News from El Galleon Dive Resort & Asia Divers, Puerto Galera

They’re back……

The Thresher sharks in Puerto Galera are back and WOW are they ever!! There have been numerous up-close interactions and sightings over the past few weeks. It looks like there could be five different sharks around including one juvenile. Our divers have been super happy seeing these beautiful creatures up close. Scooter dives have been epic with the scooter team just cruising along with the threshers almost bumping into them on a few occasions. Best time of the year to see them is from now until April…the sooner the better!

It’s very good news that the Alert Level had been lowered to 3 and we’re hoping to see it drop even more soon. Puerto Galera has had no affect whatsoever from the Volcano and we hope that everyone can get back to a normal routine in Batangas. So…book your holiday in PG now!

Keep up to date on the latest Taal Volcano news on the PHIVOCS website:
https://www.phivolcs.dost.gov.ph/…/volca…/volcano-bulletins3

Ocean Art 2019

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Congratulations to all the winners of the Ocean Art Underwater Photo Competition 2019 and especially to the winner who won a trip to our resort. Francisco Sedano won 1st Place in the “Underwater Art” category of this stunningly creative photo “Psychedelic Seahorse”. We’ll be happy to see him here with us at some point in the near future.

You can find the full 2019 winners here: https://www.uwphotographyguide.com/ocean-art-contest-winners-2019

Whats been happening

Congratulations to Grant Mackenzie our newest certified PADI Divemaster. Grant has been here for the past few weeks checking off the boxes and working towards his goal. He had lots of great experience helping out with students/divers and of course enjoyed the great diving in Puerto Galera. Asia Divers is a PADI Career development center and offers top notch training in all PADI Courses. If you’re considering doing the DM course have a look here for details: https://asiadivers.com/padi-diving-courses-philippines/padi-recreational-scuba-diving-courses/

Ulrik was a busy man during his short stay with us. He completed Nitrox, Wreck and Night specialties….he is on his way to Master Scuba Diver!

 

Looks like we’ll be needing a new T-shirt for this evil shot roulette drinking game!

 

Reach the Deepest part of the Canyons in Puerto Galera

By Andy Xie

The “Canyons” is a dive site located in the northeast of Puerto Galera, a place dubbed as the Pearl of Mindoro in the Philippines. With spectacular underwater formations, large sea fans, schools of batfish, jackfish, large Groupers, and hair raising currents, Canyons became a preferred site for experienced divers.

In June 1981, Neil “Snake” Krumbeck, who was certified as an open water diver at that time, discovered the Canyons while exploring the dive sites. In 2012, CNN rated it as one of the “50 most beautiful dive sites in the world”.

In 1986, Snake Krumbeck, Willy Tobler, and Jim Wilson completed the first deep dive on air outside the Canyons to 76 meters. Then Allan Nash and Dave Penman achieved a record of 91 meters on air in the same area.

 

In 1997, John Bennett and Aaron Gillespie using Trimix 12/45 accomplished a 122-meter dive and set the record for deep dive in southeast Asia.

 

In June 1999, John Bennett and Chuck Driver dived with Trimix 6/79 to 200 meters, and set the world record for untethered open water diving at that time. In the same year, they again successfully updated the record to 225 meters.

 

In 1999, a deep air record attempt was made: Mark Andrews diving out of Capt’n Gregg’s reached 156 meters on air. However, the record was unrecognized, since when he reached the bottom, he was almost unconscious due to gas narcosis. His deep-water support divers Chuck Driver and John Bennett (on Trimix) found that he could hardly control himself, thus inflated his BCD helping him to get off the bottom. The support divers in the shallow waters caught him, but it was too difficult to help him deflate the BCD. The ascent was too fast and a series of decompression obligations were forfeited. However Mark, with incredible fitness and willpower, changed tanks at the surface and descended to 30 meters. After 3 hours of decompression he managed to surface without any signs of decompression.

Nowadays, deep air dives have gradually dropped out from mainstream practices due to the progress of diving science, philosophy and divers’ attitudes. It is not worthwhile anymore to challenge the proven theories and natural rules just for showing courage and willpower. But we appreciate the predecessors for their exploring spirit, expanding the boundaries where humans can reach.

