22 January 2011 Saturday
As I write this I’m so exhausted I can hardly think. We only did two dives today but they were tough ones, taking a lot of energy. And then after each dive I had my stepdaughter meet me in the water so she could continue to get acquainted with the use of the regulator as she swam along with me at my side.
So we had our last two dives of the trip today. I feel sad that the week passed so quickly but I’m exhausted now and need to go home to rest up from “my vacation.”
Recreational diving is not really physically demanding, but doing two and three dives a day along with some ancillary snorkeling can add up and take its toll it seems. I love it, especially because it’s about the only way I can get in some exercise that puts absolutely no stress on my load bearing joints, ligaments and tendons; except that is for the few seconds it takes to get in and out of the water. Luckily here though, there is a dive assistant that is ready to grab your tank or give a hand up when it’s time to stand up with 70 lbs strapped on. Ugh! Quiver!
Bonus, I believe I lost some weight too. My extremely dysfunctional sour stomach does not allow me to eat a normal breakfast or lunch without causing nausea while diving; so, my wife fixes a bowl of fruit for breakfast and between dives I have a banana and water. Aside from that I have eaten only one traditional meal every day, having it up on the veranda while watching gorgeous tropical sunsets every evening. You just can’t beat it.
Both of our dives lasted about an hour each, the first was 52 minutes, not including the snorkeling we did to put ourselves over the desired descent point way out past the pier where the drop off begins. Our second dive was just over an hour, and we also snorkeled quite a ways out first for that one as well. Again, the goal was to conserve our air for the areas we wanted to see underwater instead of using up several hundred pounds just to get there, all this because the resort still hasn’t repaired it’s dive boat motor. Ehhhhh!
A few of the more outstanding events during the two dives mostly comes from the second one. Lazily exploring a series of small sea caves all in a continuous row at about the same depth we rounded a rock and there checking out our approach was a seriously large grouper, at least I think it was a grouper. In the video it takes on a greenish hue, but for real it was brown with darker brown markings with a full round body, large eyes and fat fat lips. I turned my cam on it but only have a few fleeting seconds of it quickly retreating into its cave burrow. I tried to catch a glimpse of it in its hole but it must have a very deep one, because it was no where to be seen when we peered in using search lights. The second or two I managed to get of this big fish is at the very beginning of the following video.
The other memorable extended moment followed soon after the grouper sighting when we got to where the hill slopes up to meet the coast line several hundred meters to the east of the resort directly up the coast. The visibility wasn’t the greatest today but the sight of the rounded hillside covered with colorful swaying anemone tentacles, like a field of wheat rolling in the wind was stunning.
And then, looking up towards where the sea meets the coast, and there, 15 or 20 feet above, is the crash and swirl of waves on rocks and boulders, a unique underside view that only a scuba diver gets to see. It drowns the senses.
Watching the compilation video I just put together for this post I remember that in that last dive on our way home back up the coast we had to fight a fairly strong current all the way in. The only way we could make any headway was to stay flat on the bottom and crawl in by using rocks as handholds. If we hadn't done it that way we would have run out of air for sure. Thing is, it ripped the hell out of my gloves; looks like I'll need a new pair now.
We had bad luck with our cameras today. First, all the hundreds of photos we’ve taken on our little Cybershot were dumped when the 4 gig memory card went belly up out of the blue. The same thing happened about three years ago with the other card that I had bought on line the same time as when I bought the card that crapped out today. I should have learned my lesson and continuously downloaded my photos every evening, so as not to lose too many. Live and learn.
The other cam issue was not nearly so tragic. Don was willing to video Jen-Jen and me while we practiced our tandem scuba. The problem is that the 8 gig card was full, so no go. Jen was very disappointed, and I was too for that matter. (Turns out there was actually plenty of memory left on the card, but I had left it on after the last video clip. All I would have had to do was delete that last video, which was over 40 minutes long! No wonder the card was full up.)
We’ll be out of here before 9 am according to Don to catch the 11 am ferry for Batangas out of Calapan. May the saints of safe travel guide our winding ride home.