While someone could easily come to Atmosphere and spend days enjoying the food and topside activities, the resort has an excellent dive center, and that’s why we’re here. So let’s get to it.
The Dive Center
Atmosphere features a PADI Five Star Instructor Development Center (IDC), so if you need any additional training, this place offers it all — in eight different languages. The resort has multiple boats, a couple of which comfortably hold six or so divers, and one large one – Victoria – that can hold a dozen or more. We never had more than a handful of divers any time we went out, but that can certainly change during the busier seasons. Regardless of how busy the resort is, there are no more than four divers per guide on an outing. And the hardcore, energetic divers can easily do five dives a day here, including a night dive on the house reef.
It’s easy to keep track of the many boats and options for dives on the dive center’s wall-sized whiteboard, which features the scheduled outings and departure times. Want to join one of them? Just write your name on the list under your chosen dive and show up 15 minutes prior to the departure time. You’ll find a full dive crew, ready to go. Not interested in going out on a boat? If you’d rather shore dive, just walk across the beach and trot out to their amazing house reef, which is open for diving all day long and for night dives, provided you’re done by around 7 p.m. It’s a marine sanctuary, and once full darkness has settled over the area, the rangers want you out of the water.
Before and after your dives, the crew will handle all of your gear and tanks for you, unless you’d rather do it yourself. As at most dive resorts, there are multiple large rinse bins for gear after the dives, and you’re assigned an area of your own to hang your gear in their locked gear room.
Fancy a little photography? The camera room at Atmosphere is climate-controlled, has ample room for your gadgets, clean towels, 110 and 220v outlets, and compressed air. It’s securely locked at night for your peace of mind. They also have an in-house photography specialist to help with any equipment issues or just general photography or equipment questions or lessons.
Diving in the Philippines
If this is your first time diving in Asia or in this part of the Pacific, you may not be familiar with all the new and fascinating creatures that await. Once more, Atmosphere has you covered. They employ their own marine biologist, Daniel Geary, whose presence and wealth of knowledge on your dive is just a query away. He was absolutely giddy over the extremely rare mototi octopus (ocellated) that we saw at Secret Corner dive site. Also, if you’re interested, there are regular marine presentations each day.
Finding the animals you want to see can be hit or miss depending on currents, recent storm activity, mating seasons, or time of the year. We visited Atmosphere in early December, not too long after a fairly good sized storm had washed a few smaller critters off of the local dive spots. Despite that, we still found some pretty amazing things. All of dive guides know exactly where to find some of the area’s most common critters, and they’re excellent at spotting the gypsy critters that like to move around.
So what exactly will you see on a typical dive at Atmosphere? Here are few critters we saw, though it’s certainly not a complete list: orangutan crab, ribbon eels, ghost pipefish, leaf scorpionfish, squat lobster, mantis shrimp, frogfish, seahorse, moray eel, clownfish, anemone shrimp, mototi octopus, flamboyant cuttlefish, common cuttlefish, coconut octopus, algae octopus, garden eels, nudibranchs, snake eels and more. You may also see mandarinfish (at dusk), mimic octopus, wunderpus, a pygmy seahorse, harlequin shrimp, jawfish, candy crab, blue-ringed octopus, and more — this list is by no means exhaustive.
What About the Kids?
If you’re traveling with a family and the kids are too young to dive, Atmosphere has that handled. There’s a daycare center with babysitters who can take them snorkeling, play games, or any number of other activities to keep them entertained and provide some education while mom and/or dad enjoy the diving. If you have kids, bring them with no worries for their care or enjoyment. Or, you could just leave them at home and enjoy a romantic getaway. Either way, Atmosphere offers a fantastic dive experience.
For a glimpse of the resort and all that it offers, check out our video