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Stevie_W
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Miscellaneous Dive locations

Postby Stevie_W » Mon, 22 Sep 2014 7:43 pm

Hello all
Has anyone done diving in Philippines? What's the diving like around November/December time?
Also, has anyone dived in Cambodia? Any idea what the diving is like around december/january time?
Cheers

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Postby JR8 » Mon, 22 Sep 2014 9:05 pm

Yes I've dived Malapascua in the PH. Great diving, really 1st class!, great place.
I stayed at a tiny Anglo/Irish boutique dive resort... at the back of the beach.
http://evolution.com.ph/ See the reviews of it on Tripadvisor too.

Quite surreal really. Tiny place with a walk-up bar, maybe 12 rooms amongst the sand, a gourmet menu for dinner (changes every night, it's like 'Jamie Oliver' pub-grub, absolutely AAA+, I mean really it's better than almost any western food in SG it's that good!).

Then the two proprietors (one English, one Irish, both married to PH), are like mega-mega Tech divers. So, on this tiny little sandy plot with no roads, they'll fix you up for - up to - the most intense Trimix 100M+ deco day you're ever likely to do recreationally (given the location their compressor/gas-blending room is insane!). But it's ok, the basic recreational diving is just brilliant too... really legendary.

An unusual combination. A long journey, but I'd recommend it before years down the line it's just another trashed nirvana...

I don't recall the seasons now. Check their site. Cambodia, haven't dived there, I understand the waters, a la SG are more turbid, and 'dynamite fishing' has trashed any reefs. That doesn't rule it out of course, just sidelines it as more of a specialist (muck-diving) non-mainstream destination.

Other options worth exploring
- Lembeh Straits, Borneo (Example: http://www.diverslodgelembeh.com/ )
- Sipidan, Borneo (Example: http://seaventuresdive.com/ )
- Gili Air, off Lombok. (Example: http://www.manta-dive-giliair.com/ )
I've dived all three. They're generally quite remote. in the mold of 'small boutique resorts'. On the very top of their game. In destinations that won't be recognisable in 20 years time (a la Phuket 1990 - 2010).

I really recommend any of the above, for the diving, somewhat basic but quality accommodation, and a genuine unspoilt island (or off-tangent oil-rig!) experience.

Micronesia. My next planned destination, specifically Yap Atoll where by chance a very old acquaintance runs a hotel/dive centre... sounds promising, and we'll see...

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Re: Miscellaneous Dive locations

Postby ecureilx » Mon, 22 Sep 2014 9:34 pm

Stevie_W wrote:Hello all
Has anyone done diving in Philippines? What's the diving like around November/December time?
Also, has anyone dived in Cambodia? Any idea what the diving is like around december/january time?
Cheers


I have done dives, with instructors, in Dos Palmas, Puerto Galera and couple more places

not too deep, but loved it anyway

note this is typhoon season

I just sat through one horrible typhoon after another and we weren't even anywhere near the typhoon. howling wind and I thought the roof's gonna go.. part from the scary rain that lashed my place two days in a row...

and once when I went to palawan I got stranded in Sabang for a whole day, as due to typhoon in Luzon, Palawan was experiencing 5 foot waves and all bancas were grounded .. doubt anybody went diving the whole week.

there are some dive spots near Boracay, and with the recent cancellations of PRC tourists you may get a good deal

try Fish Eye Divers, Carlo.

they have their own boat for heading to the dive spots.

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Postby Stevie_W » Tue, 23 Sep 2014 3:44 pm

Thanks for the info guys.

Cambodia. I'm not going there because of diving. I'm diving because i'm going there.

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Postby JR8 » Tue, 23 Sep 2014 3:49 pm

Stevie_W wrote:Thanks for the info guys.

Cambodia. I'm not going there because of diving. I'm diving because i'm going there.


Read you loud and clear.

Akin to diving somewhere like Switzerland. You weren't planning to, but since you're going anyway it's worth checking it out!

