After more than a year of being above water, Peter and I were excited to do a bit of scuba diving during our trip to Bohol in the Philippines. Since we were traveling with Patriot, we decided to just spend one day scuba diving Balicasag Island. Patriot spent the day being spoiled by the team at Amorita Resort in Bohol (full review here) while we enjoyed our time underwater.
Bohol Divers Club
We had a poor experience with booking and reserving spots with Sea Explorers (the resident dive shop at Amorita Resort which also has a larger shop on Alona Beach). We had booked our spots to dive nearly 5 months before our trip to Bohol. I had also emailed them again about 2 months before to confirm a few details about the dive trip. Then a couple weeks before the trip they emailed to say that they had mistakenly not actually reserved our spots and there was no more room to dive with them.
I don’t know what exactly happened but when you are flying to another country to dive, it’s extremely frustrating and unprofessional to have something like this happen. Since we would be relying on the same company to have well maintained gear and professional standards (because your life may literally depend on it!), it was not a good sign even if they were somehow able to fit us onto their boat.
In the end, I’m glad to say that we were able to secure spots with Bohol Divers Club.
Their shop is just a 10-15 minute walk on the beach from Amorita Resort. Overall the staff members were all very professional. We dive with our own masks, fins, booties, and wetsuits, but the rest of the gear we rented from them and had no issues. We would definitely dive with them again.
Diving in the Philippines often spoils you — we didn’t have to carry any of our gear to/from the boats and after each dive their team would set up the new tanks for us to check. We did 3 dives that day (more info on each dive below). My only qualm would be that it wasn’t made clear that only second two dives would be at Balicasag. We paid for 3 dives but to be honest the first dive was really unimpressive.
Note that they had bananas, pandesal (Filipino rolls), coffee, tea, and water on board, but lunch was not included.
PPB Peak Performance Buoyancy or Raypoint
I was a bit confused why we stopped at this site. It’s on the way to Balicasag but we didn’t see much. There was some macro life — a squat shrimp, garden eels, moray eels, but perhaps they named this dive site PPB because there’s not much to see/do other than use it as an opportunity to work on your dive technique.
That’s not to say I didn’t need it — after a year out of the water, it took me a bit of time to get my buoyancy right.
The water as we pulled up to Balicasag Island was gorgeous and so clear. We could see sea turtles swimming just from the boat and many people saw them even while snorkelling. Yay! Turtle time!
When it comes to underwater life, Peter is all about the sharks, but I’m all about the turtles.
During this dive we saw 3 sea turtles amongst lots of other marine life – fish, corals, eels. One of the advantages of scuba diving is that while the sea turtles swim by quickly when you’re snorkelling, they are often more still at deeper depths. The turtles we saw underwater were unfazed by our presence and sat calmly. One was at the perfect depth during our safety stop and we spent several minutes taking photos, video, and generally ogling it from up close. I loved every minute of it!
While we had no major sitings (i.e. no turtles) we still saw lots of fish and eels and the corals here were absolutely stunning. Peter and I almost never discuss corals after a dive but we both said how mesmerizing the colors were and how some appeared to twinkle like stars.