Author Archives: Caroline Sandstedt

About Caroline Sandstedt

Dive Center Manager at Quo Vadis Dive Resort in Moalboal and a full blown lover of the underwater world and also a dedicated PADI Intructor.

Divemaster Training is more fun at Quo Vadis Dive Resort!

You know you like diving. Every holiday you do involves at least a few days of diving if not every day in a new country you visit. As soon as you think about your next diving trip, you feel your eyes light up and you dream away about the things you still have on your marine creature list you haven’t seen yet.

You find yourself asking the Divemasters that take you diving how it is like to be a full time Divemaster working in and around the ocean every day. All of them answer exactly what you want to hear: ‘Best choice I ever made in life, you only live once and you should try and do in life what makes you happy.’

Guiding

If diving makes you happy, this can be your career change. Change your uniform or suit at your current job into a wetsuit. Take people diving and show them the treasures only you know where to find. Help other divers overcome their fear for certain things, and replace it with joy.

In Quo Vadis Dive resort we make your training not only one that you will learn a lot more from than expected from the PADI Divemaster Program, but we also make sure we adapt to your personal needs and see which areas need more work than others. It involves knowledge development lessons and diving workshops that prepare you to become a professional diver. After your training you will be able to look after certified divers, assist on courses and also know more about marine life and how to protect our oceans better in general.

Assisting on courses

The duration of the course is 3-5 weeks depending on your personal needs. We will help you with finding a room to stay for the time you are in training.

To be able to start you will also have to buy a PADI crew Pack for your studies which also includes your certification fee to PADI and the first year of being a PADI Pro member.

Check out the Quo Vadis website and see if you can picture yourself in Moalboal for your Divemaster Training. Also feel free to drop us an e-mail if you have any questions regarding your Divemaster program divecenter@quovadisresort.com

 

PROJECT AWARE Reef Clean Up: Making ‘White Beach’ clean again!

On 11th of October 2017, all buddy teams were set up and given bags to collect rubbish and our boat crew of the ‘Smiling Star’ lifted the mooring line and we headed towards White Beach, approximately a 10-minute boat ride away from our resort. We chose this site since a lot of people visit White Beach and unfortunately don’t take their rubbish away with them and so it ultimately ends up in the ocean.

Despite the main objective being to clear up as much rubbish as we could, there was ample time to enjoy the beautiful array of marine life. Being just past the full moon, we had a pleasant current allowing us to calmly drift along the reef. It was apparent on the dive that White Beach was in dire need of a clean, especially to preserve the flourishing corals housing some of people’s favorite creatures, such as pygmy sea horses and ornate ghost pipefish.

CK and Dee picking up trash

Every buddy team took a different maximum depth in order to increase our scope and efficiency on picking up the rubbish.

As we surfaced, we all realised everyone had done a brilliant job since there was not one empty bag. Even our boat crew managed to grab 3 bags of rubbish that was floating on the surface. Surprisingly enough, we found one of our favorite creatures hanging onto the floating rubbish: the famous Sargassum Frogfish!

White beach reef clean up

Sargassum Frogfish

Our second dive was a fun dive at Pescador Island, One of Moalboal’s most famous sites for its beautiful reef, caves and overhangs. As it is protected from fishing, this dive site is covered with schooling fish like Trevallies, Fuseliers and the adorable, colorful Anthiadinae.

Meanwhile the staff that only joined for the reef clean, returned to land and started the Project AWARE count of the rubbish, which weighed in at 55kgs! The most common items were plastic bags and food wrappers, but we also picked up some nappies and even bicycle and motorbike tyres. Sadly, the wind is not to blame for such items being in the sea…

PROJEVT AWARE garbage count

At the end of the day our winners were announced, with the heaviest bag going to Dindo Paquitbot. He managed to pick up 8kg of trash all on his own. Our other winner, Nils Toussaint, claimed the largest item with a bike tyre.

One thing we will all remember from this day, is that less plastic is better, because a lot of it does end up in the ocean. To help prevent it, bring your own reusable carry bag when shopping and choose your groceries wisely with minimal plastic wrapping as possible. Hopefully one day there will no longer be a need to do clean ups such as this.

Check out the website for Project AWARE below and see how you can make a difference! Merely signing one of their petitions is a significant contribution you can make in the comfort of your own home.

https://www.projectaware.org/

PROJECT AWARE Reef Clean up

On Wednesday the 11th of October 2017, Quo Vadis Dive Resort organized a Project AWARE reef clean- up consisting of staff and guests alike.

