in a few days.

The water is very clear-- up to about 100 feet of visibility in places. It was probably in the 75 to 78 degree range which is not real warm if you are diving more than a few dives a day.

We dove with one of the local dive operators and they were great. My two teens both got their advanced PADI certs while here. They were very comfortable with young and inexperienced divers. This is a great place to get certified. The only negative is that the logistics are a bit painful. You have to drive a harbor where you meet the boat and then have a 20 to 45 minute boat ride to the dive sites. The dive masters were great with my children and I was pretty much left by myself to snap photos and find little fishes.

We stayed in a two bedroom condo on the edge of town which was right on the water. We even were able to do a couple of shore dives which were pretty boring. We made steaks and fish on the grill most nights which we bought at the local Costco. It was every bit as good as a restaurant for about 1/3 the price.

Of course, there are so many things to see and do on the big island of Hawaii. My kids went parasailing which was a highlight. We had a luau at a local resort. We drove around the island to see the volcano on the other side. This is a full day adventure and you are best to leave at around 6am so you have plenty of time to stop and do things. I have not been diving anywhere else in the islands, but I believe that this is one of the best spots on the islands.

Visited on 03/2007 - Submitted on 02/18/2014
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La Paloma Lodge, Drake Bay Panama


We were here with our family of five for a week. Many people come here for 3 or 4 days which is fine, but there is plenty to see and do in a week. I would suggest 2 or 3 days of diving together with lots of other rainforest activities. Getting there is a bit of an adventure in a small plane from San Jose that has to go up over the mountains. The air currents have fun and my children were white when we got there.

The lodge is reached after a 20 minute boat ride from the airstrip to dock. It's a good walk up the hill to get there. This is a place that requires a bit of fitness. The central lodge is where you eat and gather. It was very nice and had a beautiful view of the ocean to the west. The food was from a menu for dinner and buffet for breakfast. Very good lodge food, but not fantastic. Everyone was happy, but we didn't leave thinking food was the outstanding feature of the trip.

The resort has a small beach that is a bit of a hike down to the ocean. It was OK, but the pool was a lot better. Monkeys would also come to the pool and visit us which was pretty cool. You are definitely in the rainforest.

We went to the rainforest twice--once by boat and once by horse. Those were incredible days. We saw so many monkeys and other animals of the tropics. It was outstanding. On several occassions, we saw the great scarlet maccaws which was a trip highlight. We even saw them right at the lodge at one point. Very memorable.

The diving is primarily around the island of Cano which is about an hour boat ride away from the resort. Most of the people that go there are snorkelers but the staff really likes to go in with divers because it is more fun for them. The diving is pretty wild. There some very strong thermoclines, the strongest that I have ever experienced. The water was upper 70s above about 50 feet and 70 below the thermocline. You can actually see the layer in the water. Visibility was average, probably about 50 to 70 feet.

The dive landscape is primarily is boulders with algae, not much coral to be seen. But lots of bigger fish. We saw a big school of barracuda, trevaly and jacks. Saw several mantas and a mobulla ray which I had not seen before. We also saw LOTS of eels. Maybe a dozen on one dive.

The Bajo del Diablo is a stone pinnacle that rises to within 30 feet of the surface. This dive site was great, similar to some of the dive sites in the Galapagos Islands. We dove here twice and the second time we saw about 25 white tips which were very active. It was almost a little intimidating because there were so many of them.

The dive operation was small but very capable. They were well prepared for helping divers who were novice to more experienced. Because most went snorkeling, we had a divemaster for two of us and he was great at finding things of interest for us.

Visited on 03/2003 - Submitted on 02/19/2014

Lembeh Resort


The first good thing about the Manado/Lembeh area is the ease of getting there. While many of the best Indonesian diving requires multiple flights and layovers, the flight from Singapore to Manado is just a couple of hours on a nice Western standard plane. The previous time we were in the area, we took a non-stop from Jakarta to Manado on LionAir and that worked great as well although the accommodations on board were spartan to say the least. Whatever way you go, you will be greeted on the other side of customs by a representative of the Lembeh Resort hotel. Nothing like a friendly face when you land in a remote spot.

After a 2 hour drive and a half hour boat ride, you arrive at a lovely resort pasted up against a vertical wall. I happened to be here during the Japanese tsunami, and we had alerts, but no waves which was a relief. The resort rivals Anse Chastenet in St. Lucia for vertical drop, so be ready for a walk. I stayed in cabin #1 which is on the far right hand side of the resort. It was very private but a long walk and a lot of stairs to get to. There are several cabins that are lower down, but not many. If you don’t like stairs, I would go to KBR which is much flatter (I have not been there). The room was spacious and had a great view. A non-diving spouse would do just fine here. The bathroom and shower was outside which was fun and private.

