trickard

trickard

My Dive Map

Reviews (9)

Papua New Guinea

5
4
5
1

PNG DIVE REVIEW - NEW BRITAIN ISLAND

PNG is the most pristine diving I've ever done. We were on Telita, which is no longer in service, diving the northwest side of New Britain Island. It's very remote, with little traffic. The reefs are exquisite, and you'll see critters in their natural environment that you can't imagine. The visibility was good, not great. We saw the full spectrum of South Pacific fauna--ranging from tiny colorful nudibranchs to silver tip sharks. The splendid anemones and carpet anemones are awesome, with a plethora of small tropical fish on the reefs. You'll also see stonefish in some locations. In the muck diving areas we saw green ghost pipefish, mantis shrimp, and a variety of starfish, sea urchins, etc. Once you get around to the Rabaul harbor area, there are Japanese wrecks from WW II. There are no bad dive sites off New Britain island.

PNG TOPSIDE

Be very careful ashore, especially in Port Moresby, which you'll have to pass through to get to the diving. It's a dangerous place. Don't venture away from your hotel. Many of the larger cities and towns in PNG are plagued with "rascals", which is the local term for bands of violent young men. The shoreline of New Britain island is mostly extremely primitive and generally peaceful, with numerous small villages dotting the shoreline. Your boat will likely be visited by some of these folks in their outrigger canoes, wanting to trade fruit from shore for bags of rice and candy.

Visited on 10/2008 - Submitted on 07/30/2014
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Cozumel, Mexico

5
5
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3

I've dived Cozumel several times, and each time the visibility never ceases to amaze. It may be the best in the world. The dive sites are much-visited, but quite spectacular. Virtually all diving is drift diving, so you have to be comfortable with that. The marine life is quite good for the Caribbean. Up north of town is a wall dive called Cantarel for more advanced divers (85' and strong current) where you can see squadrons of eagle rays up close in Jan/Feb. If you're vigilant, you may get to see a splendid toadfish, which are endemic solely to Cozumel. Go with an operator who has fast boats, so you can get to the best dive sites south of the town before the rest of the boats show up. The town of San Miguel on Cozumel has many good restaurants, virtually all within walking distance of the town square. If you're there on a Sunday night, don't miss the festivities on the square--live band, dancing, all kinds of vendors and artists.

Visited on 07/2014 - Submitted on 07/30/2014
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French Polynesia

4
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5

DIVING BORA BORA REVIEW

I didn't go to Bora Bora mainly to dive, but was pleasantly surprised the day I did. I wouldn't recommend it if you're mainly interested in diving, but if you do go, plan to do at least one day of diving. Inside the lagoon there are places where you can see giant manta rays. Outside the lagoon, the coral seems quite dead, but there are lots of lemon sharks and a surprising amount of beautiful tropical fish. The visibility in the lagoon was 30-40 ft, outside in the ocean more like 100+ ft, with little current in either place. The topside accommodations are outstanding, especially if you stay in an over-the-water bungalow. We were at the St. Regis, and it is a phenomenal resort, but very pricey. Bora Bora is the ultimate destination for honeymooners, and a wonderful place for relaxation, where you can just "assume the position" by the pool or beach.

Visited on 07/2011 - Submitted on 07/30/2014
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Stuart Cove's Dive Bahamas

5
3
3
3

I've dived with Stuart Cove every year for the past several years (usually in May). It's a high-volume operation, with all that implies, but the price is very reasonable. Sometimes you get lucky on a boat with only a few divers, most times it's a crowd. The dive master quality is variable--some are just counting heads, others try to find interesting stuff. The dive sites are pretty well hammered on the SW side of New Providence Island, so you don't see much unusual marine life. They do a good job on the shark dives, which are my favorite.

Visited on 05/2014 - Submitted on 07/30/2014
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Palau

4
4
5
4

The best parts of Palau diving are the German Cut (mantas and really giant clams), WW II wrecks, Blue Corner and the mandarin fish lagoon. The fresh water jelly fish lake is also cool, if you're into that. Palau is definitely a live-aboard type destination, as the dive sites range over a large area. We were on a liveaboard, and service was excellent. Day boat diving would miss much of the good stuff. The week we were there, the visibility wasn't great, but it was adequate. Be sure to bring a good quality reef hook, or purchase one before going out--absolutely essential at places like Blue Corner. I would definitely go back to Palau. It has some unique things to offer, such as being able to dive on a variety of WW II Japanese ship wrecks, some of which still have depth charges scattered around on deck! You can also dive through a short underwater tunnel and surface in an enclosed cavern. Also of interest are the land tours of Koror and especially of Peleliu, the scene of one of the bloodiest battles of WW II, where you can go into the 1000-man cave and still see sake bottles and personal items lying where they were left 70 years ago.

