Diving with… Mike Bartick, Crystal Blue Resort, Anilao, Philippines

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In this ongoing series, we speak to the people who run dive centres, resorts and liveaboards from around the world about their businesses and the diving they have to offer…

In this post, we chat with Mike Bartick, one of the contributors to our latest publication Philippines Dive Adventures – download your FREE copy here!


What is your name?

Mike Bartick

What is the name of your business?

Crystal Blue Resort or Dive CBR

What is your role within the business?

General Manager – Background operations and client liaison

Global Marketing

Photo Pro – Im a professional UW photographer by trade and host a variety of different workshops based on photo skills, natural history and blackwater adventures. Photo coaching and working closely with guests is a large part of what I do day-to-day.

How long has the business operated for?

14 years of operation; 10 years as a resort dedicated to Underwater Photography

How long have you dived for, and what qualification are you?

I’ve been a diver for more than 16 years with 6k dives and counting, I’m also a PADI instructor but I don’t teach diving. Being an instructor though is crucial for the successful operation of a busy dive center.

What is your favorite type of diving?

Blackwater dives are my favorite but I also love reefs, and really love macro dives. If there are any kind of critters involved, I’m ready to go and explore.

If you could tell people one thing about your business (or maybe more!) to make them want to visit you what would it be?

We’re a unique destination and a unique dive resort. Easy to get to, private, offer valet-style diving, family atmosphere, professional service, 23 bay camera room, trained dive guides, chef prepared meals, and small guest to boat/guide ratio’s.

What is your favorite dive in your location and why?

This is tough as I love all of our dive sites for different reasons. We have around 45 dive sites that include pinnacles, walls, coral gardens, sandy macro sites and of course Blackwater dives in open ocean at night.

What types of diving are available in your location?

Macro is the prime draw but we also have fantastic wide angle opportunities here in Anilao as well. We offer a specialized dive service at CBR with guides trained to work with photographers and either 2:1 ratio or 4:1 depending on the package designed for the guests.

What do you find most rewarding about your current role?

As a marketing person my work is global so it’s always nice to see the folks checking in from far off places, knowing that we’ve met and that they have come to see Anilao for themselves. Normally the guests are expecting a lot and Anilao never disappoints. What makes me even happier is hearing the positive feedback regarding the resort grounds, staff and dive operations, boats or guides.

What is your favourite underwater creature?

This is really hard but most of my friends know that I can’t help myself when I see a hairy frogfish. To me they are the absolute most awesome critter on the sand. Full of personality, photogenic and always up to mischief.

Are there any exciting changes / developments coming up in the near future?

We’re looking forward to re-opening the resort post Covid. We have some exciting workshops planned for the remainder of 2020 and 2021. We’re just waiting for the planet to heal.

As a center what is the biggest problem you face at the moment?

Covid has been the biggest challenge. We are a destination for foreign travel mostly, so with the world in its current state, were not sure what the future of travel will be. The resort and staff are ready and we have passed our health dept. inspections and approved to re-open. The best news is that our community has not seen a single case of Covid since the start. We are ready to take guests when the world is ready for travel.

Is your center involved in any environmental work?

We do clean-ups in the community but we also pick up plastic or remove nets when we find them. We also help install mooring balls on many of the dive sites.

How do you see the SCUBA / Freediving / snorkeling industry overall? What changes would you make?

What changes would you make?  I feel that nitrox should be a part of the basic open water training and diving on 21% should be a part of tech training. I feel these two are reversed by nature of how the industry has progressed. Nitrox diving is the safest way to enjoy recreational depth diving.

What would you say to our visitors to promote the diving you have to offer?

Anilao is one of the easiest places to travel to. The diving is easy and the resort offers an experience more then just a dive trip. Many of our guests have visited with us 5 or more times which I feel says a lot.

Where can our visitors find out more about your business?

Our website is: www.DiveCBR.com
Email: mike@DiveCBR.com

I can be reached and followed on Facebook or through Instagram anytime. I’m happy to answer questions and to assist in any way that I can.

Nick and Caroline Robertson-Brown

Nick and Caroline Robertson-Brown

Nick and Caroline Robertson-Brown are a husband and wife team of underwater photographers. Both have degrees in environmental biology from Manchester University, with Caroline also having a masters in animal behaviour. Nick is a fellow of the Royal Photographic Society in underwater wildlife photography and he also has a masters in teaching. They are passionate about marine conservation and hope that their images can inspire people to look after the world's seas and oceans. Their Manchester-based company, Frogfish Photography, offers a wide range of services and advice. They offer tuition with their own tailor made course - the Complete Underwater Photography Award. The modules of the course have been written to complement the corresponding chapters in Nick's own book: Underwater Photography Art and Techniques. They also offer equipment sales and underwater photography trips in the UK and abroad. For more information visit www.frogfishphotography.com.

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