A Travellerspoint blog

USS New York

overcast 30 °C
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We had some ridiculously good visibility and the photography went nuts! Yes, I went a bit overboard, BUT today the USS New York made me a very happy girl :)
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I saw a cuttlefish! I great big purple, gorgeous cuttlefish who literally sat and posed for the camera. P1010312.jpgP1010316.jpg My Dad will remember me called them 'Bumpies' since I was a kid watching the cuttlefish bump their heads on the glass of their tank in the Merimbula Aquarium. I never thought I'd see one in the wild but Subic continues to throw up new surprises!

The star attraction among Subic's wrecks. The USS New York was a battle cruiser launched in the USA in 1891, but scuttled by US Marines in 1942, to prevent her falling into Japanese hands. The 120m-long hull lies on it's port side in 27m of water.

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The USS New York has gone through some name changes over it's service life, beginning as the New York before changing to Saratoga and then as Rochester, was laid up at the Subic Bay naval base in 1933 to be cannibalised for spares.

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This has been an unforgettable dive and is a little bit creepy. The fore and aft twin 8in main gun turrets remain intact and there is the opportunity for some remarkable swim-throughs on the starboard side corridors. Until today, the visibility has been limited to 4 or 5m which just adds to the atmosphere of diving here. To descend upon the New York and to see it in it's enormity emerging out of the murky gloom is a really remarkable experience.

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Slightly more remarkable was the fare-welling of one of my beloved black fins, 60% of which now lies on the sea floor of Subic Bay.100_1050.jpg100_1049.jpg
I might needlessly add that Brian has taken to it with some poetic liberty and a kitchen knife.... it shall eventually be mounted in Vascos Restaurant with this plaque:

Natalie Osborn
(1989-2011)
Shark Attack

Posted by VascoDiveMaster 13:56 Archived in Philippines Tagged sunsets_and_sunrises beaches birds boats diving philippines world bay tour scuba dive war wreck two wwii subic vascos dive_master subic_dive_centre uss_new_york Comments (5)

History of Homan: Part 3

17 was an age that Brian considers one of the worst of his life.

1970 saw Brian on a boat with a bunch of older friends, headed for Northern Palm Island. After a couple of weeks, he was left on the island, alone, while the others went back to mainland Queensland to stock up on supplies.

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Cyclone Ada stuck the Whitsunday Islands and wreaked havoc on the strait between Palm Island and mainland Australia. Brian was left on the island with nothing but his rifle and a spear gun tied together with a piece of goat skin, his camera wrapped in a plastic bag hidden behind a rock, a pair of shorts and the notion that his friends were dead.

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After the cyclone, nothing remained of their camp. Fortunately he was able to keep a fire going.

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While Brian was stuck on the island he survived by shooting three goats, and hunting leopard sharks at night.

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It took three weeks before a ship passed nearby and Brian was able to let off a few rounds with the rifle to get their attention and get rescued. He arrived safely back on the mainland and when back in his home town, walked into the pub to find his 'friends' sitting at the bar. He asked them whether they'd considered looking for him. Their answer was that number one: They thought he was dead. Number two: They couldn't tell authorities for having to admit they'd left a minor behind. Number three: They couldn't afford to rent a boat.

That was that.

Brian swore as long as he lived he would NEVER step foot on an island again......

  • **

Fast forward a decade or so....

  • **

Brian moves to the Philippines; the largest collective of islands on Earth.

In my opinion, one of the best finds of Brian's career is actually the oldest. At an almost incomprehensible 5000 B.C. this earthenware bowl was discovered at the bottom of a lake in Palawan; what was allegedly an ancient camp site.
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There was also evidence of cooking including these utensils that Gianne and I are inspecting below:
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Posted by VascoDiveMaster 02:42 Comments (0)

The Best Treasure.....

Trying to blog but have just been rudely interrupted by a couple on holidays that I met in Vasco's bar last night. I must have been charming because they have just decided to start their SDI Open Water Course.... tomorrow! Honestly, the nerve!

sunny 35 °C
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So it seems I have inherited a slice of Brian's treasure hunting finesse during my time at Vasco's.

This morning we took his young bloke Connar, and cousins Amanda and Justin; all undertaking their open water, to the site of some sunken barges close to Subic Airport.

