The morning started as all good mornings with breakfast as the days were going to be full on. Once we had completed the required paperwork and analysed two cylinders it was time to get kitted up and then the briefing.
With 4 dives all in the local area, the format was going to be:
Turtles, Frogfish, Morays, Shrimps, Nudibranch, crabs are just some of the selection of what we came across as well as the selection of hard and soft corals and masses of fish of all shapes, colour and size.
There are many areas of natural reef, some very good muck diving areas but also some very good areas of man made reef. One reef takes the ethos of reuse to another level as they have concreted glass bottles together and then made structures from these blocks of bottles and these are alive with hard and soft corals as well as a wealth of creatures have made their homes here. There are also a few multi level metal platforms with holes and crevices for fish and creatures to hide in and amongst.
The variety of dives differ not only from dive to dive but also as you progress through a dive, some parts of the dive you are finning into the current and other times you drift along with it only finning long enough to hold position to take that picture or to change direction, certainly worth thinking about a drift dive speciality if you don't have it.
Two days of local sites covered, 9 dives completed here, tomorrow is a 45 minute boat trip to Apo island a marine protected area and "Turtle Paradise" so we are told.
I will find out tomorrow, you will need to wait for the next update
Today is our transfer day from Atlantis Puerta Galera to Atlantis Dumaguete so once we had packed our bags and they had all been safely delivered to the reception area we had the opportunity for a full guided tour of the complex.
We were shown each of the different room types from the single occupancy rooms right through the deluxe, family suites, Penthouse suites and honeymoon suite. All are modelled in the same Bedrock caveman style.
Once the tour was completed it was time to leave for the ferry to take us back across to meet the minibuses to take us to the airport at Manila. A short 2 hour wait at the airport before we could catch our flight down to Dumaguete gave us a chance to grab something to eat and stretch our legs.
Once we landed at Dumaguete and claimed our luggage from the guys pushing them through the hole in the wall onto the conveyor it was then a short 45 minute coach ride to Atlantis Dumaguete dive resort that will be our home for the next 5 days.
Once at the resort a quick check in and then a buffet evening meal before heading to our rooms to unpack for the next 5 days of diving. With the theme at Puerta Galera being caveman type we were not sure what to expect but the rooms certainly didnt disappoint, large spacious modern rooms as you will see from the pictures.
All that leaves is to unpack all of my gear and get ready for tomorrows diving..
Written by Rick Smith
So after a day of rest this morning the ears felt so much better and on this mornings agenda for me were two dives, one on each of the Kilima Bay and Balaytigue dive sites.
The first dive was Kilima Bay a reef dive with the promise that there are normally thresher sharks seen in this area so to keep your eyes peeled into the blue. The dive brief was to not use torches and to keep flash photography to a minimum to prevent scaring off the thresher sharks who have eyes very sensitive to light due to normally hunting at depth.There was plenty to see as we toured around the reef with corals and plenty of life on the reef. Unfortunately as happens occasionally the thresher sharks decided that his morning was going to be the morning that they had off this week so didn't show but some great macro photo opportunities were found on the reef instead including shrimps, crabs and nudibranch.
The second dive of the day was Balaytigue, a wreck dive. A sunken passenger ferry broken into sections laying down the reef with the deepest part at around 27m. The wreck was alive with all manner of life with something to suit all and as well as being coated in corals was also surrounded by them.
Nudibranch to Scorpionfish, Sea snakes to large schools of bat fish were all to be found here and you didn't have to look hard to find them either.
This is a wreck that you could easily come back and dive a second time as you will certainly see more but alas for us tomorrow is travel day as we move down to Dumaguete so no more dives today as we have a flight tomorrow so now we need to dry and pack gear and get ready for the move.
Written by Rick Smith
Ears are one of the most important part of a Divers anatomy and as a working professional we spend a lot of time making sure that we are fit to work and when not working just fit to dive.
Have you asked yourself if these 'rules' that your Dive Professionals talk to you about during your training and on dive trips they actually follow, well here at Dive Rutland we do.
Today was that day for me here in the Philippines - you have to live by what you preach, hard as it can be especially when you are away and no one would know any different. But how can you stand up in front of students and tell them one thing when you know that you have done the exact opposite. YOU CAN NOT!
I woke up this morning and my right ear was sore and squeaky. Swallowing and the normal equalising techniques did little or nothing to relieve this so I made the decision to bin the first dive of the day, squirt some swim ear in and see how it reacted to that over the next hour or so before making a decision on the rest of the days dives.