We had 9 guests and 9 members of staff from all over the world joining us: France, Germany, Sweden, Great Britain, USA, Canada, Philippines, Spain, China and Denmark. As if all of us were representing their own country for the reef clean.

Everyone arrived at 8:15am to prepare and listen to the special reef clean briefing, which had to include a few extra things such as carrying extra weight, not dragging the rubbish bag over the reef, extra care to buoyancy and of course don’t take anything that has got life in or on it.

To try and make it more interesting and motivational, we turned the event into a small competition: Prizes were awarded to those who brought back the heaviest bag and the largest object.

On top of this all, for every diver that signed up Quo Vadis pledged to donate 950PHP to Project AWARE. All together we collected 8550PHP (150US $) for the day prior to the clean-up.

Pygmy seahorse Miniature syngnathids

Last few months we been Pygmy Lucky! We have start to see a lot of pygmy seahorses around Moalboal at Quo Vadis Dive Resort. So let’s take a closer look into the life of an pygmy seahorse.

Introduction

Pygmy seahorses are a group of seven species of miniature syngnathids (technical name for seahorses and pipefish)  They range in length from 1.4 – 2.7 cm between the tip of the tail to the end of the snout. So they are in the same size as your fingernail roughly, that is tiny!  

Distribution

They are found in the Coral Triangle region of southeast Asia but also all the way to southern parts of Japan and northern parts of Australia. The status of pygmy seahorses is classified as being ‘data deficient’ because very little is known about their habitat distribution and population trends.

Life cycle

The tiny size of the them makes it hard for them to live along. They attach to a host – gorgonian corals – and use this as a protection. They blend perfectly in by their colours which makes it very hard for predators to find them. Since they are very bad swimmers and can’t handle currents they use the fans as an anchor so they don’t get swept away.

Feeding

They don’t have a digestive system so they eat like all the time, non stop! The favorite food is tiny brine shrimps but other crustaceans are also on the menu. They are slow feeders though, in fact, most of their life is spent either resting or eating.

Photograph pygmy seahorses

If they are exposed for strong lights they can pass out and get swept away with the currents. Of course you don’t want this destiny to this tiny cuties. So make sure to turn off your strobes if you using any and use a focus torsh instead. 

By years of local experience Quo Vadis dive resort dive guides have learned to find out where some of the resident Pygmy Seahorse lives around here in moalboal. So if you are on the haunt for the Pygmy just let us know at Pernilla@quovadisresort.com Stay tuned up for part two “Five facts about Pygmy Seahorses.”

Photocredit to Chris, Pernilla Yannick & Sofie for letting us sharing this incredibly photos!

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Underwater Photography Tips for beginners

1. The first thing to get if you want to make beautiful underwater photographs is Good buoyancy. This you will gain by time underwater and by practicing your buoyancy skills. This is something all new divers should practice since it’s not only helping you to take good photos but also helps you to avoid hurt sensitive organism like corals. We offer the peak performance specialty here in Quo Vadis dive resort. MASTER your buoyancy before getting into the water with an camera. If you do, Lets Go!

2. Get close to the subject you want to take a photo of, remember water reduces color, contrast and sharpness. To get a good photo of a sea horse you need to stay still and get close, but not to close…

3. How would you feel if a big scary monster were following you with a giant camera and trying to get pictures? Not so good right? Underwater creatures should be relaxed when you snap a photo. Never chase or disturb the creature. If the marine creature tries to get away from you this is a clear sign, you are to close!

4.  For best composition – get your camera under the subject, shoot at an upwards angle, don’t center the subject, try to fill your frame with the subject. Never take the photo from above, this will not make the subject justice.

5. Dive with a private guide. Then you can spend as much time as you need taking photos on your favorite frogfish. Let your guide know what you find interesting and he will have more time on focusing on creatures that interest you.

6. Know your camera. Practice with your camera in the housing on land, then take it down in the water. This will help you to learn the settings and how to adjust the camera.

7. Know your settings. Set your camera to the highest resolution, and the lowest ISO. Use auto white-balance when using a flash/strobe, and custom white balance or underwater mode when not using a flash. Don’t use the digital zoom in the camera.

8. Do’t shoot photos with more than a meters distance. This is also called “shooting through too much water”

9. Read. There is plenty of information about your camera in the instruction manual and you can find a lot of good tips on YouTube and online.

10. Practice, practice and practice even more. It take a bit of time before you start to get satisfied. But the learning part is one of the most fun part as well. Enjoy it! You will see how your photos will improve over time. To compare a photo from the beginning to later on is always very satisfying.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

What about corals?

