There’s a small but feisty species of fish that have evolved to live in a dangerous place in the ocean. Sea anemones may look beautiful, soft and colorful but they are armed to the teeth with tiny little darts that are used to poison fish before being eaten. That has never bothered anemone fish, they have been blessed by evolution to become bulletproof in the anemone world. Due to this blessing the anemone – anemone fish symbiotic relationship has become one of the most famous in the underwater world.
There are twenty-eight species of anemone fish worldwide, they form part of the damselfish gang. There are over eleven hundred species of anemone but only ten are used by the anemone fish. Once they decide on which to call home there are some rules which keep the house in order. There is only one female, she mates with the largest male. Once the female dies the broken-hearted male will swap genders to become the new mother and will then mate with the next male in line. Eggs are carefully laid very close to the anemone, they are attached to the reef or if on sand they use items like empty coconut shells. The parents take it in turns on aerating and cleaning them. After a while you can see tiny little eyes forming, after around fourteen days they all hatch.
If you are lucky enough to see some eggs you will notice parents are very vigilant, doing everything to protect the young. After watching these guys for many years there has been some very brave behavior. One fish took a very small bite out of my cheek, you could see tiny teeth marks on my face. Another headbutted the glass in my mask multiple times in an effort for me to vacate the area, one was biting the cloth of my rash guard trying to drag me away. You could say they are the Chuck Norris of the reef, even though we are million times bigger they will not be intimidated.
On the many dive sites of Puerto Galera, you can witness this amazing behavior while scuba diving. The most common species of anemone fish are Clarke’s, False clownfish, Saddleback and Pink. The most common anemone species are carpet, magnificent and bubble tip. They come in a few colors like orange and green. They can be found on most reef and muck diving sites. They are found at depths from five to thirty meters typically.
We hope you enjoy seeing these guys on your next dives at Scandi divers resort and remember don’t get to close if you value your life. We have made a short video for you to watch about anemone fish. Please like our Facebook page and subscribe to our YouTube channel.
If you spent hours in your garden looking through the flora for tiny little slugs, then your neighbor would probably be concerned for your welfare and call out the local psychiatrist recommending an emergency check-up. Yet scuba divers in their thousands spend hours searching through the corals looking for the underwater version of these creepy crawlies.
With Puerto Galera located in the Coral triangle and the Verde Island passage, it has more nudibranchs than you can shake a stick at. There are reason’s why the Godfather of the nudibranch world Dr Terry Gosliner has made numerous trips here. The Verde Island Passage has over a thousand named nudibranch species, when you consider the Caribbean has less than a thousand reef fish species the abundance is clear to see. The word nudibranch comes from Latin and ancient Greek words naked and gills which comes out of Google translate as nudibranch.
So, what’s the attraction of nudibranchs?
For a start the patterns and colors are so vibrant that they make great subjects for underwater photography. As slow movers, the chance to get a great image is high. They come in all shapes and sizes, one of the smallest and most famous is the Costasiella kuroshimae, affectionately know as Shaun the sheep, it’s sometimes smaller than a grain of rice but can be seen with the aid of a macro lens or magnifying glass.
At the other end of the spectrum we have giant nudibranch like the Hexabranchus sanguineus or Spanish dancer, these guys can be seen at night and are a fiery red color. They can grow up to ninety centimeters in length and bust impressive dance moves that would have made Michael Jackson jealous.
There are great opportunities to observe nudibranch behavior on our reefs. The Chamberlin nembrotha seem as sexually active as mandarin fish. You can see a mating pairs curled up together, being hermaphrodites they both pass sperm into each other for about ten minutes before breaking apart. The Chromodoris reticulata has the added skill of a disposable penis which is ideal if his partner starts to nag him to death about the washing up.
Nudibranch eggs can be found on the reef, look out for swirls of tiny egg. Some are more ribbon type which can be white or pinkish in color. To deter predators the eggs are covered by a slime from consumed sea sponges that are toxic.
There are a few species that eat their own kind, this is a pretty gruesome death as some have teeth inside which shred the poor victim making it easier to digest. So there is some information on the attraction of nudibranchs, we hope after reading this you will become a sea slug enthusiast.
You can watch our latest video on nudibranchs to give you just a sample of these amazing creatures. Come and join us at Scandi divers resort to see some with your own eyes.
This episode of The Dive is a great introduction to Puerto Galera, and the incredible dive sites of the Verde Passage, “The center of the center of marine biodiversity”, with Scandi Divers as hosts and guides to the UNTV team.
