Pescador island

Pescador Island is a small uninhabited island set in the Tanon Strait. The whole island above and below water is riddled with caverns and caves providing homes and cover for a wide variety of creatures like lion fish, octopus, sweet lips and moray eels. Spear fishing and all other illegal fishing methods are prohibited, so the inhabitants below and above water have some peace. The shelf, surrounding the island, 5 to 20 meters wide, can be seen from a boat and on calm days the scene is tantalizing.

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A sea turtle slowly passing

In the blue water surrounding Pescador you can sometimes spot turtles, trevally, small barracudas, mackerel and tuna that sometimes dart in like rockets to get some dinner, this is a very impressive sight!  Pescador Island translate to Fishermen Island. The reason behind is due to the massive sardine school that before were surrounding the Island and all the small fishing boats they attracted. A couple of years ago a typhoon hit the island and the sardines decided to move and today you can find them at Panagsama reef. Pescador is only one island but offers three very different dive sites

Entrance: Reached by a 15 min boat ride in a south-westerly direction. Boat entry.
Conditions: Depending on the wind, flat to strong waves. Often a medium to strong current in a south-north direction.
Depth: 0 to 50 Meters
Visibility: 15 to 40 Meters

Pescador Cathedral

Cathedral at Pescador Island

Cathedral at Pescador Island

The largest cave is “The Cathedral and starts at 18 meters and goes down to 40 meters. The scenery is breathtaking. There is a buttress at the top of the cave creating the impression of a church spire. Inside the cave we can spot nudibranchs, lion fish and sometimes scorpion fish. After the Cathedral the wall is not as colourful as the east and west side but its full of inverted walls and smaller caves to check out, where we can spot octopus and moray eels hiding in their holes.The wall contains scorpionfish, banded seakrait, sweetlips and you can also spot a frogfish or two hiding around the sponge corals.

Pescador East

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A yawning frogfish is showing his good side

Pescador East is just as beautiful dive site as the west side but very different. The wall dropping to 50 meters, and the sloping wall is dressed in big hard corals, here you can often see schools of inquisitive violet fusiliers and many other colourful reef fishes. You will start the dive at the south end where the famous coral garden is located. The dive will continue north and here we can see camouflaged giant frogfish pressing against a sponge coral. If you are even luckier you can catch them yawning. Devil-, leaf & bearded scorpionfish are also found at the wall. You can also find a lot of other life like sea moths, clown trigger fish, reef octopus, nudibranches and lots more. Don’t forget to take a look out in the blue and you might spot schools of big eye trevally’s, sardines, butterfly fish and red tooth triggerfish.

Pescador West 

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Beautiful soft corals decorating the wall at the west side of Pescador Island

When you do Pescador west, you will jump at the south coral garden and after that you will continue north direction with the reef on your right side. At 15 meters and deeper you find colonies of soft corals in all different colours on the steep wall and if you shallow up you can see large hard corals, surrounded by reef dwellers attract an incredible variety of marine life. The wall is filled with spectacular crevasses, over hangs and caves, inside them we can find sweetlips and groupers. Quite simply it is a paradise for divers. You can set your eyes on creatures like frog fish, clown trigger fish, stone fish, devil scorpion fish and a different nudibranchs and in the end of the dive you might get a glimpse of the cathedral.

The Sardine Run in Moalboal

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A diver slowly swimming into the hurricane of small sardines. Picture by Ruffy Biazon

I’m sure you heard about the sardine run in South Africa, where you can watch a massive, migrating bait ball during a short period of the year, usually between June and July. But did you know that you can witness the exact same phenomenon in Moalboal, Philippines all year around? Here you can watch the millions of sardines congregate together in tropical water with a spectacular wall as a backdrop, just a few meters offshore.

The sardine run is the main attraction for Quo Vadis Dive resorts divers and it’s not hard to understand why. To dive into the never-ending school of small, dancing silvery fish and let them immerse you is a breath-taking experience even for the most well-travelled diver.

