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Old 03-03-2008   #31 (permalink)
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Yay!!! I've been looking forward to your arrival. Very strange that the people of the Philipines can't swim!

Waiting for more!
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Old 03-03-2008   #32 (permalink)
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Wonderful report as usual! Can't wait for the dive pics...
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Old 03-03-2008   #33 (permalink)
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Great report- and beautiful pictures! A few comments:

1) Phones ringing in my hotel room when I am on vacation freak me out- no one should be calling me so I always fear that there is some kind of family emergency....... (except for the time my husband lost my wallet in the ocean and a nice Italian man found it and called our room- that was most appreciated!)

2)Your photos really capture the flavor of Manila- you have such an eye for photography I can't wait to see the rest of your vacation

3)Dauin sounds heavenly- but I think I would venture out on that unpaved road by the end of 6 days! Diving (well snorkeling for me) and lounging on a hammock are great for a certain amount of time- but at some point I'm going to get antsy and start wandering
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Old 03-04-2008   #34 (permalink)
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Well, the day started bad since last night I had one of my worst nights ever. I couldn't sleep and I had a headache which was killing me. So this morning I was not really sure if I should go diving or not. When I talked to my divemaster for today it turned out that on the first dive I was alone so we agreed on doing a shallow dive and going up if my head would explode even more under water. But it went okay and although my head still hurt it was not soo bad that we had to go up.

First thing we saw when we came down was a very tiny yellowish frog fish. He was clearly visible in the dark sand. Then we went on and saw lots of other fish and coral reef and and and... at one point there was a big grouper which I take a pic of (of course) and I was rather proud that I detected a stonefish that was very hard to see. Unfortunately the visibility was not really great so Itook less pics than I might otherwise have taken.

After that dive I skipped the second dive and spent the next hours in my hammock. At 2 PM I felt better and went out diving with a swedish girl and one english and one american guy. We went to another place and this time we saw (among other things) a beautiful firefish and a nudibranch. There was a big turtle swimming around but it was too far away for a pic and the barracuda fled before we reached him.

After we were back at the ressort I talked to the american guy while washing our dive gear and I told him about the waterfalls. Then I mentioned 'this reminded me of river tubing in Texas'. He was immediately alert and asked 'Where did you go?' 'San Marcos' And it turned out that he has lived in San Marcos for a couple of years and probably knows Sctx... Scott, be afraid since I will go diving with Jay at an island tomorrow so we have all day to talk about you...

Pics will have to wait till later since they do have a biologist here at the ressort and today he will tell us something about frogfish. I wanna go since I missed the meeting yesterday (was about critters).
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Old 03-04-2008   #35 (permalink)
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Well, since my head started throbbing again I didn't make it to the frogfish presentation. Went to dinner early since I hadn't had lunch. It was nice to be close to the waves hitting on the beach (the restaurant of the ressort is at the beach). They do have an interesting menue here. With an italian touch but still interesting. Tonight I had a minestrone soup (vegetable) with one slice of baguette bread which had small slices of parmesan cheese in it. Afterwards I had two pieces of pork on a crepe filled with pumpkin. Interesting combination (and good!). While having dinner I watched some divers on a night dive. You could only see the light in the water. Then it started to rain but I didn't care since I was sitting under an umbrella anyway...

And here are some dive pics. I still have to get used to my camera. The pics are not as sharp as I would like them to be...

First the frogfish. Please note that he was the size of about half a finger:


Twins...


Not sure what the name of this fish is... but he did hide well. :-(


Firefish (Jay, the american, saw a firefish the size of a basketball during that dive - I didn't see that one).


You see the stone-fish?


There were several blue starfish. Liked them... and only on this pic did I see that this one had dots on it...


And here you can see my hammock. It's hidden behind the palm tree...


And tomorrow we will be off to Apo Island which is said to be one of the best dive spots in the world. I've read that there are nice beaches on it as well so I will probably take both my cameras. Have to cover the DSRL well though since the waters can get rough (and we will get wet) on the way back.... I am just thankful that someone was so intelligent to invent ZipLoc-bags...
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Old 03-04-2008   #36 (permalink)
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Beautiful pictures! And what a gorgeous setting for your resort! I sure hope your headache goes away soon! Have fun and feel better please.

