Dive 287: Alma Jane, Puerto Galera (Philippines)

Dive time: 00:28:00
Max depth: 29.9 metres
Temperature: 29 C
Visibility: 20 metres
Buddy: Steve
Surface interval: 02:03:00

The Alma Jane was a small cargo ship, which was scuttled right in front of Small La Laguna beach, where we are staying. The wreck sits in 30 metres of water with a line going straight from the surface to the stern.

The visibility was not as good as the previous dives but still decent. We swam around the wreck at first and saw lots of growth on the hull, and a few groupers sitting under the bow. I could see the rudder was still intact but didn’t see the propellor. There was a big school of batfish at the bow, all facing into the mild current, and quite a few batfish on the deck amongst the steel beams.

Our dive guide Huw pointed out three different coloured frog fishes, which was good because I’m never able to spot them. Steve and I also swam through the cargo hold.

The dive was relatively short since Huw and I had already done two dives already today and I came within 5 minutes of deco. Shared my air with Steve just before we came up the line since he had 60 bar and I had 100 bar while we were still at 25 metres depth.

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Dive 286: Monkey Beach, Puerto Galera (Philippines)

Dive time: 00:47:00
Max depth: 21.3 metres
Temperature: 29 C
Visibility: 20 metres
Buddy: Alan, Angela
Surface interval: 02:15:00

Steve sat out this dive, and what a mistake! We saw a huge Hawksbill turtle on the sandy bottom of the reef, munching away happily while we were watching it. After a couple of minutes being the centre of attention, the turtle swam off up to the surface.

Another nice relaxing dive, drifting along to a mild current. We saw trumpet fish, anemone fish, a couple of banner fish out in the blue, a marbled grouper, a blue and yellow grouper, a few parrotfish, and juvenile banner fish. The reef was covered in lots of hard and soft corals, as well as whips, fans and feather stars. We even saw a little feather star swimming, looking very funny like an octopus having a seizure.

Dive 285: Sinandegan, Puerto Galera (Philippines)

Dive time: 00:36:00
Max depth: 20.4 metres
Temperature: 30 C
Visibility: 20 metres
Buddy: Steve

This was our first dive in Puerto Galera on a trip to the Philippines with my brother Alan, his girlfriend Angela and our schoolfriend Steve. It was only a short boat ride out from the beach in the banca to the dive site. After a backward roll off the boat, we descended onto a reef in a little bay. I think it had been too long between dives for me since my gear was so dry and so full of air bubbles that it was a bit of a struggle to get down from the surface.

I was diving with Angela’s new GoPro to test it out for her since she didn’t yet feel confident enough to concentrate on filming while diving.

The site was a gentle slope from 4m down to around 20m, where we found a fair bit of current. So we drifted along the reef with the current, very relaxing, although I was hoping the others weren’t freaking out too much.

We saw a banded sea snake, nudibranchs, moorish idols, spotted sweet lips, humbugs, anemone fish, and generally lots of fish life.

Dive 284: The Apartments, Long Reef

Dive time: 00:47:00
Max depth: 23.8 metres
Temperature: 17 C
Visibility: 10 metres
Buddy: Caro

This dive was organised by Steve and his mate Greg on our own private charter with Herb.  It was my first dive in Sydney since the one with Steve back in March.

We motored out to Long Reef and jumped into the water.  Even with my hood on I could feel the water was freezing cold.  I spent most of the dive mulling over whether I could bear doing a second dive in this ice cold water.

The reef was mostly big granite boulders with kelp on top.  We saw quite a few blue groupers (male and female), big schools of eastern pomfrets, old wives, striped wrasse, a large Sargent Baker and leatherjacket.

I felt a bit overweighted for the dive.  I sank like a stone when I first descended and had to pump a fair bit of air during the dive to stay neutral.  Must remember next time not to use 4 weights!

In the end I decided not to do the second dive, and just enjoyed the surface interval where we putted around whale spotting, and even saw two baby humpbacks performing full breaches.  Amazing!

Dive 283: Sail Rock, Koh Samui (Thailand)

Dive time: 00:47:00
Max depth: 26.5 metres
Temperature: 28 C
Visibility: 8 metres
Buddy: Mark
Surface interval: 01:01:00

This was a very similar dive to the first, because the rock is pretty small.  Olivia and Lynn had a much easier time this dive.

I had the GoPro for this dive, so I just wrapped the strap around my left hand for the duration of the dive.  It wasn’t too bad diving with it, although I did find that my buoyancy suffered a little as I was concentrating on looking around for things to film!

We saw a big giant grouper surrounded by lots of tiny fish, more bull sharks, a stone fish and lots of anemone fish.