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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.

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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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Cathedral at Pescador Island

PADI Deep diving course

The lure of the deep. There’s something exciting and mysterious about exploring deeper dive sites while scuba diving. Sometimes it’s a wreck that attracts you below 18 metres/60 feet or on a wall dive it may be a giant fan or sponges. Whatever it is, to scuba dive with confidence at depths down to 40 metres/130 feet, you should take the PADI Deep Diver Specialty course.

If you’ve earned the PADI Adventure Diver rating or higher, and you’re at least 15 years old, you can enroll in the Deep Diver course.

Knowledge development; Independently study manual and a movie; Answer knowledge review in PADI Deep Diver book. Your training starts by reviewing reasons for deep diving and how important it is to know your personal limits.

The course is scheduled during two days with four dives in total.

  • Two dives to – 30 meters
  • Two dives to – 40 Meters

During four deep dives with your instructor, you’ll go over:

  • Specialized deep diving equipment.
  • Deep dive planning, buddy contact procedures and buoyancy control.
  • Managing your gas supply, dealing with gas narcosis and safety considerations.

If you want to explore places where less divers been the PADI Deep diving course is something for you. Wanna know more about this course contact Quo Vadis Dive Resort. 

Price list (Php)

 

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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)

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

The Sardine Run in Moalboal

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A diver slowly swimming into the hurricane of small sardines. Picture by Ruffy Biazon

I’m sure you heard about the sardine run in South Africa, where you can watch a massive, migrating bait ball during a short period of the year, usually between June and July. But did you know that you can witness the exact same phenomenon in Moalboal, Philippines all year around? Here you can watch the millions of sardines congregate together in tropical water with a spectacular wall as a backdrop, just a few meters offshore.

The sardine run is the main attraction for Quo Vadis Dive resorts divers and it’s not hard to understand why. 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.

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Picture by Ruffy Biazon

The traffic is heavy down here, but it’s a sort of traffic you wouldn’t mind and it’s perfectly organized. The clouds of sardines are effortless coordinated, creating alien formations and moving together in perfection. See them shiver when they catch the rays of the sun, hear them move when the trevally’s dart in for a bite. I promise you, it will keep you hypnotized for the better part of your tank. As with anything with nature nothing is guaranteed, the school have been smaller than usually a few days but that is really out of the ordinary.

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This should be on every divers bucket list. Divers and underwater photographer are coming from all corners of the world to witness the underwater tornado of sardines. Due to the location and the fact that the big ball of sardines is to be found at only 5-15 meters of depth it’s also perfect for snorkelers. But for a truly mind blowing experience you have to dive below them, to watch them cover the sun for a few moments before your bubbles will separate the silhouettes above, letting the sun in. It’s also possible to do a dive starting with the sardines and then continue all the way to Quo Vadis House reef to get the best out of two worlds.

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You can often see some of predators hunting for the sardines, making the experience even better.

No one really knows what causes the sardines to act this way, it is poorly understood in an ecological point of view. The sardines migrated a few years back from Pescador Island to the shore alongside Panagsama. The sardine run pulls a lot of tourists and the locals understand the positive effect of this, so no net fishing is allowed in Moalboal. Only the local fishermen are allowed to use their small wooden boats to go out and fish with hooks and lines to catch enough of sardines for their family or to sell at the local market.

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Picture by Ruffy Biazon

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A turtle gently gliding past under the sardines. Picture by Ruffy Biazon

moalboal sardine run

Picture by Ruffy Biazon

Contact Pieter@quovadisresort.com or go into http://www.quovadisresort.com for more information or to book the dive of your life time.

Quo Vadis Dive Clean-Up 2016

grupp-quoWhat a success our Dive Cleanup turned out to be! Quo Vadis Dive Resort manage to raise 1204 USD to Project Aware and with help of other passionate divers we also removed 118 kg of trash from the ocean bed during our Dive Cleanup at the 11th of October this year. We were 23 divers doing 2 dives and let me just say, our bags was overfilled. It’s such a good feeling picking plastic after plastic, fishing lines, cans and bottles from the reef knowing we are doing this for our ocean, together.

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Together with PADI, Project aware and all happy volunteer divers we made this happen and we are more than proud. The theme word of this day is just that: together, because we could never have done it alone. To talk, clean and share all this with people that is just as dedicated as we are is inspiring.

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The sardines was the first dive site we cleaned up and the site was overfilled with fishing lines, hooks, lines and ropes. While collecting the trash we were monitored by the enormous school of millions sardines, hovering over our heads making the day turn dark as they covered the sun. Not a bad clean-up dive.

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The second dive was just by White beach where the white sand slopes down in the ocean turning into a colourful reef.  Between sea anemones, hard- and soft corals we could find everything from diapers, plastic and tires, to clothes, cans and bottles which all followed us up to White Beach to get weighted.

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At White beach we all enjoyed a nice BBQ together followed by some volleyball and the competition was fierce. There was also a trash competition and the winner got a nice price, but even more important, he alone removed over 39 kg of trash from the ocean.

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Picture from Edgar Alan Zeta-Yap

Due to the big success we decided to make this a annual event. There is plenty of garbage in the ocean waiting to get picked up and more money to be dedicated into project gaining our ocean, our planet. Go into http://www.projectaware.org to learn more about what you can do to help and also to read about their projects.

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Over and out and see you next year!

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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.

 

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