Have fun :)

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Postby Stevie_W » Fri, 03 Oct 2014 7:48 pm

Well, just to add to this.
Malapascua - Are there any wrecks in the area that you can dive to/in?
Palawan/El Nido and Coron are 2 other possibilities that i'm looking at.
Coron because there's quite a number of wrecks there that could be fun to dive around and in if possible.
El Nido because a Filipino friend of my suggested it and claimed it's probably one of the best places in Philippines.
Has anyone been to these 2 places, Coron and El Nido? Any comments about these?
Still reading up and researching these 3 places but always good to hear what other people have to say about them.
Cheers
Stevie

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Postby JR8 » Fri, 03 Oct 2014 9:04 pm

Hi Stevie,

Not that I’m aware of. It seems more naturalist/reef orientated over that way.
I think it’s also down to how much local marine transport is timber hulled, so if it sinks in under 40M it’s either salvaged and/or rotted and gone pretty soon.
You can dive some wrecks up in Tioman. These are illegal fishing boats sunk by ‘Marine Parks’ to create artificial reefs (justice ha!). Sawasdee and Pirates are two such dive-sites and damned good they are too. They’re not huge, maybe 30-40M so not much opportunity for penetration esp as Marine Parks filled them with rocks before scuttling them! If you want to taste getting inside some big steel-hulled wrecks then maybe a trip over to the Red Sea could work well (Dunraven, Thistlegorm, Carnatic, Giannis D, Rosalie Moller, etc). Definitely worth having your Advanced/Wreck-diver speciality qual before going out that way... as you get all kinds of potential issues with silt, exit routes, orientation etc.

Correction: there is wreck-diving at Malapascua. I remember now the guys who run the place I dived prepping for a dive on one previously unknown WW2 wreck which is at something like 130m (?). In fact IIRC they had discovered it. But that’s Tri-Mix territory.... not recreational and off my radar, and for most of us (ask SMS for any perspective, that kind of hard-tech thing is his field)... but that’s beyond the realms of standard/holiday ‘recreational diving’. http://evolution.com.ph/technical-divin ... ilippines/

IME wreck diving (as suggested) brings challenges along with the interest. I think it was the Giannis D where you fin straight but inverted (vs the hull) down one long corridor at 20m and then (can) find yourself suddenly at 50m without really realising it. Narc’d to bongo-land, not knowing what's up and down, and hoovering your air, with loads of silt kicked up and no clear way out. Don’t mean to be dramatic but that’s one danger, and pushing the ‘air limits’ .... can be a bit like 30-40 minutes of trying your luck. For such reasons for any wreck penetrtion I know you need at least 60+dives/AOW+.

.... Me... I’ll stick to unspoilt ‘critter diving’ thanks.... nice ‘n easy does it.... the slower you go, the more you see.... then in the pm.... cocktails on the beach and keeping the missus happy with plans for dinner out, vs 6hrs deco stops and coming up like a sodden cabbage :) Horses for courses :) What i will say though is if you do want to go down the tech-route all well and good, just it’s worth paying to train/get your quals at a top-notch school (as I understand it, that takes you down the ‘TDI’ route).

Youtube some of the classic wreck dives and see what you think...


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yRa5mKjI9a8
'Scuba Diving the Giannis D ship wreck in the Red Sea, Egypt

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Postby ecureilx » Fri, 03 Oct 2014 10:14 pm

Stevie_W wrote:Well, just to add to this.
Malapascua - Are there any wrecks in the area that you can dive to/in?
Palawan/El Nido and Coron are 2 other possibilities that i'm looking at.
Coron because there's quite a number of wrecks there that could be fun to dive around and in if possible.
El Nido because a Filipino friend of my suggested it and claimed it's probably one of the best places in Philippines.
Has anyone been to these 2 places, Coron and El Nido? Any comments about these?
Still reading up and researching these 3 places but always good to hear what other people have to say about them.
Cheers
Stevie


I been to El Nido / Coron, when it took 10 hours from Puerto Princesca - PP Airport, but now I understand it's a shade over 5 hours, and going to PP and by road up north is cheaper than a Dornier / Grand Caravan Hop from PP. Or Dornier to El Nido direct

beautiful places both are, and a friend owns a beach front property

I didn't dive .. so other than what I know that there are some WW2 wrecks ... not much I can help ..

