I have a bit of time so I will write my first feelings as a dumb tourist in the Philippines. Being there for only a week. All in all this was my first contact with Asia if I except a couple of long or short term involvement with people in the French and American asian community. Anyway. What first strikes as a man in the Philippines is obviouslly the deep interest you attract toward Filipinos young women. And I can tell you that there are some extremely attractive one !
I just received an email from TopClassHost support . The site is being moved to a better featured and more reliable control panel. This will correct the email and permission problems. The move will be completed today, and the new access details forwarded to you.. I'm crossing my fingers .
As some of you may have noticed my host provider TopClassHost was unable to offer redundancy yesterday and thus the whole site was unavailable for some unknown time. They even did not configure the website properly to avoid a 404 error on url with paths only the root was displaying the maintenance message
I'm back to Cebu City after a week spent diving in Moalboal. I left around 10AM from Moalboal and took a V-Hire for 60 pesos. A V-Hire is a Filipino-style 'matatu' meaning that it is not an official mean of transport and not registered by the minister but they are much more confortable than the local buses. Moreover they are air-conditionned, take up about 12 peoples only (unlike in Africa they don't stuff as much people as possible inside) and a little bit faster (though driving here is a constant challenge between pedestrians, tricycle, motorbike, buses, dogs, etc... ).
Back again to Pescador in the morning, I'm persisting over the frogfish and the visibility conditions are great here anyway. I'm also experimenting with some 'landscape' shots that would normally be much better with a wide angle lens and a powerful strobe. The problem here is to have enough light to have the color in the foreground and a nice blue in the background. Since I have no wide angle lens, I have quite a narrow one (well that sounds logical) and the shots are not that pleasant to the eye, but that's good experiment nonetheless.
Everyday is making history I did my longest dives ever. I topped 90 minutes (max. 27m) while diving Pescador Island and 124 minutes (max. 15m) while diving White Beach. This is quite easy as the temperature is a cool 27C and it is a very relaxing diving here in Moalboal. Moreover I'm the only diver so there is no one to cancel the dive after sucking his tank in 30 minutes and I'm having excellent DMs that use as little air as I do. I really love it.
I'm having excellent dive these last days in Moalboal with Blue Abyss. The staff is absolutely first class and I'm literally spoilt. All my dives have been on an average of 80 minutes. I'm really getting the most value from my money out there, especially since I'm seeing critters rarely or never seen until now.
Some people often wonder what are these splendid creatures looking like slugs, well, they are called more generally nudibranchs. They are probably the most beautiful creatures in the ocean. Most of them are small, in the range of 5cm though there is a big one known as 'Spanish Dancer' that can reach about 50cm !
The 'Haruyot' typhoon has been striking the north of the Philippines yesterday and is now heading straight to Hong-Kong. That's what I'm calling timing ! Now that it is over here, the sun is back with the water calm as a lake. Thus I went diving to Pescador Island this morning, a small island 15 min banca (motorized outrigger boat) from the shore.
As mentioned yesterday, I have been diving today with Blue Abyss. This was just some kind of test dive in the house reef as the sea was somewhat rough and visibility was expected to not be very good, but it appears to do a quite pleasant dive. I did not do much as I spent time looking around getting familiar about what can be seen here. It is clear that this is a macro place. Everything is tiny tiny tiny and I would need a macro lens to take full advantage of it. About the dive site it is drop down wall about 50m from the shore so it is quite easy to go there and the reef is in excellent condition. The visibility was better than expected and I would say 15m easy even though there was a bit of sand due to the rough sea. While at the dive center I met Simon P. Oliver who is a professional photographer and I must say that his equipment is quite impressive. All of it cost an astonishing amount of $50,000 and is insured for $15,000 per year. Gloooops !
I managed to arrive in Cebu beside Cathay Pacific delaying the flight for more than one hour, changing the gate and put it 2km away from the other one and finally changing the boarding call in the way. I had a survey to fill during the flight and could express my feelings . I'm leaving Hong Kong just when a warning as been issued due to a tropical cyclon approaching. The sky during the flight was amazing as there were different thick cloud layers from 3000ft to probably 40000ft (we were flying at 37000ft).