Category Archives: Scuba Diving in Puerto Galera

DSD (Discover Scuba Diving) – A Wonderful Adventure!

discover scuba diving in Puerto Galera Philippines

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.

scuba diving in puerto galera philippines

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!

Scandi joins the Blackwater Revolution

blackwater diving puerto galera scandi divers resort

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.

blackwater diving scandi divers resort philippines

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.

Atlanta Peroni

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!

A First-time Diver’s Experience: “Can you cry underwater?”

smart shanghai blog

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.

By Sarah Boorboor | Photos Nicolas de Rougé 

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Original article here

UNTV: THE DIVE video – Scandi Divers Resort Feature & Interview

Check out this great video from UNTV’s show The Dive, showing you what Scandi Divers Resort has to offer. Includes an interview with resort owner David, and some amazing footage of some of our favourite dive sites: Sabang Wrecks, West Escarcio, and The Alma Jane!

 

Video: UNTV with Scandi Divers at Verde Island

untv verde island scandi divers resort

Scandi divers had the pleasure to host UNTV at the resort recently, this is some of the highlights of our dives out at Verde Island.

Video: Verde Island with Scandi Divers

verde island scuba scandi divers resort

A look at the wonderful Verde Island which is a one hour boat ride away from Scandi Divers Resort.

Many divers say this is one of the finest dives in Asia, and definitely not to be missed if you are diving in Puerto Galera!

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Scuba Diving Essentials: Save-a-Dive Kit

scuba diving kit

It’s not if but when you’ll rely on the contents of your save-a-dive kit: the zipper on your dry suit won’t budge, your buddy forgets his/her mask, an o-ring blows. If you’re not prepared, you’re not diving. Don’t wait to learn the hard way: use our list below to start assembling your save a dive kit.

Pre-packaged kits are typically available from your local PADI Dive Center or Resort, or you can create a custom one.  Below are some ideas for items you might want to include.

  • Fin straps
  • Mask strap or extra mask
  • Mouthpiece
  • Zip/cable ties
  • Nail clippers
  • O-rings
  • Waterproof Band-Aids / plasters
  • Duct tape
  • Batteries
  • Silicone grease for o-rings.
  • Multi-tool/adjustable wrench
  • Port plugs – include both high and low pressure port plugs
  • Defog
  • Carabineers/bolt snaps
  • Copy of dive insurance card
  • Spare PADI C-card
  • Sea-sickness medication
  • Snorkel keeper
  • Dry suit zipper wax
  • Dry box for storing the items above.

The list above is just a starting place. Underwater photographers, technical divers, and certain specialty dives may require additional items not on this list. Be sure to consult your PADI Instructor for what he or she includes in their save a dive kit.

Another way to avoid problems is to take care of your gear and have it serviced regularly. The PADI Equipment Specialist course is great starting place to learn proper “care and feeding” of your scuba equipment.

Track of service dates in your gear locker on scubaearth.com and access the information anywhere there’s an internet connection.  You can include purchase date and last date of service.

What are your must-haves for your save-a-dive kit?

Ten New Rules of Scuba Diving

scuba diving puerto galera

Recreational diving is still a relatively young sport. Created in the 1950s, it gained acceptance in the ’60s and ’70s, boomed in the ’80s and took great technological leaps in the ’90s. If you’ve been diving for decades, there’s a good chance that not everything you learned in your open-water class still applies. New research and equipment have made diving safer and more enjoyable than ever—if you know the rules. We thought we’d take a look at some of them and see how they’ve evolved.

1. Reverse Dive Profiles Are OK

New Rule
It is permissible to dive deeper on your second dive than on your first, and to dive deeper on the later part of a dive than on the early part.

Old Rule
Most divers have been taught to go to their greatest planned depth early in the dive and then gradually work upward in a regular “stair-step” pattern. Similarly, they’ve been told to make the deepest dive of the day the first one. The rationale was that the shallower depths later provided decompression for the preceding greater depths.

