Jump to content


Photo
- - - - -

Tubbataha reef on MY Pacific Explorer 2?


  • Please log in to reply
13 replies to this topic

#1 scuba-s

scuba-s

    Wolf Eel

  • Member
  • PipPip
  • 122 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:australia

Posted 21 February 2011 - 02:46 AM

anyone done the liverboard trip to tubbataha reef on the MY Explorer out of anilao batangas the Philippines,if yes what is the diving like lots of big stuff(wide angle)some small stuff (Macro)?and what is the boat and service like ?i see on there web site that they might do guided dives only, is this true or false? any info would be most appreciated

Edited by scuba-s, 21 February 2011 - 09:35 PM.


#2 Steve Williams

Steve Williams

    Humpback Whale

  • Moderator
  • 3044 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Tucson, Arizona
  • Interests:Protecting our Ocean, Environmental Education,
    Having fun and Living Well

Posted 24 February 2011 - 06:59 PM

Have we finally found a place no one has been to?

The Fin Foundation
My Images on Flikr

Canon7D & 40D, 60mm, 100mm, 17-40L, Tokina 10-17, Nauticam 7D, Sea & Sea MDX-40D YS-250's ULCS arms, Lightroom


#3 jcclink

jcclink

    Great Hammerhead

  • Member
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 741 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:San Diego

Posted 24 February 2011 - 07:24 PM

I dove Tubataha in mid 80's. It's seen its share of divers over the years. I vaguely recall medium large to macro type subjects.

Edited by jcclink, 24 February 2011 - 07:26 PM.

Nexus D300, 10-17mm, 12-24mm, 17-55mm, 60mm, 105mm VR
S&S YS110's & YS27's

#4 scuba-s

scuba-s

    Wolf Eel

  • Member
  • PipPip
  • 122 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:australia

Posted 24 February 2011 - 11:11 PM

I dove Tubataha in mid 80's. It's seen its share of divers over the years. I vaguely recall medium large to macro type subjects.

i have been trawling the net apparently everyone says it is fantastic diving vertical wall dives mostly drift dives sharks ,mantas big schools of barracuda, tuna all manner of big stuff , huge gorgonia fans,wide angle heaven, apparently it was hit by fishermen with explosives and cyanide in the 80s then they made it a protected zone and actually policed it and now it is in very good condition it is right out in the middle of the Zulu sea in the middle of nowhere,and can only be dived around 3-4 months of the year as the weather is too unpredictable the rest of the year

Edited by scuba-s, 24 February 2011 - 11:21 PM.


#5 troporobo

troporobo

    Sting Ray

  • Member
  • PipPipPip
  • 289 posts

Posted 25 February 2011 - 08:46 PM

I can't comment much on that boat, but I have done a one-week liveaboard to Tubataha two years ago, and highly recommend it! I went on the Eco Explorer (part of the same fleet AFAIK) and found it to be very well run and comfortable, especially because of the large decks and public spaces. Unfortunately this is the same boat that later went aground on the reef and was then rescued, but on my trip everything was top notch. The Pacific Explorer is a lot smaller although it does have a cozy enough topside deck. Depends on what you like in a boat I guess

As for Tubbataha itself, it is almost all big-wall diving. Lots of large pelagics, eagle and manta rays, sharks, and turtles. One of the unique things there is the relative "tameness" of the critters, perhaps because they have been protected so long and are so far from land, so its easy to get very close to the sharks and turtles. The drifts are not high-speed and the walls offer lots of overhangs and holes, so it is possible to take it slow on most dives, but this is definitely not a macro destination. It is a great adrenalin destination. We did 3 or 4 daylight dives and a night day every day for a week and loved every one of them.

It might be a little bit late in the year for this next piece of advice, but a nice way to do this is to book what they call the "transition trip". At the beginning of the season, which is just about now, the boats depart from Anilao at night. You wake up at Apo Reef and spend the first day diving there, then wake up the second day at Tubbataha. They then drop you off at Puerto Princessa in Palawan from where you fly back to Manila. If you can spare the time, a day in Palawan exploring the underground river is a good way to burn up your no-fly time. I saw most of the fleet was still in Anilao this past weekend, but I don't know when they will relocate.

If you go be sure to post a report!