Food was very very good. A European/American breakfast with lots of egg dishes and standard hotel fare. Lunches and dinner were more Indonesian with lots of chicken, fish, and vegetarian options. One never went hungry and even the deserts were very nice. We only had to pay extra for soft drinks and beer.

The hotel has a very lovely pool, but it does get crowded at times, especially if there are non-diving groups there. It wasn’t a place that I frequented, but it was nice for an afternoon dip and sunning.

The dive operation was absolutely first rate. They had an entire building for underwater photographers with a resident camera expert. I had some troubles with my camera and they rigged a fix that was clever, free, and kept me snapping the whole time. Any other place on the planet and I would have come home without photos. You really are left to dive according to your plan and dive computer. We always waited for those lucky enough to have air to stay down for up to 75 minutes. Several of the dives got fairly deep and a prize pygmy seahorse was at about 120 feet.

Of course, people go here for critter diving and it delivers. No guarantees but we saw mandarin fish, blue ring ottos, rhinopias, seahorses, ornate ghost pipefishes, wonder pus and coconut octopus which are really cool. It has to be the best mandarin site on the planet. They have little guys trained to ignore big camera lights.

Several of the coral sites are pretty good too. California Dreamin is a very good coral reef dive with lots of pretty soft coral. You have to ask to go there because it is a bit further away and most people want to see critters. OF course, don’t miss a night dive. We didn’t get to see a bobbit worm, but I did see some the most amazing octopus behavior ever.

Lembeh has a special program with the Manado airport that includes expedited service. I think it was $25 extra and it was worth every penny. Hopefully they continue that service

Visited on 03/2011 - Submitted on 02/11/2014
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Loloata Island Resort


My adult daughter spent three days here while waiting to board the Golden Dawn for a trip to the Eastern Fields. I have known several who have stayed here and it came with high recommendation.

We were somewhat limited by weather that limited the diving to one day instead of 2 or 3. The one site that we wanted to get to was Suzy’s Bommie which didn’t happen because of weather. We did have one nice day out and some some decent sites that I enjoyed and we saw some good content underwater.

The dive guiding was good and they guides worked to point out things that were interesting to us. I would rate the diving to be a 6 or 7 on a 10 point scale. For a stopover spot, it was quite good and I would recommend anyone that is leaving on a trip out of PM to spend 3 or 4 days here. My daughter went on the flashlight fish night dive which is very unique and enjoyable.

The resort experience starts when you clear customs at the airport. The hotel was there with a sign waiting for us, so I rate them highly on this important point. The trip is a 45 minute car ride and a 15 boat ride and your arrive at a long dock in a stand alone island.

The rooms were OK, but maybe a touch below what I was expecting. Each room was in a stand alone bungalow with a bed and a hideaway bed that was not so great. Similar to Lembeh Resort, but a notch below.

The resort is very informal with everyone eating at one common table including the owner who chatted with us each night. Nice touch. The food was good, but lacked variety. I like the breakfast and lunch and dinner were buffet style. The resort has a pretty good sized meeting going on which I think pushed the quality of service a bit.

The resort has plenty of animals which are kind of fun. PNG wallabies are in abundance as are a few kinds of decorative birds. I got to breakfast early on my first day and found a wallaby huddled under a dining table. We startled each other when I pulled out my chair.

I would recommend anyone who is coming to PNG to stay here for 2 to 5 days. Some of the diving is quite good. Suzie’s Bommie and some of the other open ocean bombes are very good which I know from earlier dive trips. You will enjoy a unique little island with a lot of personal charm, but very little pretense.

Visited on 02/2014 - Submitted on 03/22/2014
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Maluku Divers Resort


My teenage son and I spent a week here in April of 2009. This typically is not a place where people stay for that long, but we had limited budget and air travel was pretty cheap at the height of the recession. We had been to Lembeh two years earlier and my son loved critter divers, so this seemed like a good alternative and it was.

Getting there is grueling, but the resort is quite close to the airport on Ambon (a beautiful airport at that), so once you make it here, it is quick to get to the resort. The cabins are quite large, but lacking a lot of ambience. A nice bed, a lot of place for your gear, and a very nice bathroom. The food was large Indonesian although the breakfasts were pretty much American/European. My son who is a picky eater got by just fine.

They have two dives every morning and one in the afternoon. The best muck diving is within a five minute boat ride of the resort. The dive operation facility and staff were world class. It was well organized and extremely professional. Several of our dive guides had learned their trade at Lembeh and they were great.