On June 4, 2000, John Bennett again dived to 254 meters on Trimix. On November 6, 2001, he successfully set the world record of 308 meters dive on Trimix. It then took him more than a month to recover from the duration and consequences of the dive.

 

Plan for Deep Dive in Canyons

About 10 years ago, as a novice diver, I made my first trip to Canyons following a local dive guide. In the strong current, I struggled to hold on to a rock. My narcosis level was increased due to stress and overexertion. My mind was reeling, but at the same time I was struck by the beauty in front of me. Bubbles formations were torn apart in the current and sucked down into the depths… The dark abyss was close at hand.  I was filled with fear and excitement: “What kind of world would it be if I gave up struggling and fell into the darkness and flowed with the current all the way down, down to the bottom”. This question has stuck me all those years.

It has been eight years since I became a full-time diving instructor in Puerto Galera. The dive centers I work for, both Tech Asia and Asia Divers, have provided me with a world-class training condition, and plenty of opportunities to practice deep diving. The right time and the right place finally gave me the chance to fulfill a dream I had ten years ago——to explore the bottom of Canyons.

 

From September to November 2019, Aaron Gillespie and I conducted a series of exploratory dives in the deep areas around Canyons with rebreathers and DPV’s (scooters). Due to strong currents and complex topography, many cases of missing divers or casualties occurred in this area. Even technical divers and technical dive instructors residing in Puerto Galera rarely set foot here. In order to safely and successfully complete our exploring objective, we took advantage of the dive shops we work for, and practiced for about 30 to 40 hours to get prepared for the task at hand, including equipment maintenance and calibration to prevent potential hazards, buoyancy control fully equipped, multiple bailout cylinder rotation, scooter configuration with rebreathers and several cylinders, advanced tow with scooters , low visibility and night dives, strong currents, and various kinds emergency response to equipment failure.

 

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The ridge in the center of the image above, between 23 and 30 meters, is an area frequently visited by recreational divers. The current flows all the way down the ridge to the bottom. The red circle is the approximate area we explored during our five deep dives.

 

Dive logs

September 19, 80 meters, 121 minutes.

September 21, 104 meters, 154 minutes. We descended along the Josh’s Wall to explore the way to the basin of the Canyons, and to become more familiar with the surrounding terrain and current trends. We scanned Josh’s Wall and its surrounding area, and took it as a place for training in these two dives. Josh’s Wall is a deeper area outside Canyons and Fishbowl, discovered 1996 when John Bennett and Aaron were preparing for the 122 meters dive. They used to dive on air to around 100 meters in this area and also Deep Dave’s rock every the other day to improve their nitrogen tolerance. After months of training, John named this site after his first born Josh.

September 22, 81 meters, 129 minutes. Descending at Wreck Point, we scootered east, covering large distances towards our target destination looking for formations and other entry points to the pit.

October 29, 120 meters, 217 minutes. We again reached the edge of the pit, and explored a wider range of surrounding area with scooters.

On 19 November, it was sunny and the current was mild, providing ideal weather and water conditions for our deep dive. We dived to 155 meters (temperature 15℃), with 20 minutes bottom time, and 375 minutes total time.

We reached the bottom of the basin along the walls and steps.  The sea of great depth was filled with darkness, serenity, and desolation. Time seemed to stand still. This was the first time for humans to arrive here. We were sober and agile, thanks to the high percentage of helium and low temperature of the water. We had to remain alert every second to adhere to the dive plan, the route, water flow, our physiological and mental state, condition of the equipment, gas consumption and each other… Meanwhile, we could not help but imagine about what we may encounter at any coming moment. Will it be some strange fish, Giant sea fans, walls, large marine animals or perhaps traces of the missing divers that have yet to be recovered.

The area in the center of the cross showing above is the bottom of deep Canyons, measured at 155 meters, three meters deeper than the provided charts. The bottom is about the size of a football field, mostly sandy, with a few boulders and cascading cliffs, strong currents, large sea wolves, jack shoals, and crabs. As the first divers to reach the crater, we named this new dive site “Aaron’s Asshole.”

