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chinacat46
10-07-2008, 07:37
Here are 20 nudis and flatworms to start with. I'll do a report soon on the two resorts I visited as well as more pics. Here are the first 10 pics.

chinacat46
10-07-2008, 07:40
next 10 pics

gthomas
10-07-2008, 07:45
Thanks for the pics. sometimes we forget to look for the small things.

Travelnsj
10-07-2008, 09:36
Where's the Sharks, Manta's, Eagle rays, schools of Snappers, Hairy frogfish etc etc???....nice pics....wanna see more!

nikefreekz
10-07-2008, 10:44
any topside pics?

chinacat46
10-07-2008, 12:05
any topside pics?

I haven't figured out how to get my camera to work above water. :smilie39:

chinacat46
10-07-2008, 12:24
Where's the Sharks, Manta's, Eagle rays, schools of Snappers, Hairy frogfish etc etc???....nice pics....wanna see more!

I saw as many sharks, mantas and eagle rays as you will in Lembeh. As I stated in the first post more pics and report to come. I'm in no hurry so you will have to wait.

chinacat46
10-07-2008, 12:28
I recently spent two weeks in the Philippines. A week at Atlantis Resort Puerto Galera and another week at Atlantis Resort Dumaguette. I did a package deal through Trip-n-Tour which included all airfare from Denver as well as all ground/boat transfers, food and upto 4 dives a day. I also threw in nitrox to the package as well as one dive trip to Verde Island while staying in Puerto Galera and two dive trips to Apo Island while at Dumaguette. The package with airfare was very reasonable and would compare to trips to the Caribbean but the diving IMHO was much better. The food at both resorts was good to excellent and the drinks which aren't included are pretty cheap. I definitely put on a few pounds at both resorts. Night dives were not included and although I usually love doing night dives I thought they were charging to much($47/dive) so I didn't do any. At PG they were limiting dives to 50 mins so $47 to me seemed steep. I did 43 dives over the two weeks.

My first stop was Puerto Galera. After arriving in Manila and clearing customs I was met by my van driver. From the airport it is over 3 hours by van and boat to get to the resort which is on another island. The resort is very nice and everyone there goes out of their way to make your stay enjoyable(except the touts). The resort and it's dive shop are split by a walkway. The walk way is only a few feet wide but every vendor in PG hangs out there trying to sell you something. I told them hundreds of time I didn't want or need anything but do you think they heard me? Other then that though I really enjoyed my stay in Puerto Galera. The diving was a mixture of reef and muck with mostly reef diving. I saw quite a combination of reef fish and some critters. Pygmy and thorny seahorses, colorful nudibranchs, ribbon and moray eels, cuttlefish, frog fish, rays, scorpion fish, many butterfly & angel fish, anthias, turtles, etc... My favorite dive site at PG was Giant Clam which among other things featured many giant clams. Also saw 5-6 different Thorny Seahorses, nudis, flatworms, mantis shrimp, cockatoo waspfish, flamboyant cuttlefish to name a few things spotted there. I'd say over half the dives are drift dives but it's usually slow drifting. We did one though in "The Canyons" which is definitely not for the beginner. This dive we went to over 90 feet and you basically drift from one canyon to another. Each one is a little deeper and there is a lot of fish of various sizes to watch. After leaving the 3rd canyon you drift off into the blue but we hit a series of up/down/up currents which made the dive a bit more interesting. The 3 tank day trip to Verde Island(45 min boat ride) was very nice and included a big lunch. We dove a great wall with drop dead gorgeous reefs twice and a nice coral garden for the third dive. Saw a couple of kewl nudibranchs on that dive. I enjoyed the diving in Puerto Galera and I'd recommend it to most people and I'd return there.

