Category Archives: General

What exactly is coral??

Coral reefs are formed by groups of marine invertebrates that live together.

Each individual is known as a polyp. Corals feed by sticking out their tentacles into the water and catching drifting plankton and when they’re inactive, corals protect themselves by withdrawing their tentacles.

Large coral colonies you see are formed over hundreds and even thousands of years as polyp growth rates are extremely slow – up to 1cm per year.

When a polyp dies naturally a new polyp will form over the top. Repeated over many years, this process eventually results in the massive coral formations you will see today. As sea levels rise and fall over geological time the ‘active’ area of the reef changes over time. The white sandy beaches you see around these islands are produced by dead coral broken up over time in to smaller particles of calcium carbonate.

Coral garden - Top Pescador Island

Coral garden – Top Pescador Island

How Does Coral Feed?

Only a fraction of a coral’s food is from what is caught by the tentacles.

Coral’s main food source comes from a symbiotic relationship (mutually beneficial partnership) with photosynthesising algae collectively known as zooxanthellae.

The algae provides a coral with it’s colour. Without any algae, all shallow water coral would be white. The relationship between coral and algae is incredibly efficient, providing the following benefits:

Benefits to coral

Benefits to zooxanthellae

supplied with up to 90% of energy requirements as well as oxygen and aids with waste removal

safe environment to grow

provided with glucose, glycerol and amino acids for production of sugars, fats and most importantly calcium carbonate for reef construction

provided with compounds required for photosynthesis

Written by Henry Collister

Dive Instructor – Quo Vadis Dive resort

“The Best House Reef in Moalboal”

So many people that come into our dive center have some form of prejudice towards the notion of diving our “house reef,” but actually the house reef we have in front of our resort is one of my personal favourite dive sites in Moalboal. Those snorkelers and divers willing to experience it for themselves will generally agree. One of the biggest appeals it has is that a lot of the time it is just your group there creating a rather unique experience; truly a gem “hidden in plain view” as the expression goes.

Being guided out to the reef wall by mooring lines in the shallows, you end up reaching the drop off for our incredible reef. The reef itself is packed with some of the most beautiful, healthy hard corals and anemones the area has to offer. Though through descending deeper you can see a vast array of colorful soft coral, big barrel sponges and gorgonian sea fans that are potentially home to some very special creatures such as: hairy squat lobsters, ornate ghost pipefish, robust ghost pipefish, giant frogfish, painted frogfish, sexy squat shrimps, peacock mantis shrimp, candy crabs, orangutan crabs and so on…

Ornate Ghostpipefish

Ornate Ghost Pipefish

Sexy Squat Shrimp

Sexy Squat Shrimp

Blue-ringed Octopus

Blue-ringed Octopus

Orangutan Crab

Orangutan Crab

Hairy Squat Lobster

Hairy Squat Lobster

During the dive, you will likely be greeted by sea turtles which can be either green turtles or hawksbill turtles. Keep your eyes peeled as you’re surfacing or even if you’re already on the surface, during the day time when there is sargassum seaweed or coconut shells floating around, you might be able to spot the amazing sargassum frogfish looking for shelter near the surface.

To top it all off… As the sun sets over the horizon our house reef inhabits some of the famous mandarin fish that come and display the spectacle of their mating ritual for us, there really aren’t much better ways to start a night dive. Even blue-ringed octopus, and leafy scorpion fish tend to surprise us on night dives pretty regularly in addition to many other marine species that come alive after dusk.

So, let’s be rid of this negative connotation when you hear ‘house reef’… Quo Vadis House reef… Snorkel it, dive it, and be amazed!

 

Written by, Inge

Instructor and Dive Center Manager

Quo Vadis Dive Resort

Pictures: Inge Leys & Pernilla Sjöö

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

 

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 http://www.facebook.com/QuoVadisDiveResort 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! 😀

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.

Water

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.

Visa Wait

When I lived in Thailand for a few months we had to do what they called a Visa Run, get out of the country (if only for a couple of hours) and come back again to get a new stamp in the passport and allowance to stay another 30 days.

In the Philippines, Visa Wait and Queue would be a more apt name. I went to the local immigration office in the city yesterday to sort out an extension (here’s a tip; no flip-flops or shorts are allowed, so wear trousers and shoes), and waited in three separate lines before getting that stamp. I also paid 3,030 pesos, must be very expensive ink (although it did come with a paper proving that I’m not a terrorist). It wasn’t too bad though, it only took about two hours, so could have been a lot worse.

Being in the city I also took the opportunity to buy some new gear; wet suit, fins and a Suunto Zoop dive computer. So now I have a complete diving kit, and finishing my rescue course tomorrow. Dive Master here I come.

Typhoon Pablo

The windows have been boarded up and old cement bags filled with coral sand have been placed along the low wall that would otherwise have been the only barrier between the resort and the raging sea.

All day we prepared Barefoot White Beach Resort where I’m staying for the arrival of Super Typhoon Bopha (or Pablo, the local name in the Philippines). With winds of up to 260km/h any loose items (chairs, tables, flower pots, even motorbikes) need to be brought in or secured to not be swept away.

Moving into Mindanao from the south-east, Pablo was a category five typhoon and after reading up on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale on Wikipedia last night I was even more convinced that it was a good idea to take some precautionary measures (Category 5: “Catastrophic damage will occur”, very direct and to the point).

So now that the typhoon has been downgraded to a category two, I’m almost a little bit disappointed that we didn’t get to see if the hard work paid off. It’s moving close to Moalboal at around midnight, so we’ll see what happens. Typhoons are eccentric phenomena, so I’m still keeping a close eye on the barometer (and the weather reports online).

Back Again

So the blog is back up again after some technical difficulties following a server migration. My course has kept going though, and I’m gaining more and more experience.

Borrowed an underwater camera now, so will put up some images as well. I can really understand why people get into underwater photography and spend heaps of money on equipment. When you’re diving you can’t talk or discuss what you’re seeing, and you can’t take anything with you. So it’s a lot of fun sharing pictures from the underwater world you’ve just experienced.