Thursday, August 27, 2009

The best diving spot in Asia?

The Cacao Pearl island is located off the western shores of Busuanga in Northern Palawan. It would be presumptuous to say that it is the best diving spot in Asia but it is probably the best-kept diving secret in the region. Palawan has over 2,000 kilometers of irregular coastlines, dotted with 1,780 sugar white sandy beaches islands, islets and rocky coves. It also hosts two world heritage sites for diving enthusiasts:

o The Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park (UNESCO World Heritage Site) features a large limestone karst landscape with one of the World’s longest underground navigable rivers (8.2km). The site contains a full mountain to sea ecosystem.
o The Tubbatha Reef Marine Park (UNESCO World Heritage Site) covers 332km2 including the North and South Reefs. The site is an excellent example of a pristine coral reef with a spectacular 100M perpendicular wall, extensive lagoons and two coral islands. (tie in with my section on Tubbatha)

Most divers come here to explore shipwrecks. During WWII, the American fleet sank 24 Japanese warships in the area, 12 of them in conveniently shallow water, including swim throughs, technical and Nitrox dives and shallow novice dives and all within a 1.5 hour boat ride in a wide arc around the south side of Busuanga Island. Turning a former war theatre into a divers paradise.

The Cacao Pearl is the ideal base to explore the region’s diving hotspots and indulge in all kind of environmentally friendly marine activities. The Cacao Pearl island hosts eight beaches, secluded coves and crystal clear waters with 30 feet plus of visibility. We have and extensive fringe reef system, allowing you to leisurely slip into the water right off the beach with your snorkel and mask on, and straight into warm waters and a cornucopia of exotic fish and coral. Spot and swim with gentle whale sharks, playful dolphins and a variety of underwater residents such as dugongs, clown fish, lapu-lapu fish, squid, parrot fish, lion fish, glass shrimps, turtles…

The resort will host a PADI 5 star accredited dive centre with resident diving and surfing instructors. Marine activities will include deep-sea sport fishing (catch and release), non-motorised water sports such as house reef snorkelling, kayaking, hobie cats, surfing, kite surfing and wind-surfing. Guests will enjoy regular dive expeditions to the only marine World Heritage site in Asia, Tubbataha reef and the world famous Apo reef located in the Mindoro Straight as well as snorkelling safaris to ancient and protected fringe reef systems, walls, caves, shallow World War II wrecks, and turtle and dugong (manatee) feeding grounds.

A pier and mooring buoys will welcome visiting leisure crafts.

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