Earlier this year Scandi Divers Resort offered resort staff the chance to experience the thrill of scuba diving for the first time, and see what all the fuss is about. Here is Milcah Manocsoc’s account of her experience, in her own words:
Nowadays, most people may be fond of hiking, trekking, camping or other outdoor activities. Meanwhile if you’re looking for a new adventure , scuba diving is a perfect must-try. As a beach lover, this is my most wanted kind of adventure on the sea and is definitely on top of my bucket list.
And there came a wonderful day when I was finally able to check scuba diving off on my bucket list. This happened on March 29, 2019, when I have experienced one of the most wonderful adventure of my life.
As a first timer I have felt mixed emotions, a day before my scheduled free DSD experience all I felt was pure excitement. Come the morning on that day, Kuya Rey, our instructor, met us to finally start the diving course wherein he played a video showing how scuba diving was done and all the equipments to be used and also how it works. During that time I really felt nervous and realized that it will not be easy as what I have thought.
Before, when I’m just seeing people scuba diving, my perspective is, if you know how to swim and have tried snorkeling, it will all be easy but I was wrong. You have to know many important things about it. From the gear that you need to use, up to your first breath under water.
After watching the video, we went straight to the dive shop to wear our diving suits and then our instructor Kuya Rey taught us the uses of each piece of gear that we’ll be using and taught us some skills when we went to the swimming pool. First, using the regulator, BCD (Bouyancy Control Device), inflating and deflating, and I was just amazed while our instructor was demonstrating every skills. He also taught us the hand signals. The hardest part for me was trying not to breathe through my mouth. My instructor knows whenever I use my nose to breathe because my mask becomes very foggy. It was really tricky. He also taught us three basic skills which are regulator clearing, regulator recovery and mask clearing.
After making sure that we already know all the things we need to know, Kuya Rey then instructed us to go to the sea. I was guided underwater by Kuya Rey and I was really nervous going down because I am very used on being just in the surface.
As we explored the underwater world, I eventually became comfortable knowing that Kuya Rey was with me and I am in good hands. But what really made me comfortable was seeing the underwater creatures. I was able to have a face-to-face with nemo and saw his home. I was totally amazed with all the different kinds of fish and the coral that will automatically close whenever it was bothered just like the “makahiya” plant on land. It was indeed a fluttering moment for me seeing all those beautiful creatures that we didn’t get to see everyday.
After that dive I realized how much I really love the sea. Not only it makes you feel calm and at peace once you’re at the sea but it will literally blow your mind when you see the amazing creatures there is living under it.
I feel very grateful being part of the Scandi Divers and for letting their staff experience this one of a kind adventure. This is unforgettable, I hope there is more to come!
Travel blogger, Angelo The Explorer shares his travel experience at Scandi Divers Resort, when he joined us in beautiful Puerto Galera to get his PADI Open Water Diver certification, and enjoy some of the incredible diving and Scandi hospitality.
Below are some excerpts from his blog, and you can read the full article here
We arrived at Scandi Divers Resort just before lunch time. It was generally a good trip and the weather was good and I couldn’t wait to start and learn how to scuba dive. Checking in was very easy and in a few minutes, they already led us to our amazing beachfront room.
Three Bedroom Oceanfront Suite
As we opened the door, it felt like a home away from home! It was so spacious and felt really elegant. I think this is the biggest room that they have. We have our own living room area with comfortable sofas, flat screen tv, home theater videos and and it’s also air conditioned.
One of my favorite parts was the large private terrace that is exclusively for our room. Waking up with that view was really something else and my favorite place to just relax and watch the day go by.
Scandi Divers Skyview Restaurant and Bar
If you are looking for a place to eat along Sabang or Big La Laguna, no need to go far as you have a fine dining restaurant right at Scandi Divers. For guests, you get a complimentary Continental Breakfast of home-made breads, fruits, butter and jam.
During our stay here in Sabang, we only went to White Beach once to say hello to friends, but most of the time, this was our favorite place to hang out at night because aside from the food being excellent, it was a great place to chill and just relax.
I don’t know why but I always felt I was starving after every dive, good thing that the serving of food here are big enough to fully satisfy your craving for good food. Here are some of the meals that you could try when at Scandi Divers. To be honest, I forgot the prices of each but they normally average from Php 200.00 – Php 500.00 per meal. The food prices are quite competitive but the quality and the amount of serving of their food is commendable!
