Tag Archives: Diving

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

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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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

 

 

How to extend your bottom-time

The PADI Enriched Air Diver course is PADI’s most popular specialty scuba course. Why? Because scuba diving with enriched air nitrox gives you more no decompression time, especially on repetitive scuba dives. If staying down longer and getting back in the water sooner sounds appealing, then don’t hesitate to become an enriched air diver.

What is EANx? The typical air humans breath is approximately 79 percent nitrogen and 21 percent oxygen, with trace amounts of other gases. EANx has more oxygen and less nitrogen than air does, so you have extended no stop times for a given depth because you absorb nitrogen at a slower rate.

 

A enriched air diver;

  • By raising up the oxygen mix inside the air we expand your bottom-time. At deeper dives this makes a huge difference where the normal bottom-time will limit your dive.
  • Some feel better after diving especially when they do several dives in one day.

How long does it take?

It only take two hours to go trough the knowledge-part that include a movie, knowledge review and an exam. You will later on analyse the air with your instructor and then go for one fun dive to try out the new advantages that the new blend gives you.

So all in all you can become a enriched air diver in a half day! At Quo vadis dive resort we have our own classroom and some incredible dives that you can choose from to do. What are you waiting for?

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Price list (Php)

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.

We have the best house reef in Moalboal

From Quo Vadis Dive Center you follow the stair down to the turquoise ocean, now when your feets is touching the 29 degrees warm water you put on your mask and fins and you start to swim out. After 50 m the rocky bottom will transfer to a shallow coral garden and you have now set eyes on Quo Vadis House Reef. The corals beneath you is a wonderful mix of lobed pore-, brain-, 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 colorful fishes. When putting your head in the water you will see thousands of damsels and other small reef fishes swimming along puffer fishes, trumpet fishes, lion fishes,

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Painted Frogfish

With a drop of going down as deep as 60 m you have plenty of options. Suitable for both beginner divers to more advanced diving and not to forget for snorkelers and free divers.

Sometimes you will find some of the uglier inhabitants of the reef, such as, different spices of frog fish, scorpion fish and devil scorpion fish. If you are not a fan of the ugly critters of our house reef you can also enjoy big turtles swimming past, almost on a daily basis. You can find two different turtles; the hawksbill and green turtle.  You notice the difference since the hawksbill never clean themselves and therefore it grows a lot of algae’s on their shell. The green turtle is the opposite way around, very tidy and love to scratch its back against a sponge- or fan coral.

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Nudibranch

If you get really excited about small critters, such as, nudibranch, whip coral shrimp, ornate ghost pipe-fish, Popcorn shrimp and bubble coral shrimp you will also enjoy our House Reef. And when lights are out the Mandarin fish are coming out for the sunset dance.

Let’s just say there is something for everyone!

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Ornate Ghost Pipefish

 

 

 

Sustainable Fishing

How does your Facebook feed look like?

If your Facebook feed is covered in posts telling you about our ocean being covered in tons of plastic, what we can do about it, asking you to help saving our oceans, sharing posts from Project Aware, Sea Shepherd and PADI, informing you when our oceans will be empty from fish, letting you know how many sharks are killed by humans every year instead of the other way around, how turtles suffocate on plastic bags, how many marine spices gone extinct the last few years (and the list goes on and on.) These posts are most likely coming from that friend with the underwater profile picture. Your fellow diver.

And it’s true. We do care more about the ocean than most because we breath in it every day, right? We see what massive negative effects humans have on our water planet and we understand how important it is for us and our life on land.

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One thing Quo Vadis Dive Resort care about a little bit extra about today (and all other days) is how the increasing global demand for fish has pushed the oceans to its limits. For hundreds of years the fishermen have respected the ocean, only taking what he need. Today he don’t respect the ocean anymore and without any fundamental restructuring of the fishing industry the ocean will soon be empty.

One billion people (yes, you read it right) rely on fish as their biggest source for food. So you can just imagine the size of this issue we are facing. As consumers we need to stay informed on which fisheries are sustainable and which are not. We need to know which fish to buy and what progress is being made globally.

All life on our earth is linked to the ocean and its inhabitants. The more you know about it the more dedicated you will be to help out. Read, talk and thirst for more knowledge.

Here is some links to help you get started. Read about what fish is on the menu and what fish better not be. http://www.goodfishguide.org/
http://wwf.panda.org/how_you_can_help/live_green/out_shopping/seafood_guides/

/Caroline and Charlie