A Travellerspoint blog

The Recalcitrant Corner

Got a text message from my Dad yesterday asking for an email describing the diving, the food, my accommodation etc.... I thought "Hang on a sec... SUBSCRIBE TO MY BLOG!!" Nice one Dad :)

A stay at Vasco's Resort and Museum is not complete without an evening spent in the 'Recalcitrant's Corner' of Vasco's Restaurant, the closest experience I've come to feeling like a retired and vintage pirate. Between Brian 'the legend' Homan, his partner in crime Michael, and the usual suspects who frequent the long table in the back corner, I take it upon myself to unravel the scrambled soiree that is Brian's amazing lifetime of deep-sea discoveries, wreck diving, salvaging, and backyard engineering. As Lonely Planet (2009) warns, "don't try to match Brian (or the crew) drink for drink".....ever!

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One evening with many more to come has left me with a mishmash of epic tales that I will not doubt piece together in due time:
-Brian attributes bashing a priest at the age of 13 with his eventually settlement in the Philippines, at the age of 17 he was stranded on an island for 3 weeks with nothing but a rifle and a spear gun, then bailed out of Long Bay gaol on his 18th birthday. Sailed into Puerto Galera on a Spanish Galleon in 1978, 3 months after the US Navy allegedly left, lost his nearest and dearest ship in a horrendous storm, turned another into my future living quarters and with only $500 to his name, salvaged a wrecked FedEx aeroplane, sunk it in front of what is now the Vasco's restaurant and used the money to build this remarkably unique Pirates of the Carribean-esque experience.

Many an Australian is brandished in history class with the disappearance of our then Prime Minister Harold Holt, out for a swim in 1967 and never came home. It is worth the trip to Subic just to ask Brian of his most probable theory on the mystery.... My telling you here could quite possibly lead to my own disappearance. And I do a lot of swimming!

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Brian has had his experiences of salvaging his first wreck published in the March 2011 issue of Active Boating and Watersports magazine. The blue and white chinese pottery above is some of what was discovered in passage to a harbour on the northern coast of Mindoro.

Below, Brian explains the freaky coincidence behind salvaging nothing but blue painted, dragon-inspired Chinese pottery on his first wreck discovery in Mindoro.

Wreck diving may be at it's epitomy here in Subic, but the real story is Brian, and, beer by beer.... I am slowly uncovering the stories.

Posted by VascoDiveMaster 18:09 Comments (1)

A Civilised Afternoon

What began as a civilized afternoon at Swell Cafe, visiting Gianne at work, quickly degraded into another raucous evening at Vasco's Restaurant.

sunny 36 °C
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The Girls at Swell Cafe

Due to the 36 degree heat, we had not only Swell, but the entire Waterfront to ourselves!

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The Waterfront

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Waterfront Sunset

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One Too Many

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A Few Too Many

Posted by VascoDiveMaster 17:57 Tagged sunsets_and_sunrises beaches birds boats diving philippines bay dive wreck subic vascos Comments (2)

Just Hit Dive 50!!!!

sunny 31 °C
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Two beautiful dives this afternoon has got me to crack the big five zero on my log book! Only ten to go and I can begin my dive master....

Jayson has been gradually tweaking my equipment to make diving as comfortable as possible. I've switched between regular air tanks and nitrox, having regular fins to now using some super awesome heavy duty chaps that let me fly through the water. But the best new toy I've been given at Vasco's is an unusual BCD with a rounded, donut-shaped bladder that apparently lets the air circulate in a different manner, to create equal buoyancy (or something like that) but boy! is it so much more comfortable to carry!

My new BCD with the Donut-shaped bladder

My new BCD with the Donut-shaped bladder

Now that I've tried this I don't think I will switch back.

I met another diver on the boat today named Steve. It's his second time diving in Subic, and what I HOPED was that he would be able to give Vasco's and the diving here in Subic a bit of a wrap up, as I assumed he had such a ball last time it had drawn him back. That's not exactly what I got. Thanks to the quality of Filipino internet and some technical difficulties from Traveler's Point, my video won't load but you can watch it on YouTube here:
Fun Diving with Steve and Vasco's

Today was my last day of fun diving before I get stuck into my Rescue Diver course tomorrow at 10am! We spent a lazy summer afternoon in the clearest blue water just off Grande Island at a dive site called Barges, ironically, because the US Navy used to site to scuttle about 6 of their old barges! A stone fish the size of my forearm had perched himself atop a precarious-looking larger stone whilst Jayson terrorised a poor sea cucumber which shot horrendous long white tentacles out at him, and the most delicate little fish I've ever seen which was apparently a lion fish minus the evil spines! The customary schooling trevally floated past us in a silent, glittering haze that temporarily blocked the sun whilst two fragile litttle cuttlefish bobbed past on my ascent. Today was the most relaxed diving I have had in Subic; the sun has not stopped shining, and a gentle breeze has been sailing through the resort. This is the view I am currently stuck view. Sometimes I find it difficult to put up with.