Main equipment

Closed circuit rebreather: JJ CCR, Megalodon CCR
Regulators: Scubapro MK25, Halcyon H75, Akuana F1, Apeks DS4, Apeks XTX200
Dry suit: Navyfel Explore
Primary lights: Akuana, Orca Torch D630
Back-up lights: 3QRS
Video lamp: Scubalamp V6K Pro
Diving computers: ISC 2.7 APECs, Shearwater Petral, Shearwater SA
Scooters: Suex VR, Suex XJ37, Suex XJ14

We applied some equipment from emerging brands and found them to be of really good quality, including Akuana’s primary light for tech dive, regulator, CCR wing, and titanium plate and D-ring; Navyfel’s drysuit, Orca Torch  D630 primary light, Scubalamp’s V6K Pro video lamp, 3QRS’ back-up light. All the products have functioned well and been reliable in deep and long decompression dives. Thanks for the support from those manufacturers. We believed that there will be more excellent manufactures in the future providing reliable and also economical products for exploratory diving activities.

Postscript

I was often been asked by some divers, “what can I see in a deep dive?”

For me, it not a matter of what to see, but enjoying the dive itself. To achieve a goal, a tech diver must go thought tons of repetitive practices, endure the loneliness that others cannot understand, calculate, plan and execute accurately each step. Any slightest fault of physical or mental evaluation, equipment, calculation or other aspects is not affordable in this type of diving. The price may be an injury or fatality. The process of pursuing extreme perfection is attractive enough for me.

Many years ago, limited by finds in decompression sickness, diving computer, and open circuit system, deep dives were mostly restricted to wall dives, or using ropes as reference, with short bottom times. Many people were aiming for a record depth. Today, with the advance of science and technology, the progress of equipment, diving medical science and decompression theories, divers no longer challenge the limit for showing strength and courage. We can easily use scooters and rebreathers to extend the bottom time, reach greater depth, and explore for longer distance. Of course, we also have to face the new potential risks those equipments bring about. In addition, latest cameras and waterproof shells for great depth allow us to record the dives with clearer images and videos. We can enjoy the pleasure of exploration, rather than just pursuing the number of depth.

For exploratory tech dive, some people think it is too dangerous, even life risking. It does not have to be so. In fact, divers must meet the requirement of knowledge acquisition, diving experience, and training hours to go through each level before conducting a seemingly “dangerous” dive. Risks are quite manageable if a diver keeps learning and practicing with patience. The 100 meter dive course is conducted as a fully-developed course in many diving organizations. If a diver develops his/her skills step by step down-to-earth, he/she can reach 100 meters with confidence just as an advanced open water diver reaches 30 meters. Except for a more complicated diving process and some new skills, there is no big difference. Diving to 100m without training, equipment or experience is totally unnecessary and inviting trouble.

Some take exploratory diving as pushing the envelope and conquering the ocean. To be honest, human beings are quite insignificant while facing the nature, as a grain of sand facing the desert. Those who talk about “conquering” can only show their ignorance.

There are some others saying that “deep, wrecks, and caves are my goals.” Having an objective, of course, is a good thing. But, first, one should have a rational understanding of his own ability and experience, and then keep training with patience, improve the skills, update the knowledges, to get fully prepared for the goal. We never encourage dives to a depth or a complex environment beyond what was taught in the courses. But if you feel ready, and aware of the risks and consequences, it is feasible to conduct an exploratory dive with a reliable team. Just keep in mind that do not be mislead by the fever that deep, cave, or wreck creates on social media, and set and pursue unreal objectives prematurely.

A fact easily overlooked is that a successful deep dive, or a wreck or cave exploration begins hundreds of hours in advance. It includes education of various stages, accumulation of diving and teamwork experience, acquisition of up-to-date knowledge, and even lessons from the failures. A diver who has not been through pressure, tears, or even injury will not go further with courage and luck alone. Regardless if it’s a recreational or technical dive, whether you come back safely may not matter to others, but only to your parents and the one who really love you. For those who truly care about you, it is worthwhile to pay more effort and time to improve your capacity.

The most important and valuable stage for all divers is the open water (OW) course. More than 95% of diving accidents can be avoided, prevented or solved if we take the OW course seriously. Many tragedies, in fact, begins since the first choice of a cheap and fast tracked OW course.

The most important and valuable course for a tech diver is the introductory course to tech dive (such as TDI Intro to Tech, GUE Fundamental, WUD Rec 1/2). Most tech diving accidents, in the end, are caused by lack of practicing of basic skills, up-to-date knowledge, right concepts, rigorous attitudes, or a calm state of mind, which a diver should have got from a basic course of tech dive.

