Even though we are suffering with coughs, colds and bad backs we have had a great day of diving, Morazan and then a reef and finishing off with the Olympia Maru.
Wind starting to get quite strong this evening but huts holding together nicely.
Another day of travelling but we are finally here in Sangat and what a beautiful Island. Richard No Red Horse here!
Following an evening in the Island bar it was early to bed.
We are having an amazing time here. The dive set up is really excellent and our dive guides are SO helpful and attentive.
Evening banter is very loud and fun. Crib tournaments abound as do drinking beer and happy hour cocktails.
The wind that was there earlier in the week, from the NE, has abated and the sea is flat calm. The earlier lumpy seas made for a very interesting exit from the sea back in to the boat. Those of us of a certain age were ably assisted by the crew who were there all the time.
Diving wise we have seen many a small nudibranch of varying sizes and colours. One of them was at least 12″ and looked like a flat leaf. Sharks aplenty too. Dived at Gato Island where there were sleeping sharks and of course we did their signature dive to see the thresher sharks at Mando Shoal. This entailed leaving the shore at 5:30am in the dark with not a clue where we were heading to. The one lovely thing abut the trip there was watching the sun rise. Beautiful skies.
Some divers chose to do the shark dive again on Friday morninqg and were so lucky to see a manta ray in the distance. A fantastic sight.
On shore activities are slightly limited but us girls chose to have a massage provided by lovely ladies at the Malapascua Legends Wellness Centre, while the gentlemen chose to have a beer. It was an aloe vera massage and I didn’t realise they actually used a real, actual aloe vera which was dripped onto us. The cooling properties are fantastic, especially for those that have dallied in the sun too long!
The hotel – Exotic Resort Hotel – is situated right on the beach and there is sand everywhere from the restaurant to the rooms!
Very impressed with the Dive Centre and the way it is set up. We have a good dive briefing each time from our dedicated guides – Jay R and Noel. They were such good fun. Exotic 1 was our main boat for our stay, and also to ourselves!!
We have all rather fallen in love with Exotic’s crispy Prawn fritters! To DIE FOR!
Well a rather hot end to a brilliant week at Malapasqua, diving, food, sun, company, Eileen and Ryan have been exceptional. Let’s not mention the miserable water filler guy at the bar!! 😠
5.30 start in morning for our next holibob to Sangat! Toodles for now!
After a very very very long and tiring journey, we finaly arrived, from freezing Snow to boiling hotness in flip flops! All transfers, flights and masses of food went well! Me and Jo have been treated a bit like queens with our own bus and own massive boat to get to the island 👰. Anyway, a warm welcome was had by all followed by some cocktail creation while filling out forms and promising to conform to the Exotic house rules. Quick shower to refresh ourselves, back to resturant for food and remnants of happy hour. Alas Mr and Mrs Scales, Lovely Sheila has left, nooooooooo 😭 and also Ronel has gone 😭. However, we have lovely Roxanne and Eileento cater for our every whim! meal was had by all along with a few drinkipoos 🍷🤣 and a pretty early night as all pooped, but first dives tomorrow not untill 2pm as they have some festival thing going on!
PHILLI 8 DAY 2
Tea in the sea was planned for 8pm this morning, but the tide was out and due to rocks and stuff we could only put toes in! Breakfast, interesting……..toast!!! Need i say more, the ususal issue with rubbish equipment 😩 lovey chill out tho for couple of hours!
Anyway, back to what we here for….. diving! Kit sorted, Malcy has new name ‘Milky’ why you may ask…………….No idea! Brieffing was interesting, we listened very hard except for Sue, wet suit on back to front after Graham tried to wear it and getting blame for Sues idiocy ( guess who got spanky award) 2 dives to day, 2 groups of 4 (me an Jo not queens no more) house reef to kick off, 66 mins of slighty chilly but fun time! Saehorses,( seen by group1, not i) Seamoths, some of those nudibranchs green, black ,pruple all sorts and balling Catfish of all sizes! Bit of fun, just good to dive again!
Second dive, North point, few of is forgot to turn air on 😳 oooops Rusty or what!!! Bit deeper than first dive, poodled around for a while, beautiful fether stars, Sea snakes, bigguns!!!
ourboat, Exotic 1
Our dive was cut short, Keef’s bluddy computer!!! 😡 decco tine!! After half hour!! (Only joking) didnt see the Seahorses, not cross, really not!!! 😠 enjoyed!