Visited on 07/2011 - Submitted on 07/30/2014
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Beqa Lagoon Resort

5
5
5
4

This was a thoroughly enjoyable trip (one week)! The Fijians are the friendliest people you'll meet (Bula Bula!). The resort is spacious with sizable rooms and a lot of variety, including some rooms with plunge pools. It is spread out over a large area, with interconnecting paths. This resort is one where divers, non-divers and kids can all have an enjoyable time. The diving is fantastic. Marine life in Fiji is over the top. Lots of my favorite fish--the clown trigger. Also ribbon eels, soft corals and a large variety of tropical fish. Don't miss the shark dive--big bull sharks and occasionally one or two huge tiger sharks. I got one of my most memorable videos, of a big bull shark with his mouth wide open holding a large fish head, swimming right toward me and almost bumping into my camera lens before veering off. The food was very good, and the resort staff excellent. One evening a group of local kids came to the resort and performed a concert with drumming and singing that was awesome.

Visited on 05/2009 - Submitted on 07/30/2014
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Spirit of Freedom Liveaboard

4
3
5
4

Any dive excursion on the Great Barrier Reef should be great, and this one delivered. The only disappointment was that we couldn't go out to Osprey Reef due to high winds. The marine life on the GBR is outstanding. We saw the full range of South Pacific critters. Special ones included a large crocodile fish, manta rays, bumphead wrasse, stonefish, lacy scorpionfish, wobbegong shark, coral shrimp, and an aquarium full of colorful tropicals. For an intro to South Pacific diving, the GBR is hard to beat. The SOF is a good boat, with a very good crew and dive masters. The crew is over-the-top helpful and friendly, and the dive masters let you do your own thing after they were confident of your skills. SOF is a little cramped compared to other live-aboards I've been on, but quite adequate. Food was quite good and plentiful. I was diving in the late summer (April). Would like to go back in their winter to see the dwarf Minke whales.

Visited on 04/2013 - Submitted on 07/30/2014
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Aqua Cat Cruises

5
5
3
5

My son and I dove from Aqua Cat a couple of weeks after Hurricane Sandy went through the Bahamas. There was considerable silt on some of the reefs, but we still got to see a good bit of Caribbean marine life, which sadly doesn't compare well with South Pacific marine life. (There are five times as many species of critters in the South Pacific, so it's not really a fair contest.) Interesting critters included lettuce nudis and lots of small shrimp. The boat, dive masters and crew were very good. This is the most spacious live-aboard I've ever been on, with almost hotel-size rooms. The chef was excellent--a lot of variety of foods (American, Italian, Bahamian). The shark dive is great--they tie a frozen bait ball to the bow of a wreck, and let the sharks have at it.

Visited on 11/2012 - Submitted on 07/30/2014
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Atlantis Dive Resort, Dumaguete

5
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5

My son and I stayed at Atlantis in July 2014. The staff at the resort are VERY friendly and helpful. By the second day, they knew everyone in our group of 22 by their first name. The dive masters are very good at spotting all manner of critters, especially small stuff, and this place abounds in such! Stuff I'd never seen before: orangutan crab, ornate ghost pipefish, spiny devilfish, zeno crab, two morays making love, sexy shrimp, etc. All of the boat rides except Apo Island are no more than 10 minutes from the resort. Every dive site had something unique to offer. The accommodations are somewhat basic, but more than adequate for divers--your basic bathroom with no shelves, leaky shower, spartan beds, etc. However, the air conditioning works and you won't be doing much but sleeping in the room. The food is very good, with multiple choices for each meal. The massages are fantastic and very inexpensive. I took a one-day photo workshop with Paul Ancla at the resort, and vastly improved the quality of my U/W photography as a result. I highly recommend this place.

Visited on 07/2014 - Submitted on 07/30/2014
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