A Travellerspoint blog

June 2011

Final Day

:(

sunny 31 °C
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Have thrown a tantrum and am hiding in my room with a headache because I havn't had my obligatory cup of coffee yet and trying to finish a really good book, ignoring the fact that I really need to pack my stuff. My room looks like a chinese laundry of dirty washing, an accumulation of unnecessary but inseparable books, sand, shells I scrounged out of the ocean, and a rats nest of tangled camera cords, ipod cables and assorted battery chargers. My flight to Bangkok doesn't leave until 9.45pm so I don't have to leave Vasco's until about 7, which is simply a torturous delay of the inevitable and not even chocolate can make me happy right now.

Of course, I picked the perfect day to leave, having just discovered an amazing new reef yesterday that still remains almost completely unexplored. Our two new divers just beginning their open water course joined us for the big unveiling which they were very excited about. Since we have somewhat settled the contentious issue of n@'s Reef, Gregg happily conceded to naming our newest find "Gi's Reef," which made the gorgeous girlfriend in question more than satisfied. So I guess any new divers with Vasco's have to opportunity (with a bit of prompting, whining and/or bribery) to have a new reef named after them.

Gi's Reef lies right on the mouth of the bay with a gentle swell rolling in that gives it a gentle surge beneath the surface, which nullifies the need for any use of your fins, and long flat canyons of glittering coral highlighted by an unprecedented FIFTEEN meters of visibility. There was at least 12 nudibranch that I counted up yesterday (still my favourites) and a similar number today. I dived in yesterday and landed on top of a cave harboring a giant blue-painted lobster with tentacles hanging out of the cave by at least a meter.
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Of course, my ever prepared-ness which over the past two months has extended to forgetting weights, boots, computer and fins, unfortunately also includes forgetting to charge to battery for the camera, so you will have to wait for photos of Gi's reef for when until I return, provided I am not kidnapped and held ransom during the next 6 weeks... Unless of course Vasco's dive crew has moved on to some bigger and better discovery :)

Posted by VascoDiveMaster 14:10 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 (1)

Hong Kong Disneyland!!!!

Fulfilling all my childhood fantasies in one weekend...

sunny 31 °C
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I awoke at 4am in fear of having wet the bed, but realised the rain had made the roof leak (blush). Our flight was relatively uneventful 100_1173.jpg until we arrived in Hong Kong International Airport to begin our weekend food safari with a culinary indulgence at Burger King.100_1176.jpg

The Wax Museum:
100_1183.jpg After stuffing one-too many people inside an excessively small taxi, we took a = vertical train up to 'The Peak' where we had some fun with the wax figures....
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Disneyland:
It changed my life! All I wanted was a photo with Mickey and after 6 hours of ice-cream and fairy floss, way too much sugar and riding the Space Mountain roller coaster until I was sick, I got a big hug from Mickey and a kiss from Minnie :) 100_1296.jpg
Got chased by a mobile rubbish bin singing the YMCA100_1237.jpg
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The City:
Hong Kong has some of the most amazing modern architecture I have seen in my travels but their fascades are still attended to by ancient bamboo scaffolding!
100_1356.jpg100_1407.jpgThere is a really great mixture of old and new in Hong Kong that just seems to work.

The Hostel:
Finally made it to the alleged address of my hostel at about 11.30pm, absolutely shattered after 8 hours of Disneyland. It was in an ethnic ghetto full of old men loitering in the shadows, staring at the little white chick that smelled of gum leaves. 100_1352.jpgThe lobby full of Indian stalls selling fake dvd's, electronics and phone cards. I met one really friendly guy who was happy to call the hostel to find out if it in fact existed. I was given directions to 'C-Block, Level 15.' Yes, it my hostel was in prison block C. There were bullet holes in the stairwell 100_1350.jpgand my room was smaller than a prison cell. 100_1348.jpg Took my shower standing over the toilet and pushed my sandals under the door frame so I wouldn't become the victim of a 'Psycho'-inspired shower scene. Sheets were very clean but pulled the pillow case off to find my pillow covered in blood spatters. So grateful not to be raped in my sleep or awoken to the sensation of having my organs harvested. Hong Kong Hostel Horror

Ocean Park:
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100_1372.jpg Meeting Lazy Gator
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Deadly roller coaster which reached out over the South China Sea
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Resident sleeping panda at Ocean Adventure
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Panda Poo... That's enough.

