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“Return visit even better than last time”

Thresher Shark Divers
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Three-Dive Scuba Diving Tour with Morning Thresher Shark Dive from Malapascua...
Ranked #2 of 23 Tours in Malapascua Island
Certificate of Excellence
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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
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53 reviews
19 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 86 helpful votes
“Return visit even better than last time”
Reviewed October 21, 2013

We visited Malapascua last year but due to the tail end of super tyhpoon our choice of dive sites was limited. We did see the thresher sharks last year but decided to come back and try again. It is always difficult returning somewhere you enjoyed as you never have the same experience twice. I am delighted to say we enjoyed ourselves even more than the first time. When we got close to the dive shop we kept meeting people who remembered us from last year and we were given a very warm welcome. This year the shop was much busier due to a Singapore holiday and this worried us as we felt we may be lost in the crowd. In fact it meant that there were more boats and more choice of dive sites. We still felt that we were valued customers and they even planned some dives round our requests. Both the Filippino and Western staff were warm, friendly and helpful. The boat boys did a great job as usual, always there to assist before I knew I needed them. Our favourite Divemaster was Riza. She is a very good guide but also has a real sense of humour and is fun to spend the day with. I think the reception you get sometimes depends on how you treat people. If you smile and are friendly they return the sentiment in bucket loads. Definitely recommended.

Visited September 2013
1 Thank EvelynEngland
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Melbourne, Australia
Level Contributor
27 reviews
11 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 35 helpful votes
“Threasher Shark Divers disappointing”
Reviewed October 4, 2013 via mobile

Arrived at TSD with great expectations, but found this operator disappointing compared the the dozens of others I've dived with around the world. Technically they are ok; they'll take you out and bring you back alive, but there's not the joy I've experienced at other dive resorts. Scuba should be fun! These guys are just doing a job taking you for a swim. Another day, another dollar. The local crew pretty much ignored the customers except for getting the gear on and off the dive boats ... I also thought they were on the expensive side charging for every little extra which other resorts provide for free (eg 15 litre tanks).
The highlight of the diving was swimming amongst the Thresher sharks and we saw 7 on our shark dive. However the boat leaves at 5AM. The water was murky and the reef was degraded. My immediate reaction was that I wanted to leave and go some place nice like Coron, where the diving is great!
Many Europeans seem to come here for PADI Dive Master and Instructor training and the ones I met seemed happy enough with their choice. There were also many expats flying in from China with direct flights to Cebu and they seemed happy enough to go for a dive. It's all relative to where you've dived before.
The bus from Cebu Northern Terminal was very good with aircon and great WiFi for the entire trip. They'll drop you at the dock and then you catch the outrigger ferry to malapascu island. Bus and ferry took about 6 hours. Also there's no ATM on the island, so bring cash. TSD will let you run a tab for diving and restaurant and you can pay by card.
Overall, unless you're crazy about Thresher Sharks, it's just not worth the effort!

Visited October 2013
1 Thank Peter_Hohaus
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
scbrdvr, Owner at Thresher Shark Divers, responded to this review, October 12, 2013
Thank you to this guest for his feedback.

I'm really sorry he found us lacking. As he only did one dive with us, a 5am shark dive, I fear that he did not have much time to see what we are really like.

We definitely did our best to give him our usual top quality service. He only contacted us the first time 48 hours prior to his arrival, and I personally sent him 9 separate email in this time period, some being immediate responses and after hours. I did my very best to be helpful and to facilitate this last minute booking, and to try to find him the cheapest way possible to get to Malapascua. On arrival, our staff took him round the local resorts so he could find something to suit his budget.

The expat group he mentions have been back to dive with us many, many times and their dive club numbers about 30-40 people. They have been diving to many other places, but end up being disappointed and keep returning to us. One of the reasons they like to come is the staff and the atmosphere. So it is a shame that this guest did not experience the same warmth and hospitality we are known for with this other group.

I do hope this guest will come back another time and stay for longer than a single dive, as he will hopefully get to experience TSD hospitality at its finest :-) He we also get to see that we have some other world class dive sites and it's not just about the sharks!
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Level Contributor
12 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
“Fabulous Experience with Thresher Shark Divers”
Reviewed September 26, 2013 via mobile

Our Instructor was Chris....he's Ace! Myself and my partner completed our PADI advanced scuba diving course with this company. We dived with thresher sharks among other things. It's a professional facility with friendly, knowledgable, equally professional staff. Highly recommended!!!!

Visited July 2013
1 Thank Mellybrod
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
scbrdvr, Owner at Thresher Shark Divers, responded to this review, October 12, 2013
Dear Mellybrod,

Thank you very much for your kind review. And many congratulations on your Advanced Open Water course! I will pass your review onto Chris, he will be happy to read it. I'm very glad to know he did such a great job on your course and I am sure you learned a lot!

