AnneMarie and Andrew

Annemarie and Andrew – Trekking Asia

Diving Day 3 – Turtle watching


Posted on Feb 26, 2014

As the dive master JoJo was ribbed somewhat about missing the turtle the day before we were going to try again. Prior to turtle spotting we were going further round the island to another spot known as the ‘hole in the wall’ where you can swim through a hole. The water was deep here, around 18m near the coral and then there was a slope down reaching 24m in depth. Today would also be the day where my ears were playing up. I had itchy ear canals suggesting a problem with my ears and as we descended my right ear would not equalise. I had to keep ascending and finally with a loud squeeze some air was released but my ear would continue to bother me on this dive. I had to try and equalise every few metres and it wasn’t going to plan. Nonetheless, this was a good dive as we swam beside a huge strip of coral. At one point a black and white sea snake slowly made its way through the water and onto the sea bed. Camera issues and it’s failure to adjust to the lighting at this depth meant the colours were wiped from the pictures and instead I have a green-out but you can still see the snake. (Will add pics later). The reality is it is a really colourful world down there. Our dive was 44minutes but we didn’t get to the ‘hole in the wall’. Dive two began in extremely shallow water. It was only 2.5m. Dive boats go overhead in a criss-cross fashion. Probably the most dangerous part of diving is surfacing. One of the instructors at Badladz relayed a story about a diver surfacing complete with a bright orange buoy to signify divers and yet a dive boat went straight through the group. The propeller sliced through the woman’s skin all the way to the bone. The boat drivers work with divers and are supposed to be vigilante for buoys and divers. The woman supposedly survived and the boat driver arrested – which in a corrupt country is a positive because things don’t always get done. Back to the dive. My ears were still playing up but luckily the shallow water made it easy to equalise. About five minutes in, JoJo tapped his tank to signify he’d spotted something and lazily but also majestically swimming through the water, just at the surface was the turtle. I scrambled for the camera and got a rather shadowy image of the turtle. You could just make out it was a turtle. Thinking it was swimming away I took as many hazy photos...

Read More

Diving adventure 2


Posted on Feb 24, 2014

After having a fluffy ear after the last dive I was a bit anxious that I’d done some damage  to my inner ear. Luckily, as the day went on my hearing went back to normal and I embarked on equalisation exercises with the aim to make my ears pop on dry land. I had signed up for a dive the next day at 9am and didn’t want to hold anyone up. We geared up and went out at 9am. There was JoJo, the dive master. I found out he had been diving since 2000 and had about 6000 dives under his belt. Another guy joined us who was a dive instructor and wanted to find work in the Philippines. The final couple were French and had about 93 dives under their belt including the Maldives and Madagascar. I was the least experienced, having only 6 dives completed over 10 years. These people knew what they doing. When we got to the dive point we geared up and rolled into the water. Luckily, JoJo helped me descend and held me so I could equalise. I am not sure whether I could have descended at the rate the others did plus I am not that confident at descending as yet. We arrived at the bottom and it was even more incredible than the day before. We were surrounded by coral and there were so many species of fish all over. The range of starfish you can see is also impressive including blue ones, purple ones and black ones. We saw a puffer fish, some miniscule crabs and lots of brightly coloured sea creatures. The coral was extraordinary! Nice and bright in a range of sizes including fan coral. The French lady had a camera and was taking lots of photos- maybe I’ll rent the camera tomorrow. We spent 44minutes diving and it was fantastic. If only I had some photos to show you all but if you Google coral reefs in the Philippines I’m sure you can get a good idea of what I’ve seen. After 30minutes freezing on the boat, even in 25’c. We geared up again. This time I knew we were going straight in the water and down to about 12m and had a greater insight into what I was doing. I rolled in the water fine. Again I was helped with the descent. The water was murkier and there was a little less to see but we eventually arrived at the field of Giant Clams. They were approximately 4-5ft in length and had a blue membrane inside. We spent another 44minutes diving. At the end of each...

Read More
Diving in Puerto Galera.

Diving in Puerto Galera.


Posted on Feb 24, 2014

We came to the island of Mindoro because we had heard the diving was good. Stories about crystal clear water and turtles swimming near the shore persuaded us to come to the less touristy island of Mindoro. Palwan is another beauty spot in the Philippines and is one of ‘the’ destinations to go to, but it would require a flight and another day travelling to go North on the island to get to El Nido. El Nido is the main resort and starting point for diving. Mindoro, just like the rest of the Philippines,  has great potential but it is once again not fulfilled. The government does not advertise the island to the same extent as Palawan because of the ‘girly bars’, which are brothels. Imagine a family visiting Sabang – the main resort, to then be surrounded by prostitutes selling their wares. This means the place does not benefit from the hoards of tourists. You may think that less tourists would improve the area, you’d be wrong. It just means that there is nothing to do here if you do not dive. The streets are a bit grimy and you get pestered continuously by tricycle riders. Upon arrival we were pretty downbeat as we went to our room. It was very expensive compared to the rest of Asia and yet the room is average at best. No WiFi in the room to force you to sit in the bar buying drinks, a shoddy air con unit that doesn’t have a complete seal around it, meaning insects get in ( I’ve been bitten more in three days here than the whole of the trip!) and finally the cost of food is extortionate. Andrew doesn’t dive at all so had hoped to be in a nice resort with good WiFi so that he could plan the next part of the expedition. This was not the case! Nor could he just wander around because there is nowhere to go and stepping away from the hotel results in you being hounded by tricycle riders. All in all we made a mistake coming here as once you have gone diving then you are stuck! However, the diving does offset the mistake somewhat. The actual diving. For my 18th birthday, my parents bought me the Padi Open Water Diving Course. After completion you can dive anywhere in the world up to a depth of 18m. The qualification does not expire. This means I could just join a dive tour and go straight back in, but I didn’t. Instead I signed up for a refresher course to go over the basics ( this still missed...

Read More