Reason for the Change
Dive computers. Because computers can track your depth and time constantly and are pretty good at math, it’s possible to know your nitrogen exposure accurately regardless of your profile. Tables, by contrast, can account for only your greatest depth, and this crude approximation of nitrogen exposure still mandates a conservative approach.

Exceptions to the Rule
Obviously, divers using only tables must still follow the old rules. And even when using a computer, it’s still smart to dive deeper first. Ascending profiles give you more bottom time and a greater margin of safety against DCS.

2. Lower Minimum Age

New Rule
The Recreational Scuba Training Council, which sets many industry standards, dropped its minimum age requirement for junior certification near the end of 1999. As a result, PADI, SDI, SSI and NASDS (which has since merged with SSI) dropped their minimum age requirements for junior certification to 10. Ten-year-olds can get a PADI Junior Scuba Diver, and 8-year-olds can enjoy PADI’s Bubblemaker and Seal Team programs, which are held in a pool in less than 6 feet of water. SSI has a pool-only “Scuba Ranger” program for 8- to 12-year-olds.

Old Rule
Minimum age for junior certification was 12. (Junior certification requires supervision by a fully certified adult.)

Reason for the Change
To promote the sport. Lots of divers have kids, and the growing popularity of resort diving meant a market for family dive vacations. “The future of diving will be determined by kids,” says Bret Gilliam, president of SDI, the first agency to lower the age. “It’s a great step forward to recognize the family unit as key to our sport’s growth.”

Exceptions to the Rule
It’s still up to the instructor to decide whether a child is mature enough to dive. Being 10 does not create a right to be certified.

The new junior certifications typically have various restrictions. In PADI, kids are limited to 20 feet in confined water first, then 40 feet in open water. Juniors must be accompanied by an agency-affiliated instructor, a certified parent or another certified adult. Check specific agencies for their rules.

3. Universal Referrals

New Rule
Getting certified? Beginning in 1998, you could take classroom and pool sessions in your hometown from an instructor with Agency “A,” then fly to warm water for open-water sessions under an instructor with Agency “B”— as long as the agencies had agreements to recognize each other’s standards and instructors. This means you can choose from many more warm-water resorts for your open-water sessions.

Old Rule
Classroom, pool work and open-water dives all had to be with the same training agency. If you wanted to do the open-water dives in the tropics, you had to pick a resort with an instructor affiliated with the same agency.

Reason for the Change
Customer convenience. Smaller agencies with few instructors in place at resorts found it necessary to band together to offer greater options — especially when certification standards are virtually identical.

Exceptions to the Rule
It can be a matter of trust. Some students may not be comfortable “switching” instructors, and so may prefer making their open-water checkout dives with the same instructor who was with them the first time they took their first breath underwater in a pool.

4. Slower Ascent Rate

New Rule
Ascend no faster than 30 feet per minute — one foot every two seconds.

Old Rule
The usual rate was 60 feet per minute until the U.S. Navy adopted the 30-foot-per-minute rate in 1996 and training agencies followed suit.

Reason for the Change
Research. Navy studies found that a 30-foot-per-minute rate resulted in fewer cases of DCS than the older 60-foot-per-minute rate. A slow ascent is really a rolling decompression stop, allowing your body to flush out and exhale dissolved nitrogen before it forms bubbles.

Exceptions to the Rule
The 30-foot-per-minute rate may not always be practical for the whole ascent, especially when you are deep and low on air or approaching hypothermia. In that case a faster rate, up to 60 feet per minute, is acceptable, but for the final 60 feet of your ascent, you should slow to 30 feet per minute.

5. The Safety Stop

| New Rule
Make a safety stop at the end of dives. That means you should pause at about 15 feet for a minimum of three to five minutes before your final ascent to the surface. Some experts recommend safety stops as long as 10 to 15 minutes under certain conditions.

Old Rule
Make a what? Safety stops were not taught prior to the mid-1980s.