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Posted by VascoDiveMaster 19:11 Archived in Philippines Tagged sunsets_and_sunrises beaches birds boats diving philippines bay dive wreck subic vascos Comments (1)

Subic Bay and it's Surrounds

So much more than you expect!

sunny 31 °C
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You will be relieved to know, just as I was, that the mystery of my missing coffee sachets has finally reached it's zenith, after being salvaged from under a pile of dirty forgotten laundry in my room.

I joined the family for an amazing dive this afternoon. Brian, his beautiful partner Rose and son Connar, plus Gianne! We took the slow boat out under the beating sun, pigged out of amazing Filipino noodles and Gianne got so excited she jumped in and forgot to put her fins on. Brian's attitude during this debarcle where Gianne nearly drowned, and he sat at the front of the boat in the sun was a simple "Why are we rushing... we're in paradise!"

Connar and Rose on their 'Surface Interval'

Connar and Rose on their 'Surface Interval'

By the end of the dive, Gianne would have put at least three clown fish in therapy.

Gianne sporting her 'Cadbury Top Deck' tan after one afternoon in a rash vest

Gianne sporting her 'Cadbury Top Deck' tan after one afternoon in a rash vest

Brian was kind enough to take me for a driving tour this morning, trying to give me a better idea of the size of Subic and what's available. The answer is... everything!!! Subic is so much bigger than I realised. Lush, thick jungle harboring a military style training camp for tourists wanting to relive the experiences of soldiers in training Vietnam, duty-free shopping courtesy of the freeport zoning, nightlife for the super-keen, girly bars if you're that way inclined, theme parks for young and old including Ocean Adventure (Philippines answer to Sea World) which I had the pleasure of visiting on Easter Sunday, amazing restaurants and eateries INCLUDING KFC!!! and best of all... an American Naval Base next door full of buff young special ops with buzz cuts and big arms. Well hello sailor!

Posted by VascoDiveMaster 05:09 Archived in Philippines Tagged sunsets_and_sunrises beaches birds boats diving philippines bay dive wreck subic vascos Comments (1)

Just Got Off The Boat

sunny 27 °C
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I have literally JUST stepped off the boat and am dripping water all over the dive shop office. My cheeks and eyelashes are a little bit crusty with salt but I'm on a high right now because I just returned from the L.S.T! That's Landing Ship Tank for the non-maritime familiar including myself (I'm reading the info from a print-out). It is one of the best wrecks here in Subic, sunk in 1944 after a life of transporting military vehicles including tanks, trucks and marine vessels.The poor L.S.T. suffered it's demise at the hands of the US Navy for live fire exercises and is now one of the few wrecks that lies upright on the ocean floor.

Enough of the history lesson! The hard and soft coral has made a comfortable home of the deck of the L.S.T. along with the most fragile little nudibranch who perched himself (I really don't actually know if he was actually a he) on the edge of the deck.nudibranch

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We chased a trio of delicate little ghost pipefish into a waiting safety net of electric orange soft coral. Making our way along the top of the wreck at about 29m depth we met a local spotted eagle ray that took one look at us, turned his nose up and went back to dancing gracefully above the ship's deck and right in front of our faces.

Spotted Eagle Ray on the L.S.T.

Spotted Eagle Ray on the L.S.T.


Probably the most elegant marine life in existance.

The day keeps getting better. I just got a facebook message from my friend Emily saying she will be joining MY parents, my lifetime friend Erin and HER parents to Vietnam in June/July for our family holiday so she will be stuck with me for a whole month! Right now you can't wipe the smile off my face (insert corresponding emoticon reflecting Natalie's present emotional state here: Cheesy grin)

Posted by VascoDiveMaster 21:35 Archived in Philippines Tagged sunsets_and_sunrises beaches people parties animals boats diving bay scuba dive wreck subic vascos Comments (0)

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