PADI Open Water Diver Course
One of the main reasons why we stayed at Scandi Divers was to learn Scuba Diving and in the end get an Open Water Diving Course Certification. Upon arriving, I met up with my Scuba Instructor Marlon Daliposa who was to teach me everything I needed to learn for the whole 3 day course. I was really excited to do this and at the same quite scared, but I knew I was in good hands because the staff here were really helpful.
Normally, as part of the certification, scuba divers spend long days reading a book before they do their actual dive. But there are also some people who are so busy with their schedule just like me and couldn’t fit much time or additional days into my dive. Good thing that there is PADI E-Learning which was so convenient that I could read and take assessment anywhere and anytime. So I had been reading the modules for an entire week and when I arrived at the Dive Center, all we needed was to review and recall the valuable information I’d read from the PADI E-Learning Modules. It’s so good!
After a sumptuous meal at Scandi Divers restaurant, I went straight to the dive center and Marlon and I started the course by learning how to put an air tank on my BCD [Bouyancy Control Device] and explaining to me everything in detail and how each of the component plays a big role specially when you are underwater.
After a hectic first session, next day was even more exciting as we were going on a real dive at one of the many dive sites in Puerto Galera. I was excited for this, I thought I would be happy just by snorkeling around but I now find Scuba Diving more enjoyable.
In the span of 3 days, we did a total of 4 open water dives in some of the well known Puerto Galera dive sites. The first 2 dives were near the coral gardens and around the giant clams. It was a famous snorkeling area as well specially for tourists coming from White Beach. It was a pity I didn’t bring my GoPro action camera during those dives as we saw such amazing marine life and beautiful coral. It was really amazing!
This was taken during our last and final dive just across from Sabang port Puerto Galera. I didn’t know that 18 meters down there, you would find a few wrecks and the amount of fishes around there was incredible. They were not shy and they were huge. I enjoyed it when the fish swam by so calmly. I also found a large sea snake close to the wreck. I used to freak out, but not anymore now as I realized that they are gentle creatures as long as you don’t mess with them.
After 3 days, my PADI Open Water Course ended with flying colors! I would like to thank my Dive Instructor Marlon Daliposa, for all the knowledge he imparted to me and the safety practices I needed to know before and after the dive. Thank you also to all the staff of Scandi Dive Center who were also very friendly and professional.
With so many resorts in Sabang Puerto Galera, we made the right choice to stay at Scandi Divers Dive Resort. The staff were amazing and very accommodating. The resort is very clean and the restaurant serves really good food. And it was located in Big La Laguna where you can relax on the white sand beach.
A new craze has ripped through the scuba diving world. Blackwater diving has grown dramatically becoming a new and exciting way to see many new species and also to see fish in their early larval stages.
We were lucky to have the professional guidance of Jerome Kim to help us with our blackwater education. Jerome has already taken hundreds of world class blackwater images from locations around the world so were in very capable hands.
As we prepared the line our guides became wide eyed at the thought of hanging out in the Verde Island passage with two hundred meters of water below during the night. We measured out twenty meters of rope, fixed 5000 lumens of lights at the end of the line with some lead weights.Smaller lights were attached at five-meter sections of the rope, gallon containers were attached with plenty of knots to make sure our equipment didn’t drop to the ocean floor.
As the sun started to drop Jerome briefed our team, we would be a mile away from shore before dropping the line with all the lights switched on. Its important to leave it down for a while as the lights attract all the weird and wonderful creatures that live in the open water.
With darkness descending we kitted up and pushed thoughts of sharks and barracuda to the back of our mind. You question your sanity a little bit as you see the lights of Big La Laguna way off in the distance. Looking out into the black water the dive lights were giving off a tremendous glow, we back rolled into the water and descended down into the abyss.
It’s a strange feeling at first, you feel yourself holding the line tightly, staying next to the safety of the glowing lights. After a while you get comfortable, weird little creatures float into your view, things you have never seen before that blow your imagination to pieces. Before you know it all those pre-dive scary thoughts disappear and you finally let go of the line and follow these creatures in the dark waters.
The plankton population was picking up due to the effect of the lights, our light beam focused on a small creature that was about the size of a small pea, as it come closer to us you could see its beautiful round blue eyes that were reflecting in the light. It landed on top of my hand, after a while its legs unfolded and crawled along. After doing some research we figured out it was a larval stage zoea crab.
