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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.

Turtle

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

jawning frogfish

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 

sof corals

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.

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.

 

Meet Caroline

13445776_10154314896642430_3164609797173540346_nMy name is Caroline Sandstedt and I will also be blogging here together with Charlie, so I want to give you a chance to get to know me a little. So who am I? I’m the girl who got addicted to scuba diving, I’m always the one with the loudest laugh and the largest suit case. I grew up in Sweden but since I have been old enough to travel I have not stayed put since. I have tried a lot of different jobs in my 26 years; I’ve been working as a waitress, barista, copywriter, art hostess, nanny, telemarketer and saleswomen. But it turned out all I ever wanted to do was to work with scuba diving.

I started diving 11 years ago but it took a little bit longer for me to fall in love with this world and lifestyle. When I was 22 I travelled to Thailand and there the underwater beauty got to me and I quickly worked my way up from Open Water diver to Advanced Open Water then to Rescue Diver and then I was stuck. Like really, really stuck. Have you ever heard about the dive virus? Whatever it is, I caught it and now I work as an instructor and dive center manager at Quo Vadis Dive Resort and my life is complete. 11264860_10153376111792430_4036510932369688699_n

I always tell my friends: if you want to be really good at something you have to truly love what you do. And I live as I learn. Going from an office job in Sweden to practice my passion in the warm tropics was a life changer and a life saver.

I’m in love with the ocean and being an Dive Instructor was the most obvious choice, giving me the chance to spend countless hours in the place I love the most, teaching people how to enjoy the colourful life under water and to show them how to take care of it so we can enjoy it’s magnificent beauty in the future.13510961_10154314891402430_40901198977813199_n

So if you want to learn how to dive and if you want to be inspired, I’m definitely up for the task. Make you holiday stand out and I can promise you an experience you will always remember. I’m hoping to see you underwater soon!

Ronda

When you need a break from exploring the reefs arounds Panagsama and Pescador island, take a tricycle or rent a bike and continue a bit to the north of Moalboal and you’ll find the town of Ronda. Though Moalboal and the diving is the main attraction for people traveling down to this part of Cebu, there are really some nice spots to visit in the towns and villages in the area. Ronda Harbour is one of these places. There’s a boardwalk that’s a bit half-finished (like a lot of places on the island, that’s what gives it it’s rough charm) and a small restaurant at the end. The perfect setting for a cooling drink while the sun sets over the Negros mountains.

Too Large for the Lens

Until yesterday, the largest aquatic animal I’ve seen must have been a sea turtle here in Moalboal (at least what I’ve seen under water, from the diveboat I’ve seen both shark and dolphins). At probably around one and a half meter, I thought that turtle was quite big. That was until I met the gentle giants in Donsol.

We set out from the dive shop at 5.30 in the morning, all still a bit sleepy but very excited about the day. After about two hours on the bumpy but very scenic road south we arrived in Oslob just as the whale sharks were coming in for their morning snack. You can choose to either dive or snorkel with the sharks, and to be honest I didn’t really miss my Scuba gear. They stay quite shallow all the time so you can see them really well from the surface, but maybe I’ll try diving next time just to get to see them from a different angle.

Small paddle boats take you out to the sharks, and we were all amazed to discover how big these fish actually are. They come up to the surface to eat the krill thrown in by the boatmen, open their mouths and the ocean rushes down in a rapid maelstrom. We slipped into the water quietly so not to disturb them, and got to see the entire animals under water. They are big, about six or seven metres long, and still these are only juveniles, the adult whale shark can get up to 18 metres. I tried to take some pictures but since visibility that day was rather low, I had to get close and had trouble fitting the shark within the viewfinder. A fish-eye lens would have been really useful.

We stayed in the water for about an hour (although it felt like 20 minutes), before we were paddled back to shore. It was a great experience, and after all the discussions we’ve had around the dive shop regarding the whale sharks, it felt good to have seen it firsthand. Fish feeding is of course not natural, and it’s difficult to tell what the long-term consequences for the whale sharks are. Feeding them could potentially disturb their migrating and mating patterns, and when the sharks associate food with boats, they can be harmed by propellers if they approach motorboats.