After leaving PG you retrace your route back to Manila and then fly domestically to Dumaguette. Upon arrival you get picked up by the resorts air conditioned jeepney for the half hour trip to the resort. Atlantis Dumaguette is out of town and right on the beach. A nicer atmosphere then being in Puerto Galera but far from town so no night life. Luckily I got my fill in PG. The diving at Dumaguette is more muck diving then reef diving although Apo Island which I went to twice has some of the best reefs I've seen anywhere except Raja Ampat and that includes Palau, PNG and Wakatobi. For those of you in Chicago familar with the Shed Aquarium it was based on Apo Island. All the people in PG kept telling me that Dumaguette was like Lembeh. I'd ask them if they had been to Lembeh but none had. While the diving in Dumaguette is good other then one site you can't even mention Dumaguette in the same sentence as Lembeh. That being said the diving is still very good and there is lots to see and enjoy. My favorite dive site in Dumaguette was the Pier and this would be a good muck dive in Lembeh. Some of the highlights at Dumaguette were the variety of ghost pipefish(ornate, robust, halimeda), various different frog fishes, spiny devilfish, finger dragonets, more nudis and longer dives. In PG the dives were 50 mins(although many strecthed to 55 mins). In Dumaguette dive times were 60 mins(with many over 65).

Overall I had a very good time diving and traveling in the Philippines. Both places are worth going to and I would return to either. The two areas I visited are not known for big stuff and indeed I saw none. If you are a shark lover visit some other area. The dive guides though were only so so. I like guides that can find the really kewl stuff which I know was there but which they only found on occasions. I was finding more stuff then them and showing other divers. I will return to the Philippines but with over 7,000 islands I'll most likely check out some different areas.

When you leave the Philippines get to the Airport early. You go thru at least 3 searches and have your docs checked many times as well. Once you are in the terminal and think you are done that is when you have the most intenvise search and final doc check. Seems like over kill to me but just be warned. I'm sure I've forgot stuff so if there is something you want to know just ask and if I know I'll tell and if not I'll make something up.

CODMAN
10-07-2008, 13:23
Great report Cat! I was in Sabang last march and reading your post brought back so many great memories (I never got around to writing a report...:smiley29:)! Too bad you didn't do any night diving. I did some great ones and as you surely know, the wildlife changes so much at night! My favorite by far was doing the Alma Jane wreck at night... That was quite an experience!

Cheers!:smiley20:

CODMAN

nikefreekz
10-07-2008, 19:57
have not manage to dive in the philippines as yet, your trip report sure makes me want to go there!

Travelnsj
10-07-2008, 22:02
As I stated in the first post more pics and report to come. I'm in no hurry so you will have to wait.

What? you are unemployed...what else is going on in your life????....LOL

Liked the report. When you first started to post (on a different thread) about some of the diving...did not sound that interesting....now I am ready!

Couple of questions. Do they enforce bottom times? and did you see 100/15 ltr tanks there?

monant
10-08-2008, 06:28
Awsome pictures.

chinacat46
10-08-2008, 06:36
Couple of questions. Do they enforce bottom times? and did you see 100/15 ltr tanks there?

At both places the dive schedule is 9, 11, 2 and 4. At Dumaguette we got them to start at 8:30 and adjust the times some so we could do longer dives. The dives in Dumaguette are also a little shallower too. In PG they said 50 mins but I did strecth a few dives past 55 mins. They want you to come up with 750 psi( 50 bar). Most of the time I had over 1000. Seemed like a waste to me which is why I didn't do any night dives. Wasn't gonna pay $47 and then not do a whole dive.

At PG where you are going I did see big tanks. I think they charge extra.

CODMAN
10-08-2008, 08:41
As I stated in the first post more pics and report to come. I'm in no hurry so you will have to wait.

What? you are unemployed...what else is going on in your life????....LOL

Liked the report. When you first started to post (on a different thread) about some of the diving...did not sound that interesting....now I am ready!

Couple of questions. Do they enforce bottom times? and did you see 100/15 ltr tanks there?

Travel, some of the dive ops in PG do carry a few 15 liter tanks. The op I was at didn't charge extra for the 15L unless you used it with Nitrox (more volume cost more in O2) and they didn't enforce max bottom times. They just want you coming up with a minimum 50bar (as cat said) and at least 2 minutes left of no deco time on your computer when starting your ascent. But house rules vary from shop to shop. The Atlantis shop is one of the bigger and very well organised places so I'm not surprised they have house rules such as max bottom time.

The diving there is great and I'm dying tio get back...:smiley19::smiley19: But it won't be for a while unfortunately...:smiley19::smiley19:

Cheers!