#6 scuba-s

scuba-s

    Wolf Eel

  • Member
  • PipPip
  • 122 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:australia

Posted 26 February 2011 - 01:17 AM

I can't comment much on that boat, but I have done a one-week liveaboard to Tubataha two years ago, and highly recommend it! I went on the Eco Explorer (part of the same fleet AFAIK) and found it to be very well run and comfortable, especially because of the large decks and public spaces. Unfortunately this is the same boat that later went aground on the reef and was then rescued, but on my trip everything was top notch. The Pacific Explorer is a lot smaller although it does have a cozy enough topside deck. Depends on what you like in a boat I guess

As for Tubbataha itself, it is almost all big-wall diving. Lots of large pelagics, eagle and manta rays, sharks, and turtles. One of the unique things there is the relative "tameness" of the critters, perhaps because they have been protected so long and are so far from land, so its easy to get very close to the sharks and turtles. The drifts are not high-speed and the walls offer lots of overhangs and holes, so it is possible to take it slow on most dives, but this is definitely not a macro destination. It is a great adrenalin destination. We did 3 or 4 daylight dives and a night day every day for a week and loved every one of them.

It might be a little bit late in the year for this next piece of advice, but a nice way to do this is to book what they call the "transition trip". At the beginning of the season, which is just about now, the boats depart from Anilao at night. You wake up at Apo Reef and spend the first day diving there, then wake up the second day at Tubbataha. They then drop you off at Puerto Princessa in Palawan from where you fly back to Manila. If you can spare the time, a day in Palawan exploring the underground river is a good way to burn up your no-fly time. I saw most of the fleet was still in Anilao this past weekend, but I don't know when they will relocate.

If you go be sure to post a report
! thanks for the info we are looking to to the transition trip in late may June back to the mainland looks like a great trip and will give my tonkina 10-17 a workout might take the sigma 17-70 as well and the 60mm for the night dive,it seems the only way to book is direct as they don"t have any agents in Australia,bit shy booking over the net but they look like a professional company



#7 troporobo

troporobo

    Sting Ray

  • Member
  • PipPipPip
  • 289 posts

Posted 26 February 2011 - 01:28 AM

I wouldn't worry about booking directly, they are a stand-up company, and that is how most operations work here. My trip had divers from Europe, Japan, and Taiwan who had all booked that way and they all were satisfied. Have a great trip!

#8 scuba-s

scuba-s

    Wolf Eel

  • Member
  • PipPip
  • 122 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:australia

Posted 27 February 2011 - 03:22 AM

I wouldn't worry about booking directly, they are a stand-up company, and that is how most operations work here. My trip had divers from Europe, Japan, and Taiwan who had all booked that way and they all were satisfied. Have a great trip!

has anyone done the end of season transition trip, we are looking at doing that trip at the beginning of june, my dive buddy is a bit concerned that we may get bad weather being at the end of the season, do they factor in a weather buffer between transition trip and when the bad weather arrives.

#9 Grayscale

Grayscale

    Moray Eel

  • Member
  • PipPip
  • 77 posts

Posted 27 February 2011 - 05:55 AM

I went with them to Tubbataha in April 2009 with the boat Stella Explorer. Worked fine with only two problems as I saw it. First they gave me the wrong price for a private guide. And two days before departure, the nitrox price was still $100, but when back to Palawan, they charged $120.

But they were good to work with. Fixed pick ups from the airport to the hotel, and then to the boat (and reverse after the trip). Tanks were always full and within 1% with the O2. And they got DIN-valves to me even if they were supposed to only have Joke-valves.

#10 troporobo

troporobo

    Sting Ray

  • Member
  • PipPipPip
  • 289 posts

Posted 27 February 2011 - 05:57 AM

It would be hard to predict, should be OK, but for sure the weather risk is higher in June. Some years the weather is glorious until September, other years the typhoons arrive much earlier. That far south is much safer in that respect but the risk is still not zero. And as you folks in Oz know, this is an unusual weather year in the Pacific for well-documented reasons. On the other hand, I tend to weight the risk of foregone opportunity even higher and err on the side of "WTH let's just go!"

#11 Stewart L. Sy

Stewart L. Sy

    Great White

  • Industry
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 915 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Richmond, BC

Posted 01 March 2011 - 08:47 AM

Hi,

I don't have anything to say about the Explorer fleet but Tubbataha is considered by many to be some of the best diving in the Philippines. Awesome walls/pinnacles, lots of fish life, usually amazing vis. You won't be disappointed. If you have 2 weeks, I'd suggest a week in Tubbataha then a week in maybe Anilao to get your macro/muck fix as well.

Stu

www.stewartsy.com
SLS Photography, when your images matter....
Aquatica, Amphibico, TLC, ULCS (Philippines), Stix, iTorch, FIT, Magic Filter Dealer
Philippine Dive Trip Specialist


#12 Magrone

Magrone

    Lionfish

  • Member
  • PipPip
  • 74 posts

Posted 03 April 2011 - 09:33 AM

Did a transition trip on the Big Blue Explorer last June. Weather was excellent with flat water every day except the last.

Tubbataha is walls, walls, walls. Even the night dives are wall dives. I had a great time diving Tubbataha but was a little surprised at the amount of coral bleaching going on down to about 30 ft. This was consistent most dives. We didn't have a lot of current on our trip and not a lot of palagics either. Reef sharks most dives, but 3 or 4 at most on any dive; mostly whitetips occasionally a grey reef or a nurse shark. We did see some hammerheads, which was the highlight of the trip. One very small manta was spotted and there were lots of turtles. I have heard a number of reports about how much Tubbataha has gone down hill recently due to overfishing. Now with the coral bleaching I would say it is even more fragile.

The coral down the walls is still excellent, the barrel sponges and gorgonians are gigantic, but I felt the fish life was lacking compared to Komodo and of course, Raja Ampat. Maybe it's better with a lot of current. Though the few current dives we did have did not produce more action on the reefs. The transition trip was OK, but Apo Reef has a lot of damage from cyanide and dynamite fishing. The highlights at Apo were lots of turtles and a couple of eagle rays. I would not dive Apo Reef as a destination.

We stopped at the Cuyo islands which again has a lot of damage from dynamite etc. and there was pretty much no reef. Lots of macro stuff though including pygmy seahorses and a good amount of Nudibranchs.

My dives at Tubbataha were very nice, but 5 days of diving walls 4 or 5 times a day was enough for me.

For reef health and fish action I'd rather go Komodo, or almost anywhere in Indonesia, before going back to Tubbataha.

#13 greedo5678

greedo5678

    Wolf Eel

  • Member
  • PipPip
  • 169 posts
  • Location:S. Leyte, Philippines

Posted 04 April 2011 - 05:24 PM

Havent dived Tubataha (yet) but i would comment Weather wise.

This year we (the Phil islands) are seeing effects of La nina. Last year we had basically NO habagat season (the SW monsoon season) a scorching hot year, Normally we get a fair bit of rain jan-feb, mar-may are nice and tropically hot jun-sep are warm with SW winds occasionally strong and rainy, Sep-nov are nice autumnal warm before the wet returns in dec. Last year we had no rain from beginning of feb onwards and this affected diving. Waters were warm and clear all summer and we saw some bleaching. The winter returned and until this week has been wet and NE winds have been consistantly moderate (F2-3). This week is the first we have really seen the sun in the visayas (Cebu region) and i would PREDICT a wet and windy habagat summer probably running later into september than normal. NOTE this is a prediction, and of course weather can change drastically week to week but IMHO i wouldnt risk a trip (possibly of a lifetime) based on weather predictions and trying to get the transition period.

The Atlantis Azores stayed much longer than predicted in my place, S. Leyte, before heading out to Dumaguete and on to Palawan to start the Tub. season because of the strong NE winds and continued rain.

Hope this helps.
Olly
Kahoy EcoDivers Resort, S. Leyte, PH.
Canon 7D, Nauticam NA-7, Canon 100, Tokina 10-17, Canon 18-55, Twin Inon Z-240s, Anthis Woody Dipotre, homemade snoot.
MY GALLERY

#14 so06

so06

    Hermit Crab

  • Member
  • Pip
  • 3 posts

Posted 05 April 2011 - 10:58 PM

anyone done the liverboard trip to tubbataha reef on the MY Explorer out of anilao batangas the Philippines,if yes what is the diving like lots of big stuff(wide angle)some small stuff (Macro)?and what is the boat and service like ?i see on there web site that they might do guided dives only, is this true or false? any info would be most appreciated


I visited tubbataha in 2009 and 2010 on either one or another MV explorer.
Boat and services are good, dives are excellent for wide angle and macro, trouble is we always missed something with either lens in hand. :rolleyes:

Wall dives are excellent, I especially love those drift dives. A place you can't afford to miss!!