Tag Archives: cebu

A Christmas reef clean up – making a difference

Here at Quo Vadis Dive Resort, we think that being a diver carries more responsibilities than just diving and looking at fish. As soon as you get certified as a diver, you don’t just learn about safe diving practices, but your instructor should also have taught you about the importance of being a responsible diver in regards to the environment.

The surface of the world as we know it right now consists of 71% water, and the oceans hold about 96.5% of all Earth’s water. Rain forests are responsible for roughly one-third of the Earth’s oxygen, but most of the oxygen in the atmosphere is produced by marine plants. The production of oxygen in the ocean is created by plants (phytoplankton, kelp and algal plankton) that live in the ocean. Same as plants on land, the marine plants produce oxygen as a byproduct of photosynthesis. This process converts carbon dioxide and sunlight into sugars that the organisms use for energy. One specific type of phytoplankton (Prochlorococcus) releases vast amounts of oxygen into the Earth’s atmosphere. It is the most abundant photosynthetic organism on our planet.

Phytoplankton creates the base of the marine food chain. The health of all organisms in the ocean is directly related to the health of phytoplankton.

So how can we help to save our oxygen?

Save the phytoplankton!

How do we do this?

Decrease you impact on pollution by using less energy (go to work via public transportation or your old school bicycle), help protect habitats on land and in the ocean (donate to organizations that can make a difference or volunteer on land or in the ocean by doing clean ups), encourage others to stop over-harvesting ocean wildlife (talk about the negative effects in the ocean of consuming predatory fish and also the consistency of mercury in bigger predatory fish and personal health risks that are related to the consumption of a lot of fish).

Since you see what is going on as a snorkeler or a diver below the surface, you can personally help out by not only telling how amazing the marine life is, but also the changes that you might have seen already over the last few decades. Your pictures and stories can help others care as much as you about the ocean and their habitants, and hopefully through your stories you can educate others about the importance of protecting our oceans. You are a diver, snorkeler, and with it you are the most important ambassadors to help protect our oceans and oxygen.

Want to make a difference soon?

Come and join us on our Christmas reef clean up and by diving against debris we will donate 500 Php of the money you paid for the dive to PROJECT AWARE to help save our oceans. Find us on Facebook or simply e-mail and sign up! See you on the 22nd of December!

Christmas Reef Clean up - 22qnd of December 2017

Christmas Reef Clean up – 22nd of December 2017

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

 

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

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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10 Top attraction Moalboal

  1.  Diving
    The most popular Moalboal attractions are all under water. Being part of the rich Coral Triangle is what makes the Philippines an excellent, world-class diving destination. With a great variety of underwater scenery and fish species you rarely find elsewhere. Most diving around Moalboal is drop-off diving with a mild current. The sea is deep and the mild current ensures a flow of fresh and nutritious water that makes the corals to flourish. The corals is a wonderful mix of lobed pore-, brain-, soft,- 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 colourful fishes. We call it our turtle paradise and it’s not rare you see more turtles on one dive than fingers on your hand. Here you can set your eyes on many mysterious creatures like giant frog fish, leaf scorpion fish, clown trigger fish, ornate ghost pipe fish, sea moths, leaf- and devil scorpion fish and many more. Look into our web page for more information. 
    Coral reef Moalboal
  2.  The Sardine run
    This is the major reason that ten thousands of divers, snorkelers and free diver are making their pilgrims journey to Moalboal every year. Here you can watch millions of sardines congregate together in tropical water with a spectacular wall as a backdrop, just a few meters offshore and the best thing is, you can witness this phenomenon all year around! 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.
    Sardine run Moalboal
  3. Oslob Whale shark watching
    Quo Vadis offers package trips to Oslob for divers (minimun 3 people,)  Oslob is located only 1.5 hour drive from our resort in Pangasama. It’s 99% guaranteed to see these magnificent giants when you are snorkelling or diving and most of the times you will see more than a few. Whale shark watching in Cebu started last September 2011 and it became popular all over the world when the news hit in the internet last November 2011. By December 2011, local fishermen’s interact with the whale sharks by feeding them and large numbers of tourists began arriving in Oslob not just to see the whale sharks being fed but also to snorkel or dive with them. Whale sharks are the largest fish in the ocean. The typical whale shark size is 4-12 meters. Oslob is home to schools of these amazing creatures and they can be seen by divers and non-divers, swimmers and non-swimmers, the old and the young alike.Oslob Whale shark watching
  4. Pescador Island
    Pescador island suits everyone. Diving, snorkeling, free diving or just to sit on the boat to witness the pretty little island and its clear water. But underwater, that’s where the fun begins. The wall is going down to 50 meters and is filled with spectacular crevasses, over hangs and caves. The sloping wall is dressed in big hard corals where you often can see schools of inquisitive violet fusiliers and many other reef fishes. Here you can set your eyes on many mysterious creatures like giant frog fish, leaf scorpion fish, clown trigger fish, sea moths, leaf scorpion fish and many more. Don’t forget to look out in the blue and you can see small schools of sardines, butterfly fish, jack fish, mackerel and red tooth trigger fish.pescador island Moalboal
  5. Canyoneering
    You can make canyoneering at a few different waterfalls from beautiful Kawasan Falls being a fun adventure for everyone to a bit more challenging Tison Falls being a more challenging experience. Canyoneering involves travelling down creeks or streams within a canyon by a variety of means including walking, jumping, swimming, climbing and abseiling (Tison falls). Suitable for anyone looking for a wet, fun and active full day in pristine condition.
    kanyoing Kawasan falls
  6. Mantayupan falls
    It is the main natural attraction in Barili. With its 98 meters it is also one of Cebu’s tallest waterfalls. Mantayupan Falls, also known by the locals as Ambakan Falls, has two levels. The first level are three waterfalls with the height of 14 meters and the second level is a waterfall which is 98 meters high. Being a little bit further away from Moalboal (50 min by car or bike) it’s not as touristy as Kawasan falls and if you go there on a weekday you can be all alone with this pretty view.
    mayanuppan falls
  7. Osmania Peak
    the highest mountain in Cebu that is a favourite among hikers for its picturesque view of the countryside. Most known as O’ Peak, it offers a breath-taking view of the sunrise, sunset and the white coastline hugging the coral blue sea and jagged hills with lush grass and patches of flowers. Osmena Peak rises 1,013 meters above sea level and is nestled between the southern towns of Dalaguete and Badian. Its about an 2 hour drive up the mountins from Moalboal, but the road leading to the top is an adventure itself, seeing the  flora and fauna change.

