A Travellerspoint blog

We finally see 'n@'s Reef'


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At last! 54P1010194.jpgWe have images available for the elusive and unbelievable Nat's Reef. There is so much colour, coral and just plain stuff going on here, it has fast become my favourite place to go and at a maximum of only 15m it is suitable even for very-beginners. This morning Gregg and Brian powered on ahead, allegedly running into Mr Turtle from the day before and giving him a tickle on the belly. Lagging at the back of the pack with Ryan the handsome US Navy diver with a day-off, I stumbled upon an enormous octopus
6P1010201.jpg hiding in his Octopus' Garden beneath a rock and yet again, some vibrant nudibranch that always make me smile.
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Here are two new divers who literally began their open water course this morning. 2P1010258.jpg They finished up their lectures and confined water dives super quick and headed straight for the ocean this afternoon whilst I was by the Waterfront bartering with the beach sellers for schmick sunnies using phone cards.
Gregg may think it's pretentious to name the greatest dive site in Subic after the greatest Dive Master to have ever graced these waters ;-) but after informing me that our customers hijacked my underwater camera for their first open water dive which just happened to be on 'Nat's Reef'...... I think the name might be catching!

P6060261.jpgSo after having to farewell said handsome American this afternoon, I am planning on drowning my sorrows this evening over a schooner and then making a spontaneous trip to Hong Kong at 7am tomorrow for a full day of Disneyland!!!!! No, I'm not joking. Blogs will continue in approximately two days depending on my mental state after fulfilling every childhood dream. But for this evening at least, the second NSW vs QLD State of Origin game is being played live in Barretto in the Aussie Bar ironically named 'Arizona.' Go BLUES!!!!

Posted by VascoDiveMaster 16:38 Archived in Philippines Tagged diving us island philippines sunglasses paradise tropical scuba_diving navy waterfront american subic oakley dive_centre diver sunic_bay Comments (3)

I saw a Turtle I saw a TURTLE!!!!

sunny 35 °C
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Today was probably one of the BEST dives I've done so far in Subic! And I've been so distracted these last couple of days I forgot to mention we have discovered a completely untouched, never before dived, absolutely unbelievable coral reef that just about blew my mind! .... So we've called it 'Nat's Reef.'

Not only was it a mass of coral in every shade of the rainbow, but there were also large nudibranch on this site that I havn't seen in any other dive site in Subic or in fact anywhere at all! As we descended we ran into a freakin turtle!!! A little smaller than the first I ever saw but he didn't seem to mind us at all and just plodded along in front, playing dive master and giving us the official induction to Nat's Reef. Of course, knowing that it would be so spectacular, Einstein forgot to charge to camera and so I have done my best to (unsuccessfully) recreate the moment through Google Images;

pink-slug-160.jpg According to the fascinating read that is 'Nudibranch Behaviour' this guy is a reticulated wart slug, which sounds really appealing!pyjamas_nudibranch.jpgThis guy, and I'm not kidding either, is a Pyjamas Nudibranch! But last, and not least....
sea-turtle-2.jpg It goes without saying that the turtle is the most beautiful thing in the sea.

On a less sober note, you know you're getting old when evenings in the 'Captain's Corner' at Vasco's have been dominated by Brian's new party trick with his personal blood pressure machine. Lowest score buys the round, and I have been blessed with the blood pressure of a half-dead Buddhist Monk.

Posted by VascoDiveMaster 15:31 Archived in Philippines Tagged diving beach island philippines summer sun paradise tropical scuba manila asia turtle luzon subic south_east_asia dive_master subic_bay dive_centre blood_pressure Comments (3)

Lazy Days

overcast 35 °C
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Have taken a break from designing jewelery with Gregg this afternoon to have a bit of a gloat about the little jaunt I took on the boat this morning to Silanguin Island; a little slice of heaven just beyond the watercolour mountains I stare straight at, out the office window. I had a whole stretch of glittering black sand beach to myself. It was beautiful. Enough said.

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9100_1153.jpg These beautiful shells washed up on the shore before my eyes.
100_1162.jpg These are my snazzy new sandals on my freshly painted feet, which cost half the price that they would back home... the sandals not the feet. About 30 seconds after this photo was taken a freak wave flew up the side of the boat and snatched one clean off my foot. It took 15 minutes, half a tank of fuel and some skillful maneuvering by Captain Rodger to retrieve it.... Totally worth it!

