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Meet the Staff: Lukas

Divemaster Lukas

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Hometown:  Salzburg, Austria

Why I started diving:  I’ve always been interested in underwater life, so trying it on my trip around Thailand seemed like a good idea.

What keeps me diving:  I really like the weightless feeling you have while diving and there is always so much to see, so no two dives are the same. It’s great to share the passion with so many other divers and see them enjoy diving just as much as I do.

My favorite thing to do in Moalboal during my surface interval:  I do like to go fun diving on my day off. Besides that the Kawasan Falls and Mainit Hot Springs are cool trips, or simply relaxing in a hammock and enjoying the sunset.

Some of my favorite creatures:


Lionfish: As a kid visiting the aquarium, this was always the one that fascinated me the most. Even after seeing loads of them in the ocean, it’s cool to watch out for the different kinds.

Papuan Toby

Papuan Toby: Very colourful fish, but also terrible swimmers, often found in pairs dancing around each other. They are related to puffers, so they are able to “blow up” as well.


I’m a Certified Diver: Recommended Equipment

Equipment Recommendations

Selecting your first set of SCUBA equipment can be an overwhelming prospect.  There are so many kinds and variations, colors, brands and functionality to consider; too many in fact to P1110443discuss at depth in this segment however we may attempt to tackle this in the future.  For now we want to delve into the specialized equipment, beyond your standard kit, that we recommend when diving with just you and a buddy.  Like selecting your basic gear there are so many tools, gadgets, attachments and toys to salivate over and attempt to convince yourself are absolutely necessary; however we recommend beginning with the basics and consider if the item’s weight, bulk and size justify a spot in or on our BCD.  As a baseline we would recommend at minimum a cutting tool, torch, visual signal, audible signal, first aid and emergency oxygen.

Cutting Tools

images (1)A cutting tool is a recommended for all divers for both safety and utilitarian purposes.  It is not recommended as a weapon for defense against “aggressive” underwater creatures; not only is this impractical but also goes directly against the sustainable underwater stewardship that we have committed to as divers.  Cutting tools come with a few basic options, fixed blade vs. collapsible, blunted tip vs. pointed and steel vs. titanium.  While there are valid arguments for both sides of the fixed vs. collapsible and blunted vs. pointed tips I would recommend that you take your BCD, exposure suits and diving conditions into consideration when making these decisions.  When considering steel vs. titanium there are very clear benefits and costs associated.  If you are working with a tight budget then a stainless steel blade will definitely be more affordable; however please investigate the grade of the stainless as there are some lower grades that will rust almost instantly when introduced to salt water whereas there are some that with a gentle rinse or short soak after a dive in fresh water will remain rust free for years.  If you budget allows it a titanium blade is a well-placed investment as in addition to being lighter it should also remain rust free, even if you forget to rinse or soak it, for many years to come.  Two features that I personally recommend are a line cutter separate from the cutting edge and a lanyard to avoid an unfortunate loss under the water.


Octupus with torch

Illuminating an Octopus hiding in the cracks with a 700 lumen torch at around 12 meters; without it would be nearly impossible to make it out.

There are enough torch options out there to make a thorough exploration impractical; however there are a few key features that can be taken into consideration.  A good starting point can be investigating the lumens of the torch and taking into consideration what conditions you will be using this in.  I have witnessed divers using 10,000 lumen video lights on a night dive before; effectively turning it into a day dive for everyone and possibly blinding every poor creature caught in its beam…Please don’t do this!  For guiding a dive or for dive professionals we recommend at minimum a 300 lumen light though 700 lumen will definitely make you visible to other divers while still keeping in the spirit of a night dive.  Another feature to consider is the battery type.  Some come with rechargeable batteries while other manufacturers recommend that you do not use rechargeable batteries due to corrosion concerns.  While I have seen some torches with more uncommon 3v lithium batteries, like those used in older digital cameras; these can prove quite difficult and expensive to source, especially when traveling.  Finally I would recommend thinking about the size, shape and method of attachments.  As you begin to amass more dive equipment space and weight become a growing concern and when using a tool, like a torch, on frequent basis the comfort and ergonomics become more of a determining factor when making your selection.