As we warn all of our students during their training about the perils of decongestants and diving due to them wearing off and reverse blocks on ascent, the dangers of forcing the equalising of their ears and the correct method of ascending slightly and trying to equalise again before continuing any further plus that anyone can cancel a dive at any time for any reason how could I not practice what I preach.
So I attended the briefing to see where the rest of the group were going to, a sigh of relief as they were revisiting the one of the house reef sites we had dived on the first day so I wasn't missing out. I chatted with the group, saw them off and retired with a coffee and enjoyed the sunshine.
As time passed it became apparent that the ear was not going to improve sufficiently for me to be happy diving that day so I made the decision to cancel that days dives, luckily all were house reef dives that I had previously done.
As I was not going to be diving I took a walk around Puerta Galera dodging the mopeds, buses and tuktuks to see what the little town consisted of and it is a maze of little alleys and streets, each one full of small shops, dive shops, mini markets, bars, restaurants, clubs of which some looked slightly dubious, massage parlours - even more dubious, tattoo parlours and endless street vendors trying to sell you things even coral and shells you wouldn't even want to buy let alone be able to get back through customs. They are worth MORE if left in the sea
So even the true professionals live by the rules, we don't just tell you why you should do something and the reasoning behind it, we also DO IT. I could have dived and pushed my ears, as I am thousands of miles away with no one keeping an eye on me (not that I need keeping an eye on!) so who would have known?
But does that mean I should be irresponsible and not practice what we teach you? Not in my eyes it doesn't, so I missed out on a couple of dives but my ear has had a rest and I am good to dive tomorrow and the day after plus had time to do a little sight seeing in between.
Remember there is ALWAYS ANOTHER DAY
Written by Rick Smith
An early breakfast was the order of the day as we needed to be kitted up and onto the boats by 8am for the 45-60 minute trip to Verde island. The plan for the day was to drop the support staff off at the Dive Camp on the island to allow them to prepare the post dive snacks and refreshments but more importantly our lunch, before heading off for the first of our two dives on the pinnacle.
So with the support staff safely delivered and with the boat in position it was a rolling negative entry and drop down onto the reef sticking close to the walls or the bottom to keep out of the current. Again the reef didn't disappoint us with its wealth of colour and diversity of life, from the smallest nudibranch to turtles, from boxfish to barracuda and a multitude of shapes and forms of corals in between. You had to keep changing your area of focus from the reef to the blue because you never know what it out there just on the edges.
Dive over and its was back to the Dive Camp for refreshments of cake, fruit, biscuits and to say hello to the local friendly Dogs and cats who would willingly relieve you of any cake or biscuit that you didn't want!
Once the surface interval was over then it was back onto the boat and the second dive on to Pinnacle. Another rolling negative entry onto a different area of the reef this time with more of the same
corals, fans, fish and critters to seek out and photograph before returning back to the Dive Camp for a BBQ lunch and further fruit and refreshments overlooked of course by the friendly furry four legged locals.
After lunch it was load everything back onto the boats and head for the site for dive three, not the washing machine as previously mentioned as the currents were deemed to be too dangerous to dive so the alternative dive site of the coral garden would be our location instead.
So kitted up and briefed we hit the water again with another rolling negative entry and dropped down onto the coral garden, a mixture of muck diving mixed with large coral outcrops that made for some interesting diving mixing the searching through the colourful coral outcrops and then examining every little item that you come across in what look like more barren areas for the masses of macro life and other life that take refuge there.Once completed it was back onto the boat and we headed back to the resort, night dive anyone? For me lets see what tomorrow brings.
A quick side note for those keen gardeners at home, we have had what the locals call a little rain, yeah I'm not so sure about little but once it cleared the critters came out. Not so sure how you would deal with this fella on your lettuces!
Written by Rick Smith - Dive Rutland Professional
So, with one member of the Dive Rutland professional team away on a checkout of a trip to the Philippines, we had a small team at Stoney Cove. No sure how to compete with the pictures coming through from Rick we decided to share our view today and a picture of the wild life
But then Bridget, informed us it was her 300 dive today and was going with the 'rules' of the club and diving in her swimming costume (REALLY in 7 degrees of water!).
Well we have the pictures to prove it.
The spirit was there to dive in a bikini but the Risk Assessment said NO..
Dive Rutland is the trading name for Dive Rutland Limited, a company registered in England and Wales with company number 9433835.
Registered address: 8 Horn Close, Oakham, Rutland LE15 6FE