It is easier to train the skills than the brains. As the times progress, we can draw valuable experience from predecessors, improve our skills through scientific trainings, access to countless information on the Internet, so that avoiding detours and saving plenty of time of learning theories and skills compared to the divers 20 years ago. But the efforts to grow into a qualified exploring diver, to keep evolving, to understand others, to develop mature mindsets, to recognize and control emotions, and to travel and open up minds, will not shrink regardless of the progress of science. Seeking for instant success will be absolutely fatal in this kind of diving. To be patient and plow ahead one step at a time in an impetuous society is the most valuable character of a tech diver.

To quote Edward Whymper, a famous mountaineer in the 1860s, “Climb if you will, but remember that courage and strength are nought without prudence, and that a momentary negligence may destroy the happiness of a lifetime. Do nothing in haste; look well to each step; and from the beginning think what may be the end.”

Slow down and enjoy your journey, young fella.

Taal update

El Galleon and Asia Divers are up and running and have had no effect from Tall Volcano eruption last week, nor did we get any ashfall in Puerto Galera area. The diving is spectacular as ever!
The Alert Level 4 is still in effect but we’re all expecting it to drop soon. The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) say that the high-risk areas are within the 14-km radius from Taal Main Crater which is over 60 km away from us and not our island. We know that many are concerned for us, but we’re doing absolutely fine and are looking forward to seeing you here. There are areas in Batangas that really need some help with food, clothes, donations etc. If you want to help just let us know and we’ll put you in touch with some good people who are coordinating relief efforts.
Keep up to date on the latest Taal Volcano news on the PHIVOCS website:
https://www.phivolcs.dost.gov.ph/…/volca…/volcano-bulletins3

British School HoChi Minh

For the 7th year in a row we’ve had the pleasure of hosting BIS Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam. The 14 students and 3 teachers had a great time doing their diving courses, fun diving, enjoying the awesome food, and just being on the beach. Everyone worked very hard and should be super proud of their accomplishments.   Congratulations to our 12 PADI Open Water divers, 1 PADI Advanced diver and 1 PADI Rescue/EFR diver. Once again, thank you to Daniel Gamwell who organized everything to make this happen and to Bee and Stu for keeping things rolling along while they were here.

 

The school group visited a local school in Sinandigan and brought a nice bunch of school supplies and soccer balls to donate to the school.

 

The kids from BIS Ho Chi Minh had a great time running some fun activities with the kids in the Sinandigan school on their last day in PG. It’s always nice to do a bit of community service with our visiting school groups.

100 Dive Club…almost!

Josh and Sheryl left here today with a new T-shirt for Josh. On his last day of diving we had found out that his last dive of the trip would be his 100th so of course we prepared a T-shirt for him. Unfortunately he had to miss the last dive so he never quite made that 100th dive, but the shirt was already done….so a quick modification and all is good!

Photo Workshop 2020

Looking to learn more about underwater photography? Join us this coming June for our workshop https://asiadivers.com/blog/underwater-photography-workshop/

E-IDC update

Yay ! A new PADI Instructor was born… Johannie passed her PADI IE with flying colors

A huge congratulations to Johannie for becoming a PADI Instructor today! This also means another 100% pass rate and still unbeaten record for our IDC.

Johannie is very passionate about her new career and showed off with almost perfect scores during the IE (despite being a little nervous)– and we all wish her the very best of success for her future plans!! Thanks to everyone involved in the IDC for the great support!!  Party time!!

 

Taal volcano eruption

We all got quite the shock yesterday as Taal Volcano erupted, putting on quite the show up in the sky. Everyone is fine here as Taal is about 2 hours, about 50 km away. It’s quite beautiful to watch and there was some spectacular lightening, but of course we’re all concerned about everyone’s safety on the other side and especially for those living close to the Volcano.  Everything here was unaffected and the threshers are back making their daily appearances.

Alli got the big WOW photo!