Visual and Audio Signals

The general recommendation is that all divers carry at minimum one visual and one auditory signaling device; please check with you local authorities for any area specific flag and float requirements.  In my experience I have had more than one occasion to need two of each; if you are diving with just you and a buddy I would recommend you do the same.  I keep a smaller backup plastic SMB (Surface Maker Buoy) in the pocket of my BCD with 7 meters of line Lukas SMBand a small fishing weight wrapped around it.  The plastic won’t mold and rot as easily like the fabric SMBs making it perfect for keeping in a damp pocket.  For a primary SMB there are a variety of options from colors, size, inflation type, reel length and type, etc.  I would recommend that you select a set up that is appropriate for the diving you will be focusing on; such as having a 15 meter reel and smaller SMB for a shallow, calm lake or a 30 meter reel and larger SMB for choppy ocean drift diving for easier spotting from the boat.

For the auditory devices I personally prefer whistles as there is very little that can malfunction on them.  I prefer to have both a standard common whistle, such as the ones that often come with a BCD, for everyday use.  I also keep a Storm whistle for emergencies; this is purported to be the loudest whistle on the market, while I doubt that, it is louder than what is pleasant but will definitely get peoples attention quickly in an emergency.  Whatever you select i would ensure that they are attached securely and close enough to your mouth to have quick and efficient access.  I  would also ensure that they are attached with stainless fasteners to avoid rust and corrosion.

First Aid and Emergency Oxygen

I will start this section with the following disclaimer: you need to act and stay within your level of training and comfort whenever administering first aid, CPR or emergency oxygen.  If you are in doubt please visit your local dive shop and inquire about the EFR, Emergency Oxygen Provider and Rescue Diver courses; these are specialized courses with a focus on responding to diving related accidents and are a prudent investment if you will be diving without professionals.  You can find a general recommendation for a first aid kit in the back of the EFR manuals and may be able to get additional local recommendations oxygen-mainimagefrom your dive shop or other experienced divers.  Emergency Oxygen kits with waterproof cases are available though many dive suppliers, dive shops and first aid suppliers.  You should take into consideration the elevation and proximity of your dive site to EMS when determining the appropriate Oxygen cylinder size for your kit; you wouldn’t want to carry the kit around for years and need it only to find that you have only a 10 minute supply for a 2 hour drive.  Again, if you are the least bit uncomfortable in these areas I strongly suggest you seek additional guidance or training from your local diving professionals.

The Next Stride

Check in next week when we will discuss some continuing education options to hone your dive planning skills.  Please feel free to send us your questions, comments or input about this series or requests for future series.

Please send comments and questions to

View the previous post here:  I’m a certified diver: Selecting a local dive site

I’m a certified diver: Selecting a local dive site

Planning Our Dive With a Buddy


Our open water student planning and leading their first dive with Instructor Andy and Divemaster Lukas

The thought of planning a dive with our dive buddy for the first time may be a little scary or even overwhelming at first; but then again was it so different the first time we submerged our heads in the swimming pool or the shallows on the beach with a 2nd stage in our mouths?  Let’s start out by remembering one of the cardinal rules of diving: Always dive within our limits and training.  This may mean that we plan our first dive to the local swimming pool, or a pond at the golf course; we should of course ask permission first as we aren’t advocating trespassing in full SCUBA gear.  You may also find it easier to start you planning by talking with a local dive shop or finding a local dive club to meet up with and ask for either some good local dive spots or maybe even a local orientation dive with someone who has dived the site before.  Starting well within our limits and training will reduce stressors during our dive allowing us to focus more on the dive and aquatic life, ultimately leading to a much more enjoyable experience that we will feel comfortable repeating.  Some things to take into consideration when deciding on a local dive site may include but not be limited to: current (or the lack of), visibility, water temperature, site accessibility, altitude and proximity to local emergency medical services.  For this segment we are going to focus on selecting a site with appropriate current and visibility.

