Tag Archives: scubadiving

PROJECT AWARE Reef Clean Up: Making ‘White Beach’ clean again!

On 11th of October 2017, all buddy teams were set up and given bags to collect rubbish and our boat crew of the ‘Smiling Star’ lifted the mooring line and we headed towards White Beach, approximately a 10-minute boat ride away from our resort. We chose this site since a lot of people visit White Beach and unfortunately don’t take their rubbish away with them and so it ultimately ends up in the ocean.

Despite the main objective being to clear up as much rubbish as we could, there was ample time to enjoy the beautiful array of marine life. Being just past the full moon, we had a pleasant current allowing us to calmly drift along the reef. It was apparent on the dive that White Beach was in dire need of a clean, especially to preserve the flourishing corals housing some of people’s favorite creatures, such as pygmy sea horses and ornate ghost pipefish.

CK and Dee picking up trash

Every buddy team took a different maximum depth in order to increase our scope and efficiency on picking up the rubbish.

As we surfaced, we all realised everyone had done a brilliant job since there was not one empty bag. Even our boat crew managed to grab 3 bags of rubbish that was floating on the surface. Surprisingly enough, we found one of our favorite creatures hanging onto the floating rubbish: the famous Sargassum Frogfish!

White beach reef clean up

Sargassum Frogfish

Our second dive was a fun dive at Pescador Island, One of Moalboal’s most famous sites for its beautiful reef, caves and overhangs. As it is protected from fishing, this dive site is covered with schooling fish like Trevallies, Fuseliers and the adorable, colorful Anthiadinae.

Meanwhile the staff that only joined for the reef clean, returned to land and started the Project AWARE count of the rubbish, which weighed in at 55kgs! The most common items were plastic bags and food wrappers, but we also picked up some nappies and even bicycle and motorbike tyres. Sadly, the wind is not to blame for such items being in the sea…

PROJEVT AWARE garbage count

At the end of the day our winners were announced, with the heaviest bag going to Dindo Paquitbot. He managed to pick up 8kg of trash all on his own. Our other winner, Nils Toussaint, claimed the largest item with a bike tyre.

One thing we will all remember from this day, is that less plastic is better, because a lot of it does end up in the ocean. To help prevent it, bring your own reusable carry bag when shopping and choose your groceries wisely with minimal plastic wrapping as possible. Hopefully one day there will no longer be a need to do clean ups such as this.

Check out the website for Project AWARE below and see how you can make a difference! Merely signing one of their petitions is a significant contribution you can make in the comfort of your own home.

https://www.projectaware.org/

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

 

 

 

How to get from Cebu city to Moalboal

The Philippines has through the years been a very hard place to get around, but since tourism has exploded the last few year’s this has started to change. But we still have to remember that the Philippines is a archipelago with over 7000 islands so you need to plan your traveling well not to waste your time. Cebu is one of the biggest tourist destinations with tons of ways to spend your valuable time.

Now let’s talk about how to get from Cebu city to the waterfront of Moalboal and its pristine coral reefs.

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Backpacker Option
From the airport you can take a comfortable taxi with a meter to the south bus terminal. When you arrive in the bus terminal just ask for Moalboal and people will point you to the right bus. Put your own bag in the bus and carry your own luggage if you don’t want to pay for the service.

You can choose between air-con bus and non-air con bus the price difference is almost none existing so I would go with the air-con one if the wait is not to long. The price is approximately; non air-con – Php107 and air-con – Php137 . To avoid traffic congestion the best time to go is weekdays before 4pm.

Ask the bus driver to stop in Moalboal 360 Pharmacy because there are not really any bus stops. When at last in Moalboal you might think; is this it? No this isn’t it! This is where you do your shopping, where you have the pharmacy and where you can find really cheap restaurants, but Panagsama is the place you want to go if you can’t wait to splash down in the colorful water.

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Now it’s time to find a tricycle (or they will find you.) A tricycle is a motorbike with a side carriage and a very local way of traveling. A tricycle should not cost you more than PHP100 – 200 depending how many people there are in your group,  now it’s only a ten minute ride down to our five-star PADI Dive center. From Quo Vadis Dive Resort there is just a few steps down to our colorful house reef and all the amazing creatures living there.