 

What’s been happening

Welcome back to the British School Ho Chi Minh. Everyone is well settled and getting into dive mode.  12 OW, 1 AOW and 1 Rescue/EFR are on their way to becoming certified! More details to follow next week

Freshly back on the beach, Allan, Angie, Rhuby and Sherly enjoyed their adventure in Japan

Travel

Truk Lagoon Liveaboard – MV Odyssey Sept 26th 2020

Tech Asia has another liveaboard trip organized aboard the Odyssey spanning the October 1st holiday this year. Truk offers beautiful diving, unmatched in the world of Wreck dives, and pretty hard to beat also for big fish and sharks swimming around as well. Add warm and clear water, not a lot of current, and a vessel Captained by one of our former guests and students who couldn’t be more helpful, and you have all the right boxes ticked for a fantastic trip!

 

What are we going to see? Over thirty Japanese shipwrecks lie here in a large sheltered Pacific lagoon, all sunk by an American Carrier strike in February 1944. The wrecks are almost unsalvaged, many hadn’t yet been unloaded when they sank, and therefore full of things to see from torpedoes to aircraft parts to crates and crates of Saki. And covered in tropical reef. Fantastic!

 

The dives will be kept mainly in the nitrox diving range, very suitable for comfortable recreational divers. Double tanks, sidemount and rebreather support are available for tech divers who want to spend longer on the bottom or go wriggling around in engine rooms. A few places are still free, you can lean more by emailing [email protected] or have a look at this link

A new decade begins

2020 vision! We welcome the New Year with this absolutely fabulous photo by Marc Van den Broeck who was here last September. This will be the cover photo for this month’s Monday News, our weekly newsletter. If you would like to keep up to date on what’s going on here you can subscribe to it by sending an email to [email protected] . Marc has been diving with us for many years now and has won several photo competitions.

The New Year was rung in fine form with a delicious feast in El Galleon and celebrating with good friends at The Point Bar. Special mention goes to Trevor and Lyn, Arjan and Ingrid for their outstanding costumes!  At midnight everyone wandered down to the Platform to ring in the New Year looking upwards and outwards to a fireworks display put on by EL Gal and in the perfect position to witness all the other fireworks up and down the whole beach. Oh what a view! Things are off to a great start and we look forward to seeing everyone here this year! Stay healthy and happy and submerged

Travel plans for 2020 with Asia Divers

 YAP WITH NGULU ATOLL, MICRONESIA

We will again do an exploration trip to Ngulu atoll to try to dive on the walls on the west side of the atoll.

Ngulu atoll is located right between Yap and Palau in Micronesia, very remote and only a handful people still live on the atoll.

The dates are July 18-24 and we will start with a day or two to do the best dive sites of Yap where we are staying with Manta Ray Bay Resort and Yap Divers. We did the same trip August 2018 but will change it slightly for the 2020 adventure. We will bring tent for accommodation on Ngulu atoll to get a bit more comfort then to try to sleep on the boat. Also we should get a bit better weather than last trip when we had a too much wind from the west side, very unusual for the time of the year.

If we have days left when we get back from Ngulu we will finish off with a day of diving around Yap on the way back.

Last trip Yap offered brilliant diving when we spent 2 days of diving before the Ngulu exploration trip and got one full day diving after Ngulu as well.

Yap are of course famous for the Manta Ray dives but have also some spectacular shark dives. Schools of Barracudas, Eagle Rays, Humphead Parrot fish just to mention some.

Maximum number of divers for the trip is 6 pax and the prices will $2,078.00 based on 6 pax. If we only get a lower number of divers we will need to split the fuel to Nhulu between the lower numbers, if just 4 guests it will be $2,303.00 per person. Just to give you an idea.

Included in the price is transfer from Yap airport return, share accommodation with breakfast in Manta Ray Bay Resort, we have 3 dives a day in Yap with pack lunch, camping and all food (basic) while in Ngulu and there we do as much diving as we can get tanks with us and weather permitted.
Flight to Yap is not included but we can get assistance with this.

Please contact Tommy at [email protected] if you are interested to join the trip.

Christmas arrives at El Galleon


A scrumptious Christmas dinner was prepared by Jamie and his team and everyone got into in the festive mood together. Now we’re all looking forward to our New Years Eve feast and fireworks…you can still join us!

Oh the weather outside was …delightful…


A bit of wind and rain did not dampen the spirit of these Christmas Day divers, Arjan Kroon, Hanno Jansen, Ingrid Van Vierzen, Jeffrey Consolmagno, Meghan Dube, Tim Mcgee,  Pete, Rob and Damien

 

Candyman and Candygirl arrived to celebrate Ingrids birthday and Christmas with us. We always look forward to their arrival for many reasons…including the candy after all the dives!