CODMAN

Travelnsj
10-08-2008, 09:50
Do they enforce the 50bar/750psi rule? Down under I have been to spots where they check your air when you come up and suspend your diving for a day if you come up with less than 500 psi.

CODMAN
10-08-2008, 10:18
Do they enforce the 50bar/750psi rule? Down under I have been to spots where they check your air when you come up and suspend your diving for a day if you come up with less than 500 psi.

I can't speak for Atlantis (Cat can chime in on that), but none of the other places do. They just want you atop fully healthy and with air! You might/probably will get a speach if you go to low, especially if it's on a regular basis (in other words doing it on purpose). But suspended? Definetly not. Diving over there is very laid back. They want you to have a good time. The better Ops still want you to play by the safety rules, but they won't Nag at you unless they feel you are a risk. The lesser Ops (yes there are some) aren't as safety minded... And you had better be able to take care of yourself... Luckily, the general quality level of the Operations over there is quite high in my oppinion... If you go with a reputable dive operation, there should be no worries. Just lots of fun!

Cheers!

CODMAN

chinacat46
10-08-2008, 10:28
Never saw them check anybodies air. There were a couple of guys from Seattle that seem to come up with around 500 psi alot. They would compare with each other so that is how I know. I think I came up with 500-600 twice in 43 dives. Nobody ever said anything to me about it. This ain't Queensland. Queensland has lots of rules but I never saw anybody suspended.

scuba007
10-08-2008, 11:09
Great report and pictures. Thanks for sharing. Love to see more

Travelnsj
10-08-2008, 11:33
Chuck....what were your favorite dive sites in PG?

chinacat46
10-08-2008, 13:21
Giant Clam was my favorite, also liked Sabang bay and Sabang point as well as Sindean wall and Kilima Steps. Most of them had something I liked. Try it you'll like it.

Hope to get some more pics posted on Thursday or Friday at the latest.

CODMAN
10-08-2008, 13:59
Cat, please do post more pics when you get a chance. They are awesome!:smiley20::smiley20:

If I may add my 0.02$, my personal favorites (I dove most of them, several times,while I was there) would have to be:

1-Canyons (the Giant Trevally and sweetlips are magnificent)
2-Alma Jane at night
3-Sinandigan Wall
4-Hole in the wall
5-Turtle rock
6-Monkey wreck/beach
7-West escarceo
8-Sabang Wrecks at night
9-Shark cave...

And Sweetlips cave, but that's a technical deco dive... Oh, and Verde Island wall (isn't in PG, but well worth the trip to it).

As Cat said, they are all great in their own way. What amazed me the most was that you never really know what cool critters you'll find when you least expect it.:smiley20: Every dive I made had at least one surprise appearance!

CODMAN

Desert_Diver
10-08-2008, 15:23
Thanks for the report and pics. Sounds like a trip worth doing.

Art

Travelnsj
10-08-2008, 16:41
Thanks ChinaCat and Codman for the info. Made my notes and filed in the March Philippines/Palau folder....Have not been in the water in 2 months...only a few days left for Lembeh and Raja:smiley20:

nikefreekz
10-08-2008, 19:53
excellent report!

Travelnsj
10-09-2008, 12:22
ChinaCat and Codman were any of the Top dive sites you listed at Verde Island?...If not....is verde worth it?

chinacat46
10-09-2008, 12:40
I didn't list Verde since you asked about PG. I thought Verde was very nice though. Did the drop off twice nice drift along great wall. The other dive was gonna be the washing machine but it was in high cycle so we did Coral Gardens which was good if like nudis. Saw a couple of my favs there.

Travelnsj
10-09-2008, 12:48
Is Verde worth going to or just as good to stick arounf the PG area?

chinacat46
10-09-2008, 13:39
It's $50 extra for 3 dives you already payed for. Turned out they didn't charge me for it though. If I was there for a week or more I'd go to Verde at least once. If it was shorter there are plenty of sites in PG.

chinacat46
10-09-2008, 13:43
Here are 10 pics of fish/critters. More pics to come when I can get to them.

CODMAN
10-09-2008, 15:11
Is Verde worth going to or just as good to stick arounf the PG area?