Comfortable Option
If you don’t mind paying a little bit more you can get a taxi direct from the Mactan airport to Moalboal. The drive takes you around 3 hour without traffic , but the total travel time will be much less than taking a bus since you don’t have to wait in line for buses and tricycles. Are you staying with us? Quo Vadis Dive Resort can provide you with a comfortable and safe transportation with our new resort car with air-con and WiFi together with our very friendly driver Loyd who can tell you almost everything worth knowing about this country. Price is Php2900. If you are staying with us, email pieter@quovadisresort.com to arrange your transportation with Loyd.

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13620858_1122436231171820_6783655080334997673_nWelcome to Quo Vadis Dive Resort!

/Caroline and Charlie

 

Why I became a Scuba Diving Instructor

Caroline-Padi
Just next to our house is the ocean. This never ending deep blue that used to give me the shills now makes me feel like nothing else. To submerge myself in this salty home of a thousand of marine creatures makes my heart beat. When I was six years old all I wanted to be was a dentist (for some unfamiliar reason,) then when I was older I wanted to save the orangutans (I still want to save them,) I wanted to be a dolphin trainer (before I discovered all cruelty that comes with it,) built a shelter for rescue dogs (and someday I will,) I wanted to travel the world and I wanted to be a dive instructor. The dreams I had always differed a lot from my friends but my parents have always encourage me telling me it’s all possible. They believed in me and let me tell you, that means the world for a little girl. I will always love them for that.

To do something out of the ordinary
As long as I remembered I wanted to do a difference, I wanted to do something I believed to be important. To share the oceans with others, to tell my students why not to eat shark fin soup, where all our plastic ends up, why not to eat certain fish and why not to pay to see animal in prisons. I feel like I can do a difference, how small it might be I’m making an effort. I try with all of my heart.

manta

Respect
I’m very lucky to be able to do just that. Every time I take people diving that never before have seen the underwater world I feel good about myself. If you thought it was hard to show expression behind a dive mask on your face and a regulator in your mouth, think twice. I can hear them laugh, “wow” and “aaah” of excitement. Sometimes people smile so much they constantly have to clear their mask from water and it makes me do the same.

Every time I tell my students not to touch, not to collect, not to harass the marine creatures and I tell them why, I always get surprised by the respect they show. How people barely in controlled of themselves trying with all they have not to get to close to the reef not to kick anything. When we are back up again some of you thank me for showing you something you didn’t known to exist and telling me how much you tried not to hurt any corals while under water and I can tell that you will dive for the rest of your life and that you will be bloody good at it as well.

flying

We are so scared of the unknown
I have to explain to some of the people why the sharks will not attack them, that the poisonous fish will not come after them and the ocean is not some black hole that just swallows people. It fascinates me how many people that are scared of the ocean before the actually splash in. Into the unknown. And how easy it is to take this fear away. We humans will always fear the unknown, but it will always be something stronger than fear and that is curiosity. What we don’t know so much about scares us but it also fascinates us. That is how we work and that is why I’m so happy to do what I do. To enlighten people, to show them the magnificent about the ocean and to be able to replace what before was scary with something exciting and warm.

 

/Caroline #353983

5 awesome facts about the seahorse

1. Did you know that the Latin family name of the sea horse, hippocampus, translates to horse seamonster? They sure don’t look very scary to me. Their size are ranging from tiny 1.5 cm up to 35 cm. 2.

2. They don’t have any stomach and because of the missing stomach these horses needs to eat all the time. To be exact they need to find at least 3000 tiny shrimps every day or they would die of starvation.

3. The male seahorse really takes his daddy role very serious. In this relationship the male are the one to carry all eggs in his pouch. Of all the eggs only one of thousand survives to an adult size. Some studies shows that they are extremely faithful to each other. Once they find a sea horse partner in their taste they stick with each other for the rest of their life. How romantic!

4. To great exercise can kill this little creatures so mostly they are sitting on the same coral relaxing and eating. Except to gain too much weight the only thing this guys need to worry about is the hungry crabs. If the dwarf sea horse needs to run from the crab he faces a problem, since his horse powers only can create a top speed of 1.5 meter per hour…

5. The seahorse are endangered by over fishing and habitat destruction. The Chinese medicine market has a huge responsibility since they convinced the chines people that seahorses cure impotence, wheezing and pain. Which has non-scientific proof. 20 million seahorses are estimated to been taken from the sea by this reason every year.

The fishing of the endangered seahorse has been controlled by CITES since 2004. CITES is a Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora. Sadly enough Norway, Japan, South Korea and Indonesia didn’t sign the law. Support CITES and other ocean fighters that supports our ocean with knowledge among the local people.

Denise’s Pygmy Seahorse at the divesite Umbrella

 

 

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!