Found a new dive site yesterday in Triboa Bay; a steep wall of beautiful hard and soft corals and the busiest concentration of fish I have seen in Subic Bay. We will be back in the next day of two to suss out the rest of this reef and hopefully attach a float so we don't have to put an anchor near the coral.

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3P1010172.jpg The first and only orange nudibranch I have seen here; so precious!
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P1010170.jpg Yes, I know you're not meant to touch the coral, but this purple one felt like cotton wool!
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Gregg wants to call it 'The Drop Off' but I think it should be given something cooler like 'n@'s Wall' but any other suggestions would be appreciated?

Posted by VascoDiveMaster 15:18 Archived in Philippines Tagged diving beach white philippines sand black wreck sunburn dive_master subic_bay subic_dive_centre sunbathe Comments (5)

San Quentin

On the morning of April 27, 1898 the gunboat San Quintin and two merchant ships were scuttled to block the eastern entrance to Subic Bay....

sunny 34 °C
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In a futile attempt to stop the invading Americans, Admiral Montojo of the Spanish Navy, thought that by blocking the eastern channel between Grande and Chiquita Islands, he could concentrate his land-based cannons on the western entrance. Coming ashore at Grande Island to inspect the defense works, Montojo was disappointed to find that four KRUPP 6 inch guns had not been installed due to lack of cement. A defense disaster for Montojo but a blessing for divers a century later.....
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Since Brian and his team discovered the wreck, it has deteriorated significantly; with it's guts strewn about the sea floor, but with the two large boilers still visible from the surface, as too the bow, stern and many of the ribs. 100_1132.jpg

There's very little current and plenty of young coral and tropical species of marine life. As a wreck dive, it is historic and doesn't have the hazards of modern shipwrecks. There are no areas to penetrate, but also no silt to stir up as the area is almost entirely covered in young coral growth. The San Quentin was the location chosen for me to test out a super groovy new wetsuit; significantly thinner than my previous one which requires me to carry only 4 pounds of weight now and has a large, reflective V down the middle which makes me feel like a Power Ranger. Unfortunately Jayson made a point of telling me I actually had it on backwards...... Dive Master FAIL!

Once I got my act together, I discovered The San Quentin is in my opinion, exactly what diving was meant to be... fun!

The visibility is so great here because it actually lies just outside the bay, with a good variety of marine life. It was also where we gave Mara her first un-official diving experience.
P1010076.jpg For a first try she was amazing! Connar came along and is starting to scare us a bit with his confidence and tends to stray off on his own....P1010082.jpg
Fortunately Gianne and I were there to keep things under control! P1010089.jpgP1010072.jpg

It was a dive of 'big things.'
Big visibility (10-12m)
Big pipe fish

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Big (I mean GIANT) clams and other shell fish
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Big hermit crabs
Big blue-spotted stingray

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And one iddy-bitty baby lion fish... so cute!
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It is allegedly one of the best night dives in Subic, so I am dying to try that out!

Posted by VascoDiveMaster 15:52 Archived in Philippines Tagged turtles fish diving ocean philippines big tropical marine sharks asia scuba_diving whale subic lionfish clams dive_master subic_bay dive_centre Comments (6)

Surfing Zambales

rain 29 °C
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We made the epic 40 minute trek to Liwa Liwa Beach in Zambales, in the torrential rain with the promise of awaiting sun and decent swell.... We got half way there at least.
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Stopped in at Mommy Phoebe's Canteen and hired surfboards for next to nothing; I ended up with the retro; red, yellow and green 6'8" Bob-Marley inspired thruster from 1975.
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I thoroughly recommend next time going with the local's advice and taking a long board. Unlike at home, people don't show off here about how short their board is and prefer to actually have fun.

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Even in the rain, the air was still warm, the ocean even warmer and the scenery innocently beautiful. There was nothing around except beach shacks and surf huts. No resorts, no hotels, no casinos, nightclubs or tourists. Makes me think my Dad would say "It's like Bali was 30 years ago."

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Two hours and only two decent waves later, I was shattered and we holed in the canteen for some unbelievable local food cooked by Mommy Phoebe herself. She even let us have a shower out the back, under the 'boso' or bore water pump-
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(yes, I did it all by myself!) and which was the realest, most 'local' experience I've had in the Philippines to date.
Now it's only 8.20pm but I plan to be in bed in the next 15 minutes :)

Posted by VascoDiveMaster 18:34 Archived in Philippines Tagged ocean beach surf driving philippines surfing zambales swell surfboard carve barretto olongapo Comments (3)

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