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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)

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)

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)

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