I have to say though that the sharks we saw looked very healthy, and there were some young cubs among them so it seems that two years of feeding them at least hasn’t had a huge immediate impact. The local government has also taken action to control and regulate how tourists are allowed to interact with the animals (I’ve heard some horror stories of what it used to be like before). And even though it’s not natural, I feel that it’s a lot better that the local fishermen make their living by feeding the sharks rather than selling them at the fish market.

Surface Activities

The weather last few days has been less than perfect with lots of rain and strong winds, but the diving on the other hand has been great. Strong off-shore winds push the warmer surface water out to sea, and the deeper, colder and clearer water further out is consequently pushed towards the shore. This creates excellent visibility, and even though it has been cloudy and low light the last few days, the diving has really been like underwater flying.

Though the diving has been great, I have also explored another activity here in Moalboal; let’s call it mountain motorbiking. My brother came over to visit, and after renting him another XR200 (600 peso, about 10 euro a day) we headed for the mountains. There is a ridge that runs almost all along Cebu island, and you cross it with the bus going from Cebu City to Moalboal, but I had never gone up in the mountains on my bike.

The roads to Cebu City can be pretty bad, but the roads in the hills above Moalboal are even worse. Which makes the whole thing so much more fun! After about two hours of struggling up the rocky hill roads we finally got to the top of the ridge. We stayed for a while and enjoyed the view before we started our descent. If going up the hill was difficult at times, going down was truly a challenge. I suggest getting a few days of motorcycle training first if you’re not used to riding before trying this. These roads are so bad and so full of rocks and potholes, it’s difficult even for an experienced rider like myself to traverse them. Still, you see a family of four with two chickens, a sack of rice and a goat loaded on an old Honda heading down the steepest slope like there was nothing to it. We got down alright too, but my helmet’s off to the people that venture these roads on a daily basis.

Tropical Christmas

For a northerner like myself, it’s hard to find the Christmas feeling in a tropical climate like the one here in the Philippines. They put up loads of lights, play Christmas songs everywhere, we had a plastic pine tree on the lawn at Barefoot resort, and I went diving with three Germans wearing Santa hats (one of them was even named Klaus!). Still, it’s not quite the same without the heaps of snow, the constant darkness and cold, the never-ending cold sniffles and frozen feet. Boy, do I miss it.

No, jokes aside I definitively prefer the tropical version of the holiday. It’s not bad spending Christmas eve submerged in 28 degree water. Or to be able to ride my bike to town in shorts and flip-flops at a time of the year I would otherwise be loosing my footing on a snow-covered Stockholm street, cursing the tube for once again not being able to handle the Swedish climate.

I did get to drink some mulled wine though, and danced to Bee Gee’s Staying Alive at the Quo Vadis staff Christmas party (it was a big hit!), so all in all it’s been a great Christmas.

Nitrox Diving

Air contains 21% oxygen and 79% nitrogen, and as every diver knows it’s the build-up of nitrogen from that air that usually limits our time under water. Today I did the second dive in my NITROX course, and breathed enriched air with 32% oxygen. The difference is really noticeable after you come up from the dive – you feel a lot less tired, refreshed almost. What a difference a few percentages of oxygen can do!

As a Divemaster you make several dives every day, and it’s good to know how to dive with NITROX since the nitrogen build-up is so much lower than with regular air. Coincidentally, Quo Vadis also just installed a new NITROX blending apparatus today, so I will definitely be testing out new air blends in the future.

Back in the Water

After a few days incapacitated in bed with the flu (fever and headaches, and some feverish dreams about different NITROX mixes, had been studying it just before the fever hit) I was finally back in the water yesterday. Didn’t see too since it much since it has been raining the last few days and the viz wasn’t too good, but it felt good to be back in the water.

Today Johannes from Germany also started the Divemaster course, and together we assisted our instructor Albert with two Open Water students on their first and second open water dive.

Sea of Tranquility

I don’t know if it was the nitrogen narcosis or the sudden absence of fish eating corals that created a feeling of tranquility as I descended below 30 meters into the Cathedral at Pescador Island. Or maybe it’s because in many ways, diving is very much a sort of meditation. Communication is limited to simple hand signs and you focus on your breathing as you float through a world completely different from the one above the surface.

This was my deepest dive so far, and we also saw some interesting marine life coming back up to about 20 meters. One very rare creature, an Electric Flame Scallop that emits electrical impulses to ward off predators. The underwater world truly is amazing.

This dive concluded the Advanced Open Water Course, and I have gotten started on the Rescue Diver course.