Honnestly, in my oppinion yes! It's a must dive! I did the verde island wall (the most renowned there) twice and no regrets... I've never seen so many fish! There are litterally clouds of damselfish! and all the rest you find in the area in large quantities. If you prefer "muck diving", it's not the place since it's a relatively vertical rock wall. But it's beautifull and well worth the extra for at least 1 dive in my oppinion. By far the best dive I did there (for my tastes!:smiley20:). I highly recommend you make it. I doubt you'll be disapointed. Of course, if you're looking to maximise your diving, the $$ could be spent on closer dives (the 2hour transit time, depending on your bangka can really cut into a diving day). But it is definetly one of, if not the most, spectacular dives of the area.

Just my 0.02$

Travelnsj
10-09-2008, 15:53
Chuck...did you take a Photo Class? or are you touching up with Photoshop?...VG photos

Codman....thanks for your 2psi on Verde...being I do not go to the Philippines every year....I should probably take the trip to Verde. I'm really not looking to do muck diving I wanna see Sharks, Mantas etc...Oh wait that will be Palau the next week...LOL....I really expect to see a bit of muck and Lembeh, East Timor, Bali type of diving.

chinacat46
10-09-2008, 19:11
Here is another 10 pics. want more? Nudis or critters?

nikefreekz
10-09-2008, 20:22
excellent shot!

Travelnsj
10-09-2008, 21:05
Chuck you still did not answer my question....did you take a Photo Class? or are you touching up with Photoshop?

chinacat46
10-09-2008, 21:09
Doing minor touch up with photoshop elements. Mostly resizing and a little color. Oh yeah and I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express.

Travelnsj
10-09-2008, 23:15
I've only seen a couple of your pics that looks like you perhaps added color...and no photo class...My Charger hat is off to ya!

chinacat46
10-10-2008, 07:52
Thanks Scott I get laughed at a lot with my camera so it's nice when somebody appreciates it. So here is another 10 nudis, flatworms and slugs.

Travelnsj
10-10-2008, 10:21
Great pics of the nudis....The lighting and colors...excellent....guess I need to get rid of that Sony!....Hate to say this....I'm impressed!!

cowgirldiver
10-10-2008, 12:52
What kind of camera are you using??? The variety you've shown us so far has been fantastic!!! I'm fascinated by how some species are masters of disguise whereas others are "look at me, look at me!!!" Thanks for the great shots!

chinacat46
10-10-2008, 13:00
I'm using a Canon Powershot SD 900 Digital Elph with a Canon underwater case. I use the internal flash so no strobe. I get crap from the people with the fancy DSLR and two strobes and a $3000+ underwater case and extra lenses etc... They laugh at my camera and I laugh at their pictures. Most of them need a photo class although a few of them are really really good.

chinacat46
10-10-2008, 14:47
Okay this is it my last 10. I could keep going but I'm calling it quits.

Travelnsj
10-10-2008, 14:53
Where is the Mandarin fish?...one of those photos looks like a flamboyant Cuttlefish?

chinacat46
10-10-2008, 14:57
Yep there are two flamboyant in one pic. Also two different morays in the same hole. Didn't do the mandarin dive. I've done so many they don't awe me anymore. Plus I can see them on the Lembeh Resort house reef all I want in November. I'd rather see a picture dragonet. They have those in Raja.

coral cowgirl
10-10-2008, 23:12
"I use the internal flash so no strobe."
________________________________

Dang....all the more impressive, nice job!

neugierig
10-11-2008, 02:10
great pics, makes me miss PG more

nikefreekz
10-11-2008, 08:39
seems like PG rivals lembeh in terms of macro isn't it

chinacat46
10-11-2008, 08:47
Pics are from both PG and Dumaguette and IMHO both together aren't as good as Lembeh.

Travelnsj
10-11-2008, 08:56
Well then I'll head off to Lembeh today:smiley20:

SynCitizen
10-11-2008, 09:26
Thanks for the dive reports and pics. I'll be adding several to my personal screen savers!! Truly some nice shots!!!

chinacat46
10-11-2008, 12:09
Thanks. Go to the Philippines you will enjoy it and it's almost as cheap as the Caribbean. If you go for two weeks it probably is as cheap.

Travelnsj
10-12-2008, 04:48
I'll take your advice.....planning on March:smiley20: