The Atlantis ImageMakers event is an annual tip run by the owners of Atlantis Dive Resorts and Liveaboard and their imaging ambassador, Marty Snyderman. It aims to showcase the photographic and video opportunities that exist at Atlantis’s two properties in the Philippines, namely Atlantis Dumaguete and Puerto Galera. The event is in its third year, and Marty kindly invited Wetpixel Editor Adam Hanlon to attend and report “live” from it.
Atlantis Resort Dumaguete is a 1 hour and 20-minute flight from the Philippines capital Manila. Dumaguete airport is serviced by multiple daily flights from Manila and Cebu city, and the resort is around 30 to 40 minutes ride from the airport.
The Resort offers a variety of accommodation styles and has a picturesque restaurant/bar area that looks out over the Bohol Sea and the region’s spectacular dive sites.
It offers a full-featured dive center and a spa, along with usual hotel amenities. There is free (pretty fast) wifi throughout the resort and perhaps most importantly, a spacious and well-appointed camera room, wi5h plenty of room for large numbers of big cameras.
The boats literally tie up in front of the resort and embarkation and disembarkation is simply by walking on or off them.
Atlantis’s team is obviously very experienced and operates like a well-oiled machine…ensuring low stress for visiting photographers.
The area around the resort is characterized with classic muck diving sites, with sand and rubble interspersed with patches of coral reef.
The sand is very fine (finer than Lembeh), but is more dark brown, as opposed to classic “black sand.” The sites are mostly in the region of 18 meters (60 feet) maximum depth, with seagrass beds up in the shallows.
A 40-minute boat trip from the resort’s beach, however, allows visits to Apo Island, which is a (primarily) wide angle coral destination, with hard and soft corals, schooling fish and turtles. The ImageMakers plan to make the trip over there later this week so will report back about it later on.
The dive center typically offers 4 60 minute daytime dives, along with a night dive each day. For our group, Marty has modified this schedule a little, with 3 90 minute daytime dives and a night dive available each day. We are all diving on EANx 32 exclusively, and there is an established procedure for analyzing individual cylinders each morning.
Before each dive, the dive center’s team provides a thorough briefing about the site, and what sorts of critters ti expect. This is helpful as it can determine lens and lighting options.
Days 1 and 2
The ImageMakers arrived in four groups, with one group arriving on 14, two groups arriving on 15, followed by the last two on 16 June. A
After a brief introduction to the resort by the staff and getting cameras assembled and scuba gear together, we headed out diving. The critters are classic muck diving subjects, with plenty of variety.
As is always the case, the fact that the sites are mostly sand makes it possible to actually find very small and cryptic animals which would be almost impossible to spot in the chaos of a tropical reef.
The reef that exists at Dumaguete has been supplemented by intentionally sunk car tires, reef balls, and concrete mooring blocks. Unlike some areas, the sites are not terribly “trashy,” and there seems to be significantly less plastic pollution than there is in Lembeh for example, although on most dives, the ImageMakers team have been removing abandoned monofilament fishing line. 1-
We went out for 2 dives in the morning and everyone found lots of subjects
The photography was classic muck macro critter photography:
After a long day’s traveling, many people opted out of the night dive, but a few hardy souls still went out…
Day 2 followed the same pattern, with 2-morning dives, an afternoon dive and a night dive.
As mentioned above, the sand is very fine. Since the common adoption of vacuum housing systems, the issue of sand in O rings has, in many places, ceased to be much of an issue. However, here is Dumaguete, I am finding that it is necessary to still clean the O ring more regularly.
The dive sites are mostly very close to the resort.
Once again, a few of us went out for a night dive:
We will be reporting regularly from the ImageMakers event over the next couple of weeks, so please keep checking back for more images and stories from the Atlantis Resorts.
Days 1 and 2.
Days 3 and 4.
Days 5, 6 and 7.
Days 9 and 10.
Days 11 and 12.