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“Excellent overall time once I understood their way of doing things”

Thresher Shark Divers
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Thresher Shark Dive from Malapascua Island
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Three-Dive Scuba Diving Tour with Morning Thresher Shark Dive from Malapascua...
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10 Dive Package in Malapascua Island
Ranked #3 of 23 Tours in Malapascua Island
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Owner description: PADI 5 Star IDC Dive Center, located on Malapascua Island in the Philippines. Offering daily thresher shark dives, mantas, hammerheads, reefs and wrecks, macro and muck diving, mating mandarin fish, seahorses, frogfish and much more. Small groups with experienced Divemasters and Instructors. TSD offers all the local dives sites, a full range of PADI courses from beginner to Instructor, dive internships and technical diving. British owned and run, professional and safe, with 8 years experience on Malapascua,
Useful Information: Bathroom facilities
Reviewed February 19, 2013

Overall I can say I would recommend Thresher Shark Divers to either very experienced divers or new divers. If you're an intermediate diver, their approach may or may not be for you. I was initially put off by a few things that I wish had been more clear to me at booking, but our experience overall was very good, and I would recommend the place to friends or family.

I am new diver with a PADI Open Water Certification. Prior to arriving at TSD I had logged about 26 dives in Mexico, Belize and another part of the Philippines.
More than 1/3 of those dives had been around 85 feet at their deepest point. I also dived the Blue Hole, going down to 130 feet. I did all these dives with no advanced or adventure diving training. PADI Open Water divers are really only supposed to go to about 18 meters or 60 feet, but in all my prior experience no one really enforced that depth of even asked about my comfort level with going deeper. Even the Blue Hole Trip was fairly relaxed in that way. I'm still alive, and never had any problems on any of these dive trips, so i figure I am capable of a 100-foot dive to see some sharks even though the TSD website indicated the dive is an advanced dive.

So we get to Malapascua Island, and walk into TSD, where we are told we can't do the Shark Dive without having an Advanced Certification or something proving we can do a dive deeper than 18 meters (such as a piece of paper indicating we'd done a Padi-sanctioned "Deep Adventure Dive"). Turns out TSD offers a "Deep Adventure" check out dive that comes complete with a piece of paper indicating you're OK to do such a dive for another $100 per person. So, confronted with this, I'm kind of pissed actually. I'm thinking now I know why people say PADI is a acronym for "Put Another Dollar In". And I'm thinking TSD is just trying to wrong more money out of me. Marianne, the employee explaining all this to me, actually seemed pretty used to the reaction from me. She said TSD is a five-diamond dive resort, and that to keep that designation, they have to do everything strictly by the book and that safety is their No. 1 priority. I'm there. I've just paid A LOT OF MONEY for my 2-person dive and accommodation package. I want to do the shark dive, so I just agree to do it.

Marianne gives us some paperwork to fill out, and loans us two PADI Adventures in Diving Books and bookmarks the 20-odd pages we need to read with a sheet of paper that has the knowledge review questions on one side. We're to read the material, fill out the sheet, and return the next day to review the information with her before the shark dive two days later.

Honestly, within reading about 10 pages, I realized it was WELL worth the money. I got a badly needed review of information that has gotten a little foggy since my Open Water studying days, and I learned a lot more that wasn't covered in much detail during the open water course. I actually couldn't believe that the dive shops in Belize take people to the Blue Hole without going over some of the information in more detail. No wonder there are stories about people still on the bottom of the Blue Hole.

Anyway, from that point on, everything went really great. I relaxed about the extra one hundred dollar outlay, and even opted to spend much more to earn my Enriched Air certification with TSD, which was some additional studying but they combined my Deep Adventure Dive with my first Nitrox check out dive, so I saved a bit of money. Now I feel safe diving deep, and maximize my bottom time thanks to my ability to dive Nitrox.

We really enjoyed all our dives with TSD. I did six dives in just a couple days, including two shark dives, and was able to see Threshers on both dives (three on the first dive, and nine on the second). Both were amazing experiences. We also did some shallow dives around the island with a local Dive Master named Beds. He was great, and really looked after my girlfriend in particular, who gets a bit nervous. I ultimately did my Nitrox dives with a guy named Steve from Canada who was at TSD to do some advanced instructor studies. I had a great time learning from him and I hope to have the chance to dive with him again. In addition to Monad Shoal, we did dives at Lapus Lapus (two Frogfish!!!), Deep Rock [my first cuttlefish (2) and my first two Pygmy Seahorses (yellow)], and we did the trip to Calanggaman Island, which was awesome (the unique spot for me was a Boxer Shrimp, but we saw a lot of other things, including a resting turtle getting cleaned in a shallow area under the boat). The beach BBQ was really good, so I'm not sure what's up with the negative reviews on that.

The food at Oscar's restaurant was great and the staff was really nice as well.

TSD's rental gear was in really good shape compared to other places I've been. Only White Sands Dive Shop in Belize was better for me so far.

We stayed at Tepanee resort which is a brisk 5-minute walk from TSD. The cottages there are awesome, but that's another review.

The only thing I regret is not getting to dive more, particularly around Gato, which we didn't get to see. The worst thing about the trip to Malapascua was the blister I got from my flip flop.

I hope to go back one day and would definitely dive with TSD again.

