A Travellerspoint blog

Typhoon Two

storm 29 °C
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Well, three days indoors isn't doing me the world of good right now. After a few days of evening storms, the typhoon has today swelled into an all-day torrential affair effectively barring any of us from diving. There is a severe imbalance of salt water in my system which is increasingly showing symptoms of cabin fever. A swim in the ocean this morning did little to curb this notion, however it was still a weird experience being rained on in the ocean with the droplets so heavy they looked more like salt water stalagmites.

We had a small 'incident' today involving a section of structurally unsound roof above The Dog House and a whole lot of rain water, resulting in a flooded lounge room and a wardrobe full of wet clothes. 100_1064.jpg :(

Needless to say within 40 seconds of reporting the leaking roof, the boys were straight up there with the necessary power tools and excess sheets of corrugated iron to recover the structural integrity of my home.

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The was only one minor casualty from this incident, which was my bathroom.

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Now less of a bathroom and more of a Chinese laundry.

Posted by VascoDiveMaster 17:22 Archived in Philippines Tagged sunsets_and_sunrises beaches birds boats rain diving storm philippines bay dive flood wreck typhoon thunder subic cyclone vascos Comments (0)

San Fernando

sunny 33 °C
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I have had an epic couple of non-diving days. Yesterday the girls and I shopped up a storm in San Fernando, under the guise of allegedly getting Karen's car serviced. SM is the probably the most enormous shopping center I've ever seen in my life. We spent a good 3 hours wandering the SM department store; like DJ's or Myer back home but is comparable in size to the Telstra Dome. There was a point where I got lost amongst some 4000 pairs of thongs.

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Karen's son Cuther and Rose's son Connar got distracted by the unreal arcade at SM, but in the end at only 120 peso for a giant bag of tokens and hyped up on sugar, I think I had more fun than them!

Today has been similarly exhausting. Right now the roof is echoing with some solid cracks of thunder as another typhoon looms over the bay. No big deal really as the Philippines is like, a veteran of natural disasters.
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Shopping in Royal today the 'slightly larger' lady in front of me at the checkout scanned through nothing except a promotional 6-can box of Pringles chips, 2x 6packs of Kit Kat chunky's, a king-size Toblerone and a 10-pack of 'sugar-free' hot chocolate....enough said.

Am going to require therapy after missing the first State of Origin game last night. Of course, it was broadcast live in Australia, however the Australia Network here felt that the Great Game was less important to the Aussies abroad, than 4-year old re-runs of our only successful tv soap 'Home and Away.'
Tonight is the season finale of America's Next Top Model... regularly referred to by Gregg as his favourite show ;-) I don't mind it either, and have a date with the couch and a 'sugar free' hot chocolate.

Posted by VascoDiveMaster 16:10 Archived in Philippines Tagged sunsets_and_sunrises beaches birds boats diving philippines world bay tour scuba dive war wreck two wwii subic apocalypse end_of_the_world vascos dive_master subic_dive_centre uss_new_york 2012 Comments (2)

Receiving Some Invaluable Experience

sunny 35 °C
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I've been entrusted to lead the group! I was nervous to start with, but I don't think your supposed to tell your customers that? However I managed to navigate myself and my divers around the Coral Canyons of Grande Island with no drama, ascending only about 5m from the boat, always feeling confident and in control. After being separated from Jayson at the Barges, I also led the group through the twelve blocks of demolished barge which Mark calls the Refern Dept. of Housing. I even had a chance to find three enormous blue-painted lobsters!

The El Capitan was a different story, diving with Josh; currently doing his open water and only on his second dive. Josh got distracted by the dolphins next door and forgot to check his air. Josh consequently ran out of air, however I was able to share my alternate before things got too scary. I had to thank him for providing me with some invaluable divemaster experience. He is now very much alive and after a few roadies on the trip back to Baretto, is still mad-keen on completing his open water course.

Yesterday, Gregg, his friend Cyril and myself tried to put our treasure hunting prowess to the test, checking out a cluster of surveyed anomalies mapped in the bay just next door to the restaurant. We were cut tragically short when Cyril tried to herd a lion fish away with his hands....

We sat around watching tv shows until 10pm when Gregg and I looked at each other and said "I'm bored, lets go diving!" Ordered a pizza, backyard engineered some mining-inspired head torches and went terrorising the resident lobsters beneath Vasco's, spotted a sting rayP7200486.jpg cuddled a puffer fish, played with some shrimpP7200501.jpg, stayed AWAY from the invisible and crafty stone fishP7200495.jpg less I end up in a similar predicament as Cyril, and got head-butted by a parrot fish. We didn't surface until 11.15 then tucked into the pizza which was waiting for us in the dive shop along with Gianne just back from work.
Before this, I never knew there were fish who fall asleep on their side, out in the open! They don't realise there are predators about until one by the name of Gregg has already picked it up. P7200483.jpg

We celebrated by having a barbecue on the balcony of Gregg and Gianne's apartment the other night with the whole family. Ate the most amazing steak of my life and had one glass of red, which according to Brian, is as close as you get to 'never drinking again.'

