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Anilao 2019 – diving day #11

After last night’s dive we reached the point where we had done all the dives on our hit list, we are now just happy to dive anywhere here, it’s all so very good and the variety is amazing.

Given how nice the diving is here it’s fairly surprising that we only encountered ‘other’ divers underwater to any significant degree for the first time yesterday, once on the afternoon dive and once on the night dive though to be fair, we only saw their torch lights in the distance on the night dive.

The fact that the boats only take a maximum of six divers and two guides ensures that the dives are never crowded/busy. Often there are only four or five divers on our boat and on several occasions just the two of us!

This week we have been sharing the boat with a couple of ex-pats Graham and Nina, who now live in Malaysia and their friend Anne from KL (the fashionable way of saying Kualalumpa I believe). Anne will be 80 next year but dives like someone significantly younger, Graham and Nina both have Nauticam housings similar to Jo and there has been much swapping of dioptres and snoot torches.

Initial results are promising, so much so that it looks like Jo’s birthday is going to have to come a little earlier than initially planned next year.

On the subject of Nauticam housings it does look like they have got the entire market covered now. When once the camera table exhibited a predominance of Subal beige, it is now most definitely Nauticam black, this is helped by the fact that they also cover many compact and now mirror less camera formats.

If you are considering an upgrade then I would give Nauticam some serious consideration (there, marketing done, can I get a free housing now please?).

Back to today, news just in that Sarah, one of our newest members has just got their sports diver qualification. Dives completed in the UK in October in a wet suit, hard core indeed.

Well done to the trainer’s too for getting Sarah to a BSAC qualification in what must be record time.

We are fortunate that the water temperatures out here mean that no wetsuit is required. We do wear rash vest and leggings for protection but that’s about it.

Er, when I say protection, it’s no protection from fire urchins, ask Jo for details of that experience.

Here’s one from earlier in the year, the same leggings still going strong. If anyone wants custom printed well made leggings then send your pictures and measurements and I can make it so. Mine have done over 100 dives and look fairly much like new.

Breakfast completed, blog updated, time to play with cameras (and by play I probably mean some silicone grease themed activity) and then off to explore the deep.

Dive 41, somewhere near Bubbles!

Current is predicted further out so we stay fairly shallow and move around the apparently barren Sandy bottom to find ornate ghost pipe fish, shrimps, crabs and nudis. Towards the end of the dive we enter seahorse city, a good looking pair of seahorses on the same piece of coral, both as keen to look at the cameras as an M.P. found leaving a house of I’ll repute in Soho. However, a combined attack meant they had to look at one of us!

A couple more relatively huge seahorses, one looking pregnant were wallowing around in the shallows, both looking like they were about to take their last breath. I do hope that this was a ploy to put us off, if it was then it worked, if not then ☚ī¸

During the surface interval we make our way to ‘Bubbles’, a journey of around 30 seconds

Dive 42, Bubbles Point

We plan to go straight to the wall, the deepest part of this dive. We dive the plan and I end up at around 27m in spectacularly clear water looking at an amazing wall which is covered in life

We make our way along and back up the wall until we get to an area where there is significant nudi action. We stay here for 10 minutes or so before continuing our journey back up.

The current had started to pick up and I was not looking forward so much to going against it back to the boat.

To my relief Nani (our guide) decides to deploy his SMB, it goes straight to the surface, as would the line if it hadn’t broken! He retrieves the SMB and we surface to find heavy rain 🌧ī¸đŸŒ§ī¸đŸŒ§ī¸

Before long we are picked up and taken back to base where we dine on BLT and burgers (love the local dishes).

Following lunch I’ve been sitting on the balcony soaking up the heat whilst a thunderstorm has rolled across the other side of the strait.

Much rumbling of thunder which I am advised sounds like someone is moving furniture on the balcony!

Dive 43, Saim Sim.

This sandy slope muck dive seldom fails to disappoint. This dive gave us nudis, frog fish, skeleton shrimps (pointless creatures) and some very colourful anemones.

I also found at least a dozen tiny leaf fish, or they might have been Scorpion fish, difficult to tell as they were less than 5mm end to end!

I swapped cameras with Jo at one point, not a good move for me, radically different and she had done well to make the transition. We swapped back again fairly swiftly!

We also had the current fish on that dive so we won’t be going back there for the night dive. 🏊

Back on dry land, a swift hot chocolate and tea and I have just been informed that it’s time to get back in for the night dive!

Ok, let’s do it, report soon.

So we went night diving and it was dark, my camera battery appears to be a little too loose in its holder and I got premature battery low signals, nothing a couple of fag papers won’t sort out.

Jo was on a voyage of discovery with a borrowed snoot torch, that went well.

We came across a large octopus, I offered it my podger, it didn’t want to give it back. It turns out I am stronger than a man eating octopus 🐙 but only just!

Another point of interest, there is a dedicated camera room with plenty of bays with lights, charging points and air guns for drying kit. At any time there could be ÂŖ100,000+ worth of gear in there, which is why they take security very seriously.

Here you can see the security device that stops the door from opening.

Fortunately, Jo and I managed to overcome the device to gain access early one morning!

Camera Update: The two fag papers did the trick!