So back to base, shower, happy hour, food and crib! Extremely tired diving bunnies! Photos of Seahorse wont upload, bare with!!
Toodles for now!
WFI rubbish, so if forgotton stuff, apologies! Malapasqua very hot, all got something burn of some sort! 😡 but having lovely time anyway! 😃 diving is good, UBang Bato first dive yesterday, followed by Qulliano 1 both realy pretty and full of Macro life. Bugs in pants to start day, A very excited elf to see this creature, William Pledger refer to ‘Alexander Beatle’ 😉 Malcom threw my beatle out, Malcom threw my beatle out and beatle swam away! 😜
Early start this morning, up at 04.30 with that Keef banging on door to see if we alive!! Anyway tide WELL out, i thought a Tsunami was iminent, thankfully not! Bumpy ride out to a beautiful Sunrise. Easy entry and down to wire for settling on, a wait of about 15 mins then…….WOW beatiful Thresha Shark, then another! One right over Milks head (another story) beautiful 😍
Saw them a few times then moved to another area, 2 more to grace our pressence! Moved off and an Eagle Ray joined us too! Soooo lovely, all divers surfaced happy and full of smiles 😀
photos above of todays dive, Bugton Bato and Quilliano2, 8 of us dived Bugtong and 4 dived the second dive both equally lovely, however sea was choppy 😬 saw Pygmy sea horses, Big seahorses and a whole aray of nudibranchs in all colours shapes and sizes.
Ps i have sore ears, Milk is grumpy as hell, Tony is constasly asleep, Sue is inebriated, Carol is massaged, Graham does not like losing!!!!! Keef is a git, Foxy is having a go at me, and i am confused.com!
So it began………
Didn’t sleep too well last night, was it the excitement of coming home? Probably not.
Here’s one from yesterday:
Our Last sunset.
The dining area.
Took breakfast with Darrel and Dianne and then pushed all the camera gear back into it’s case before we commenced the process of goodbyes. They are off diving this morning at Coconut Point and will probably not be back before we leave.
From the left: Jake (crew), Nanie (guide), Dianne, Darrell, Me, Jo and Wendel (captain).
Here’s their (was our) boat just before they set off:
We are now bobbing around in there pool as we wait for the inevitable pickup.
Some random pool shots, I was about to take a picture showing the empty pools but a guest just jumped in and shattered the peace!
Hence the ripples!
All packed and ready to roll.
Just got no boats to take us, what a shame.
Disappointingly a boat turns up and before we know it we are whisked away around the corner to meet the van for the run up to Manilla.
The traffic through Batangas was properly bad, so much so that our driver did a U turn and then took us on a cross country route which is always a worry when you have a plane to catch.
As it turned out, after about 15 minutes we were on the expressway to Manilla. I use the word express with some reservation, there were indeed moments of express ness, there was one, sometimes two and occasionally three lanes. All of which appear to be fair game for overtaking, undertaking and general Formula One style antics and our driver was quite the Shoemacher.
This continued for about an hour before we meet the snails paced queue that is clambering to pay a toll to get on the Skyway. After much barging in and general over assertiveness, we are on our way and before long we are at Terminal 3, Manilla International Airport.
The next game is to get past security checks and in to the check in lounge at the Emirates desk. Well, we loaded up on water before we left and we were given more water as we finally departed so it was considered a good idea that at least one of us found a rest room whilst the other held position in the queue. It turns out that to move around the airport it is quite handy, in fact essential to have your boarding pass to hand, this Jo did NOT have so, some blagging ensued, a short series of questions later she is allowed to pass. At which point. I take the baton (armed with my boarding pass). By the time I return to the queue I am disappointed to discover that it has not moved.
Shortly thereafter however, progress is made. We check in, under weight again (hurrah) and then make our way to departures.
For those that remember, we end up at the same eatery as we did on the way back from the Moal Boal / Sangat trip. It has not improved but provided lunch which we did not have time to get before we left Anilao.
Another update, another time zone, descending in to Dubai, been a long day ZZzz…
Dubai airport probably my least favorite airport, unfair and probably only because I have only ever been here in the middle of the night with a distraught body clock.
See what I mean!