    Osmania Peak is the highest point of Cebu

    Osmania Peak is the highest point of Cebu

  8. Kawasan Falls
    Only a 30 minute drive, located 17 km south of Moalboal, Kawasan Falls comprise a series of three waterfalls; the largest cascades 20m into a massive, crystal blue swimming hole. The second and third waterfalls are more peaceful, and you can even scramble beyond these to more secluded spots. This is a beautiful sight and makes beautiful photos. If possible try to avoid weekends when it tends to be very busy.
    kawasan falls Moalboal
  9. Lambug beach
    Lambuk beach located a 40 minutes South of Moalboal is still somewhat a secret unknown to many. It’s a 30-40 minute drive from Panagsama, but it’s worth it, the sand here is whiter than White beach and weekdays you can almost find yourself alone here. There is some really nice corals where the sand slopes down in the water so bring a mask and snorkel!
    lambug beach
  10. White beach
    Located 6 km North or a 20 min drive from the dive centre white beach is a popular beach among tourist and locals. On the weekends small eateries and seats can be hired. Sometimes you can see turtles just offshore and the corals here a bit farther out are pristine.

    White beach

 

 

Dive Lo-ok, Moalboal

Lo-ok is a wall dive that contains some of the most pristine coral gardens in the area. So if you want to experience one of the best wall-dives in Moalboal you should request this site on your next diving vacation with Quo Vadis dive resort. If you stay shallow on this dive you will be rewarded with some of the healthiest reefs in this area. Trust me it’s like being a star in the movie Finding Nemo and who wouldn’t love to experienced that?

The beautiful coral garden of Lo-ok, Moalboal

The beautiful coral garden of Lo-ok, Moalboal

Witness thousands of small colourful reef fishes dancing around the corals. Here you will set your eyes on a variety of blennies, gobies, clownfishes and damsels. It’s just incredible to stay and watch the movement, shapes and colours of the reef. We often spot turtles resting among the corals, just waiting for you to have a closer look or to take a nice, close photo.

Turtle, Moalboal

The deeper part on this wall is filled with soft- and hard corals and together with healthy gorgonian sea-fans they are create a colour explosion. Take a closer look and you might get lucky to find a few gorgeous nudibranchs and why not an ugly frogfish? Sometimes we find batfish and trevallies strolling around in the deep. Some small critters also pay our dives a visit like ornate ghost pipefish and different species of crabs and shrimps.

Nudibranch, Moalboal

If times and budget allows, try to do two dives at Lo-ok, one to do the shallow  part and one for a deeper visit and when doing  the deeper part ask for nitrox if you are a nitrox diver or why not do the 1 day nitrox course since this maximise your bottom time at the deep part.

Lo-ok, Moalboal

Reached by a 15 min boat ride north direction from Quo Vadis dive Resort.

Conditions: Depending on the wind. Usually flat ocean with a mild current

Depth: 0 to 50 Meters

Visibility: 15 to 30 Meters