Reason for the Change
More research. The new rule recognizes that all dives are decompression dives, and that DCS can and does occur even when you’ve stayed within so-called “no-decompression limits.” Studies clearly show that pausing at about 15 feet allows you to offgas nitrogen before ascending through the zone of greatest pressure change, near the surface. Nitrogen that hasn’t been eliminated can bubble out of tissues rapidly during the last part of the ascent, causing DCS.

There are other safety reasons for the stop. The air in your BC and the bubbles in your wetsuit also expand rapidly during the last 15 feet and may cause you to become significantly positive without realizing it. Stopping gives you a chance to adjust your buoyancy so you don’t lose control of your ascent.

Safety stops also allow you to survey surface conditions and boat traffic before surfacing.

Exceptions to the Rule
You needn’t stay at exactly 15 feet, especially if you’re elbowing a crowd of other divers. Anywhere between 10 and 20 feet is fine. And although three to five minutes is a good minimum, longer, deeper dives call for longer safety stops.

6. Neutrally Buoyant Ascents

New Rule
Become neutrally buoyant before beginning your ascent and maintain neutral buoyancy throughout.

Old Rule
Dump all air so you are negative before beginning your ascent and fin upward against negative buoyancy.

Reason for the Change
The old rule was designed to prevent runaway ascents. But Navy studies revealed that the strain of finning hard while ascending sometimes causes divers to hold their breath. Also, it can lead to air trapping in the lungs. Both present embolism risks. The change also reflects greater confidence in modern BCs, particularly their dump valves.

Exceptions to the Rule
In an ascent from very shallow depths, say 30 feet or less, it’s OK to fin up against slight negative buoyancy. The risk of losing control because of rapid buoyancy changes in your BC and exposure suit, and the low stress in finning such a short distance, makes this the better bet.

7. No More Buddy Breathing

New Rule
In a no-air emergency, depend on a redundant system or your buddy’s octopus, or make an independent emergency ascent. Do not attempt to “buddy breathe” from a single regulator unless you and your buddy have practiced it.

Old Rule
Before octos, ponies and devices like the “Spare Air” were common, divers were taught to pass one regulator back and forth while making a slow ascent.

Reason for the Change
Safety. Experience showed that unless both buddies had practiced buddy breathing and were skilled at it, the attempt was likely to injure both divers, not just one.

Typically, buddy breathing divers become so absorbed in passing the regulator that they neglect to control their buoyancy, and a too-rapid ascent with embolism could result. Or the diver who has passed the regulator holds his breath instead of exhaling slowly, also an embolism risk.

If you are out of air and neither you nor your buddy has a backup system, your best move is to make an emergency swimming ascent: swimming to the surface while keeping your throat open by slowly exhaling.

8. The Buddy System

Every training agency is emphatic on the need to always dive with a buddy. Yet solo diving has long been common, particularly among underwater photographers. Experience, and incomplete statistics, don’t indicate that solo diving is more dangerous than buddy diving, and some divers argue that solo diving is actually safer.

9. The Snorkel

Most of us were taught that a snorkel is mandatory gear on every dive, just like a pair of fins. But increasingly, divers are leaving the snorkel in the gear bag much of the time.

Why? They’ve come to the conclusion that a snorkel, when attached to your mask, is more often a hazard than a help. The long tube—dangling from its midpoint so the hook-like gizmos at the ends can wander around — is pretty effective at catching kelp, fishing line and camera straps. And, given the importance of your mask, your mask strap is about the worst place to mount it or anything else.

Many divers now save the snorkel for special occasions, like a long surface swim from their entry point to the dive site, and carry it in a pocket or strapped to their body.

10. The Dive Computer

The dive computer is probably the most important safety advance in the sport. Much more important than a snorkel, and arguably more important than an octopus, a dive computer is often considered mandatory equipment today. “Virtually all divers now use dive computers to make diving safer and more enjoyable. Why not establish that practice from the beginning?” says CEO Bret Gilliam. “Dive tables have simply been supplanted by advances in technology.”