2  Thank Jay L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed February 12, 2013

Just recently returned from TSD and a few days of excellent diving. TSD is one of many dive operators on the island all offering basically the same experience, but I would say TSD are likely the best organized. Right from the very first contact email to my transport back to Mactan Airport in Cebu I felt like I was in very capable hands. It has been my experience since becoming a diver about three years ago (130+ dives) that one of the biggest problems with dive operators is they tend to over promise and under deliver. This is not the case with TSD. Every interaction I had with their staff at every level was professional and clear. They managed expectations nicely and were able to deliver a lovely experience for both my wife and me. They are not the cheapest dive operators, but quality will always cost more than the average. It is not hard to tell there is a fairly high level of QA going on from the management. The physical amenities are in top shape, the dive boats are also in very good shape. In fact, based on the beating these boats were taking while we were underway in some heavy seas I am very impressed with the level of general up keep on these boats. The staff are lovely people and very easy to deal with.

What about the diving? Well, it is my estimation that the only reason to travel to Malapascua to dive is to see the Thresher Sharks. That experience alone makes the roughly 9-hour journey from Singapore worth every minute. The Thresher Sharks are fantastic creatures and are as wonderful to see as spotting Manta. However, the rest of the diving at the local dive sites around the island is generally very average. There seems to be a lot of dynamite fishing going on (we are told) and this has had a very negative impact on the local coral. There is comparatively very little in the way of fish life...no large schools of anything actually. Even the smaller fish life is not as abundant as I would have hoped. If not for the Threshers, I would have to give Malapascua a miss. Sorry Malapascua, but there is much better diving out there, even in the Philippines. But, do go and see the Threshers, they are worth the effort for sure!

The rest of the island experiences were wonderful. There is a lot to keep you occupied when you are not diving. Good food options to be found for very reasonable prices. Entertainment is available and the beaches are quite good. And of course, one cannot forget the lovely Philippinos and Philippinas, they are always gracious and friendly.

1  Thank DresdenDean
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 12, 2013

Just returned from my latest jaunt to Cebu where I am fortunate to have a little place to spend a couple of weeks each year. No trip is complete however without a few nights on Malapascua to dive the thresher sharks at Monad Shoal. I have been coming here for years and I always dive with TSD since their operation is the best- friendly , professional and fun! This time I was a bit concerned as I headed out on the banks boat from Maya as it was pretty rough but no problem - these guys always deliver a safe and exciting dive whatever the weather! On this visit they really excelled themselves with some superb dives where thanks to the expert dive leadership of our Filipina dive master Riza we found ourselves surrounded by beautiful thresher sharks swimming slowly by - perfect for close up videoing and photography. She was superb at getting us into the right locations and we all agreed they were amazing dives. Thanks again TSD for yet another great dive trip!

Thank Skpalmer
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 17, 2013 via mobile

Where to start... THRESHER SHARKS... Mandarin Fish... Awesome dive instructors and dive crew! The dive spots are amazing, you won't be disappointed.
They have a restaraunt upstairs with a rotating menu for dinner... Lovely English options as well as amazing Pilipino menu. Staff in restaraunt are fabulous remembering your name from day 1!

We will definitely be back!

Thank Nic_Macdonald
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 9, 2013

I stayed on Malapascua (for the second time) for 7 nights in Dec-Jan and did 12 fun dives with TSD. Loved every minute of it! From the very first moment I stepped into the office I felt incredibly welcome: we went through all the details and dive sites over a nice glass of calamansi (my favorite!) juice and I got a tour of the dive center. I think it is very important to prep people well to make them feel comfortable and I think TSD did a good job with that.

The dive center is located very conveniently on Bounty beach, very close to most of the accommodation and restaurants etc. When you take the public banka boat from Daanbantayan/ Maya (80PHP) to the island, it drops you off just a couple of minutes away from TSD (just turn left and walk for a bit, you'll be right there).

The people at TSD are amazing, caring and professional. They have quite many Divemaster interns around and I think they're a great benefit for the dive center - they help out on the boat and buddy up with you if you need someone to dive with... they'll even hold your hand if you get anxious(: It's quite amazing how they handled the busiest time of the year so well and managed to stay organized... I was fun diving and it was so nice and relaxing, everything is being taken care of for you: your box will be on the boat waiting for you, they'll fix your gear for you (if you don't necessarily want to do it by yourself) and wash etc everything so you can just enjoy the diving!(:

After a long day of diving (of course you woke up at 4:30 for the morning dive with thresher sharks!) it's nice to climb upstairs to Oscar's bar & restaurant for happy hour (from 4pm-8pm) to have a couple of San Miguels or cocktails and chat with other dive enthusiasts. Everyone has a smile on their face, constantly! Well, why wouldn't they? Malapascua is a paradise, diving is great and thresher sharks truly amazing and beautiful creatures. TSD took me in for the time I spent on the island and I miss them already. Thank you for the incredible experience! Special hugs and thanks to Chris for being a friend, hope to see you again some day, somewhere(:

I would recommend Thresher Shark Divers to anyone, any day. If you need anything just ask, they'll fix it! I definitely recommend the Calanggaman Island day trip (absolutely beautiful island, drop off diving and turtles + very nice lunch on the beach) and Gato Island (saw so many beautiful things I can't even list them here). The shark dives in the morning were definitely my favorites after all... one needs to get up early but there's something magical about having your morning coffee and watching the sun come up on the boat, putting your gear on and jumping in just as the dusk starts to turn into daylight... and the anticipation under water, the exhilaration when you see the silhouette of the shark slowly appearing from the big blue. Never felt so peaceful in my life than in the presence of those graceful creatures.

Thank you again, for everything!

2  Thank EmmaHeikkinen
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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