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It's a really shallow, easy dive and Brian sent us all out the find glass coke bottles which look amazing on the bar in Vasco's Restaurant.
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Needless to say, we did actually find one or two coke bottles, but I did him one better....

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Surfacing not wearing my mask, but sporting a pair of brand new, made in Italy, VERY real Ray Bans!!!

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I'm pretty sure my find is valuable enough to rival some of the more rare and ancient pieces uncovered by Brian in the past.

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Just before our second dive of the day, Connar requested I take some photos of him learning to dive with Jayson so he can take them to school for show and tell:

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Pieces of the barges as we drifted across them:
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Some beautiful marine life I saw along the way:
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Posted by VascoDiveMaster 15:44 Archived in Philippines Tagged diving resort wreck service equipment treasure subic repair subic_bay salvage subic_dive_centre regulator dive_centre vasco's Comments (6)

History of Homan: Part 2

The Nuestra Senora de la Vida

storm 35 °C
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It was going on day three of this nightmarish, cyclonic, torrential downpour, however it seems to be just peetering out. Clearly diving was not an option so I have spent today getting acquainted with my new pad; 'The Dog House.' It is a not only a family sized room; WITH a lounge room and air conditioning, of course but is actually the remnants of one if Brian's old ships! The floor is slightly angled in, the walls are all the original ship's thick heavy timber and there are gorgeous big windows looking out onto an amazing view of the bay. I am just a little bit spoiled and it is just a little bit schmick.... My New Home!

Part of becoming a dive master is learning how to service your own equipment; an excellent skill if you hate paying for someone else to do it for you. Alternatively you can now pay ME to do it for you! Jayson and I sat down with a really old and dodgy regulator and proceeded to pull the whole thing apart. Needless to say, we made a mess!

Needless to say, we made a mess!

And do not discount the ever-present and necessary cup of coffee!

Fortunately Brian knows how to distract me in a tense situation. He salvaged a box of treasures from the deep of a shelf by an open window of the restaurant which was rescued just in time since the rain beating in had disintegrated the box; leaving musket balls, coins, porcelain, human teeth (arrgh), a hazelnut shell and Spanish coins all over the window sill.
100_0980.jpgBrian's necklace contains a gold Spanish coin he salvaged and a blue Sapphire from his mining days

Brian's necklace contains a gold Spanish coin he salvaged and a blue Sapphire from his mining days

Treasures From The de la Vida

A History:

These treasures were all salvaged from the 18th Century Manila Galleon the 'Nuestra Senora de la Vida' on it's voyage bound for Central America. While the only existing Manila Galleon keel was discovered sometime in the 70's, it wasn't until 1984 that it was salvaged properly by Brian and his team of divers while exploring the northern end of Busuanga. History has documented the sinking of the 'Nuestra Senora de la Vida,' in 1620 as the result of a grave miscalculation by the ship's pilot, and biting a reef. The angry passengers, among whom were probably owners of the valuable cargo, hanged the hapless pilot as the ship was sinking.

The Spanish Pieces of Eight, from the Nuestra Senora de la Vida:

Posted by VascoDiveMaster 14:29 Archived in Philippines Tagged diving resort wreck service equipment treasure subic repair subic_bay salvage subic_dive_centre regulator dive_centre vasco's Comments (0)

Subic Isn't ALL About Wreck Diving....

To silence the critics who say Subic has nothing to offer except a couple of WWII wrecks!

semi-overcast 34 °C
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Brian took me to another of his 'secret spots,' surprising me with the sheer quality of what he calls the 'Coral Garden.' There he is above, in his most appropriate seafaring get-up.
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I am clearly loving life....P1010031.jpg and so are the girls!

This blog needs no more details really. Check out some of the videos and photos below if you don't believe me!

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These are my two favourite photos!!!

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Some particularly beautiful soft coral I found along the way
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These were taken on a day of not the greatest visibility, at least that's my excuse for some dodgy amateur photography!

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On the ascent....

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Just in case you forgot who it is I am diving with!

Posted by VascoDiveMaster 12:21 Archived in Philippines Tagged sunsets_and_sunrises beaches birds boats diving philippines bay tour scuba dive wreck subic vascos dive_master subic_dive_centre Comments (2)

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