Current and Visibility Considerations

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Students visiting our airplane wreck at Umbrella with lower visibility.

Diving with current or lower visibility can make for a very enjoyable and relaxing drift dive or may be necessary to visit a blue water wreck or Manta cleaning station; however, it may not be appropriate if we are trying to plan a relaxing dive with a buddy.  Why don’t we start out with a dive site that is well within our limits, training and experience; somewhere with what we call pool like conditions?  However, don’t be fooled into thinking that lakes, reservoirs or ponds won’t have current or visibility concerns.  Lakes close to an ocean, bay or river may have tidal swings and often have pretty significant thermoclines; which are layered changes in water temperature and can cause significant turbidity.  Reservoirs can obviously experience significant changes in current if they are being drained or filled and may also have significant changes in visibility due to algae blooms or runoff from heavy rains.  While still water ponds may seem clear and void of current changes they may be used for irrigation and often can have silt bottoms that can easily be stirred up clouding the water for P1100674 - Rev1hours.   These concerns can easily be addressed with a little research online, by reading a book on local dive sites or having a conversation with a fellow diver or professional with experience at the site.  When we take these potential issues into consideration while planning our dive we become empowered and can use site condition changes to our advantage and to find times with more ideal conditions or dive profiles that are site and condition appropriate.  A good practice for planning our first dives could be if we are uncertain then make sure we ask; whether that be online, in a dive shop or maybe a dive club.  Having more information than we need will most likely be much better than not enough.  Once we have this information and our first dive under our belts and in our log books we will most likely find it much easier for repetitive dives at this site and may find that in time we become the local expert that others come to for advice…

The Next Stride

Check in next week when we will discuss some equipment considerations and recommendations.  Please feel free to send us your questions, comments or input about this series or requests for future series.

Please send comments and questions to

View the previous post here:  I’m a Certified Diver: Now What?

Meet the Staff: Pernilla

Pernilla Sjöö MSDT

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Hometown: Jönköping Sweden

Why I started Diving: I started dive because i have always been a water person and i was very curious about the underwater world. So when we planned a trip to Thailand i decided to take my Open water in Sweden. After the my first breath underwater i was already hooked. Since then i have traveled to many of the best dive site over the world.

What keeps me diving:  There is so many places to go to and so many reefs to explore. But i enjoy every day i go out for a dive here in Moalboal because our reef are just stunning.

My favorite thing to do in Moalboal during my surface interval:  Pack a picnic and head to Kawassan falls early in the morning so you have the beautiful waterfall all for yourself.

Some of my favorite creatures:   My favorite creature underwater is our beautiful sea turtles. They have been around for 110 million years, since the time of the dinosaurs. The green turtle that is very common here in Moalboal and can weigh up to 317 kg. They are so relax underwater and often take a nap on the corals. Turtles can hold their breath for hours if the rest and sleep underwater. They just need to inhale 1-3 seconds at the surface before they dive down again. Every time a see a Turtle i get a BIG smile on my face. We can spot sea Turtles at all of our dive sites here in Moalboal.

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My other favorite is Clown trigger fish because it just looks awesome. We often spot them at our dive site Umbrella.

I’m a certified diver: Now What?

Your Goals


Instructor Pernilla with her graduating course

It’s been on your bucket list for months or maybe even years. You’ve watched them, with all that equipment on and the huge smiles, laughing as they return on the boat or swim slowly on their backs out to the reef to disappear below the surface. Maybe you have a longer holiday this time, or maybe you have finally run out of excuses to not take that step; whatever the reason, you have finally ticked off the box and are a full-fledged, card carrying PADI diver. This could have been last week or last month or even 20 years since you joined the ranks of certified SCUBA divers. The question often is the same…What do I do next?