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Picture by Ruffy Biazon

The traffic is heavy down here, but it’s a sort of traffic you wouldn’t mind and it’s perfectly organized. The clouds of sardines are effortless coordinated, creating alien formations and moving together in perfection. See them shiver when they catch the rays of the sun, hear them move when the trevally’s dart in for a bite. I promise you, it will keep you hypnotized for the better part of your tank. As with anything with nature nothing is guaranteed, the school have been smaller than usually a few days but that is really out of the ordinary.

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This should be on every divers bucket list. Divers and underwater photographer are coming from all corners of the world to witness the underwater tornado of sardines. Due to the location and the fact that the big ball of sardines is to be found at only 5-15 meters of depth it’s also perfect for snorkelers. But for a truly mind blowing experience you have to dive below them, to watch them cover the sun for a few moments before your bubbles will separate the silhouettes above, letting the sun in. It’s also possible to do a dive starting with the sardines and then continue all the way to Quo Vadis House reef to get the best out of two worlds.

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You can often see some of predators hunting for the sardines, making the experience even better.

No one really knows what causes the sardines to act this way, it is poorly understood in an ecological point of view. The sardines migrated a few years back from Pescador Island to the shore alongside Panagsama. The sardine run pulls a lot of tourists and the locals understand the positive effect of this, so no net fishing is allowed in Moalboal. Only the local fishermen are allowed to use their small wooden boats to go out and fish with hooks and lines to catch enough of sardines for their family or to sell at the local market.

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Picture by Ruffy Biazon

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A turtle gently gliding past under the sardines. Picture by Ruffy Biazon

moalboal sardine run

Picture by Ruffy Biazon

Contact Pieter@quovadisresort.com or go into http://www.quovadisresort.com for more information or to book the dive of your life time.

Quo Vadis Dive Clean-Up 2016

grupp-quoWhat a success our Dive Cleanup turned out to be! Quo Vadis Dive Resort manage to raise 1204 USD to Project Aware and with help of other passionate divers we also removed 118 kg of trash from the ocean bed during our Dive Cleanup at the 11th of October this year. We were 23 divers doing 2 dives and let me just say, our bags was overfilled. It’s such a good feeling picking plastic after plastic, fishing lines, cans and bottles from the reef knowing we are doing this for our ocean, together.

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Together with PADI, Project aware and all happy volunteer divers we made this happen and we are more than proud. The theme word of this day is just that: together, because we could never have done it alone. To talk, clean and share all this with people that is just as dedicated as we are is inspiring.

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The sardines was the first dive site we cleaned up and the site was overfilled with fishing lines, hooks, lines and ropes. While collecting the trash we were monitored by the enormous school of millions sardines, hovering over our heads making the day turn dark as they covered the sun. Not a bad clean-up dive.

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The second dive was just by White beach where the white sand slopes down in the ocean turning into a colourful reef.  Between sea anemones, hard- and soft corals we could find everything from diapers, plastic and tires, to clothes, cans and bottles which all followed us up to White Beach to get weighted.

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At White beach we all enjoyed a nice BBQ together followed by some volleyball and the competition was fierce. There was also a trash competition and the winner got a nice price, but even more important, he alone removed over 39 kg of trash from the ocean.

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Picture from Edgar Alan Zeta-Yap

Due to the big success we decided to make this a annual event. There is plenty of garbage in the ocean waiting to get picked up and more money to be dedicated into project gaining our ocean, our planet. Go into http://www.projectaware.org to learn more about what you can do to help and also to read about their projects.

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Over and out and see you next year!

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Dive Clean Up 11th of October 2016 – Moalboal

project-aware-debris-scuba-divingQuo Vadis Dive Resort is arranging a dive clean-up in Moalboal, White Beach the 11th of October.

There are 5.25 trillion pieces of plastic debris in the ocean. Of all that mass 269,000 billion tons are floating on the surface while other sinks deeper down. Depressing right?

The good thing is that there is hope. Fishing vessels gets converted to floating recycling factories collecting a lot of man made debris from our ocean. More and more money get dedicated to the plastic problems and slowly we are finding a solution of this dirty problem.

