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To Much Excitement

semi-overcast 34 °C

We have a positive outcome from meetings between all the local dive shops and SBMA, thats Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority. Following some tragic recent events on the USS New York, SBMA banned diving on any and all wrecks in the bay for a week while they deliberated changes to diving permits etc. So we have been left a little stir crazy and I had begun to form a salty crust around the edges. But finally!!! We have received the good news that not only will they reinstate diving permits for our favourite wreck diving sites, they will FINALLY allow diving on the Japanese WW2 ships; Oryuko Maru and Sein Maru! This would be the only two wreck dives in the whole of Subic Bay, situated at recreational depth that I havn't dived yet! It's about time they stepped up and realised to significance of the diving here in Subic. Thanks to the USS New York, Subic Bay is still the only place in the world where you can dive a World War I battle ship. Here here!

On a more exciting note, yesterday I had a delightful girls day with Yellow and Kiyo at 'The Ritz' spa in town. We had swedish massages and lunch. Pure relaxation and gossip ;-) 100_2240.jpg Closely followed by a big barbecue dinner on Gregg's balcony with the whole family and many friends and beers. What more can you ask for?

On an even MORE exciting note, Ryan finally arrived yesterday. Very considerately flying into Manila at 6am so I had to get up at 3.30 but I forgive him because of the present he bought me.... a brand new PINK dive computer!!!!
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Here's me; the spoiled brat haha

On an even MORE exciting note, Gregg, his sister Tanya, Aussie mate Matt, lady-friend Karen, me and Ryan are embarking on a week to 10 day long road trip tomorrow, ending up in the northern most point of Luzon province in search of some awesome surf breaks! I can't wait to get some photos up, after googling some of our destinations, I am just that little bit too excited to sleep. But for now, I am off to take my pretty pink computer, and my special man out for their maiden dive adventure.... Woo hoo!!!!

Posted by VascoDiveMaster 12:50 Archived in Philippines Tagged beer diving beach pink philippines surfing america road scuba trip dive computer free roadtrip bbc clams vascos barretto Comments (2)

The rain keeps on keeping on.....

snow 31 °C

The rain is falling in an impossibly consistent torrent. I’m worried that if I set foot outside I might drown. I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything like it, it just KEEPS coming! Damn typhoon. There's nothing to do except sit in the bar and drink.... life could be worse I suppose?

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We have ditched the dive boat this morning in search of an ellusive surf break just at the mouth of Subic Bay. We have a party of 3, four surfboards, a new underwater camera, diving boots and a pink floatie ring. Evidence of our awesomeness to be updated soon......

Posted by VascoDiveMaster 06:19 Archived in Philippines Tagged turtles boat diving beach surf summer sun surfing bay tropical scuba centre dive wreck break turtle zambales subic subic_bay dive_centre surfboard zambapalooza Comments (2)

Well look who finally came home!

storm 28 °C

The drive from the airport felt like I’d been away for years. Having a beer at the bar last night felt like I’d never left at all. I’m more or less part of the furniture now at Vasco’s.

It’s been more or less 6 weeks; I’ve visited another 5 countries, climbed the highest mountain in South East Asia, eaten WAY to much good food, spent a ridiculous amount of money, had my passport checked 21 times and dived the Celebes Sea; allegedly one of the top 10 diving destinations in the world. Unfortunately not Sipadan, because in my usual style, I showed up without having booked ahead. I got a couple of dives on Mabul and Kapulai islands which are pretty much next door. I found out too late that apparently all it takes is an offer to do it naked and you are automatically on the next boat to Sipadan.

The visibility left a lot to be desired.
The hoards of backpackers, diving hippies and blokes too old to still be sleeping in a hostel, were overwhelming.

Our dive master started frothing when he suggested we “just MIGHT see a ghost pipe fish!” and I thought “Pfft! See ‘em everyday hanging off the L.C.U.” Sure enough, he surfaces elated to see a specimen that’s ‘Top 5 in the world!’

Between to Borneo-based diving websites, Lonely Planet and every other tourist travel brochure printed in the country, the corals of the Celebes Sea are described with the same uniformly irritating slogan, ‘technicolour!’ To be honest, yes the technicolour corals were just that, and I still associate this with the ancient, dull-coloured Disney cartoons from the Saturday mornings of my childhood. Back in the days when we still had a concave screen and we still had to get up to change channels. Disappointingly, there were no digital, plasma, or LED corals in sight…. And not a wreck in sight.

So what’s Subic Bay got to show for itself up against the best in the world?

Ornate ghost pipefish? Check!
Schools of glittering jacks? Check!
Resident green sea turtles? Check!
Shy but elegant blue-painted lobsters? Check!
Super awesome dive master? Check!
Warm ocean temps? Check!
‘Hi-def’ hard and soft corals? Check!
Blue-ribbon eels, pharaoh cuttlefish, barracudas, banded pipefish, giant groupers? Check!
Ocean full of plastic garbage courtesy of island-based local community? Hmmm, surprisingly lacking!
Green Sea Turtle on Nat's Reef

Green Sea Turtle on Nat's Reef

When I was asked “Why aren’t you doing your dive master here, it’s cheaper than anywhere else!?” I thought to myself, well, actually it’s about the same price! But while money will always be a deciding factor to a long-term backpacker, the fact that you are undertaking a job that makes you responsible for other people’s lives makes me think the quality of the training I receive seem a little more relevant.

So does Borneo deserve to be in the Top 10 diving in the world? Well sure, I’d rate it, purely for the reason that I saw a turtle to size of a VW Beetle. But if part of that includes a sweaty 2” foam mattress in a 12-bed dorm room, and a single toilet shared between fifty, I’d rather be holed up in my own little pirate ship, the SS Dog House, where the beer is cheap, the sun is shining (except for today because there’s a typhoon) the people are beautiful and I can spend my days fluffing around naming reefs after myself. Arrrrrrrrrgh!

Posted by VascoDiveMaster 12:27 Archived in Philippines Tagged waterfalls sunsets_and_sunrises diving beach surf storm surfing sunglasses dive scuba_diving typhoon whale turtle thunder subic sunburn torrential lionfish cyclone vascos dive_master subic_dive_centre dive_centre p= Comments (4)

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

sunny 35 °C
View Dive Master Lifetime Adventure on VascoDiveMaster's travel map.

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

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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