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“The best and friendliest diving center in Unawatuna”

Submarine Diving School
Ranked #7 of 16 Tours in Unawatuna
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 7 June 2013

My better half and I have arrived at Unawatuna beginning of June. So it was well off season for diving what was one of the main activities I wanted to do while visiting Sri Lanka, furthermore I wanted to get my Open Water Certification. Many locals have advised that this was now not possible etc, but after a nice stroll on the beach to the very east corner right before the pagoda temple I have med Shirley - the most helpful and experienced diving instructor.
The whole team has made it all possible and after successful training and dives I am now a certified open water diver. The visibility was not as good as you'd expect, but learning the hard way was even better experience and will definitely count towards my future diving experience. As it was off season I was one on one with the diving instructor all the time, took me to some really beautiful underwater places where we saw many beautiful and large coral fish, visited a ship wreck as well. All in all it was a fantastic experience and I would highly recommend Shirley and his team to any diving enthusiast. It's the only diving center run by local people, the other two are overseas investors owned so the atmosphere is slightly different. Shirley has 22 year experience in diving and by now has done more than 7000 dives. Losing his brother and father (who also was a diving instructor) and having all his home and diving shop taken away by tsunami in 2004 you won't see a fancy diving shop on the beach, but look a little deeper and you will have yourself the best experience and memories for many years to come. The certification celebration party on the beach was great as well..:)

1  Thank vilhelmas_navickas
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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60 - 64 of 132 reviews

Reviewed 19 May 2013

We went to negombo and found submarine diving school while strolling along the beach. We had a wonderful dive experience including visiting the ship wrecls and the guides were friendly and helpful.

I accidentally left my dive card at the dive center and Kosala was very nice and helpful to mail it back to me in singapore.

Thank MatTravels1803
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 6 January 2013

I chose Submarine Diving School over the others in Unawatuna after looking at the website and reading the poignant story over the Tsunami loss; I could not have made a better choice!

Shirly is a very competent and friendly instructor who runs an extremely efficient diving centre, you just ask him something, he shouts orders in Sinhalese to his crew, and by magic everything happens just the way you like! Everything is possible: morning dives, extra dives, night dives, out of hours dives, just ask and it will be accommodated. They are flexible enough with 3 boats and 2 divemasters on top of Shirly, and they always aim to have a small group with each divemaster to make the diving experience more enjoyable.

I had my own equipment and everything was always washed and tidied away, and awaited for me at each new dive, I never had to do a thing, or lift a tank, which I rather like.
I have never found a friendlier centre where I felt completely cared for and safe. All the divemasters, Visni, Wasant, and Shirly, are extremely competent and kind, pointing out all there is to see underwater but always checking on your air and how you felt. I was also lucky enough to be alone with the divemasters on a few dives, which makes for a very special experience. I did 11 dives there during my holiday and every time it was different in a variety of locations, the visibility not always the best because of the large amount of plankton, but I saw some enormous potato groupers and murray eels, on top of the usual suspects and some lovely black corals.

I can say with no hesitation that this is the best diving centre I’ve ever found not even rivalled by the larger ones in the Red Sea, or in Italy or the Caribbean, and I love the fact that is owned, managed and run by locals who truly love their Ocean and diving.

I really hope to go back to Sri Lanka in the not too distant future and I’ll certainly go diving here again.

Oh yes, and if you are lucky enough to get invited to a beach barbecue don’t miss the opportunity, it was fabulous! Fresh local fish plus salads, lovely music and nice company, certainly the best evening I had during my stay.

2  Thank LaurettaLondon
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 28 November 2012

Since all other diving schools in Unawatuna had very bad ratings on taucher.net, we decided to check out Submarine Diving School first.

Shirly and his Staff is very friendly and welcoming and so we recognized very fast that this was the right choice. The equipment in general is very new and looks neat and suits in different lengths are available. The boat has a cover, absolutely necessary as sun protection, and Shirleys Staff is very helpful and care about their customers. You can feel, that these people really love diving.

We made about 6 dives in Unawatuna and our absolute favourite is the SS Rangoon. What an amazing shipwreck to see.

The view is not always nice, but this also depends on the season and a lot of plankton usually attracts the real big fishes. If you are lucky, you can spot a whaleshark in Unawatuna, we heard.

In general:
We always felt save, diving with Shirly or Wisni as Dive-Guides and if we come back to Unawatuna one day, we would choose the Submarine Diving Center again.

1  Thank Babaena
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 6 June 2012

At our first journey to Sri Lanka in October 2010 we (family with 2 children 12 and 14 years old) were travelling to many parts of the island. At the end of our journey we stayed by chance in Unawatuna. Walking along the beach Shirly, instructor and boss of the Submarine Dive Center, asked us whether we would like to dive. We were hesitating because we have not been diving for more than ten years. Our children had never been diving before.

It did not take long and we agreed to a Refresher Course for the two of us and a Discover Scuba Diving for the children. I never forget seeing my children under water, Shrily holding both by their hands. They were looking at and touching sea stars, sea cucumber etc. They were not scared at all and felt really comfortable. The team of Submarine Dive were very helpful, helped us into and out of the equipment and carried all our stuff into and out of the boat. We have never felt so cared for at any other diving center before, not at the Red Sea, not in Italy, not in the Caribbean and not in other Asian countries. After this experience we were sure to continue diving and to come back to Unawatuna and Submarine Dive.

In October 2011 when we returned to Unawatuna, our children had already done the Open Water Diver. So we did the Advanced Open Water Diver Course, certainly with Shirly from Submarine Dive. The course was good and Shirly really tried hard to teach me navigating. We did many nice dives. The visibility sometime was not so good, but we could not expect anything else at this time oft the year.

In March 2012 I came to Unawatuna alone and did about ten dives. Before the first dive I felt scared. So Shirly himself went with me to Napoleon reef, what I very much appreciated. At one of the next dives at a level of 22 meter I was running out of air, what was absolutly my fault, I was watching the fish and not my finimeter. Wisni, the divemaster, Shirly‘s brother, reacted immediately, gave me the octopus and rescued me. Thank you Wisni! I never forget that and I will never forget again to watch my finimeter, you might not be there! Beside that I had very nice dives. I saw two wrecks, many fish, big lion fish, my favorites, and a huge stone fish.

Shirly, Wisni and Submarine Team, you are simply the best. I am sure we are coming back.

2  Thank P_P1402
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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