Here is the schedule for our clean-up.

  • Meet up at Quo Vadis Dive centre: 9.00
  • The boat with leave at 09:30
  • Cost: Pay what you want, all money goes to Project Aware.
  • First dive: Panagsama reef, where you can witness one of the biggest schools of sardines in the world.
  • Second dive: White beach.
  • After our last dive we go to White beach for lunch at around 13.00.
  • Join us at the Garbage station to weight your garbage to join our trash competition.
  • After enjoying white beach with volleyball and cold beverage the boat leaves at 15.30 back to Quo Vadis Dive centre.
  • On the boat we will announce the winner of the Trash competition. If anyone want to make a night dive this is possible just let us know before you leave the boat

I know a lot of you who instantly would pick up piece of plastic coming your way during a dive. Divers and snorkelers are cleaning up the ocean floor all over the world as we are enjoying our activities. Together we can choose to speak for the ocean and the creatures living within and that way raise a awareness for the ocean. Together we as divers has even manage to get international protection laws of rays and sharks and together we have collected thousands of kilos of trash from our ocean. Together we did this, how incredible is that? This shows that what we do matters!

On this event we can not clean up the whole earth but we will clean up our local dive sites and its where everything begins.

 

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We have the best house reef in Moalboal

From Quo Vadis Dive Center you follow the stair down to the turquoise ocean, now when your feets is touching the 29 degrees warm water you put on your mask and fins and you start to swim out. After 50 m the rocky bottom will transfer to a shallow coral garden and you have now set eyes on Quo Vadis House Reef. The corals beneath you is a wonderful mix of lobed pore-, brain-, funnel-, table-, tube-, whip-, mushroom-, bubble-, maze-, staghorn- and green cup corals, just to mention a few. The reef is in excellent condition surrounded by a lot of colorful fishes. When putting your head in the water you will see thousands of damsels and other small reef fishes swimming along puffer fishes, trumpet fishes, lion fishes,

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Painted Frogfish

With a drop of going down as deep as 60 m you have plenty of options. Suitable for both beginner divers to more advanced diving and not to forget for snorkelers and free divers.

Sometimes you will find some of the uglier inhabitants of the reef, such as, different spices of frog fish, scorpion fish and devil scorpion fish. If you are not a fan of the ugly critters of our house reef you can also enjoy big turtles swimming past, almost on a daily basis. You can find two different turtles; the hawksbill and green turtle.  You notice the difference since the hawksbill never clean themselves and therefore it grows a lot of algae’s on their shell. The green turtle is the opposite way around, very tidy and love to scratch its back against a sponge- or fan coral.

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Nudibranch

If you get really excited about small critters, such as, nudibranch, whip coral shrimp, ornate ghost pipe-fish, Popcorn shrimp and bubble coral shrimp you will also enjoy our House Reef. And when lights are out the Mandarin fish are coming out for the sunset dance.

Let’s just say there is something for everyone!

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Ornate Ghost Pipefish

 

 

 

How to get from Cebu city to Moalboal

The Philippines has through the years been a very hard place to get around, but since tourism has exploded the last few year’s this has started to change. But we still have to remember that the Philippines is a archipelago with over 7000 islands so you need to plan your traveling well not to waste your time. Cebu is one of the biggest tourist destinations with tons of ways to spend your valuable time.

Now let’s talk about how to get from Cebu city to the waterfront of Moalboal and its pristine coral reefs.

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Backpacker Option
From the airport you can take a comfortable taxi with a meter to the south bus terminal. When you arrive in the bus terminal just ask for Moalboal and people will point you to the right bus. Put your own bag in the bus and carry your own luggage if you don’t want to pay for the service.

You can choose between air-con bus and non-air con bus the price difference is almost none existing so I would go with the air-con one if the wait is not to long. The price is approximately; non air-con – Php107 and air-con – Php137 . To avoid traffic congestion the best time to go is weekdays before 4pm.