Posted by VascoDiveMaster 14:27 Archived in Philippines Tagged sunsets_and_sunrises beaches birds boats diving philippines world bay tour scuba dive war wreck two wwii subic apocalypse end_of_the_world vascos dive_master subic_dive_centre uss_new_york 2012 Comments (1)

I am Second-Hand

semi-overcast 35 °C
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Am feeling rather fragile after what began as a quiet night out to the Lighthouse, and ended this morning in a harrowing display of projectile vomit at 63 feet. I hold Gregg ultimately responsible for my current condition, which was partially influenced by the ridiculously amazing frozen Margaritas on offer at the Lighthouse restaurant on the waterfront.... and then the ridiculously amazing margaritas on offer around the corner at Swell Bar where Gianne works. large_100_1052.jpg

No matter how mouldy I may have felt, I am so glad I didn't miss the chance to dive the L.S.T. again. Where the middle of the ship has collapsed in on itself (totally stable, yea?), you can manage to swim up inside the wreck and make your way through the crew's quarters where there are still remains of the steel bed frames against the walls, bathrooms and electrical cables hanging from the ceiling. The exit is up a steep flight of stairs with only a few shards of natural light penetrating the roof and illuminating hallways. I honestly think it could be the location for an underwater horror movie. Creepy!

Out of the 72-odd photos I took on the LST today, only one came out well and I am a little proud of the ghost pipe fish I found, considering the state I was in. Please ignore the big smudge mark on the lens.
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Mark is an Australian guy who has been diving with Vasco's for three of four days now. He has just bought a whiz-bang underwater camcorder and has promised on pain of death that he will share said photos and videos with me in the next day or two. I believe there is a rather flattering video of me convulsing, purging my reg and just generally epitomises how rotten I feel. He felt so sorry for me that when he, his partner Patricia and friends came to Vasco's for dinner tonight I was invited along to commiserate. The live band arrived; a family of four beautiful singers and musicians. A solid mango shake later and I was good to rock n roll. We spent the evening listening to a sweet mix of Bob Marley, Elvis, Shakira and the Eagles. Yes, they do requests too!

Today's date sparked a conversation like most dinners I've experienced here; discussions about 2012. Will it? Won't it end? Allegedly someone predicted the sky will fall tonight, at 6pm New York time. Here, that will make it 6am tomorrow. So with the apocalypse allegedly arriving in 7 hours, and another typhoon looming over the mountains, we wait around for the world to end. I will be seriously disappointed if I die with a hangover.

Posted by VascoDiveMaster 14:20 Archived in Philippines Tagged sunsets_and_sunrises beaches birds boats diving philippines world bay tour scuba dive war wreck two wwii subic apocalypse end_of_the_world vascos dive_master subic_dive_centre uss_new_york 2012 Comments (2)

Diving and Marketeering

The L.C.U. of Triboa Bay

sunny 36 °C
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Learning to clean a reg has it's advantages; not just to the owners of a dive shop who can then employ you as a slave, but breathing through a freshly scrubbed reg is more like breathing silk. It makes diving feel like a completely new experience!

I may have already done this dive close to six or seven times but the L.C.U. still leaves me feeling inside out and back to front.

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The 'Landing Craft Utility' lies on the sea bed of Triboa Bay on a queer angle of about 50 degrees. If you forget yourself whilst swimming across the deck, you may find yourself grazing a rust covered wall that came out of nowhere and disappearing into thick orange cloud which leaves you sideways with bubbles dragging up your mask.

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It is absolutely alive with marine life, and upon entering the boiler room you become surrounded by tiny, curious tropical fish who don't seem to mind if you reach out and give them a stroke. A tiny pipe fish made his way along the ships hull and the obligatory lion fish got a big agro and flared up at me...
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We ascended up the line to a family of fifteen or so baby squid in a streamline and glittering formation.
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The visibility is always unreal.
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This afternoon I went shopping with Rose to the Olongapo local market. From what I assumed would be a giant food market I found so much more. A treasure trove of souvenirs, mountains of colourful clothes and tourist t-shirts, bags upon bags of rice, amazing fresh banana fritters, thousands of pirate blu-ray DVDs (don't ask me about their quality!), garlands of jasmine flowers, piles of fresh and exotic fruit and an intoxicatingly pink store dedicated to Hello Kitty.

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You can even have a handbag made out of a cane toad if it tickles your fancy.
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I was most surprised by the local's attitude to my camera. I expected the familiar refusal or the Thai choral "One dollar!" and instead found the shiny, happy people leaping in front of my lens for a single opportunity to be caught on film.
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Posted by VascoDiveMaster 12:56 Archived in Philippines Tagged diving market shopping resort souvenirs wreck service equipment treasure subic fresh repair produce subic_bay salvage subic_dive_centre regulator dive_centre vasco's Comments (4)

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