mermoose

mermoose

My Dive Map

Reviews (6)

Raja Ampat Workshop 2018

5
5
5
5

I just returned from a trip to Raja Ampat on the Arenui that started in January . I have travelled with Bluewater and Mark Strickland before. I can tell you this is a beautiful combination ! I loved my trip so much I booked the same trip again on a different year before I got off the boat. This was the most wonderful location I personally have ever dived, so much life ! The Arenui is TOP NOTCH and I learned so much working with Mark that I would book this in a heart beat if I had not already booked my next trip to Raja Ampat . I highly recommend this trip even though I am not going. The water was warm, the colors were amazing and the islands are so beautiful it seems that they cannot be real ! We saw huge Mantas, woebegone sharks, nudibranchs , ghost pipefish,gorgeous colorful soft corals and huge "fields" of staghorn coral teeming with life. This boat is five star, it is every bit as lovely as the pictures indicate. Super comfy and the pangas are well appointed too.

Visited on 01/2018 - Submitted on 02/21/2018
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Socorro Big Animal Trip 2018

5
3
5
3

The Rocio is not a luxury boat, but it is very comfortable and seaworthy. The food is good and the crew warm and friendly. I have made two trips on this boat and hope to return to do the third itinerary they offer, Socorro diving is nothing short of exciting ! The animals are magnificent , my personal favorites are the giant mantas. They come in close enough for even a rookie like me to pop off a few decent shots. This boat brings the dinghy Literally Onto the back deck of the boat for diver loading and unloading , it's brilliant ! Allowing for safe entry and exit every dive, I love it ! Mark Strickland was our trip leader . I found him to be open, helpful and full of information about photography (of course), but also very knowledge concerning the sea life. We often enjoyed conversations pertaining to the subjects we came to see as well as how to best "get the shot ". The workshops were not overwhelming or intimidating for a novice like me with a small point and shoot. I would easily encourage anyone who wants to see and experience thrilling large animal action to give this trip, boat and Mark Strickland an opportunity to show you how it done ! Especially if you have a camera of any size or calibre ;8-) Enjoy !

Visited on 04/2017 - Submitted on 11/02/2017
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MV FeBrina Liveaboard

5
5
5
4

The MV FeBrina experience is a treat indeed !
Being welcomed aboard by lovely Josie and taken to my air conditioned cabin was a delight. This boat is super comfy. The cabins have all been recently updated and are clean, spacious and very well appointed. The crew was a pleasure to spend the week with. The diving was spectacular ! The array of dive sites and beasties was incredible. I felt high on sensory overload every dive. Such diversity and abundance of sea life I have never experienced before. Soft corals, hard corals, crinoids, nudibranchs, sea slugs, crabs of all kinds and the fish life !!! Seriously, the abundance of fish large, small and weird is fabulous ! Juveniles of every species is a joy to see. Clownfish protectively patrolling their anemones everywhere in many different colors. Pygmy seahorse, Titan trigger fish , Cuttle fish and of course Sharks. The silvertip sharks were my favorite. With two divemasters on critter watch every dive something special was found literally every time.

If you love diving book this trip. I can hardly wait to get back and do it again !

Visited on 06/2014 - Submitted on 01/18/2015
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Galapagos Islands

5
5
5
5

GALAPAGOS ISLANDS DIVE REVIEW

The Galapagos Islands are probably the most unusual place dive destination I have ever been to. The wildlife diversity is just amazing both on land and in the water.The land tours were fun and interesting. So many little birds, plants I have not seen in other places and I saw an enormous sinkhole full of life. And DO NOT leave without seeing those giant turtles. I went in May and the weather was quite comfortable.

It was most amazing for me at sea. You can literally see the earth growing up from the ocean and slowing descending back down into it. Looking at the volcanic islands I realized how this beautiful earth of ours has been/is ever growing and changing. The marine life is just extraordinary. Sea lions lounge about in good numbers and amaze me at the places I see them laying on the rocks. How do they get up to/down from there?!? Penguins at equator? Yep!!! Flightless Cormorants diving so fast efficiently to feed. Frigate birds nesting on the almost sheer rock cliffs are so beautiful showing off those big red throat pouches trying to attract just the right female frigate is quite a show.

MARINE LIFE

And the diving, wow. We were very fortunate to have smooth seas and nice weather, very warm topside. But beware it can get pretty cool underwater so be prepared. Some of the wonderful animals I saw that cannot go with out mention are the Manta rays,Red lipped Batfish, a beautiful spotted horned shark and the ocean sun fish was a treat indeed. That dive was a case where many of our group did not get to see the fish because they were under dressed and got back on the panga due to chills before the Mola mola made his appearance.

