A Travellerspoint blog

Entries about sunsets and sunrises

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)

I am Second-Hand

semi-overcast 35 °C
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Am feeling rather fragile after what began as a quiet night out to the Lighthouse, and ended this morning in a harrowing display of projectile vomit at 63 feet. I hold Gregg ultimately responsible for my current condition, which was partially influenced by the ridiculously amazing frozen Margaritas on offer at the Lighthouse restaurant on the waterfront.... and then the ridiculously amazing margaritas on offer around the corner at Swell Bar where Gianne works. large_100_1052.jpg

No matter how mouldy I may have felt, I am so glad I didn't miss the chance to dive the L.S.T. again. Where the middle of the ship has collapsed in on itself (totally stable, yea?), you can manage to swim up inside the wreck and make your way through the crew's quarters where there are still remains of the steel bed frames against the walls, bathrooms and electrical cables hanging from the ceiling. The exit is up a steep flight of stairs with only a few shards of natural light penetrating the roof and illuminating hallways. I honestly think it could be the location for an underwater horror movie. Creepy!

Out of the 72-odd photos I took on the LST today, only one came out well and I am a little proud of the ghost pipe fish I found, considering the state I was in. Please ignore the big smudge mark on the lens.
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Mark is an Australian guy who has been diving with Vasco's for three of four days now. He has just bought a whiz-bang underwater camcorder and has promised on pain of death that he will share said photos and videos with me in the next day or two. I believe there is a rather flattering video of me convulsing, purging my reg and just generally epitomises how rotten I feel. He felt so sorry for me that when he, his partner Patricia and friends came to Vasco's for dinner tonight I was invited along to commiserate. The live band arrived; a family of four beautiful singers and musicians. A solid mango shake later and I was good to rock n roll. We spent the evening listening to a sweet mix of Bob Marley, Elvis, Shakira and the Eagles. Yes, they do requests too!

Today's date sparked a conversation like most dinners I've experienced here; discussions about 2012. Will it? Won't it end? Allegedly someone predicted the sky will fall tonight, at 6pm New York time. Here, that will make it 6am tomorrow. So with the apocalypse allegedly arriving in 7 hours, and another typhoon looming over the mountains, we wait around for the world to end. I will be seriously disappointed if I die with a hangover.

Posted by VascoDiveMaster 14:20 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)

USS New York

overcast 30 °C
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We had some ridiculously good visibility and the photography went nuts! Yes, I went a bit overboard, BUT today the USS New York made me a very happy girl :)
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I saw a cuttlefish! I great big purple, gorgeous cuttlefish who literally sat and posed for the camera. P1010312.jpgP1010316.jpg My Dad will remember me called them 'Bumpies' since I was a kid watching the cuttlefish bump their heads on the glass of their tank in the Merimbula Aquarium. I never thought I'd see one in the wild but Subic continues to throw up new surprises!

The star attraction among Subic's wrecks. The USS New York was a battle cruiser launched in the USA in 1891, but scuttled by US Marines in 1942, to prevent her falling into Japanese hands. The 120m-long hull lies on it's port side in 27m of water.

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The USS New York has gone through some name changes over it's service life, beginning as the New York before changing to Saratoga and then as Rochester, was laid up at the Subic Bay naval base in 1933 to be cannibalised for spares.

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This has been an unforgettable dive and is a little bit creepy. The fore and aft twin 8in main gun turrets remain intact and there is the opportunity for some remarkable swim-throughs on the starboard side corridors. Until today, the visibility has been limited to 4 or 5m which just adds to the atmosphere of diving here. To descend upon the New York and to see it in it's enormity emerging out of the murky gloom is a really remarkable experience.

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Slightly more remarkable was the fare-welling of one of my beloved black fins, 60% of which now lies on the sea floor of Subic Bay.100_1050.jpg100_1049.jpg
I might needlessly add that Brian has taken to it with some poetic liberty and a kitchen knife.... it shall eventually be mounted in Vascos Restaurant with this plaque:

Natalie Osborn
(1989-2011)
Shark Attack

Posted by VascoDiveMaster 13:56 Archived in Philippines Tagged sunsets_and_sunrises beaches birds boats diving philippines world bay tour scuba dive war wreck two wwii subic vascos dive_master subic_dive_centre uss_new_york Comments (5)

Subic Isn't ALL About Wreck Diving....

To silence the critics who say Subic has nothing to offer except a couple of WWII wrecks!

semi-overcast 34 °C
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Brian took me to another of his 'secret spots,' surprising me with the sheer quality of what he calls the 'Coral Garden.' There he is above, in his most appropriate seafaring get-up.
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I am clearly loving life....P1010031.jpg and so are the girls!

This blog needs no more details really. Check out some of the videos and photos below if you don't believe me!

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These are my two favourite photos!!!

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Some particularly beautiful soft coral I found along the way
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These were taken on a day of not the greatest visibility, at least that's my excuse for some dodgy amateur photography!

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On the ascent....

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Just in case you forgot who it is I am diving with!

Posted by VascoDiveMaster 12:21 Archived in Philippines Tagged sunsets_and_sunrises beaches birds boats diving philippines bay tour scuba dive wreck subic vascos dive_master subic_dive_centre Comments (2)

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