 

Congratulations to our new certified diver, Emma Sedgwick. She did it though the Christmas festivities and a typhoon! Something that she’ll never forget….

 

Advanced student Alistar Burns, and his dad Jamie are getting themselves  all nitroxed up for a dive to the Canyons with Pete.

Congratulations to Rueben Matt on your Advanced certification. It was very “eggciting” for sure!

 

Irwin Batang and Jon Lee loved their time trying scuba diving for the first time. Hopefully this is just the beginning of their underwater adventures.

 

Ingrid has spent the day in the kitchen with our team learning all the top secret recipies.

Challenge yourself in 2020

Want to challenge yourself in learning something new and exciting? Consider doing the PADI Freediver course as something to challenge your mind and your body! We teach the PADI Basic Freediver and the PADI Freediver courses. Freediving is about inward power, discipline and control. If you’ve always wanted to enter the underwater world quietly, on your own terms, staying as long as your breath allows, then freediving is for you. Taking the PADI Freediver course is your first step toward discovering why freediving is becoming a popular way to explore beneath the waves. See more information here on our website: https://asiadivers.com/padi-diving-courses-philippines/padi-freediver-courses/ or contact us at [email protected]

Wedding “giving” from Larry and Kris Bird

cutting the cake

Last September Larry and Kris Bird had their wedding celebration here at el Galleon and had asked guests not to buy gifts for them, but instead to make a donation to go towards a helping the kids at a local school.  Last week it all came together and Rhuby and Alli went to two schools, both in need of help. One school was in Puerto Galera, one a bit further away towards Calapan. The first school was a mix of kids Tagalog, Muslim and Mangyan.  They were having their Christmas party on that day and we’re excited that we could be there to join them.

 

We gave the 80 school kids a personal hygiene kit which had toothbrush, toothpaste, soap, and towel. This is something that was requested by their teacher and principal as many of them don’t have these. We also had pencils, markers, a few small toys, a world map learning activity toy and some school materials for the kids. There were lots happy faces there that day!

The second school we went to further away was really in need of even more help. This is a school with kids who are Mangyon and Tagalog, but all quite poor. We gave each of the 110 students personal hygiene kits, plus 2 big sacks of rice which will be enough to give them food for one month at the school. Along with that, we donated two big buckets of paint and the rollers, brushes so their classrooms can be painted and also a bunch of pens for older kids.

We explained to them about who was responsible for this donation and they were all so appreciative and said thank you so much. It was really a touching experience and we’re happy to have been a part of it. Thank you to Larry and Kris for making this happen

If you’re interested in learning more about the Mangyans of Mindoro please see these links:

https://www.jacobimages.com/2012/12/the-mangyan-of-mindoro

http://www.mangyan.org/book/export/html/60

Mindoro Mangyans

Mindoro is the seventh largest island in the Philippines, with an area of 10,224 square kilometers and two provinces – Oriental and Occidental. Of the total population of one million, the indigenous population is estimated at 100,000.

Mangyan is the collective name for the eight indigenous groups living in Mindoro, each with its own name, language, and set of customs:

There are 8 different Mangyan groups (Iraya, Alangan, Tadyawan, Tau-buid, Bangon, Buhid, Hanunoo and Ratagnon) on the island of Mindoro and all are distinctively different including their languages. Mangyan is just the collective term used for the indigenous peoples found on Mindoro.

Something unique to the indigenous Mangyan of Mindoro is how well organized their groups are. All eight groups have active tribal councils and they are very strict about what visitors can enter their communities.  Each group also has formal bylaws with penalties for different crimes that are committed.

Most families spend a lot of their time collecting crops in their fields. The Mangyan must have land to plant crops in order to survive. This is their main food source. However, many families are now growing larger tracks of produce that they harvest and sell to lowlanders as well. The Mangyan are very much against mining and any mining activities on their ancestral domain.

Every opening of the school year, the spotlight is focused on the public school system’s lack of classrooms, books and toilets. Often though, the spotlight misses the school situation of indigenous children. For children of the Mangyan, an indigenous people’s group comprising seven linguistic tribes in Mindoro, school opening is marked by an even more basic set of problem — they do not have schools nearby.