Again, I stress, go prepared, take gloves and a beanie or hood. Many dive a 5/7 ml and some even drysuit. I used a 5 ml, gloves and hood. Sharks and giant moray eels abounded !!! Hammerheads, blacktips and of course the beautiful Galapagos shark. It's my understanding that I was between Manta season and Whaleshark season. You would want to check with a travel professional concerning what time of year you went depending on what your biggest hopes of seeing are.

DIVE CONDITIONS

To the best of my knowledge all dives are done from pangas or large inflated rubber rafts using back roll entry into the water. For me that means making sure I have good references on the dive operator. You want to be with a good solid operator to get you in and out of those pangas, I was. In fact the entire trip is so special and has so much to offer I believe everyone should use a travel professional in order to get the most out it. In my opinion it is not a place for beginning divers and maybe not even novices unless they have been well trained , are fit and in good watchful , thoughtful company. Currents are prevalent here, that's what brings the wildlife. Thirty foot vis was about the norm on my trip. However, it can change to much less quickly when a rain shower comes along. So be calm and enjoy the adventure. It is a wondrous destination that I would gladly visit again.

Visited on 06/2011 - Submitted on 08/22/2014
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MV FeBrina Liveaboard

5
5
5
5

FEBRINA LIVEABOARD REVIEW

This year in June 2014 I had the good fortune to visit and dive from the MV Febrina in Papua New Guinea. The experience exceeded my expectations. Don't let the outside of this vessel fool you. It seems small and looks a bit aged, but, the cabins have all been recently completely renovated. I had a twin share with Cross bunk bed set up. Beds are clean and comfortable. Bathroom is fairly roomy with new very clean shower stall. Cabins have individual temperature controls and ample storage space. The captain and divemasters on this boat are exceptionally good at their jobs. The rest of the crew are always courteous and seem eager to please. The food is fresh , ample and always good. Two dive masters went out on each dive with us.Both are amazingly good at finding critters large and small. Captain Alan knows these reefs like no one else in the world. He set the moorings for most of them. The dive deck is designed well with individual lockers/ boxes for your personal gear.

PNG MARINE LIFE

The waters are clean and teeming with life. So many juvenile fishes it made my heart sing. The top side scenery is just breath taking. We found proper lionfish, ghost pipefish, Crocodile fish, too many color and kinds of nudibrachs to list. Cuttle fish, octopi,pigmy seahorses, more species of corals and anemones than you can possibly imagine. We had two shark feeds both of which were well handled and brought in many sharks. Turtles here are friendly. I was on sensory overload the entire trip. So many beautiful colors in all the life there it brings a smile of wonder to my face each time I think of it.

CONCLUSION

What a wonderful experience! These are the most pristine waters I have ever dove in. I have heard it said, "If you could only pick one place in the world to dive, It should be PNG". I have to agree with this. I hope I have the good fortune to visit the MV FeBrina and her crew again in this life time.

Visited on 07/2014 - Submitted on 08/20/2014
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El Galleon Dive Resort, Puerto Galera

5
5
5
5

This is (IMHO) valet diving at it's Best ! It is a fairly large operation running 6-8 boats (Bankas) at a time. Dive sites are rotated and changed smoothly and efficiently. There is a large board showing when and where your dives are that changes daily. The dive staff is always alert and attentive. These guys bust their butts attending to details , like how you like your camera gear (other stuff too ) handed to you and stored(with or without lens cap, etc.). Getting you in and out of the boats is as easy as humanly possible. The dive deck is the best organized and easiest to get on and off I have ever experienced. Ample dive staff to assist with anything you could possibly need. Andy , part owner and "Genius engineer' type guy fixes anything and everything happily and well. The layout is perfect ! Very close to your rooms and the dedicated camera room. On site dive shop. You can see the dive deck from the resort so it's not easy to miss a dive if you are out and about (easy walking distance too). The dives guides are excellent and so is the marine life. Hairy frogfish, electric clams, mantis shrimp, ghost pipefish, giant clams. tiny cuddlefish and much more. This was my first photo experience and I can't think how they could have made it any easier. I never felt pushed or hurried. The staff ALL know your name early in the week. I don't know how, but they do. Also, they seem to catch on pretty quickly to how You like things too ! That includes management, housekeeping, food service and the bar staff. The food was excellent. Anton is a very French chef who makes the best pastries ever ! Plenty of fresh fruit and someone is always around when you want something. The resort is on the water, but Alan, the owner has a clear understanding with the vendors . You can sit outside and enjoy yourself without being bombarded by people constantly hawking their wares at you. There are some very cool handmade baskets available on the beach though. I went in early April and it was HOT ! My room did have good a/c and was comfortable. It is not a luxury facility but it is perfect for divers. I was able to book massages every day. The front desk will help with everything from massage to money exchanges. I highly recommend El Galleon. It is the most personable and well run dive resort I have ever been to.

Visited on 04/2013 - Submitted on 03/22/2014
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