Having enjoyed the 2 adjacent seats on their own near the rear of the 777 from Manila we were not looking forward too much to being joined by another as the 380 from Dubai does not usually support that configuration. Result, we are upstairs near the front of the aircraft where it’s just the two seats on their own, we like that a lot. Not only that but the Loo’s are mahoosive, room for a party of several!?!?
Back home now, Saturday was a blur, in and out of sleep, completely knackered, woke up early this morning only to realise the clocks went back so an additional hour of lost sleep….. And what’s happened to the temperature, 3 degrees F.F.F.F.F.sake!
Additional, here’s one of our friends Darrel and Dianne after their last dives.
What, run out of Red Horse?
So it falls to me to blog about our last day of diving. I feel before this, the events of last night should be shared.
After the final dive of the day, I ascended up 128 steps to the room for a shower. Richard went to the bar.
Well, I had my shower, turned off the water, looked down and saw a centipede sharing the shower with me.
Ok, I though. What now?
I remembered the trick with a glass, worked for the scorpion.
So, ok, glass in one hand, towel in the other. Deep breath and I move forward. It wasn’t until I got to the point trying to place the glass over the centipedes head that I realised my folly!
The opening of the glass was about 3 inches across.
This critter was a giant, literally a giant centipede. 12 inches of pure menace…
I can only put it down to panic that I couldn’t stop myself. The glass continued towards the centipede, the centipede writhing somehow ended up on the towel in my other hand.
Everything was thrown to the floor.
Where was my Knight in shining armour? At the bar, drinking Red Horse.
What to do?
A call to a laughing receptionist got two young men to my room within a couple of minutes. Just enough time for me to cover my modesty with a towel.
One young man held a very large can of insecticide the other a broom and pan. They didn’t get anywhere need it until it had be subdued. Quite a lot if spray, a couple of bangs on the head, they felt it was ok to sweep the monster on to the pan for removal.
I tried to get a picture before they took it way, I was shaking, the young man was shaking, so it was a very poor picture.
This creature was the type of thing weird people might keep as a pet. Big enough to stroke, if you wanted to feel a pain so bad, that you wished you would die!
Dreams of being eaten by insects kept me awake last night, I wonder why…
On to today…
Another beautiful morning, blue skies and sunshine. This morning we went over to the island for out first two dives of the day.
Back to the Casino Wreck.
Lovely dive. Down to the bottom of the wreck, back up through the wreck and on the lattice work on the top.
Spent quite a while photographing Christmas Tree Worms.
Pink eye gobis
Xmas tree worms
Between dives we stopped by a tiny village where the boat crew picked up their tea, octopus. Octopus is not so beautiful in a white carrier bag.
Some of us went ashore, Darrall made a friend.
The others relaxed on the boat.
Very enjoyable bimble.
Gentle slope with coral outcrops.
Lots of everything to look at.
Pink eye gobis
Tiny posing fish
We almost had an international incident on the boat on the way back! Darrall and Dianne, our Aussie friends, are very good at bringing lollies on the boat.
They’re not lollies.
Lollies have sticks.
So you see our issue.
Sweets =🍬🍬🍬🍬🍬🍬Lollies = 🍭🍭🍭🍭🍭🍭
Possibly the final BLT and coleslaw of the holiday, for lunch.
As a special treat, Richard arranged with Nanie for our last to dives of the holiday to be back to back (obviously with a surface interval) without coming back to the resort in between. This meant that we could go further a field…
Just the two of us on the boat.
Very pretty reef, covered in brightly coloured featherstars.
The reef slopes downs to about 18 metres, after which the sea bed becomes sand and levels off a bit.
We had some pretty big thermoclines on the dive, even had an ice cream headache for a short time. Temperature, like time, is relative.
Coleman Shrimps on fire urchins
Various nudis and shrimps.
Richard was quite distressed at the end of his dive. Couldn’t get a tune out of his head.
Follow this link if you dare.
Not you Jen!
Jen, don’t do it, or this will be imprinted on your brain forever!
Oh, and thanks Darrall, really! We shall have to find a way of repaying you for this… 🤔🤔
During the surface interval, we spoke to Nanie and the crew about diving in the cold. Explaining that the ‘cold’ is 4 degrees, not 24!!!!! We, of course, offered for them to come and experience our ‘cold’ but to say that they weren’t interested, would be an understatement.
Our last dive of the holiday…
Top of the reef is at about 5 metres. Gentle sandy slope to rubble at about 15 metres.