A couple of times a week, the resort took a trip to Tiga Palau which was about a 90 minute boat ride away. For those who like coral reefs, soft coral colors and small schools of fish, go there with your wide angle lens ready for some nice photo ops. We talked the resort in doing an extra trip there and we enjoyed it both times.

Of course, the main attraction here is the muck diving right in front of the resort. The Laha area where the resort is located is full of amazing creatures. I thought the density of "crazies" was a lot more than at Lembeh. Most dives, even good ones, have some down time and that just wasn't the case here. You dropped to the bottom and kept seeing stuff until your air ran out.

We were left on our own for the most part, unless we wanted help spotting critters. We did get help on occasion when special creatures like rhinopias were to be found.

If you have been to Lembeh or simply want a small town alternative to Lembeh, this is probably the best two miles of ocean to find all of those exotic creatures that you would like to photo. Because Maluku is really the only dive traffic here, we rarely saw other divers on any of the sites. Because this is a common departure point for Raja Ampat liveaboard, occasionally a liveaboard will pull in here, but that was only one day while we were there. I would say we saw 90% overlap with Lembeh, but several creatures were unique. We saw several clusters of harlequin shrimps which we did not see at Lembeh. We also saw a blue ring octopus, but I know that they are commonly sited in Lembeh. We also saw a lot of very pretty seahorses which we did not see in Lembeh. We also seemed to run into peacock mantis shrimps on elmost every dive and we also saw the very large ones with the piercing arms. I'm guessing if you stayed a month at both places that you would see the same critters, although the density here was much higher.

Visited on 04/2009 - Submitted on 02/08/2014
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Nai'a Liveaboard


The Nai'a was an unusual trip for me in that I went alone. Being a lone traveler was a bit different because you don't have that go to person on the boat or underwater. It tends to amplify the importance of the details.

First, getting there is great. It is the easiest place to get to of the far away spots outside of the Caribbean. An overnight from LA and you are in Nadi and a 1 hour drive and you are ready for the boat. I stayed one night at a Nadi hotel to catch my breath and ended up meeting half of my future boat mates.

The boat is most luxurious that I have been on, even compared to the Indonesian boats which are bigger, but in a more casual way. The owners make sure that you feel like royalty when you step on board. When the boat was first built, the owners created a deal where each return visit would get a slightly larger discount. They were more successful that they had hoped and ended up with a lot of very regular repeat visitors. I was one of only 2 or 3 out of 18 that had not been on the boat before.

The food is the best you can get on a liveaboard dive boat. They have chefs come in and design a 2 week menu that rotates for each night. White table clothes and fine place settings. Meals are a big focus of the week.

The water temps in Fiji vary quite a bit through the year. I was there in early November and the water was a bit cool, especially towards the end of the week after 20 or so dives. If you go in our summer, the water can be very cold while Feb and March are very warm. Be prepared.

We divided up into two groups for the week and the dive operation was very hands off once they were comfortable with your skills. I passed their muster and was left to kind of do my own thing with my camera. Because I didn't have a dive buddy, I was almost too alone at times. The good thing was that water visibility was always very high and we could see a long ways. We were also left to dive as long as our air and computers would take care of us.

The camera facilities were more limited than what is now current standard. I would not be surprised if they have updated their UW photography benches. Equipment has gotten a lot mroe common and bulky over the past few years.

The diving is very good from start to end. The Namena marine reserve has a half dozen world class sites. I dove there from the Cousteau Resort a few years earlier, but it was a long ways removed from the hotel and boat only went there twice a week, wind willing.

Chimneys is a pair of volcanic pinnacles which are really nice with schools of fish from the bottom at about 100 feet all the way to the surface. All of the reef tops in Fiji are full of colorful hard coral garden and the Chimneys were beautiful. Kansas is another amazing dive with fields of beige soft coral flowing in the current to make it look like, well Kansas. North Save-A-Tack is also an incredible dive in the right conditions. Schools of fish and a handful of sharks were everywhere.

Nigali Passage has to be one of the best dive sites in the world. Very similar to Ulong Island in Palau. It is a mile long channel between two bodies of water and at the right current conditions it fills with the entire food chain from the eaten to the eaters. A dozen sharks, 50 or so big groupers , and schools of bait for the big guys. They set up like a wall of feeders and you just watch the action happen. It is almost worth the trip for that dive alone.

Also spectacular is E6 which is a bit pinnacle out in the blue. While some divers said that this site has been hurt by El Nino is the late 1990s, it seemed pretty amazing to me.

Fiji did lack the huge variety of places like Solomons and Indonesia to the immediate west. We did not see the exotic creatures that one sees there.

