I have been diving for about 18 years now, in just about every corner of the world. I have some high expectations when it comes to a dive shop, and Tofo Scuba exceeds them all. The staff are friendly, helpful, and most of all...knowledgeable about the local diving spots. That being said, this review is not about hyping them, it is about giving you, the fellow diver the best information to make an informed choice.
If you have not done adventure diving, take careful note. Tofo is not a casual diving location. There is no pier, no walking onto a boat, no bobbing in the water while you get all your gear sorted. You prep all your gear on land, verify everything, then the shop loads it onto a boat and brings it to the shore line. There, everyone works to get the boat past the waves and on you go. Diving is done by group negative entry. This means everyone does a rolling back entry at the same time, no air in the BC, and down you go.
Which leads to the next important point. You can dive on plain air, but your dives will be as much as 10 minutes shorter than everyone else. Tofo is a ways from a compression chamber, or even basic medical care. That means no matter your experience level, no matter what you have done previously, all dives end when you hit 2 minutes until Deco. ALL DIVES END. So if you don't have nitrox certification, add a day to the front of your trip, and get certified at the shop. It is a classroom cert, no practice dives required. I have seen many an annoyed, and sad, diver that has to go up before everyone else and misses the megafauna whom best I can tell do this on purpose to spite air divers. There is no debate, and no variance in policy among all the Tofo providers. 2 minutes to deco, and you are going to the surface and safety stop.
So in summary, amazing dive shop and amazing dives. Just don't think it is going to be a lazy casual dive location. Oh, and Nitrox for the love of all that is diving, just do it.
I'll be in the Cancun area in mid-October. I haven't decided where to stay yet, and will do so based on the best diving locations. The location needs to be within an hour and a half of Cancun. I'm hoping to mostly do shore dives (keep diving as cheap as possible), but can afford to do a few boat dives as well. Our main goal is to see wildlife, but we'd also like to do a cenote or two.
Experience level: I'm an experienced diver, but I'll be bringing my husband who is getting certified right now.
We are going to spend 5 days diving and relaxing in Malaysia (within a longer tour of Malaysia and Singapore).
I ruled out Sipadan/Semporna for safety so wonder what would be the best location where to dive in peninsular Malaysia in July otherwise?
We will be flying from Singapore and going from there to Penang.
Thanks a lot!
A second visit 8 years in the making! A welcome return to the location where we honeymooned complete with upgraded room.
The place is lovey and clean inside and out, with staff even raking the sand!
The food is excellent and the only fault is the time waiting for drinks in the bar.
Staff are very attentive. There is entertainment each night, day trips and watersports to keep you busy on down days.
The place is a 45 minute speedboat ride from the airport straight to the jetty where the dive club is.
Well organised, safe and very knowledgeable dive guides. Especially Marie-san.
The diving is hard work and the currents are strong most times. Certain sites you can only dive with inbound currents so marinelife is attracted such as sharks and eagle rays.
Negative entry can be expected due to the currents and need to get to 30 meters as soon as possible so as not to miss the site.
That said the abundance of turtles, rays and sharks was worth it.
The olhuveli make you do a skills test on the house reef and first dive. mask clear, reg retrieval and out of air scenario.
This is a pleasant dive and in the evenings you can do a night dive.
Up until end April, the mantas are attracted by the plankton blooms. The Olhuveli place lights of the jetty and visitors are able to look down into the water and see them feeding. Meanwhile you can indulge in the underwater spectacle of gliding mantas. at approximately 4 meters you can hold onto the rock and watch them. This was fantastic. Then we went on to see free swimming shrimps, octopus and crabs.
The diving is good and at the same time if you want relaxing diving akin to Shimoni Island off of Africa, then this is not for you.
The resort spoils you and out of the water life is relaxed and chilled out.
Being the only diver in my family, sneaking off day after day to dive doesn't always go down well....just wondering if there are any hotels with particular stretches of shoreline that will offer great snorkeling or shore diving?
Also, my son will be 8 by the time we go, so a hotel with an on site presence so he can try the introduction in the pool would also be great to have?
Many thanks, James
Planning our 20th anniversary trip and it’s between Cozumel and Costa Rica. What can I expect in March of next year as far as wildlife, visibility, weather, etc. ? Been to Cozumel several times but maybe you can convince me to come to CR. Thank you
We did 3 dives only with Pisces divers, but what we saw can be compared with a week of diving in e.g. Egypt. Our first dive was with seals, the visibility is not very good for photography, but they get enough close so that you can enjoy them. Next dive was in kelp forest, unfortunately 7 gill sharks vanished and we didn't see any, but we saw an octopus and several cute cat sharks. And the last dive was an oceanic dive with blue sharks and they get VERY close, so cool.
If you decide to head here:
1) Bring a dry suit, if you don't have it - buy it, water temperature is 14 to 17 degrees Celsium
2) Put on a lot of warm clothes once on the oceanic dive because it is a long journey
3) Take Dramamine or alternatives every day or it is going to ruin all your experience, oceanic dive is a 2hr journey 1 way and the boats are tiny :( sometimes there is no place to sit except for the floor
4) Be careful with items you have with/on you, one of divers who was with us had a selfie stick in silver while diving with blue sharks *facepalm and the shark approached her and started chewing the stick!! It lasted for several seconds, luckily she wasn't wounded
See also a video from this trip on Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9d9NGATDH3g
I have a possibility to go one of these places with liveaboard. Which one to choose just based on
a) dive conditions
b) wild life
c) water temperature (I like warm water)
Thanks for any tips / experiences!
From the Wildlife Calendar it looks like whale sharks are around during the months of March, April and May - Planning a trip at the end of April and would like to know if there will be whale sharks then.
Looking at a long winter break somewhere diving ... and reasonably warm...
Would appreciate some advice on where to go December/ January 2018.
Thinking Palau plus ?
Or French Polynesia
Any pointers liveaboard vs land based ... any 2 centre suggestions ...
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