A Travellerspoint blog

April 2011

Beginning My Rescue Diver

Yesterday was intense. I was in bed by 9pm! The first test in becoming a rescue diver is a 400m swim. No problem right? Except that it was in the ocean.... and I had no goggles!!! Needless to say there were people on standby should I have drowned half way through.
Of the 17 minutes I was given, I finished it in 7. I am a shadow of my former competitive swimming self and my Dad (also my coach) would be ashamed.
I did manage a little better in rescuing Jayson, who played to unconscious diver, by dragging him out from the plane wreck in front of Vasco's, bashing his head on the exit door before surfacing, removing all the dive gear, providing CPR and hoiking him back on deck. It was some poor buggers job that afternoon to search out and recover the weight belts we had to dump as part of the procedure.

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Today was a tale of epic proportions, venturing into Olongapo city with Gianne. I like to call it the 'Olongapo Eating Safari' since we nearly needed a wheelbarrow to carry me back to Vasco's. It is so EASY to get there and get around. A taxi to Olongapo costs only 150 peso (about $US 3.50) and is a flat rate for any destination in the freeport zone. That means no haggling like in Malaysia, no rudeness after you haggle down to the right price like Cambodia and best of all.... air conditioning! When it is 36 degrees outside, trust me, you appreciate this. Olongapo is a really quirky, unique city. The roads are uncomfortably narrow, making tricycles easy, but sometimes the only transport. There is a fast food outlet on every corner (though the food isn't necessarily fast). Like Subic, it is ridiculously clean, people hold doors open for customers and the traffic actually stops to let you cross the road!

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We rode in a local tricycle; you take your life into your hands but at only 7 peso per person it is the BEST way to see the city and definitely an experience not to be missed!

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Yes, I am eating chicken intestines under much duress.

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We ate some amazing local Filipino food in a little street kitchen. I didn't know what to eat, so the lady literally gave me one of EVERYTHING; thats six dishes plus rice. My favourite was the taro leaves cooked with coconut.

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My first ride in a jeepney

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Trying 'Halo-halo.' The craziest, yummiest ice-creamiest deliciousness you've ever tasted!

Posted by VascoDiveMaster 02:37 Comments (5)

The Royal Wedding Special

I have the day off, I have the couch reserved and I have popcorn in anticipation for the big day. I LOVE a royal wedding!


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The queen came rushing down stairs at Buckingham Palace screaming "Charles! Charles! One of my corgies has just been hit by a truck. He's dead! He's gone...... DO SOMETHING!!!!"
Poor Charles sits for a minute, thinks about it, then takes off down to the secret archives beneath the palace, rummages around behind a few shelves and pulls out a magic lamp. He gives it a quick rub and poof! Out comes a genie.

Genie: "Alright Charles, what can I do for you?"

Charles: "My mother's corgie just got hit by a truck, he dead, can you bring him back to us?"

Genie: "Hmmm I'd better have a look."

(Genie leaves to check out the dead corgie then quickly returns)

Genie: "I'm sorry Charles, there's nothing I can do. He's stone-cold dead. But look, is there anything else I can do for you?"

(Charles thinks for a moment...)

Charles: "Camillla! My wife, can you make her beautiful?"

(Genie ponders for a moment, leaves to check out the situation and see what he can do, then returns......)

Genie: "Could I have another crack at the corgie!?"

Posted by VascoDiveMaster 19:26 Archived in United Kingdom Tagged wedding royal kate prince william middleton Comments (0)

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)

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