Posted by VascoDiveMaster 15:56 Archived in Hong Kong Tagged disney hong kong disneyland ocean_park theme_park Comments (3)

We finally see 'n@'s Reef'


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At last! 54P1010194.jpgWe have images available for the elusive and unbelievable Nat's Reef. There is so much colour, coral and just plain stuff going on here, it has fast become my favourite place to go and at a maximum of only 15m it is suitable even for very-beginners. This morning Gregg and Brian powered on ahead, allegedly running into Mr Turtle from the day before and giving him a tickle on the belly. Lagging at the back of the pack with Ryan the handsome US Navy diver with a day-off, I stumbled upon an enormous octopus
6P1010201.jpg hiding in his Octopus' Garden beneath a rock and yet again, some vibrant nudibranch that always make me smile.
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Here are two new divers who literally began their open water course this morning. 2P1010258.jpg They finished up their lectures and confined water dives super quick and headed straight for the ocean this afternoon whilst I was by the Waterfront bartering with the beach sellers for schmick sunnies using phone cards.
Gregg may think it's pretentious to name the greatest dive site in Subic after the greatest Dive Master to have ever graced these waters ;-) but after informing me that our customers hijacked my underwater camera for their first open water dive which just happened to be on 'Nat's Reef'...... I think the name might be catching!

P6060261.jpgSo after having to farewell said handsome American this afternoon, I am planning on drowning my sorrows this evening over a schooner and then making a spontaneous trip to Hong Kong at 7am tomorrow for a full day of Disneyland!!!!! No, I'm not joking. Blogs will continue in approximately two days depending on my mental state after fulfilling every childhood dream. But for this evening at least, the second NSW vs QLD State of Origin game is being played live in Barretto in the Aussie Bar ironically named 'Arizona.' Go BLUES!!!!

Posted by VascoDiveMaster 16:38 Archived in Philippines Tagged diving us island philippines sunglasses paradise tropical scuba_diving navy waterfront american subic oakley dive_centre diver sunic_bay Comments (3)

I saw a Turtle I saw a TURTLE!!!!

sunny 35 °C
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Today was probably one of the BEST dives I've done so far in Subic! And I've been so distracted these last couple of days I forgot to mention we have discovered a completely untouched, never before dived, absolutely unbelievable coral reef that just about blew my mind! .... So we've called it 'Nat's Reef.'

Not only was it a mass of coral in every shade of the rainbow, but there were also large nudibranch on this site that I havn't seen in any other dive site in Subic or in fact anywhere at all! As we descended we ran into a freakin turtle!!! A little smaller than the first I ever saw but he didn't seem to mind us at all and just plodded along in front, playing dive master and giving us the official induction to Nat's Reef. Of course, knowing that it would be so spectacular, Einstein forgot to charge to camera and so I have done my best to (unsuccessfully) recreate the moment through Google Images;

pink-slug-160.jpg According to the fascinating read that is 'Nudibranch Behaviour' this guy is a reticulated wart slug, which sounds really appealing!pyjamas_nudibranch.jpgThis guy, and I'm not kidding either, is a Pyjamas Nudibranch! But last, and not least....
sea-turtle-2.jpg It goes without saying that the turtle is the most beautiful thing in the sea.

On a less sober note, you know you're getting old when evenings in the 'Captain's Corner' at Vasco's have been dominated by Brian's new party trick with his personal blood pressure machine. Lowest score buys the round, and I have been blessed with the blood pressure of a half-dead Buddhist Monk.

Posted by VascoDiveMaster 15:31 Archived in Philippines Tagged diving beach island philippines summer sun paradise tropical scuba manila asia turtle luzon subic south_east_asia dive_master subic_bay dive_centre blood_pressure Comments (3)

Lazy Days

overcast 35 °C
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Have taken a break from designing jewelery with Gregg this afternoon to have a bit of a gloat about the little jaunt I took on the boat this morning to Silanguin Island; a little slice of heaven just beyond the watercolour mountains I stare straight at, out the office window. I had a whole stretch of glittering black sand beach to myself. It was beautiful. Enough said.

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9100_1153.jpg These beautiful shells washed up on the shore before my eyes.
100_1162.jpg These are my snazzy new sandals on my freshly painted feet, which cost half the price that they would back home... the sandals not the feet. About 30 seconds after this photo was taken a freak wave flew up the side of the boat and snatched one clean off my foot. It took 15 minutes, half a tank of fuel and some skillful maneuvering by Captain Rodger to retrieve it.... Totally worth it!

Found a new dive site yesterday in Triboa Bay; a steep wall of beautiful hard and soft corals and the busiest concentration of fish I have seen in Subic Bay. We will be back in the next day of two to suss out the rest of this reef and hopefully attach a float so we don't have to put an anchor near the coral.

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3P1010172.jpg The first and only orange nudibranch I have seen here; so precious!
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P1010170.jpg Yes, I know you're not meant to touch the coral, but this purple one felt like cotton wool!
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Gregg wants to call it 'The Drop Off' but I think it should be given something cooler like 'n@'s Wall' but any other suggestions would be appreciated?

Posted by VascoDiveMaster 15:18 Archived in Philippines Tagged diving beach white philippines sand black wreck sunburn dive_master subic_bay subic_dive_centre sunbathe Comments (5)

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