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Subic Bay and it's Surrounds

So much more than you expect!

sunny 31 °C
View Dive Master Lifetime Adventure on VascoDiveMaster's travel map.

You will be relieved to know, just as I was, that the mystery of my missing coffee sachets has finally reached it's zenith, after being salvaged from under a pile of dirty forgotten laundry in my room.

I joined the family for an amazing dive this afternoon. Brian, his beautiful partner Rose and son Connar, plus Gianne! We took the slow boat out under the beating sun, pigged out of amazing Filipino noodles and Gianne got so excited she jumped in and forgot to put her fins on. Brian's attitude during this debarcle where Gianne nearly drowned, and he sat at the front of the boat in the sun was a simple "Why are we rushing... we're in paradise!"

Connar and Rose on their 'Surface Interval'

Connar and Rose on their 'Surface Interval'

By the end of the dive, Gianne would have put at least three clown fish in therapy.

Gianne sporting her 'Cadbury Top Deck' tan after one afternoon in a rash vest

Gianne sporting her 'Cadbury Top Deck' tan after one afternoon in a rash vest

Brian was kind enough to take me for a driving tour this morning, trying to give me a better idea of the size of Subic and what's available. The answer is... everything!!! Subic is so much bigger than I realised. Lush, thick jungle harboring a military style training camp for tourists wanting to relive the experiences of soldiers in training Vietnam, duty-free shopping courtesy of the freeport zoning, nightlife for the super-keen, girly bars if you're that way inclined, theme parks for young and old including Ocean Adventure (Philippines answer to Sea World) which I had the pleasure of visiting on Easter Sunday, amazing restaurants and eateries INCLUDING KFC!!! and best of all... an American Naval Base next door full of buff young special ops with buzz cuts and big arms. Well hello sailor!

Posted by VascoDiveMaster 05:09 Archived in Philippines Tagged sunsets_and_sunrises beaches birds boats diving philippines bay dive wreck subic vascos Comments (1)

Just Got Off The Boat

sunny 27 °C
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I have literally JUST stepped off the boat and am dripping water all over the dive shop office. My cheeks and eyelashes are a little bit crusty with salt but I'm on a high right now because I just returned from the L.S.T! That's Landing Ship Tank for the non-maritime familiar including myself (I'm reading the info from a print-out). It is one of the best wrecks here in Subic, sunk in 1944 after a life of transporting military vehicles including tanks, trucks and marine vessels.The poor L.S.T. suffered it's demise at the hands of the US Navy for live fire exercises and is now one of the few wrecks that lies upright on the ocean floor.

Enough of the history lesson! The hard and soft coral has made a comfortable home of the deck of the L.S.T. along with the most fragile little nudibranch who perched himself (I really don't actually know if he was actually a he) on the edge of the deck.nudibranch

nudibranch

We chased a trio of delicate little ghost pipefish into a waiting safety net of electric orange soft coral. Making our way along the top of the wreck at about 29m depth we met a local spotted eagle ray that took one look at us, turned his nose up and went back to dancing gracefully above the ship's deck and right in front of our faces.

Spotted Eagle Ray on the L.S.T.

Spotted Eagle Ray on the L.S.T.


Probably the most elegant marine life in existance.

The day keeps getting better. I just got a facebook message from my friend Emily saying she will be joining MY parents, my lifetime friend Erin and HER parents to Vietnam in June/July for our family holiday so she will be stuck with me for a whole month! Right now you can't wipe the smile off my face (insert corresponding emoticon reflecting Natalie's present emotional state here: Cheesy grin)

Posted by VascoDiveMaster 21:35 Archived in Philippines Tagged sunsets_and_sunrises beaches people parties animals boats diving bay scuba dive wreck subic vascos Comments (0)

It's Good Friday in Paradise!


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The Christians have gone a bit crazy here; nailing people to crosses and such so I'm hiding in the office. Am feeling a bit tense as I have lost a whole bag of ten 3-in-1 coffee sachets that are currently my sustaining my life-force.