One other side note, I did befriend an elderly woman diver who had logged 12,000 dives in her career and she was retiring after she left the boat. She was most famous for being the blonde on Sea Hunter who always needed to be rescued by Beau Bridges. She had many stories to tell about the creation of the dive industry over the 1980s and 1990s. For an avid diver, her stories were great. And she still kept up with the group!

Visited on 11/2005 - Submitted on 02/13/2014
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My first trip to Palau in late June of 2002 was a weather disaster. Two, not one, hurricanes hit and I never got to see the major dive sites.

First, Jellyfish Lake is absolutely amazing. It is highlighted in a major ad campaign right now and it always makes me want to go back. It is a hard climb to get to, so you will get good exercise to get there.

Blue Holes and Blue Corner are also great. Both of them live up to their world class status. I love the Blue Holes in particular although it was kind of crowded. I was a bit afraid of the Blue Corner given the current reputation, but it really was quite nice. The boat operators new how to get us to a great spot, we got hooked up with our reef hooks and then we were all set to watch gray tips patrol in front of us for 15 minutes.

German Channel was also a wonderful dive site. We saw mantas both time we were. One time it turned and did a barrel roll right over my head.

Peliliu Express was incredible the first time. We saw an annual aggregation of snappers that seemed to go on for miles. The second dive a few hours later was raked by currents and we pretty much held on to avoid being swept out to sea. Might be the scariest conditions that I have ever been in.

We had a very small cabin on our liveaboard boat because we booked late. The main living area was very nice with a great home theater where we watched violent HBO shows most evening.

The meals were great and the chef made beautiful carvings out of food that was very clever. I tell anyone who has only dived in the Caribbean, that Palau is the best place in the world to go to. You will see schools of fish, WWII wrecks, sharks, mantas and beautiful coral. I do recommend that you stay away in mid summer though. Being there during a hurricane is scary and no fun.

Visited on 03/2012 - Submitted on 02/07/2014
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Paradise Villas, Little Cayman


Getting there is half the fun. You take a prop plane from Grand Cayman and land on a small runway with an airport building about the size of my bedroom at home. You get your luggage from the plane and walk across the road and you are at Paradise Villas. It doesn't get more casual than this.

I consider Paradise as the alternative to the much bigger and more polished Little Cayman Beach Resort where a lot of divers go to. Paradise consists of a dozen bungalows, right on the water with very lovely grounds. No TV to be found here. We did get a bit of Internet coverage.

The island is great. It has one of everything. One ATM. One grocery store. One fire truck which was given to the island by the government to keep them happy. One gas station that has gas about half the time. One road that goes around the island and is fun to take by bike but it is a bit of a trek.

The resort does not have a restaurant but the Hungry Iguana is next door and it is pretty good. A good breakfast and burgers during the day. We walked to the LCBR on a couple of occassions for a nicer dinner. And did I mention, the island has one big party each week. The week we were there, the young teen daughter of the owner played her flute for entertainment. The island also has some good bird watching with one of the best places to see boobies outside of the Galapagos Islands.

The rooms are nice with a little sitting area and a bedroom. They also had a nice sun porch. Nothing luxurious, but comfortable. The resort has a nice pool where lizards come to sun themselves during the sun of the day.

The diver operation is headed by Mark and Sabine who are great people, photographers, and divers. The shop is small, but professional.

We did almost all of our diving on the north (far) side of the island which was a bit of a bumpy ride in the windy season. We had been there a couple of years earlier in the summer and that was much nicer conditions than in March. I would say that this is best diving in the Caribbean in May to September.

The diving is all about the Bloody Bay wall and it is world class. The top of the wall is about 20 feet and goes straight down to 2500 feet. You can pick your depth and kind of see what you want. Lots of classic reef fish and a turtle or two every 10 minutes. This is a great place for children and beginner divers.

Night dives are great here and include visits from resident tame groupers who know that divers point flashlights at pretty little fish. See a cute little guy? Litght it up and you feel a shock wave over your should as a big grouper eliminates the little guy and replaces it with a puff of sand. Entertaining but not so much for the fish.

Just a bit further up the coast is Jackson's Point where there is another handful of very nice dive sites. A lot different topography with flat sand bottom and very pretty swim throughs. We saw turtles, eagle rays, and a couple of nurse sharks.

The is some good diving on the south side off the coast of the Villas. These sites are where you go when you can't get to BBW for world class diving. These south dives are very similar to what we saw on Grand Cayman. Good healthy corals and a lot of small reef fish. We saw some lobsters and a pretty interesting octopus.

If you like laid back, no pretension, this is a good place to go. There is plenty of diving for a week--20 or so dives and many of the sites can be dived at different depths. The water is very warm and visibility is 100 feet plus. I have been here three times which is always the measure of what you think about a place.

Visited on 03/2005 - Submitted on 02/14/2014



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