I wish you happy diving in the future, and we hope to see you back at some point in the future!

Warm regards

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Level Contributor
169 reviews
89 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 235 helpful votes
“Not a Repeat Experience”
Reviewed September 21, 2013

There are endless options for dive centers on Malapascua, but I made a beeline for Thresher Shark Divers due to referrals from Phuket, Thailand and El Nido, Palawan, Philippines. After 5 dives, I delighted in all the unique encounters and the small diving groups, but the dive crew was too impersonal. For that reason, I would look for another dive shop that dives with small groups. I am sure such a dive shop exists and the life of the reef is going to be the same.

The owner stated that he wasn't surprised about the endorsement from Phuket, because he used to operate out there. However, the quality of service was completely opposite. My dive experience in Phuket ranked that dive center as my second best after 13 years of diving. Thresher Shark Divers was barely average.

The observation was that the local staff is indifferent to the divers. They do handle all your gear and ensure you safely enter and exit the water, but then they turn their backs on you and only acknowledge each other. On the other hand the international staff warmly seeks you out to just converse or ensure you don't need anything. Unfortunately, I didn't have an opportunity to dive with the international staff. I am confident I would have had the "excellent" experience shared by the other reviewers.

Even if you plan on renting equipment, I would recommend bringing your own mask, torch, a magnifying glass and the metal stick or similar apparatus that the divemasters use. Especially the last two items due to the number of tiny, tiny, tiny nudibranches and other marine life. For the pygmy seahorses I was grateful that the diver next to me had a camera. I was only able to see the seahorse by looking at his camera screen and there were five. Having a means to balance on the reef without resting your body or gripping with your hand will be necessary to see many of the nudibranches that like to anchor to sea plants and fans.

I thoroughly enjoyed the reefs! They are not abundant in marine life, but they definitely were home to numerous unique and beautiful species. The array of soft corals was gorgeous, but I also saw stretches of dead soft coral. This is a first for me. Regardless, seeing the variety of National Geographic level marine life was worth the aggravating visit to Malapascua. This is definitely the most problematic series of dives I have experienced. Fortunately, this location draws divemasters, so even though the local Thresher Shark divemasters were not up to par I was covered by those who were visiting. During these five dives I had problems with the reg, mask, equipment fit, safety, dives starting late, and being denied full access to the sites. Detailed below are some of those issues:

Usually when a dive shop offers to handle all the equipment I feel safer, but not this trip. Over the span of five dives, I had three different dive masters who were all locals. There were issues with the dives. The first dive, I quickly noticed that the regulator airflow was restricted. I surfaced to communicate the problem. I figured they would quickly switch the reg with a spare onboard. Instead, my divemaster insinuated that the issue was me being a bit anxious. When I asked about another reg, I was told they would all be the same. Since the dive was only 9 m deep, I descended. When I returned to the boat my chest was on fire and painful like I had been suffocating. The divemaster was off fiddling with their phone. When I requested a new reg at the equipment counter, I only received a shrug. I was afraid to go on the thresher dive the next morning to 36 m. I missed that dive and asked one of the international staff about a different reg. She immediately was concerned and stated that the reg would need to be sent in for maintenance. That is the professional protocol that I expected from a 5 star dive center.

On the Gato Island dive, I was placed with the group that was not going to the cave. I was never asked if I wanted to skip the cave. Apparently, two of the divers in my group had already seen the caves. There were two other groups on that boat who went. I traveled from out of the country to experience the best of Malapascua. I paid full price for a partial Gato Island dive.

On the thresher shark dive the next morning, my fellow divers were frustrated with the divemaster's approach to seeing thresher sharks. There seems to be a difference in treatment between the deep tech divers and the advanced/open water divers. On our dive and the one the previous morning the tech divers entered first and were taken to a different area. The recreational divers in the second area either missed the sharks or only saw one. I assumed they went to a deeper depth. Actually we were both at 36-38m.

By this time, I was thoroughly frustrated with the diving staff. I only agreed to go on the fifth dive, because I was keen on the two Aussies that I met. One was a divemaster and I knew he would look after me. This Thresher Shark dive master had his own agenda. If we didn't look at the life he pointed out, then he ignored us. All three dive masters had a habit of pointing out nudibranches that you can not see unless you have a magnifying glass. We came across a series of shallow caves, but we didn't all have a torch. After the first cave the dive master would not illuminate the cave with his torch. We sat in front of the cave forever, but he ignored us. Fortunately, the Aussie divemaster was carrying a torch and we delighted in the treasures within that cave.