This area was so full of life. Lots of little fish
Very pretty mushroom corals, very purple
Fantastic last dive!
Back at the resort, dive gear, washed by Nanie and Jake, whilst we break down our cameras. Some planning will be needed to make sure that we don’t carry anything up the 128 steps unnecessarily.
Our last dinner with Darrall and Dianne. Tales of the Great Kangaroo Skin Robbery kept Richard awake for a short time. Unfortunately, nothing was able to keep him awake for long…
What’s this? Half way through the day and no blog update? OK, let’s sort that out right now.
Starting with yesterday’s sunset, correction, today’s sunset. Please read at the end!
As for today, Darral & Dianne beat us down to breakfast, Shock, Horror and Embarrassment, I kid you not, there shall be an inquest!
In a moment of bad planning we end up with a little more fresh mango juice than we had initially hoped for.
It seems that both of us had the same idea. As if that wasn’t enough I just noticed me in the picture sneaking in a glass of their chocolate milk, yum!
After prepping the cameras we jump on board our boat and head out across the bay to a dive site called Sombrero. This is a small island out on it’s own which has a beautiful and unspoilt coral reef area which looked amazing. Then the sun came out and it looked even better.
A fabulous 86 minute dive full of nudi action as well as amazing soft coral and sponge loveliness, good job I had gone with the wide angle lens for this one.
After the dive we head back across the bay, I take the usual all in one (sugar with a little coffee and whitener) beverage which surprises me every time I take a slurp as to how much sugar they manage to pack in there (a disappointingly huge amount).
Today in commerce I learn that the 80$ (Australian) that I got as a tax refund on the new lens can now be converted to Pesos, that helps with the tips.
Just had lunch, not too stuffed, time for a quick nap before the afternoon dives. Apparently it’s just us two on the boat this PM, Darrell and Dianne had the last day of their photo workshop so were tied up with that in the PM. Their photos and techniques have certainly come on a long way as a consequence. It is often said that a one on one photo workshop can bring your underwater photography on several years, it certainly did for us, money well spent. Time for another one perhaps?
We ended up nipping out to a nearby site called Aberden. to Dodge some current (new moon)
This afternoon we dive with Romnik as or usual guide Nanie has three afternoon off for domestic duties.
Here is Nanie in traditional resort post dive uniform:
This site is a muck dive on a sandy slope descending down to around 18m, there were many coral outcrops at the top of the slope so we could happily fall back to those if the current got too much further out/down.
Before long it was obvious that it was getting up a bit so we return to the shallows to what ended up being a great dive in good visibility with excellent light. Lots of stuff to see, Jo got some more time with one of her new favorite critters. A banded sea snake, working on the classic head shot whilst avoiding it’s fatal venomous bite, a skill I have not had much practice with myself!
After a quick turn around and sufficient surface interval we head back out to Secret Bay for a night dive. This is another site which has hot sand at the sea bed due to volcanic underground stuff (I use the word ‘stuff’ as i am no geologist and therefore know no better words to use, as far as I am concerned there are massive flows of molten lava just centimetres below the sea bed. How else could it be explained?!?).
Critters included skeleton shrimp, nudis, crabs, shrimps, bobtail squid and a very obliging proper squid which instead of swimming away from the camera, insisted of getting right up to it. It made for some interesting shots!
Another great shot by Darrel Sutter, thank you Darrel.
Back to base for showers and dinner, I use the showers at the dive centre whilst Jo ascends (128 steps) to our room for hers. This usually gives me some time to write up logs etc whilst sneaking in a Red Horse though this has all gone by the wayside since D&D arrived as it’s much more entertaining charting with them.
After a while Jo arrives at the bar and immediately orders a double Kaluha with ice. Strange I thought as following some unnecessary ness after consuming a dirty black Russian, Jo had taken a vow not to consume any more alcohol on this trip.
Upon questioning it seems that there had been an intruder in the room whilst she was taking her shower which resulted in two members of staff being called to the room brandishing whips and upturned chairs (in a lion tamer style) to deal with them. I shall leave the detail to her up coming blog entry. Suffice to day, she survived the ordeal AND there is a picture!
This mornings moonset:
Feeling hot, hot, hot!!
Bit of a scorcher to day.
We are early people.
Darrall and Dianne are early people.
Cameras all done.
Dive briefing, 8.15.
We are ready at 7.15…
Hmmm… Perhaps a little early. Out on the boat about 7.45.
