Dive Site and Resort Report Coron Bay and Sangat Island Reserve (November 2004)
Long way to heaven;
Frankfurt Airport Terminal 1, 22:30 PM CET: The flight to Manila has started with
the two excited divers Agnieszka and Guido.
After approx. 15 hours flight, and one overnight stay in Manila we are ready to enter the small but rather trustworthy plane of Asian Spirit. We ignore the notice that the certificate of airworthiness expires in one week.
After another hour of flight providing us already spectacular views we arrive at
the Busuanga Airport. Our first approach to the local animals were some chicken
which obviously live at the runway. It will be not our last animal contact !
The Busuanga Island is part of the Calamian Island Group at the northern tip of Palawan. This tiny little airport is basically surrounded by Jungle and after a 45 minutes bus ride to Coron, mainly crossing the Jungle, we feel a bit like not fresh but good shaked Cocktails.
From Coron, the capital of the Busuanga Island, we still have to travel approx. one hour by outrigger boat before we can step finally our foot at the Sangat Island. Already the boat trip compensates fully the bus transfer as we pass on our way a real labyrinth of very nice small and lonely Islands.
Reaching the heaven – reaching the Sangat Island Reserve;
Basically we strongly suggest examining the homepage of the resort: www.sangat.com.ph which even underestimates the real beauty of this place and which gives a true picture of the island and the resort.
However, let me tell you some words: After arrival we were excellently welcomed with coconut milk by the Sangat Island Team. As we had booked the very fabulous Lambingan Villa, which is famous for its private and natural exposure, we were moving our belongings by speed boat to the separate beach. Reviewing the holiday we must admit that already the normal cottages have enough and exciting exposure for those people coming from the rest of world. The Villa is extremely nice and rather luxury. The only connection from this Lambingan Villa to the main resort and diving base is by kayak, which is a rather wet experience for non kayakers. We were permanently wet after traveling between the villa and the resort. Other guests identified us as Villa guests due to the fact that we were wet and mostly without clothes. Anyway, due to the hot temperatures with a minimum of thirty degrees Celsius (November 2004) clothes are not recommended anyway. Our special cottage had been very nice and in an excellent condition, it provides space for at least 4-6 people but we had decided to rent it only for both of us. Due to its lonely location (with own beach and own jungle) we felt sometimes a bit lonely out there. In particular during the night as the generator is switched off about 12:00 pm only candles or torches bring some light into the darkness. And light we really had desired as the strange and unknown sounds from the jungle starting directly behind the sleeping room kept us awake in the first nights. However, we had the pleasure to intensify our approach to some creatures, which we met basically in our open shower (Balinese Style), which we called Zoo:
-Monkeys (frequent and funny visitors which like to steal everything left behind, food in particular)
-Lizards (rather frequent visitors but shy, impressive large but harmless)
-Birds (many but we are no ornithologists to specify closer)
-Centipedes (seldom but our main fear, very unpleasant as they bite and as the bites deliver strong pain which two of the guests had to experience)
-Bats and Mice (frequently but nice and harmless)
-Unidentified Insects (similar to big spiders or beetles)
-Mosquito’s (existing but no major problem in November)
The Resort in brief:
Basically the resort and all facilities are in an excellent condition, the resort is clean and the staff is friendly and engaged. The resort contains a bar, restaurant, different cottages, guard-house located at a small island in the bay and the dive base and shop. The resort is excellent organized and again we suggest having a look at the homepage. The food is basically ok, however the size of portions might leave some room for improvement, but the daily provided afternoon cake (tea-time) does compensate. The Sangat Island Team organizes a variety of different activities also for non-divers.
The Dive Base in brief:
The equipment is in a good condition, there is enough equipment and Nitrox is available (some extra-fee) as well. Different courses (PADI) are provided and we did the Wreck Dive Specialty as the location is one of the best wreck dive sites in the world. The instructors and dive guides spoke different languages (German, English) and did they’re job excellent. Diving here does still consider individual needs and wishes. The dive safety is a serious matter here but still is relaxed. Diving alone with your buddy but without dive guide is allowed as far as the own skills are suitable. However, wreck penetrations are strongly recommended with the guides who know the wrecks best. Due to the isolated location the amount of guests is limited, which means that there is not stress at all before or during the dives.
The Dive Site of Coron Bay:
Coron Bay is located inside the Calamian Island Group. The average water temperature was around 30 degrees (November 2004). The visibility of the dive sites ranges in general between 7 and 30 meters depending also on the strength of the tidal flow. During our stay the average had been 10 meters due to the full moon. The eleven shipwrecks from World War II (Japanese Support Fleet) are basically not difficult for divers and provide a first safe experience for wreck penetrations. A huge variety of tropical reef sites, the Cathedral Cave and the Barracuda Lake a hot geothermal lake full of ocean water with a layer of fresh rainwater, make each and every diver quite busy. But the best of all is that there is no queue at the sites, during each dive our group was alone at the sites and wrecks.
List of helpful internet links: