A Travellerspoint blog

May 2011

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
View Dive Master Lifetime Adventure on VascoDiveMaster's travel map.

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.....
7100_1133.jpg

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

Big clownfishP1010133.jpg
P1010132.jpg
P1010131.jpg

Big (I mean GIANT) clams and other shell fish
P1010094.jpg

Big nudibranch P1010150.jpg
P1010149.jpgP1010125.jpg

Big hermit crabs
Big blue-spotted stingray

Big blue-painted lobstersP1010104.jpg
P1010103.jpg

And one iddy-bitty baby lion fish... so cute!
P1010144.jpg
P1010118.jpg

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
View Dive Master Lifetime Adventure on VascoDiveMaster's travel map.

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.
P1010055.jpg
P1010059.jpg
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.
P1010057.jpgP1010056.jpg.
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.

P1010063.jpg
P1010062.jpg
1P1010060.jpg

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."

P1010058.jpg
P1010054.jpg

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-
P1010065.jpg
P1010066.jpg
(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)

Typhoon Two

storm 29 °C
View Dive Master Lifetime Adventure on VascoDiveMaster's travel map.

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.

100_1066.jpg100_1067.jpg

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

100_1068.jpg

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
View Dive Master Lifetime Adventure on VascoDiveMaster's travel map.

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.

100_1059.jpg
100_1054.jpg
100_1063.jpg
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.
Connar and I have spent the whole day fishing, swimming, kayaking and eating. P1010042.jpgP1010041.jpgP1010039.jpgP1010038.jpg

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
View Dive Master Lifetime Adventure on VascoDiveMaster's travel map.

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)

(Entries 1 - 5 of 20) Page [1] 2 3 4 » Next