On this last dive the mystery of my leaking mask was solved. I rented my equipment from the dive center. The equipment staff insisted he knew my sizes by sight, which has worked well with previous dive shops. Not this one. The biggest mistake was the mask. I believe in telling divemasters what aspects of diving have been problematic. Mine is the mask flooding and fogging. The mask started to flood on the third dive. After recommending clearing and stating the leak was slow the dive master moved on. On the last dive the mask started flooding again, but by the time I surfaced all the water was gone even though I did not clear or remove the mask. The imprint on my face revealed that the mask was too small. The seal was on the edge of my eye preventing a complete seal. The Aussie divemaster was the one who took interest in the issue and solved the problem. He was visiting Malapascua the same as me.

Visited September 2013
3 Thank CuriousTrvl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
scbrdvr, Owner at Thresher Shark Divers, responded to this review, October 12, 2013
Thank you to this reviewer for her write up. We value all feedback, good and bad as it helps us improve our service to keep it the best we can.

We were actually very surprised by this review given she talked to both the Operations Manager and the Assistant Manager every day and spent a lot of time in the office every day with them. It sounds like this guest at least enjoyed some of her diving, but I am really sorry that she had some issues with the local staff. As she felt comfortable with the foreign staff, we really wish she had mentioned something to them during her stay, as then we could have resolved the issues. Several times during our intro briefings we ask our customers to come to us if there is anything wrong, as if we do not know there are problems, we cannot do anything about them.

I have investigated the dives she did as well as those of the other divers she mentions.

It seems that there were been some misunderstandings that perhaps could have been better dealt with on our side by our DMs. Most of our DMs are local Filipinos. Nevertheless, they are all fully trained PADI Divemasters, in current PADI status. They have all worked on Malapascua for many years and most have 5,000+ dives around the area. They undergo regular re-training including safety and equipment and we do not ever have any safety issues. In 9 years of operation have never had a serious accident. So they are very experienced and really do "know their stuff."

Gato Island has several sites and the Cave site is for experienced divers only. The "Cave" is actually a 30 meter tunnel that bends in the middle where it is quite narrow and pitch black. As you can imagine, this is only suitable for experienced divers who are comfortable in this environment. This guest was an Open Water diver (+ 30m deep certification). She had also strongly expressed an intense dislike for night dives that given her description we interpreted as claustrophobia. Therefore, we did not in any way think the Cave a suitable or safe dive for her to do. It seems the difficulty of this dive was not communicated to her, so we aplogise for that.

In light of the above, we were therefore surprised when she chose a night dive as her first dive. After the dive, the regulator in question was indeed tested and we could not find anything wrong with it. Her symptoms suggest she perhaps may have been breathing very heavily and hyperventilating possibly due to nerves. Still, for her comfort, it would have been ideal to switch out her regulator for another one regardless of whether it breathed the same, and the DM in charge of that dive has been advised to do so in the future.

Shark dive: There were no tec divers on her boat. It is possible she is confusing them with course divers who get taken to a different areas to do their skills, or with nitrox divers who get a longer dive time - which is why we recommend nitrox for the shark dive :-) Also it should be noted that just because you are first in the water does not mean you will get the best sightings. Whilst almost everyone sees sharks every day, they are still wild animals and shark sightings are the luck of the draw, and we certainly take ALL of our guests to the places we think they will see them best! Our DMs are so proud of being the DM who saw the most sharks that there is almost a competition-like feel to it each morning, and each DM always wants the best sightings for their divers! We do not go below 30 meters on this dive and the site bottoms out at 33m.

As for the crew not being warm enough - I apologise for this, but most of them are not fluent in English and so are shy of foreigners - so whilst they excel in their jobs, it is not as easy for them to "chit chat" with the guests.

I apologise that she did not have the ideal visit to Malapascua as we do our very best to make sure everyone has the trip of a lifetime, and I very much wish that she had voiced her concerns to us at the time when we could have done something. But I hope that if she ever returns to Malapascua she will give us another chance to show her our usual top quality dive experience.
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Level Contributor
51 reviews
7 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 35 helpful votes
“TSD.. Thank You!!”
Reviewed September 16, 2013

Yes, everyday I think about the warm waters of Malapascua and the friendly people at TSD.. Jake, Angus, Arlene , Amy.. etc..I had a wonderful time..... .. encounters with Thresher sharks daily during our 5am dive...... TSD.. very professional, very conscious of my diving needs ( I am not that experience.).. I felt safe when under water...BBQ on the beach was excellent.. the bar & the restaurant above the shop.. a great place to catch up with new found dive buddies..... will I dive with TSD again?? YES!!

Visited July 2013
2 Thank JYAustralia
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
scbrdvr, Owner at Thresher Shark Divers, responded to this review, October 12, 2013
Dear TY,

Thank you for your review! I'm very happy to hear you had such a great time and our staff looked after you so well. We really hope to see you again :-)

Kind regards

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