As the water became darker it felt like being in space, little aliens were all around you, amazing jelly fish with little flashing lights resembling a UFO drifting through the galaxy. The amazing finds continued with a larval scorpion fish about half an inch in size. One of the most common sights was what looked like tiny transparent manta rays that are called sea butterflies, these would swim by flapping their wings, the beauty of these creatures really was something else.
The dive was a great success, we were happy to see so many exciting critters. Jerome took so many images. One of his favorite images was of a beautiful mollusk called an Atlanta Peroni which you can see on this post.
If you would like to try black water diving then speak to the dive team on your next visit to Scandi divers.
Life is too short not to try out new things, they say that scuba diving is the nearest thing to being in space, add the blackwater effect to that and you are one step closer to the moon!
Below is the article written by Sarah Boorboor for smartshanghai.com , documenting her first scuba diving experiences, here with us at Scandi DIvers. A well written piece, and a lovely insight into what first time divers can expect.
Can you cry underwater? Swimming with the fishes in Puerto Galera.
The wooden boat or bangka that will take us from Batangas Bay to the dive resort in Puerto Galera is delayed. I landed in Manila two hours earlier and Dave Asmussen arranged a car to drive us directly to a private boat leaving at 5.30pm. Now two hours later, we wait as the sky turns purple-pink and the woman in charge of the boats dallies with her boyfriend. Asmussen, an OB/GYN whose career took him from Seattle to United Family in Shanghai, shakes his head. “That’s the Philippines!”
Known on the island as “Sir Dave”, he has taken on new life in a retirement project, Scandi Divers, a resort and dive center which has been his home away from home for eight years.
When we reach Scandi’s stretch of island, stars have overtaken the sky. We are greeted by Tin Tin, a petite Filipino girl with bright eyes. She shows me to my room, just a few steps away from the beach, the sound of crashing waves audible through closed windows. Tomorrow I start what I came for: my PADI Open Water Certification.
“Please take this seriously. It’s not a joke,” Rey Magsino tells me as I thrash about in the deep end of the resort’s pool. Magsino, who grew up on the island, will be my dive instructor for the next three days. I am trying to stay buoyant in just 3 meters of water and laughing nervously. This is a simulation: what to do when you’re out of air but have reached the surface. I calm myself and do as Magsino taught me, pressing hard on my low-pressure inflator and using the breath I have left to blow into it fiercely. To my surprise, my buoyancy vest begins to take air and I float. Magsino’s face breaks into a wide smile.
We start at 8am each day, meeting at the dive center just outside my room. I will complete my open water certification with PADI in three days, with time in the classroom, sessions in confined water, four open water dives, and a written test.
Before we touch water, I am given a review book in Scandi’s third-floor classroom and watch three monotonous 30-minute videos provided by PADI. Following the classroom, the ‘confined water’ sessions take place in the resort’s rectangular pool where I learn about the equipment, pick up underwater sign language, and drill the skills introduced in the classroom.
On day one, we move from the pool to shallow ocean water, ten meters deep. We walk gingerly around rocks and duck under a bangka docked close to shore, until we are up to our shoulders. An electric thrill surges through me as I place the regulator in my mouth, decrease the air in my buoyancy vest and submerge my entire body underwater.
Everything seems to slow down. To communicate we use our signals. Okay? Okay.Controlled breathing. Relax. We mirror the skills we learned in the pool. Controlled descent and ascent, sharing air, letting our masks fill with water then clearing them out. After skills, we practice floating and begin to move, hovering just above the ocean’s bottom. I stay glued to Magsino’s side as I get used to my weightlessness, familiarizing myself with the terms of this strange new planet.
The next morning, salt water whips my hair on the short boat ride over to our dive site, small bangka wrecks in Sabang Bay. With my gear strapped on I move to the edge of the boat and fall into the ocean, salt water sucking me in while my buoyancy vest works in the opposite direction.
I swim past the front of the boat to reunite with Magsino in the water. Together we let the air out of our vests and after a quick skills check, swim through the clear blue water. Little fish that look plucked out of a Pixar movie scatter around us. Magsino tugs on my arm. He’s pointing to a large sea turtle gliding next to us nonchalantly.
I feel like I’m swimming into an old Macintosh screensaver as we approach our first wreck; what was once a wooden bangka is now home to various schools of fish. We stop swimming, legs crossed and floating in space as large fish swarm in circles around us, a parade of color and dilated pupils. Is it possible to laugh underwater? Is it possible to cry? Completely overcome, I want to do both at the same time.