Caveat: this isn't The Marriott. In fact, I don't think there's anything Marriott-like on the entire island. Accommodations will, then, be varying degrees of basic, wherever you might decide to stay. Also, I'm a diver, and was here for the diving. These things said --
I stayed at Seadive for a bit more than a week during a month-long scuba diving trip. Seadive is primarily a resort centering on ocean activities, supporting diving and snorkeling, though there is also an island hoping option, I believe. With regard to the diving, there were three dives each day, usually, but not always, to the different WWII shipwrecks in Coron Bay.
The majority of the divemasters there are Filipino. Their photos are on the wall in the dive shop, each indicating total number of dives. Toto, the one I was with most of the time, had somewhere over 7,000 dives. Others had 14-15,000 dives (I am also a divemaster, but with "only" 400-500 dives total). I'm guessing they know their stuff, and watching them under water seemed to confirm this detail. It is worth noting that these fellows invariably worked their butts off, each day, dawn to well after dusk, doing things I typically do not expect. The divemasters and boat crew carried everyone's gear to the boat each morning, along with all the tanks required. They also carried it all back on return, and even washed all the gear. I am definitely NOT accustomed to having someone else wash my own personal gear for me each day. But they did.
Dive conditions were quite good while I was there, with decent visibility most of the time (certainly better than in Subic Bay!). First dive each day was usually to around 40 meters, with the next to 20-30 meters or so, and the last anywhere from 10-25 meters. Nitrox is available, and I typically used that for the first two dives, and ordinary air for the last. Each of the wrecks was interesting in different ways, and each of the wreck dives were penetration dives, meaning that one gets to go inside the wrecks to varying degrees, depending on skill levels, and such. (Several of the wrecks are rather "open," such that even those with less skill can "swim inside" -- large cargo holds, for example, where the remains of automobiles might be seen. Other parts of different wrecks might involve a few tighter squeezes, and those uncomfortable with that can say no. Indeed, should one be uncomfortable with going inside a wreck, it's completely optional.)
The room I had was NOT great! But I think that's at my own request... When emailing Patrick, the divemaster who sorta seems to run the dive shop, before going, I was quoted one price or another for a room. Ever after the bargain, I asked if there wasn't a lower priced room available, and there was. I took it. It turned out to be situated in the back between the bar and the resort's office, as well as under the stairs. I did save about $6-7 (250 pesos) per day with this room, I think. Very kind of them to provide it to me. But it was also very, very noisy! Fortunately, the place quieted down about 10:30PM, and I was out each morning by 7AM, so no worries. So... Does the fact that they provided me with a very noisy room at an extra discount warrant that I rate them as a five star outfit? Or does the noise drop it to four stars? Hard to say... I did get what I asked for!
Food in the restaurant: inconsistent, but always good enough to eat. Free, brewed coffee each morning (what a bonus!). Their "classic" breakfast (bacon, eggs and toast) invariably came with a big pile of bacon, but the one cooking the eggs seemed not to understand that "over easy" doesn't mean "hard fried." :) Note also that the resort is on an island. This means that there can be shortages of this and that, from one day to the next. They had no bread for toast one morning, for example, so provided a small pancake instead. (Coron City is not a city at all! It's a sleepy little town that mostly =does= seem to go to sleep each afternoon.)
Jim Goll, the owner, is originally from Montana, and remains an incorrigible character at age 75+ years. Spend a bit of time with him if you can. Patrick, who does a lot to run the dive shop, is also quite a nice guy. I believe his fiance will be successful in becoming a divemaster. And everyone takes an interest in you, doing what they can to make sure your stay is a good one.
Complaints: First, I thought their 5% surcharge for use of a credit card a bit excessive, though it's common to encounter surcharges of 3-3.5%. Not every shop will add a surcharge, but expect it in SE Asia. Second, their connection to the internet is horribly slow, and subject to overloading in the evenings! That said, please keep in mind that they =did= have working wifi, however slow it might be. Don't even try to watch anything on youtube. You're on a far away island, after all. Electricity comes and goes.
Summary: "excellent base for the scuba diver," as I said in the title. Their onsite hyperbaric chamber is unfortunately kept far too busy by the local "hooka divers" (underwater workers who breathe air through a long tube connected to a compressor on the boat above).
No one here "jerked me around" at all. Seadive treated every diver with respect. (Why is this important? Because I was just coming from Johan's Beach Resort in Subic Bay, where I felt the owner himself treated me rather badly; read my review of Johan's if you want to know more).
Finally, the divemasters and boat crews =do= work their butts off, all in support of you. I left a 1,500 peso tip for everyone with Patrick, to be shared, most allocated to divemaster Toto, who was with me on almost all my dives, but a good amount to the boat crew as well. Patrick was grateful, and indicated that most people don't tip at all. That's a real shame... The Filipino crew there is far from wealthy, I'm sure. I really didn't feel that 1,500 pesos was enough, but it was all I had. If you dive there, please recognize all that the workers there do to make your trip one of the best you'll ever have, and tip them accordingly..
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