Ask the bus driver to stop in Moalboal 360 Pharmacy because there are not really any bus stops. When at last in Moalboal you might think; is this it? No this isn’t it! This is where you do your shopping, where you have the pharmacy and where you can find really cheap restaurants, but Panagsama is the place you want to go if you can’t wait to splash down in the colorful water.

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Now it’s time to find a tricycle (or they will find you.) A tricycle is a motorbike with a side carriage and a very local way of traveling. A tricycle should not cost you more than PHP100 – 200 depending how many people there are in your group,  now it’s only a ten minute ride down to our five-star PADI Dive center. From Quo Vadis Dive Resort there is just a few steps down to our colorful house reef and all the amazing creatures living there.

Comfortable Option
If you don’t mind paying a little bit more you can get a taxi direct from the Mactan airport to Moalboal. The drive takes you around 3 hour without traffic , but the total travel time will be much less than taking a bus since you don’t have to wait in line for buses and tricycles. Are you staying with us? Quo Vadis Dive Resort can provide you with a comfortable and safe transportation with our new resort car with air-con and WiFi together with our very friendly driver Loyd who can tell you almost everything worth knowing about this country. Price is Php2900. If you are staying with us, email pieter@quovadisresort.com to arrange your transportation with Loyd.

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13620858_1122436231171820_6783655080334997673_nWelcome to Quo Vadis Dive Resort!

/Caroline and Charlie

 

Sustainable Fishing

How does your Facebook feed look like?

If your Facebook feed is covered in posts telling you about our ocean being covered in tons of plastic, what we can do about it, asking you to help saving our oceans, sharing posts from Project Aware, Sea Shepherd and PADI, informing you when our oceans will be empty from fish, letting you know how many sharks are killed by humans every year instead of the other way around, how turtles suffocate on plastic bags, how many marine spices gone extinct the last few years (and the list goes on and on.) These posts are most likely coming from that friend with the underwater profile picture. Your fellow diver.

And it’s true. We do care more about the ocean than most because we breath in it every day, right? We see what massive negative effects humans have on our water planet and we understand how important it is for us and our life on land.

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One thing Quo Vadis Dive Resort care about a little bit extra about today (and all other days) is how the increasing global demand for fish has pushed the oceans to its limits. For hundreds of years the fishermen have respected the ocean, only taking what he need. Today he don’t respect the ocean anymore and without any fundamental restructuring of the fishing industry the ocean will soon be empty.

One billion people (yes, you read it right) rely on fish as their biggest source for food. So you can just imagine the size of this issue we are facing. As consumers we need to stay informed on which fisheries are sustainable and which are not. We need to know which fish to buy and what progress is being made globally.

All life on our earth is linked to the ocean and its inhabitants. The more you know about it the more dedicated you will be to help out. Read, talk and thirst for more knowledge.

Here is some links to help you get started. Read about what fish is on the menu and what fish better not be. http://www.goodfishguide.org/
http://wwf.panda.org/how_you_can_help/live_green/out_shopping/seafood_guides/

/Caroline and Charlie

 

Why I became a Scuba Diving Instructor

Caroline-Padi
Just next to our house is the ocean. This never ending deep blue that used to give me the shills now makes me feel like nothing else. To submerge myself in this salty home of a thousand of marine creatures makes my heart beat. When I was six years old all I wanted to be was a dentist (for some unfamiliar reason,) then when I was older I wanted to save the orangutans (I still want to save them,) I wanted to be a dolphin trainer (before I discovered all cruelty that comes with it,) built a shelter for rescue dogs (and someday I will,) I wanted to travel the world and I wanted to be a dive instructor. The dreams I had always differed a lot from my friends but my parents have always encourage me telling me it’s all possible. They believed in me and let me tell you, that means the world for a little girl. I will always love them for that.

To do something out of the ordinary
As long as I remembered I wanted to do a difference, I wanted to do something I believed to be important. To share the oceans with others, to tell my students why not to eat shark fin soup, where all our plastic ends up, why not to eat certain fish and why not to pay to see animal in prisons. I feel like I can do a difference, how small it might be I’m making an effort. I try with all of my heart.