While you may have started diving as an experiment and adventure into a new world it has probably evolved into something else. Whether you are continuing to dive to further explore the underwater world, to hone your underwater photography skills, for the meditative peace and tranquility or just for some fun exercise; the challenge of increasing your diving skills to the next level is often rewarded by enhancing our overall experience. There are many ways to take your skills to the next level; including continuing education courses, trying new environments and dive style or planning your own dive with a buddy. After witnessing the transformation in my students after they plan and then execute their first dives without a professional; I have been inspired to dedicate a blog series to exploring and promoting this practice.

Our Role


Night dive at Quo Vadis, by Kentaro Katori

As professional dive shops and divers, we are here to make your diving experience a pleasant, relatively easy and comfortable one. We are happy to handle the logistics and equipment, plan the dives and share our favorite sites and passion for the underwater world with you; in addition to offering continuing dive education and training. However, believe it or not, the idea of becoming a certified diver is that at any point, you and a fellow certified dive buddy can grab some equipment and cylinders, plan a dive within your limits and training, then dive your plan. A crucial concept being that you plan your dive within your limits and training (if you are uncertain, please ask someone more experienced or a professional for advice or assistance). Planning and executing your own dive can help raise your confidence as a diver and will most certainly increase your experience and skill level. Be warned though, as you probably already know, diving is addictive and once you have experienced diving your own plan you may begin to feel slightly frantic as you are planning and impatiently waiting for your next dive vacation. Not to worry, though it may not be a vibrant coral reef, you may have many opportunities to increase your bottom time locally while meeting new dive buddies or strengthen bonds with existing ones…

The Next Stride

Over the next few weeks we will be discussing pointers and tips for planning your own dive, recommended equipment, local considerations and continuing education options for divers. We would like to invite you to follow along, send us your questions and comments and even pick our brains for possible diving locations near you. Hopefully together can open the doors to new diving experiences and take the next steps to increasing our dive skills and confidence as certified SCUBA Divers.

Read more about the author in his meet the staff profile.
Please send comments and questions to

Meet the Staff: Andy

Instructor Andy

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Hometown: Portland, Oregon USA

Why I started diving: My parents were divers before having children; I remember listening to their stories and looking at their equipment in the basement, always full of fascination. When I was around 12 years old, my parents took me for my first dive as a try dive with an instructor in Hawaii; I was hooked ever since.

What keeps me diving: It is an amazing opportunity to get to talk about my favorite hobby with others who are just as passionate or fascinated. Getting to see students change uncertainty and anxiety about diving into excitement and a passion for the new world they have begun to discover; their triumph in facing and overcoming the challenges of developing their dive skills is truly inspirational. I am continually amazed with how much I discover every dive, even if I have dived the same site and profile 100 times, I feel as though there is always more to explore and learn.

My favorite thing to do in Moalboal during my surface interval: Whenever I have the chance to explore the roads and paths in and around Moalboal I am not disappointed. The beautiful scenery is abundant and seemingly endless.

Some of my favorite creatures: There are too many to list, but here are a few that always make me smile…

Sea Squirt balicasag 9-18-15 - compressed

Sea Squirt: Often overlooked these are members of the Ascidians, a group of around 3000 unique species and are relatives of the vertebrates. They start life as a tadpole larvae, eventually settling on a home and undergo a metamorphosis to what you see here. They are equally beautiful and fascinating to me.

Yellow box fish

Juvenile Yellow Box Fish: These poor swimmers always make me laugh, with their small fragile fins and uncoordinated frantic movements. I am always excited to see them or their close relatives.


Nudibranch: With somewhere around 6,000 species I haven’t even began to attempt to learn their names. However there are many sites and forums dedicating to their identification. For many divers the hunt for the nudibranch is equally exciting and challenging as trying to snap the perfect photo in exquisite detail.

