I just got back from 11 days in North Sulawesi, Indonesia and I’ll say it again, we’re diving on the wrong side of the world. We started at a resort called Cocotinos. It was small but very nice. The rooms were big and comfortable and the diving was great. We did three dives a day, two before lunch on walls and one after lunch in the sand looking for small critters. The sites are close enough that we returned to the resort between dives to change tanks so you could do any of the three dives easily. They also offer night dives to see the mating Mandarin Fish. The food was wonderful and they have a very nice pool. As nice as this resort was it would be my third pick of the three I stayed at, not because it wasn’t nice but because the others had more to offer. That being said I did like these rooms best of all.
The next resort I visited was Gangga Island Resort and Spa. The largest of the three with the best beaches and things to do for non-divers, it also was some of the coolest wall and reef diving I did. I thought the rooms were on the small side and the showers left a lot to be desired, no pressure and I had a hard time getting hot water. The dinning hall was very nice and the food was great. The diving really made this resort. The boat was large and well laid out. They do three dives a day with a night dive option as well. I thought this was the best diving I did on this trip but there was no “critter” dives which Indonesia is known for. They do have an optional “Lembeh” dive to hunt for critters for $50 more. Gangga is my first pick for diving and second over all.
Lastly I went to Lembeh Resort for critter diving. The resort is very nice. My favorite rooms of the three even though rooms 11 & 12 (my room) is up over 100 steps and about 6 stories high, however the view was worth it. I loved the dinning hall and the food was great. They have a very well laid out camera room that was locked at night so you could leave your gear there and not have to hike it up those 100 steps. They also do three dives a day with an optional night dive but they also have a house reef if you wanted to add 1 more for that 5 dive day. While most of the diving was critter diving (diving on the bare, black sand looking for small things) they did have enough walls and reefs to suite everybody.
One thing that all the resorts had in common was the service. The boat crew were very helpful. They would set your gear up, break it down and clean it at the end of the day. They did all tank changes but made you analyze your own tanks. (all three have Nitrox) I never felt fussed over but got just the right amount of help needed. The dive guides at all three resorts are experts at finding cool stuff. All dives are led and while they don’t get too pissed if you wander off you are doing yourself a disservice because they really do find the tiny stuff. If i had to pick just one to go to I’d pick Lembeh Resort but I’d rather split between Gangga and Lembeh to get the most diversity and because you can dive on your transfer between these two. I’m trying to decide between Fiji and Indonesia in 2014 so start saving.
Speaking of saving, the GA Aquarium has a new discount ticket program. If you’d like to go dive the GA Aquarium (and you should) give us a call and we can save you over $25.
We have set our trips for the rest of the year and here’s a quick run down. . We are going to Panama City Beach in June, always a nice trip and the Keys in July. You should be able to get 9 dives in on the Keys trip so sign up today. Aug will see us in NC to dive a U-Boat and we’re doing a Bahamas live Aboard in Sept. It is sold out but I may be able to get more spots so let me know. Back to the Keys in Oct for a very special Michael White lead trip. If you have not had a chance to dive with Michael you should give this trip a try. I promise, you’ll have fun. Nov is Bonaire and Galapagos in Dec. Galapagos is sold out but we have a side trip going so call for details and we still have a few spots for Bonaire. We are also going to try some new spots for check out dives, Loch Low-Minn in TN. and Vortex in Fl. Even if you don’t need a check out dive these will be fun trips so come along.
The Web store is up and running and we’ve even had a few sales. Please check it out and tell us what you think. You can get to it from our home page www.diveatlanta.com click on gear at the top and ignore the pull down menu . That should take you there. If not try http://scubagear.diveatlanta.com/
Remember, www.diveatlanta.com has all our current classes (including solo and drysuit) as well as trips.
Hope to see ya soon, Lee & Brooke