I recall it was in Coron that has wrecks.

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Postby JR8 » Fri, 03 Oct 2014 10:43 pm

Truk Lagoon/Chuuk, Micronesia.

If you're big into wrecks, and have lots of money, this is the must-go place...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chuuk_Lagoon


p.s. to me, the thought on spending a week cooped up on a liveaboard with a dozen+ tech/wreck divers is [fill in the blanks!!]... and my idea of hell on earth! :)

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Postby sundaymorningstaple » Fri, 03 Oct 2014 10:50 pm

JR8, if you think that's bad, try doing a week in Sat! :o

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Postby ecureilx » Fri, 03 Oct 2014 11:10 pm

JR8, my bits of history say that the straits of Surigao off Leyte was once called Iron Bottoms, due to the number of ships that sank

and I never stop wondering about the courage of the USN facing still a powerful Japanese Navy, at that stage of the war, and sending a few Japanese war ships down ...

maybe they are deep but for tech divers it should be a challenge

Battle off Samar and Battle of Surigao Straits and Battle Off Leyte are fine history Reads ...

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Postby JR8 » Fri, 03 Oct 2014 11:17 pm

sundaymorningstaple wrote:JR8, if you think that's bad, try doing a week in Sat! :o


Here we go ... :wink: :lol:


In future installments:
- Why using Johnson's No More tears shampoo as a de-fog degrades black silicone and you wouldn't find the military using that nancy stuff would you!?
- My wetsuit might be 40 years old and full of holes, but it's got all my ranks (I mean badges) on.
- What do you mean poking this Moray is unethical? I've been doing it since I was 8, and it's still sitting there in the same damned hole isn't it?
- Inverted/mounting an emergency pony makes sense. Even for a 100 Bar recreational dive to 18M. You can never be too safe. Really.
- My first regulator was made from a Calor Gas connector. I still use it every day.
- Oh you've only done 8,000 dives? Here look, I just happen to have brought my own log book along ... going back to May 11th 1958, but I stopped seriously logging them them after about 100. Oh my, you write so much in yours!.
- I accept that this is recreational diving and that we're diving as a team, my '20 minute periods of rest' hanging on the line at 12m and 6m weren't deco stops, just me having a rest. Ok? You really didn't have to come back down and offer me your spare.
- Ok so I did log 85 minutes on that dive but I've no idea how I bent my computer, it must be on some recreational algo.
- We'll just chuck that beeping one in a bucket of water until it shuts up. No matter, I brought my other three along.

:lol: :P

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Postby JR8 » Sat, 04 Oct 2014 12:46 am

sundaymorningstaple wrote:JR8, if you think that's bad, try doing a week in Sat! :o


I spent a year or so during/around my DM, on call as a emergency 'deco-buddy' for a hospital in London (Whipp's Cross IIRC, the main London hospital for dive injuries). The idea was I'd be 'in the pot' with them. It never came to it. About 1:3 of us were called upon. I'm not sure if I regret not getting that experience, plus the pay was pretty big. In some ways I'm glad I didn't have to go through it.... some of the cases were pretty bad, apparently, and suddenly 'you're the man' sitting in the little tube with the dead guy for 36hrs. I'm not quite sure what you need in order to deal with such things, or whether you know if you have it.


