A Travellerspoint blog

Entries about paradise

Got my first hater!

sunny 32 °C

To be honest, I never felt like I was doing my job here properly until I started getting comments and new subscribers. But now, I can take it up a notch because I've got my very own hater!
It's supposed to only be celebs who get haters but now at least I know I'm doing my job and my blogs and videos are getting around! Notorious3 says in not so many choice words that he hopes I drown. As much as I hate to disappoint my fans, I must confess that I could swim before I could walk!

So this is for Mr Notorious3:
I am assuming you are of course a bloke? I spent yesterday violently sea sick and blowing chunks out my nose, I spend most days diving in one of the most beautiful and unique locations in the world, I have managed to tour almost all of Asia this year with next to no cash, I have climbed epic mountains, seen endangered wildlife, met some amazing people and my fair share of crazies. I have dodged dysentery, malaria and the odd car accident. I haven't seen winter in three years. I have met a fantastic guy who is flying half way across the planet to come see me in less than a week and two amazing parents who have just done the same. I eat restaurant food every day and consider myself damn lucky for all of the above. .... What have you done lately?

Posted by VascoDiveMaster 11:52 Archived in Philippines Tagged mountains beaches diving cambodia sun camera paradise america manila disney dive asia war disneyland turtle american luzon south_east_asia mindoro vascos dive_master subic_dive_centre dive_centre uss_new_york diver ocean_park zambapalooza Comments (7)

Fresh Meat

sunny 32 °C

So Vasco’s has now inherited Mark; the awesome Aussie guy who’s following in my footsteps to become a dive master. He’s going to finish off his Rescue Diver course later today after a quick practice run yesterday, diving the Barges along the airport runway. I just couldn’t shake the feeling that I’d forgotten something…. There was such an amazing cloud of suspended sediment on the surface that we couldn’t even see our fins, but once we descended it was almost perfectly clear, and everything on the ocean floor had the strangest hue of green.
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As I was responsible for purchasing Vasco’s new underwater camera whilst in Kota Kinabalu; a brand spanking Canon S95 sex bomb, I figured it only right that I should take it out on it’s maiden voyage and oh man, it is a-may-ZING!!!
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Of course, the camera can only do so much when it’s operator doesn’t have a clue. I’m sure after a bit more practice they will get better and better :)

I ascended and pretty much lost both Jayson and Mark amidst this thick cloud that appeared at 5m and engulfed everything, leaving nothing but a bright white void. Almost how I imagine dying to be, until the immediate thermal change shocked me from a toasty 29 degrees down to 24 in a matter of a meter of so.
-Not such a comfortable experience when you’ve forgotten your dive computer!

Our afternoon consisted of maintenance work, thanks to the delightful typhoon still erupting outside my window. We dived off Vasco’s jetty and set to work repairing the mooring ropes that had been torn away in the wind…. Well, that’s what we were supposed to be doing. I found this adorable little fish dancing around the shallows, lost the boys completely and took off after it with my camera. By the time I surfaced, they’d already got out, cleaned the gear and had a shower… oops.

If anyone can help me identify this little guy I'd really appreciate it!

Posted by VascoDiveMaster 16:57 Archived in Philippines Tagged waterfalls diving philippines camera paradise tropical scuba manila underwater photography typhoon mystery turtle thunder treasure luzon zambales subic torrential mindoro dive_centre olongapo unidentified puerto_galera Comments (4)

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
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)

Subic Summer

semi-overcast 33 °C
View Dive Master Lifetime Adventure on VascoDiveMaster's travel map.

I am still in a state of shock after finding out about the death of Osama Bin Laden in Pakistan after almost 10 years. While it must be a relief and a sense of comfort to those families who tragically lost loved ones as a result of his terrorism plots, what a dreadful shame that we still see images of people celebrating this out on the streets; drinking and partying like it's new year. Congratulations you are a credit to instilling a sense of revenge and hatred in our next generation. Hate breeds hate.

Have vented my frustration with the BBC's glorification of Bin Laden's demise by smashing out my rescue diver scenarios this morning; including mastering rescuing Jayson, who played the unconscious diver inside the salvaged FedEx aeroplane and then threw in a little drama as the 'distressed' diver, focusing on calming the person before swimming below them, coming up from behind to grab their first stage, their inflator and dragging them back to the boat/shore. Between the physical exertion of dragging someone from the bottom of the ocean and today's 35 degree heat plus humidity which has hit my like a brick to the face, I am stuffed.

On the plus, I am slowly revving up the paces to becoming a dive master. The first lesson this afternoon was in filling tanks, which requires checking about four switches, two valves and three different gauges to make sure nothing explodes... no pressure right?
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Today we picked up two divers who are diving with Vasco's for the entire week! They are staying in Sheaven's hotel;THE most beautiful hotel over the bay in Barretto, owned by Brian's ex-wife, also Gregg's mother. Vasco's regularly takes the speed boat out, or the beautiful bunker and picks up divers from their resorts all over Subic, diving equipment in tow, which saves them a lot of travel time. Mark, one of today's divers noted that it was a big advantage for Vasco's to do hotel pickups which is a service not offered by other dive centres in Subic.
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I got to experience a brand new wreck today; in my opinion the Japanese Patrol Boat is the best I have seen so far! Comparing it to the L.C.U. wreck which sits on a dramatic almost 50 degree angle to the sea floor, which we dived again today, the Patrol Boat sits perfectly flat in 24 m of water. It could almost be mistaken for a garden, being absolutely overloaded with hard and soft coral, flooded with tropical fish (my favourites including moorish idols) with some fabulous swim-through's. Out on the L.S.T. again, I was really looking forward to the couple seeing the beautiful spotted eagle ray who is a resident of this awesome wreck dive. Unfortunately he was nowhere to be seen. I assume he has a Wednesday book club commitment or some such engagement.

One BIG thing I have learned from today's divers is to be aware of your fins. The coral here is so delicate that the slightest knock can damage it. Fins are an essential part of the diving get-up but divers are seldom reminded to watch where they end up. So this is me having a whinge- BE AWARE!

When it is as hot is it has been these last few days, forget the fan, forget air con, forget beer or iced water. There are few things that will satiate the heat quite like a good swim in the ocean. Out the front of Vasco's, the water is, in fact in ALL of Subic Bay, the water is so ridiculously clean sometimes I forget it is actually a shipping port! What you wouldn't believe is that there is also an abundance of beautiful coral here to rival some of the best dive spots in the world. When I am doing laps and watching the steam rise off the water I am counting my good fortunes on my fingers and toes.

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Posted by VascoDiveMaster 12:31 Archived in Philippines Tagged beaches diving terrorism philippines paradise america resort pakistan wreck cnn bin bbc dive_master osama laden Comments (0)

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