(did you see that I had to slightly change the date of our NC peep meet? I sure hope you can still make it!)
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Old 03-04-2008   #37 (permalink)
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Great Pics!! And yes, I do see the stonefish!! Very exciting!! Cannot wait for the next installment and more pics!! Have a great dive!!
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Old 03-04-2008   #38 (permalink)
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There were several blue starfish. Liked them... and only on this pic did I see that this one had dots on it...
Wow! This is cool! Love your report - thank you for taking the time to share with us. And I hope you feel better soon!
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Old 03-05-2008   #39 (permalink)
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Well, this morning I had to get up rather early since departure for Apo Island was at 8 AM. Had breakfast with Jay and Jordan (the two americans) and then we went off to Apo Island. This is an about 40 minutes crossing of the open sea which this morning was easy.

We did 3 dives on Apo Island, two in the morning and the third in the afternoo. I can just say: this was just GREAT!!!! Although during the morning dives we got stung by parts of jellyfish which were swimming in the water. Didn't see any jellyfish but the hurting files were still around. Since I learned the hard way 2 years ago that this can happen I was glad I stuck to my promise (to myself) never to dive with a shorty again. Got stung at the hands and the feet though. Jay got it directly in his face. He wasn't too happy about it since we didn't have any vinegar on board.

The dives itself were great. Apo Island these days should be adult zone only since most of the nudibranches we saw were mating. One of the dive guides told me that when they mate they get both pregnant. And then we saw beautiful red anemone fish in red anemones. Lots of nudbranches, more stonefish, lots of smaller fish, star fish again.. there was so much to see and all of our dives were longer than one hour since we were not really deep (max. was 20 metres/about 60 ft).

Had lunch on the boat near a beach on Apo Island. Women are selling t-shirts there and we got a discount since Jay, Jordan and I took one each. I wanted to walk around a little bit and take pictures as I had brought my DSLR-camera but getting off the boat was not easy and so I left the camera on board. Turned out that it was a wise decision since on the way back I slipped. Took some pics from the boat though.

The way back to the hotel was not really a pleasant one since the water's gotten rough. We got wet (we had all left the wetsuits on) but in the end we all wore our masks as well as we permanently got water in our faces. Was better to endure with the mask on. We must have looked funny...

Will post some pics later on. Right now I have to go to dinner...
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Old 03-05-2008   #40 (permalink)
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First let me show you several different species of my favourite fish - the anemone fish:









I have no clue what this is but it definitely looked funny...


This small fish was hard to see (and hard to photograph as well...) He did hide well.


More starfish...




More stonefish...


That one was really hanging like this...


And here are a couple of the nudibranches we saw today. They are a fascinating species.. It is funny because when we dove and Wenny (our guide) pointed in this direction I thought he pointed at this black and white thing in the middle of the pic. Only when I downloaded the pic I saw the nudibranch to the left....


Been told at dinner that this is not a nudibranch but a crawling see-urgin:


But these are real nudibranches...


When Wenny showed this one to us (it was crawling in the sand) I thought it was black - detected only on the laptop that it is not.


The black/blue/white ones were the ones we saw most....


That one is a beauty - isn't she?


Maybe I should have censored that one...


Tomorrow morning I will skip the first dive since I haven't really seen anything of the ressort and the beach yet. So - if it stops raining (which has been going on for the past 3 hours) I am going to take some overwater pics... Might give you some overwater pics from Apo Island tomorrow as well. Just haven't downloaded the ones from the DSRL yet.
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Old 03-05-2008   #41 (permalink)
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I got chill bumps looking at your pictures! No other word comes to mind but....AMAZING!!!! The colors are so vibrant!! I am in awe!!
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Old 03-05-2008   #42 (permalink)
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OMG- your pictures are phenomenal I'm going to have to agree with Vanessa on the "chill-bumps" thing- the colors are amazing! Thank you so much for posting this report
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Old 03-05-2008   #43 (permalink)
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I LOVE the starfish pics
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Old 03-05-2008   #44 (permalink)
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Amazing underwater pictures thanks so much for sharing.
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Old 03-05-2008   #45 (permalink)
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Quote:
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Hey! I FOUND NEMO!!!
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