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Respect
I’m very lucky to be able to do just that. Every time I take people diving that never before have seen the underwater world I feel good about myself. If you thought it was hard to show expression behind a dive mask on your face and a regulator in your mouth, think twice. I can hear them laugh, “wow” and “aaah” of excitement. Sometimes people smile so much they constantly have to clear their mask from water and it makes me do the same.

Every time I tell my students not to touch, not to collect, not to harass the marine creatures and I tell them why, I always get surprised by the respect they show. How people barely in controlled of themselves trying with all they have not to get to close to the reef not to kick anything. When we are back up again some of you thank me for showing you something you didn’t known to exist and telling me how much you tried not to hurt any corals while under water and I can tell that you will dive for the rest of your life and that you will be bloody good at it as well.

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We are so scared of the unknown
I have to explain to some of the people why the sharks will not attack them, that the poisonous fish will not come after them and the ocean is not some black hole that just swallows people. It fascinates me how many people that are scared of the ocean before the actually splash in. Into the unknown. And how easy it is to take this fear away. We humans will always fear the unknown, but it will always be something stronger than fear and that is curiosity. What we don’t know so much about scares us but it also fascinates us. That is how we work and that is why I’m so happy to do what I do. To enlighten people, to show them the magnificent about the ocean and to be able to replace what before was scary with something exciting and warm.

 

/Caroline #353983

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Souvenirs of the ocean

Think twice when you buy souvenirs on you holiday to bring  home to friends and family.

That dried sea horse you are holding in your hand once had a life on the reef, was a part of a perfect functional Eco system and now it’s an endangered species. It is as well one of the most beautiful creatures we as dive guides can show our guest here at Quo Vadis.

Dried seahorse

The colourful cone shell you are thinking of buying to your mum once had tenant, someone living in there and now we barely ever see them while diving. The sea star they sell in the souvenirs shop next to your hotel once was a part of the ocean floor and a highlight for snorkelers in the shallow waters. It can even be someones lunch.

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When buying these products you create a demand for them. Don’t buy products that exploit unsustainable marine creatures. Corals may  look beautiful on a piece of jewellery but take my word for it, they look more stunning where they belong on the reef and they play an important role in the Eco system.

What should we bring?

We should bring pictures & stories up from the ocean. Then we can share it and show what other people are missing out on when they are spending all that precious time up at the surface.

You can start by sharing this post about where all the marine creatures belongs!

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Who can change the world?

An ocean of plasticGreenpeace? Sea Shepard? PADI Project Aware? Oceana? Ocean Defender? You? Me? Even the smallest action can do a great impact on our future. That is, if we do it together. 

Did you know that 9.1 million tons of plastic will end up in the ocean every year? And that all this plastic contributes to habitat destruction which entangles and kills tens of thousands of marine animals each year? It´s estimated that in 2025 it will rise up to 150 million metric tons. I cannot even grasp that number.

Here are a few things you can do to help:

Support the organisation that fights for the future of the oceans
All people behind the organisations mentioned above are true heroes. Its people like you, like me who got tired of us destroying our planet and decided to take action. We can talk about their actions, we can like it, share it, spread it encourage and join them, but don’t forget to volunteer, to help out and also consider to give financial support. Find your local organisation and ask them how you can help.

Reduce your plastic usage
To limit your impact, carry a reusable water bottle, store food in non-disposable containers, bring your own bag when shopping, and recycle whenever possible. And never forget: everything we through away will eventually end up in the ocean. Plastic dissolves in the water and will then wander from the smallest creature to the ocean giants and yes it will end up in the food we eat as well.

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Clean up after yourself and others
Imaging if every human would spend 5 minutes per day to pick up garbage and recycle. We are approximately 7.4 billion people, now multiple that by five and we would have 37 billion minutes every day of erasing all the trash in our world. That is what I call a big change for the better, right?

Never stop fighting. Wherever we are we can always clean the nature and spread the green message. Soon Quo Vadis Dive Resort will arrange a beach clean-up here in Moalboal and if you happen to be around you are more than welcome to join. More information will follow, stay tuned!

/Charlie and Caroline