If the lack of classrooms afflicts ordinary Filipino children, Mangyan children who live in far-flung areas frequently do not have formal schools at all, resulting in a far worse illiteracy incidence among the Mangyan. This, in turn, leads to the tribe’s further marginalization.

 

It’s beginning to feel a lot like Christmas….

Christmas preparations are in the works and you can still join us! Contact us at [email protected] or sign up on our website: https://asiadivers.com/reservations/. December 24th is our Christmas dinner at El Galleon and we’re asking everyone to come in join us wearing something really dressy. On December 31 we’ll have our New Years dinner and big party up in the Point Bar and fireworks to ring in the New Year at midnight. Please show up in a “Costume of your choice”. Be creative!! We’re looking forward to having lots of fun over the holidays and getting everyone into the holly jolly spirit!

Congratulations to Sue!

Congratulations to Sue Goodman for doing dive number 2000 and many of those done here with us! That’s a big number for sure and it was great that she had Chuck, Maria, Jamie and Rene jumped in for the big number. Looking forward to the next celebratory dive which involves a bit of fluffy fashion….(a Tutu)

In the beginning…

Asia Divers has passed our 32nd anniversary. Want to know how it all began? Please see the link:  https://asiadivers.com/blog/asia-divers-celebrates-its-32nd-anniversary/

Typhoon Tisoy

On December 3rd typhoon Tisoy came though here and made things a bit windy for the day. The  resort and dive shop were well prepared and luckily for us, no damage.  By the next morning all was back to normal and the reefs are still as spectacular as ever. We sure made most out of it with a Typhoon party up in the Point Bar with many of our local friends and guests from our resort. It was good fun to have everyone all together.  Thanks to Andy Xie for most of these photos.

Asia Divers celebrates its 32nd Anniversary

Many people who live and work here have “their story” on how they landed up in Puerto Galera in the first place. It makes for very interesting conversation in the bar and what you’ll find out quite often is most of us really did not plan on living here. Here is Allan’s story.

How I became a dive resort owner

By Allan Nash

I was formally in Hong Kong working as a construction supervisor and the partner in a nightclub called Rick’s Café. After seven years in HK, I decided I wanted to buy a boat and sail around Asia for a couple of years. I managed to get my masters two and engineer two for costal sailing but had no experience in blue water sailing. I resigned my job and told the company I would see them in two years, went to Hebi Haven yacht club and asked if anyone needed help sailing their boat somewhere in Asia. That’s when I met up with an American guy (Ogle Warfield) with a 42ft Tiana (the Elusive Butterfly) leaving for Puerto Galera, Philippines.

Five days after leaving HK we got sight of the Philippines Islands, and San Fernando. From then on it all went wrong and I had the worst trip you could imagine, typhoon, almost lost the boat on a reef coming into Subic Bay without harbour charts! The owner called a mayday when approaching Subic Bay; I was somewhat disappointed with his decisions. Then he managed to jump into the water with my passport in his pocket, bugger.  After several days in Subic Bay sorting out passports and drying off we headed to Puerto Galera. I arrived in Puerto Galera on the 28th of October, twenty days after leaving HK on October 8, 1985.

Ending up in Puerto Galera I could not wait to get off the boat. I said to myself if this is what it’s like living on a boat, forget it, and went looking for something to do. That’s when I walked into a dive shop called Reef Raiders owned by two Australian’s, Jim Wilson & Neil (Snake) Krumbeck and a German Willi Tobler. The freelance instructor Dave Penman (English) met me when I walked into the dive shop and we quickly became friends. I was already a certified diver, but had not dived for a few years. He took me out on a dive and I just fell in love with the diving all over again and loved the area. So I asked Dave to take me through the PADI Open Water Course again and onward and upward. He did and within two months I was a divemaster working for the Reef Raiders. I became an instructor in March 1987, and worked with Dave as the instructional team for Reef Raiders until May 1988 when a fire ripped through the beach and took the dive shop with it.