As you duck beneath the surface, your senses triggers. To your right, a bright orange clown fish defending its anemone home while a moray eel retreats into its cave. As you float in the other direction, you spot giant sea fans coloring the underwater landscape and branching corals beckoning to you. You are scuba diving along one of the many coral reefs scattered throughout the equatorial seas, glimpsing the multitude of life that this largest of living structures supports.

Corals

Some of the corals on Quo Vadis Dive Resort s house reef

Your underwater view, however, might not be long lasting if we don’t take care of it better. Seventy percent of coral reefs may be gone in less than 40 years if the present rate of destruction continues. Coral reefs are made predominantly of stony corals and supported by the limestone skeleton they excrete. The rain forest of the sea are home to a quarter of all marine fish species. In addition to the variety of marine life they support, coral reefs are also immensely beneficial to humans, buffeting coastal regions from strong waves and storms, providing millions of people with food and jobs and prompting advances in modern medicine.

Soft corals on one of Moalboals wall dive

How are these incredible structures created? How can a single coral that is only 3 millimeters long (about the size of the word “is” on this page) become a reef that may stretch for miles and weigh hundreds of tons? In our next blog post you’ll learn how coral reefs form, what kind of life they harbor and why scientists say they may largely disappear in the coming century.

Corals overload

Dive the airplane in Moalboal

Some dive center call this dive site Airplane or Airport, we choose the name Umbrella for this particular dive site. If you take a look at the shore line before entering the water you might spot the reason behind the name of this dive site. It’s due to some very interesting rock formations which have a similar shape to that of an umbrella. 

The air plane wreck in all it's glory. Photo credit Tanakit YamMo Suwanyangyaun

The airplane wreck in all it’s glory. Photo credit Tanakit YamMo Suwanyangyaun

Around 22 meter below the surface you will find a propeller airplane on the sandy bottom, just before the wall drops down to 50 meters. It was donated from around 16 years ago to fill the purpose as a artificial reef and a pretty awesome dive site. They drove the airplane from Cebu city to Moalboal, it was to large to transport so they had to cut of the wings for the journey.

Air plane wreck

After a lot of hard work it was time for the ceremony to sink the plane to the bottom of the sea. But an unexpected problem occurred. The plane didn’t sink.  So they placed concrete in the wings before putting them back and if you take a look inside the plane you will find a few old diving tanks at the front used in order to weigh the plane down.

Our own Captain Sunny can tell you all about how he and several others helped to take the plane to its final resting place.

Dive description:

The dive site has a shallow, pretty reef starting at three meters reaching down to ten meters. The reef then transitions into a sandy slope that stretches all the way down to twenty-two meters. At this depth you can find a wall that creeps well beyond most divers certifications, though it still hosts a variety of marine life open to those of adequate qualification.

What to find?

If you want to find weird creatures and tiny critters this is one of our best sites. Here we can find: Ornate ghost pipe fish, Robust ghost pipe fish, garden eels, snake eels, nudibranch, shrimps, crabs, frog fish, devil- & bearded scorpion fish, sea moth and with luck, even weirder creatures! Once we even saw a whale shark cruising just above the airplane, but that was a very rare sighting.

peacock mantis shrimp

peacock mantis shrimp

How to enjoy this dive at the most?

If you don’t have it already we recommend you take your Nitrox licence in order to spend most of this dive at the deeper and more beautiful wall where you can look for the array of small critters.

Pegasus sea moth

Pegasus sea moth

To be able to properly enjoy the airplane you will need to take either your PADI Advanced Open Water or do a Deep Adventure dive, which you easily can do at Quo Vadis Dive Resort.

If you’re bringing a camera make sure to make a plan for both macro and wide angle pictures in addition to good buoyancy.

Entrance: Reached by a 20 minute boat ride in a northly direction from Quo Vadis Dive Resort. We enter via a giant stride entry from the bow of the boat.

Conditions: Dependent on the strength/direction of the wind, potentially flat to moderate waves. Medium to strong current depending on the tides.

Depth: 0 to 50 Meters.

Visibility:  approximately 10 to 25 Meters.

Quo Vadis Dive Resort

After rain comes... Rainbow!

After rain comes… Rainbow!

Sleep in, go up early, relax, dive, laugh, make new friends, learn something about the ocean you didn’t know before and feel like a part of our Quo Vadis Family.

