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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)

We're number ONE! We're number ONE!

Today is turning into a good day

sunny 32 °C

So I'm a little bit excited to discover that by Googling 'vascos dive centre' this little piece of poetry is listed as hit numero UNO!!!

Am currently working for a small NGO in Phnom Penh called PHD Association (People Health Development). I am really just helping to translate some of their broken english into sensibly constructed sentences but the work they do has been really effective in educating university students about awareness of sexual health and HIV/AIDS prevention.
However, no matter how hard I try and concentrate, my mind keeps slipping back underwater, and the temptation of Google and stalking http://www.vascosresort-museum.com has just been too overwhelming! I don't think it's an accident that at lunch today, I opened a Cambodian fashion magazine to find a whole 3-page article on the delights of the Philippines as the new must-see holiday destination, that the only lady to strike up a conversation with me by the riverside on my day off yesterday happened to be Filipino, or that any traveller I speak to about the Philippines is overcome by some amazed, other-worldly, tranquil and frankly disconcerting aloofness when reflecting on some not-so-private distant memory of their travels there!? This coinciding with the fact that I find out today this amazing experience is not to extend for a mere 2 months, as was my first assumption... but THREE! I'm currently squeezed into a tiny (thankfully airconditioned) office and my excitement is beginning to choke the air.

Posted by VascoDiveMaster 01:38 Archived in Cambodia Tagged diving philippines scuba dive subic phnom penh vascos Comments (0)

So this is me......

semi-overcast 28 °C
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Hi there!


My name is Natalie and I'm about to embark on the ultimate journey... obtaining my dive master qualification in one of the most beautiful places on Earth. The Philippines!!!

I have decided to bestow my presence on Vasco's Dive Centre in Subic Bay. I am SO excited I just cannot wait to get started!

As I have a little less than 2 months before I arrive in the Philippines, I think it appropriate to share a little of myself with you.

1. I LOVE to dive

2. I am on the adventure of a lifetime

I have left my old life behind me in Australia, deferring my final year of an Environmental Engineering degree to travel throughout South East Asia for 10 months, pursuing my career in professional dive journalism, which has so far seen me do some amazing things; including obtaining my advanced ticket in Cambodia, diving with manta rays in Fiji and operating a DPV like James Bond.

The feather in my journalist's berét will be the priviledge of sharing with you, achieving my ultimate goal of becoming a dive master with Vasco's Dive Centre, Subic Bay. I can't wait to share all the amazing photos I'm going to take and hopefully share in some of the amazing historical discoveries that have dominated the diving experience in the Philippines.

So! My first port of call was Malaysia. A four-day stopover in Kuala Lumpur, which was four days too long I would like to thank Kuala Lumpur for putting me off seafood for life. For one, as I do not even like anchovies on my pizza at home, I am unlikely to enjoy them when pilled in lots of 500 and deep friend on top of my breakfast noodles! To be perfectly honest, I looked forward to my flight out of KL and to Phnom Penh. Today is my second day in the crazy city but my third trip to Cambodia in as many years... and it already feels more like home, than home!

Posted by VascoDiveMaster 00:53 Archived in Cambodia Tagged diving cambodia philippines bay dive subic phnom penh master Comments (0)

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