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The Value of Getting Certified

"A mind that has been stretched will never return to it's original dimension." (Albert Einstein)

sunny 35 °C

I've had the pleasure of being introduced to a brand new batch of school teachers here in Subic, who've all told me how keen they are to start their Open Water while they're here. Woohoo! More friends for me :) It makes my job a whole lot easier since it's not hard to convince someone to come on in when they're already dead set on getting certified. The problem lies with that small minority of what I like to call 'dive snobs.' The type that thinks snorkelers are a waste of boat space, or that tec divers are nothing but waterproof nerds.

It's a strange, passive-aggressive attitude, which begs to question their insecurity but after chatting to a guy not long back, I found out the cause:
He wasn’t certified.

I know, that’s heresy to some and applauded by others, but to me, that’s like driving without a license for 25 years. He was certainly a 'diver,' but the bluff and bravado that came with that was simple overcompensation. And it certainly didn’t change the fact that he wasn’t certified.

So, with that said, here’s the lowdown on tips you can use to convert the odd dive snob you may encounter, to the ranks of officially certified divers:

  • You won’t have to justify why you should be treated any different than all the other newbie Discover Scuba Divers.
  • Divemasters no longer try to hold your hand (literally) underwater.
  • You can explore the underwater world with your dive buddy at your convenience; all responsible, like a big kid!
  • Achieving an open water diver certification is something you can be proud of and a priceless holiday memory.
  • You’ll meet other divers and find out about dive destinations – where only certified divers can go.
  • It’s great conversation starter.
  • You become part of an international adventure club.
  • My personal favourite; divers go down longer and come up wetter!

I am unsure whether my particular dive snob ever continued on the do his dive certification. If not, I just can’t help but think that he’s limiting himself and what he can do. Anyone who dives will say you never look at the world the same way after your first breath underwater. But, imagine how different you look at the world when you take your first breath underwater as a certified diver. It’s like taking the training wheels off and an accomplishment you can never forget.

Contacting a Scuba Diving International affiliated dive centre... like Vascos ;-) could be the first step in a lifelong journey, as it has been for me. Even if you are only interested in the occasional dive, or have a gap of years between dives, most centres, regardless of institution will offer a form of diving refresher course to get you back in the game. Here is our Vascos Refresher Course:

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Feeling refreshed?

Posted by VascoDiveMaster 17:39 Archived in Philippines Tagged sunsets_and_sunrises beaches birds boats diving beach philippines bay america tour scuba dive wreck subic vascos dive_master subic_dive_centre Comments (1)

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)

Typhoon Two

storm 29 °C
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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.

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

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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
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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.

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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
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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)

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