All well and good, it might be us tomorrow, just maybe not action-stations at 3am on a Sunday morning. 'Most of us planned this as recreational and here we are....'. A couple of guys were obviously on their speed-dial, and getting paid something like £2k a week for such rosters. These are what I'd describe as Aussie/Kiwi dive pro's, DMs/OWSIs etc, open to extra work. Well qualified in at least the core theory, as to what's going on and what's needed/happening. Able to drop off the world at 10 minutes notice for a week. I'd have done it at least once as a volunteer, and then likely more, but there we go...

These experiences later in a dive career make you a more thoughtful and sober diver. I'm grateful for that.

p.s. I'd still do it now if called upon, 'there but for the grace of God go I', but am off that radar...

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Postby the lynx » Tue, 07 Oct 2014 9:55 am

JR8 wrote:- Why using Johnson's No More tears shampoo as a de-fog degrades black silicone and you wouldn't find the military using that nancy stuff would you!?


Agree. The de-fog stuff really wears off the silicone/rubber/water seal-off part around my goggles/mask.

During a trip to Maldives, I noticed the dive master and others used dish washing liquid. It definitely worked because it was so so so clear compared to de-fog liquid. But would it kill the rubber/silicone too?

I will consider the shampoo bit.

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Postby JR8 » Tue, 07 Oct 2014 12:59 pm

the lynx wrote:
JR8 wrote:- Why using Johnson's No More tears shampoo as a de-fog degrades black silicone and you wouldn't find the military using that nancy stuff would you!?


Agree. The de-fog stuff really wears off the silicone/rubber/water seal-off part around my goggles/mask.

During a trip to Maldives, I noticed the dive master and others used dish washing liquid. It definitely worked because it was so so so clear compared to de-fog liquid. But would it kill the rubber/silicone too?
I will consider the shampoo bit.


Well I don't know. What I'd suggest is asking the question of a dive guide at a dive centre where they do not sell mask defogger (you know those little 50ml bottles that seem to cost $15-20 or so)* :) Ask the staff what they personally recommend.

There seems to be a whole DIY science to getting the 'wax' off the glass of a new mask. One reason to avoid having to buy one when on holiday. It's apparently used as a preservative on the silicone skirt. Some suggest scrubbing like fury with toothpaste (the white kind like Colgate, not a gel one), leaving for 24hrs and repeating again. Many others flame the glass with a lighter and burn it off, obviously that needs care! Anyway, once you've managed that you won't have to repeat it again.

I just use a few drops of washing-up liquid in a 50ml dropper bottle of water. It seems to work fine. I can't say I've noticed degradation of the silicone skirt from it's use, but I just rub it around with a clean finger-tip, give it a one dip dousing in the sea or bucket of water and quick rub with the fingers and that's it. No More Tears is used by quite a lot of people for the obvious reason; accidentally getting Fairy Liquid etc residue in your eyes when down is a bit of a nightmare :roll:

The biggest risks to masks IME is having them in your gear crate and dropping something like a weight belt on them, or more usually someone else doing it for you. The other way is keeping the mask safe in the foot of one of your fins. That works fine, just don't repeatedly jam it too far/hard into the foot pocket 'to ensure it's safe' as it will start cracking the frame => leaking. And once you get to replacing the frame on a mask (done it once in Phuket, on a mask I'd had since originally qualifying), then you really might as well get a new one and/or upgrade. Parts like mask frames are $$ and never on promo. But getting a new mask, without proper research, in the middle of a dive trip, is not a great idea. It needs proper cleaning, per above, and the field of vision will probably be different - maybe like getting newly prescribed specs after many years... I imagine it can be a bit like Wooooah, that's different!

So in summary, I don't think the defog you can buy is worth it. I've not seen DIY solutions damage a mask, but perhaps they don't last long enough for such damage to occur. If you care for a mask, even using DIY defog, by the time you need to replace it technology will likely have moved on and you'll probably be only too happy to.


* Be aware some dive centres, esp up in Thailand apparently, the staff are on commission for selling dive gear. I've met DMs who've worked there who have said it's part of their contract that they have to sell not only courses, but $x00 of gear a month, or they get deductions from their basic.


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