Big Lalaguna in the early days

 

Small Lalaguna in the early days

I never intended to start my own dive shop, but with not having a dive shop to work out of, and not wanting to go back to working in the real world, I suggested to Dave if he would like to start a dive shop since the previous owners had decided they’d had enough and were heading home. Dave agreed and with that, we worked day and night recovering whatever we could from the fire, regulators, charred wet suits that had been saved but left on the beach. Ten tanks were saved as these tanks were rented out the night of the fire, and a handful of masks and fins. Within a week we had borrowed a thousand dollars and purchased a small 2.7cfm compressor, we were up and running. We used the name Reef Rangers until one of the owners of Reef Raiders came back with a Japanese guy and resurrected Reef Raiders, and asked us to change our name. With that I decided on the spot it would be Asia Divers and Asia Divers was born.

We started Asia Divers (now where Tech Asia Divers Institute stands) in my spare bedroom being the equipment room and used my kitchen and balcony as classrooms and my living room as the bar. After five great years we badly needed our own rooms so in December 1992 we purchased El Galleon Dive Resort with seven usable rooms and a small restaurant. Today we have 30 rooms, a new kitchen, pool, two bars and an incredible dive platform.

Our family, the team, is as solid as a rock and we do know how to have fun, it’s our pleasure and our job, one that none of us would trade for anything. We love Puerto Galera, the diving and dive industry as a whole and the many new and old friends we meet every day who appreciate that common interest.  We have come a long way and it’s been a great ride! Looking forward to the next 32 years!

Allan with Willy, Dave, Snake, and Jim from Reef Raiders

 

Allan, Tommy, Andy, Asia Divers, Puerto Galera

It’s been 2 years since we celebrated our 30th Anniversary at what was the most amazing party in our history. We’re now on our 32nd year and looking forward to another big party in a few years.  If you would like to do a bit of reminiscing of that weekend, you can see of all these images on our website: http://blog.asiadivers.com/30th-anniversary-photos/

We’re starting to jingle our bells!

The Christmas holidays are only a few weeks away and we’re already starting to get everything prepared around the resort. There are still rooms available so contact us at [email protected] or sign up on our website: https://asiadivers.com/reservations/ if you’re looking for a great place to spend the festive season with a bunch of fun people.  We have a couple special theme nights already planned. On December 24 we have our Christmas dinner at El Galleon and we’re asking everyone to come all dressed up… that means perhaps wearing something really dressy like an evening gown or fancy dress,  a nice shirt, or barong, or anything else that might be a bit dressy, Christmassy,  or sparkly. Bring on the bling!! On December 31 we’ll have our New Years dinner and big party up in the Point Bar and fireworks to ring in the New Year at midnight. Please show up in a “Costume Of Your Choice” outfit. Be creative!! We’re looking forward to having lots of fun over the holidays and getting everyone into the holly jolly spirit!

Planning Ahead

“Asia Divers Excursion” is now up and running for Jan 30-Feb 3, 2020. It’s for all non divers, who want to give scuba diving a go and also for certified divers. This package deal at Asia Divers is the perfect experience for those looking to do some diving, meet people, have a good time, and discover the beautiful paradise Puerto Galera has to offer. Click on the link for details about the 5 day package deal! Just do it!!

https://asiadivers.com/blog/asia-divers-excursion/

What’s been happening

The gang is all ready to head off to Verde Island for a day of spectacular diving with Ruben and Maria. (Tammy, Reed, Ali, Daniel, Fielding, Chris and Tony). Check out the green tree in the background…just a few weeks ago the leaves were orange and yellow and falling off the tree. Fall has passed, no winter and spring has sprung!! Gotta love the Philippines!

 

Allan has returned from his epic 2 months motorcycle adventure in South and Central America with lots of stories to be told. He should really write a book don’t you think?!  In the meantime the Pont Bar and Barrel Bar are the perfect place to reminisce and tell some stories with good friends and a few drinks.

A great find!

 

Spiny Tiger Shrimp, you can’t hide from me!  Many of us have been diving here in Sabang Puerto Galera for several years and it’s the first time for some of us to see this. What a special find it was indeed. Thanks for this awesome photo Alexandra Redhardt.

Spiny Tiger Shrimp (Phyllognathia ceratophthalma)

Also known as Harlequin Shrimps, Tiger Shrimp, Bumblebee Shrimp, Horned Bumblebee Shrimp, Bongo Bumblebee Shrimp, Bongo Shrimp, Dragon Shrimp.

Found on algae, rubble and sponges over coral and rocky reefs, rarely moves far from same spot.
They feed on asteroid sea stars.
Length – 2.5cm
Depth – ?m
Widespread Western Pacific