Something we haven’t mentioned is the Goats milk fragrance mask clear.
Who knew it was a thing?
Who knew, if you did know, that you would want to smell like it.
Got to the pinnacle, top at 18 metres and bottom a long way down. This pinnacle was covered with yellow sea cucumbers. Beautiful dive site.
Back to the resort to pick up Dennis for more lessons for Darryl and Dianne.
Dive on coral outcrops and sand.
If I wasn’t on nitrox, I would have believed that I was narked. Trouble understanding my computer! The same computer that I have used for over 1200 dives!! Hmmm…
This dive was cut short by me. Something to do with the large waves, current and reduced viz.
We went in earlier than normal. Hoping for an early night.
Lovely relaxed dive.
We saw lots of nudis, shrimps on wire coral.
Yellow cup coral.
The giant clams, over a metre across, reminded me of the old black and white Tarzan movies, where he gets his leg stuck in one and struggles to free himself.
A dirty black Russian before dinner. Just the one! Stronger than expected, either that or I am a total whimp. Actually, I’m a whimp! Total lightweight.
FYI – That’s peanuts not baked beans!
I was shortly after this that I got confused between rug rats and carpet munchers. A story to tell…
Lovely tea. Quick look at photos and asleep by 9.30.
Less cloudy than yesterday. Sea still flat, not a breath of wind (at the moment anyway, yesterday a proper squall blew through at lunch time which probably had something to do with the yesterday’s 6 minute low vis shenanigans).
Today’s lunch ordering has just been thrown in to disarray as some of our lunchtime favourites have just made it on to the ‘Not Available’ board, Coleslaw and French Fries (we do try to keep our vegetable intake up)
Trying to eat less breakfast today as consumption has been playing havoc with the first dive of the day. I think I almost managed it today, time will tell.
The diving is taking it’s toll on our ears, both of us have had various degrees of pain and blockages but we have still been able to equalise, a probable downside of spending over 5 hours underwater each day.
Here we are performing a few last minute checks before departure.
First dive of the day was on Red Rock, so called as it is next to a big splash of red coloured rock on the shore, s major submerged pinnacle with different tiers going down to the sea bed at around 21m. Lots of nudi action as well as a Peacock Mantis Shrimp loaded work eggs. The dive was cut a little short due to a special ops opportunity, stories will follow….
Back on dry land, a quick dip in the pool and now drying off just so we can get wet again.
Next dive, coconut point, starts off with a bit of a muck dive, wet immediately stumble across a couple of Sargassum Frog Fish and a non cooperating sea horse, though the thing is quite happy posing for Jo. Then we head off down to an area full of Hydrozoa where we see several bright pink ‘Princess’ Nudis and a nice flamboyant cuttlefish.
On the way back more nudis and a large banded sea snake (out looking for Jo I believe).
Great news, fresh Bacon has just been delivered.
Other essentials including Red Horse beer have also been seen making their way ashore, good news indeed.
After lunch we visit Arthur’s Rock for a dive where we found quite a few nudis as well as a small current fish.
Something we failed to mention earlier in the week is that we crossed paths with a large pod of dolphins on the way back from a dive on Daryl Laut (the casino wreck) though they didn’t seem that interested in us as they disappeared under the boat.
We plan to take an early night dive so are currently sitting around in wet clothes drinking tea and coffee as it’s just 15 minutes before we get back in.
There’s the sunset, must be sunset dive time!
We headed off to a nearby site ‘Vivyre’ which is essentially a sandy slope where the more you stare at it, the more you see. Tonight’s catch included flamboyant cuttle fish, coconut octopus. Bob tailed squid and a whole heap of tiny shrimps and crabs.
Before dinner we sat the bar discussing all things dive holiday related as well as a few that weren’t. One brief topic of discussion involved someone that Darrall knew by the name of ‘Ecenbecker’. Or was it ‘Econberger’, ‘Eggnburger’ or ‘Eggnbaconburger’, still not sure, you had to be there to appreciate the enormity of the moment, but suffice to say, many tears of laughter were shed and we nearly ran out of tissues.
In other related news, another guest very kindly left some money behind the bar for a drink as we had helped him out with bits of kit and other stuff during his dives with us. He came from Argentina, and we thought we had come a long way!
Fresh Mango juice and Red Horse were consumed (though not together, that would be a bad thing).