Have been terrified to learn that, after making a personal vow to abstain from coconut and all things coconut related; then making an epic fail of this promise in Cambodia thanks to oh-so-good coconut shakes by the beach and an over dose of pina coladas, Lonely Planet tells me the Philippines is the biggest producer of coconuts in the world!! :( Am slightly concerned about the possibility of turning into a coconut....

First boat trip out on subic bay

First boat trip out on subic bay


Happy Easter everyone!!!

......By the way, can someone please remind my parents to give Easter Bunny my new address?

Posted by VascoDiveMaster 04:54 Archived in Philippines Tagged sunsets_and_sunrises beaches people parties animals boats diving bay scuba dive wreck subic vascos Comments (0)

Vasco's Virtual Tour

The next best thing to living my dream!

semi-overcast 31 °C
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Although I am confident that I have honed my photography skills down to a fine art, I can't deny that the virtual tour put together below doesn't give a far better indication of the utter coolness of the set up here at Vasco's. Check it out section by section; the entrance, dive shop, restaurant. Then you can get a better idea of what on earth I rave on about when I get overly excited!

Vasco's Resort and Museum Virtual Tour

Cheers,
Natalie

Posted by VascoDiveMaster 04:13 Archived in Philippines Tagged sunsets_and_sunrises beaches birds boats diving philippines bay dive wreck subic vascos Comments (0)

My First Day in Subic

A slightly overwhelming experience

sunny 30 °C
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I have arrived safe and well in Subic Bay!!

I've had the most epic journey getting here but it has been so worth it. What was promised to be a 16 hour 'sleeper' bus turned into a 31 hour upright bus with a flat tyre and a smuggled rooster on board that crowed from about 4 til 6am. I made it to Bangkok with just enough time to eat a bowl of pad thai before climbing BACK on the bus, heading to the airport, only to be refused a boarding pass because I forgot to buy a return flight! So $200 later I safely touched down at Clark airport. It was 3am and Mr Immigration felt it necessary to interrogate me about why I would possibly want to spend 3 WHOLE months in Subic Bay, wanting to know where I was going, what was I doing, where am I staying, who am I with. I thought "I just want to go diving!!!" But apparently I must look like a regular Filipino terrorist.

When I was picked up by the Vasco's Dive Centre taxi, doing 130 in an 80 zone to the Subic Bay Freeport Zone, I felt safer than any travelling I have been subjected to in the last month throughout Cambodia. I was met with the huge smile of Gianne, Gregg Homan's girlfriend who I will be staying with for a few days. Gregg and his father, the legendary Brian, run Vasco's Dive Centre, Resort and Restaurant. I am baffled by how this amazing pocket of paradise rests within such an epic shipping port. Gianne's apartment looks out onto the bay; an expanse of glass-like ocean over which I am currently watching the sunset. Vasco's is a rabbbit's warren of a restaurant and dive centre overlooking the bay and themed somewhat like an ancient pirate ship. I have already had the pleasure of meeting Jayson; the guru and dive instructor here at Vasco's and well as Brian; the man, the legend, who has spent a lifetime salvaging wrecks in the area and has establised a remarkable museum here at the resort. When I get a spare chance I'm going to make him sit down and explain every artifact he's dug up because they are absolutely amazing.

Sunken aeroplane

Sunken aeroplane

My first dive this afternoon was just a quicky refresher, and I mean that in the loosest terms. I jumped off the pier and onto a submerged aeroplane!! At only 10m max depth it was an easy dive, and due to the pretty poor visibility, only 2-3m, the eeriness of watching the enormous turbines sort of 'appear' out of nowehere and swimming about the cabin was surreal. There really is nothing quite like it.

Posted by VascoDiveMaster 04:01 Archived in Philippines Tagged beaches boats diving bay scuba aeroplane dive wreck subic master vascos Comments (2)

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