Quo vadis garden

We have the ocean just in front, and the ocean, that’s what makes our hearts beat. You can dip your toes in the salty water only a few minutes after you checked in. Rent snorkel equipment and go out in the blue, swim out to the edge of the reef and watch the turtles waking up in the morning. The reef is patched in colors beyond imagination and covered in fish to pretty to eat. You don’t know how to dive or you want to advance your dive knowledge? No problem, we’ll teach you! Walk into the dive center an early morning for a chat with our friendly staff, they will help you with everything from arranging your diving to answer questions about, how to best go to Kawasan falls or what’s the most tasty local food.

Our lovley group, Never Dry from Thailand knows how to relax with friends.

Our lovley group, Never Dry from Thailand knows how to relax with friends.

pool barEnjoy our pool a warm day and don’t hesitate to use the pool bar to order an ice cold mango shake. Relax in the lush garden surrounded by tropical trees and flowers, get a massage in the shade. Lay down in our hammocks and watch the sea between the pages in that book you never had time to read when you were home. Eat. A lot. It’s okay you are on vacation. Try the Filipino kitchen from our restaurant menu or dig in on our international dishes. Grab a beer with new friends after your dive in our sea view bar. Book a trip to watch the mighty but soft giants in Oslob, one of few places where you can watch whale sharks on a daily basis. Watch them gracefully move past you as you lose your breath watching them.

oslob_20120923_feeding

Swim with millions of sardines, buddy up with a turtle, watch the tiny pregnant pygmy sea horse, dive into the deep of the cathedral, watch the mandarin fish do their mating dance when the sun goes down and witness the pulsating electric clams. Just to mention a few things.

Watch the most magical sunset from Quo Vadis Dive Resort. The sun goes down over Negros island, coloring the sky with powder soft colors of pink, red and orange. Feel good, feel the calm and feel the nature.  We are looking forward to you staying with us!

sunset yoga

Cool facts about the Nudibranch

Being part of the rich Coral Triangle is what makes the Philippines an excellent, world-class diving destination. Philippines is famous for its never ending variety of the little beautiful nudibranch. Working for Quo Vadis Dive Resort we see these wonders of the ocean every day.

Did you know…

  • Nudibranchs, once like snails lost their shells over countless years of evolution. Today you can find many different chemical defenses among them; some can store cells within their body capable of stinging. Others can secrete acid which they release when danger presents itself. Though there is currently only one known species of nudibranch that can be harmful to humans as it eats the infamous “Portuguese man-of-war” jellyfish.

    Nudibranch

    Chromodoris annea. Photo Credit: Yannick Van Meirhaege. Moalboal

  • Nudibranchs are commonly referred to as sea slugs. Although this is true, not all sea slugs are nudibranchs.
  • Nudibranchs obtain their stunning colors as a result of the colorful food they eat. Due to each species being extremely picky eaters they will generally only consume one type of food leading to a plethora of color variations over the 3000+ species.
  • Some nudibranchs such as the “blue dragon” are capable of creating their own food through photosynthesis.
  • Following the Darwinian principle of natural selection or “survival of the fittest” some nudibranchs are known to be cannibalistic, generally eating the smaller of its species.

    Chromodoris Willani

    Chromodoris Willani. Moalboal

  • Generally they have very short life spans. Some may live up to a year, other merely a few weeks.
  • Nudibranchs are hermaphrodites meaning they are both male and female simultaneously, possessing sexual organs of each gender.

If you want to take a closer look at nudibranchs check out our Instagram @Quovadisdiveresort.

Nudibranch

Photo credit Yannick Van Meirhaghe. Phyllidia Ocellata. Moalboal

Nudibranch the tiny wonder snail

The word “Nudibranch” is derived from the Latin “nudus” meaning naked and “branchial” meaning gills. The gills are located in the centre of the back of a nudibranch, looking like a very pretty flower. In the front of body you can find two club shaped rhinophores that detect odours.

Nudibranchs are favourites among many divers due to their sheer variety of shapes and colours. As well, anyone can spot an enormous school of sardines yet a keen eye is required to spot these tiny creatures, thus creating a welcome challenge to the avid diver!

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Where are they found?

There are well over 3,000 species of nudibranchs which can generally be found in the shallows, however, some species have be known to be found at impressive depths of 2,500m.

They can be found in tropical waters and freezing waters alike, such as in the Antarctic. Though why freeze when you can find them in the warm waters here in the Philippines, which is one of the countries with the most diversity of the nudibranchs in the world? If merely reading about them is not enough then you should book your next holiday with Quo Vadis Dive Resort and we will make your dreams happen!

Stay tuned for part two cool facts about nudibranch!

If you can’t wait check out Quo Vadis Dive Resort’s Instagram for more pictures.

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