Contact Andy via email at

Quo Vadis blog


Sardine Run, Panagsama. Bo Mancao

The posts here on this blog will aim to cover different interests, these include but are not limited to:

  • News topics/Stories of interest
  • Tips and techniques
  • “Specialty of the Month”
  • Photography

We will of course share these blogs on the Facebook page to keep you all updated. Via the comments there or direct messaging you can give feedback (would be much appreciated) or make any requests for future blogs such as topics or anything you would like us to post about.

So keep an eye out for the blog!!!
Happy and safe diving! 😀

Regular Maintenance

At least once a year you need to service one of the most important parts of your dive gear – your regulator. Even though you rinse it in fresh water after every dive, there will still be a build-up of dirt, salt and oxidation that needs to be cleaned out. Quo Vadis is currently servicing a number of regulators, and so I got a chance to service mine and learn how it’s done too.

It really is a clever invention. So simple, but so brilliant in how it’s able to convert the 200 bar pressure in the tank to 10 bar that comes out through your second stage at breathable ambient pressure.

I’m not going to get into the details, but I do recommend reading a bit about this invention that really made recreational diving possible. Wikipedia has a good article on it here.

Boracay by Bike

Rain season is getting closer and before the typhoons start rolling in I wanted to get a chance to make a road trip up to to the small island of Boracay just north of Panay. I had heard that Boracay was once named the ‘Best Beach in Asia’, and I wanted to see for myself if that was actually true. So we set the date of departure, packed our bikes and headed north. First up to Dumanjug to take the ferry across to Negros, then across Negros to Bacolod where the next ferry took us to Dumangas on Panay. From there we shot straight up inland to Caticlan where we left the bikes and took another ferry to Boracay. Heading back we decided to take the beautiful road along the west coast of Panay, and then took the same roads back to Moalboal after getting back to Negros. With more time we would have headed down the west coast of Negros and come back to Cebu through Dumaguete, it’s supposed to be beautiful. But, we had to save that for next time.

By bike is really the way to travel in this country, it takes you so much closer to the people and the life of the villages and towns you pass. And in the Philippines, along the road is where life happens. Children are playing, food is cooked, baths are taken, pigs are slaughtered, every part of Philippine everyday life can be seen along the road. It really is like riding your bike through somebody’s house, entering through the kitchen door, passing the bathroom and exiting through the livingroom. And when you’re on a motorbike, you have the opportunity to smile at the people you meet, and see them smile back. If there is one thing you take with you from the Philippines, it’s the smiling faces. They always brighten your day.

It’s hard to sum up 800km of being on the road in the Philippines in a short blog post, you really have to see it for yourself. The dramatic mountains and valleys of Negros are breathtaking, the coastline of Panay fantastic for riding, loading a motorbike on a ferry (by hand) is an adventure in itself, and the beach in Boracay definitely up there with the best of them. Although I have to say that in some ways I prefer our own White Beach here in Moalboal. The beach in Boracay truly is beautiful, but it is so developed with hotels and resorts that it doesn’t really feel genuine anymore. I think I prefer more of the ‘desert island’ feel when I go to the beach, and the parasailors and banana boats in Boracay kind of take that away. All in all, I liked going there and back more than actually being there. The journey truly is the goal, right? But it was a great trip, and I’m already dreaming up the next one.


Coming from Sweden (or any other country in northern Europe), running water in the tap is such a natural thing that we always take it for granted. In Moalboal after several weeks of hot weather and no rain, I realize how lucky we northerners are to have such an abundance of this precious element. Surely, there is plenty of water to swim and dive in here, but right now there is not much coming out of the tap.

However low the supply is, demand couldn’t be higher. So right now we’re letting a lorry shuttle water tanks back and forth from areas where there is more water (and even the divemaster trainee has to help out sometimes). It’s hard work, but with the help of a new lorry driver we’re managing to keep the resort above water (or in the water, I suppose would be more accurate). We’re also trying to figure out how to lower the consumption in the resort. Changed usage habits is of course the most effective way, but the management is also planning to install new toilets that use less water. Every little helps, I’m taking a very short shower tonight.