Tuesday, January 31

Diving with Thresher Sharks @ Malapascua

This morning at 5.30 we set out to Malapascuas most famous dive site - the Thresher sharks. The reasons why the sharks come to this specific reef in the morning everyday is simple: Parasites! There are small parasites that stick to they gills + other parts of the shark and irritate them. To get rid of these small parasites the sharks come to this specific place because there are "feeder" fish who eat up these parasites.
Reef ahead
The sharks are pretty big and glittery and they swim close to you! Was amazing to see!

Walk around Malapascua

Did a very early dive in the morning and after that walk around the island for a few hours. Today has been really hot and sunny. Probably got a slight red from the walking a few hours.
Lots and lots of coconuts in all trees
Mare mare mare! As long as the eye can see
Like Cast Away except no Wilson :)
The scenery is amazing and totally deserted when walking a bit away from all the diving resorts. Well you can check the pictures and you will see what I mean!

Private beach? Yes please!

They even have a church here!
Also been working here, have you ever wished you had a "beach-office"? Well here it is, Malapascua Beach office with WIFI! Hede, is your ocean view as good?

Monday, January 30

Advanced Nitrox diving

Just passed my Open Water class and the Advance Diving class. Today I completed my Advance Nitrox class. Nitrox diving is what you could call "extended diving time with different air". For very specific information about you can click HERE

Nitrox tubes, AKA Voodoo Gas
Normal diving tanks consists of 79% nitrogen and 21% oxygen, as does the air we breath everyday. When going down to deeper depths than 20 meter, you start using up your air faster from the tank because of the pressure and lower air in the water the deeper you descend.

Top class compressor for filling tanks
The Nitrox mix in the tank that I will be using tomorrow has a Nirogen level of 32%. More Nitrogen means shorter decompression because the oxygen level is lower. Whatever, tomorrow I will do my first Nitrox dive with thresher sharks at about 25-35 meter depth! The air should last for about 1 hour instead of normal tanks 15-20 minutes. This will be the 11th dive I do. Awesome :)

Evolution centers Nitrox mixer

Sunday, January 29

Advances SDI done

Just completed my deep sea diving today! Went on a few dives including: Deep Sea 28.8 meters, night dive, navigation, advanced buoyancy and marine ecosystem awareness. It's really beautiful down in the sea! Got great pictures of a lot of things! The night dive was my so far the longest dive, lasted 77 minutes.

Onego spikefish
Looks like a sea pineapple
Nudi branch
Scorpion fish
Look at me, I'm floating!
Some sea urchins

Saturday, January 28

Finding Nemo

The third day dives were more exciting than the first one's since basic training is done now. We were at a bigger reef of corals and all kinds of underwater animals. Now I also have all the courses done and have a Padi Open Water Licence! Licensed to deep anywhere in the world at 18 meters depth.

Open water certificate DONE!
This is where I am, a small island - Malapascua, outside Cebu City
The boat Evolution uses to go to diving sites
After each dive we wash the equipment
CBD's drying
After doing our morning dives and completing the test we wanted to relax a little and started walking around the island. After a few kilometers walk we met some locals who invited us for some drinks and hanging around. They run a small shack by the beach making T-Shirts and other souvenirs to tourists here. They thought me how to train Roosters for cockfighting and we saw the roosters attacking each-other "practicing" for the real competition. Cockfighting here in Philippines are very popular and there are competitions everyday. They tie a sharp nail to the roosters beak which is poisoned with snake poison. When one of the roosters picks the other one the poison will start working immediately and it does not take long until one of the roosters is a
winner. So the rules are fairly easy, you bet on one and see which one wins. Now I've been training a rooster how to fight...

2 Roosters training

Later in the evening they brought a duck which was killed on spot and then we cooked it. They way they kill ducks here was kinda brutal. Just a hammer and a nail to the back of it's head then twist the nail until the duck is out. Then start skinning it and boil it. After boiling, BBQ. Taste was awesome and fresh. And the place is also beautiful with great sunset! Felt like something out of "Madventures" the whole day. So random.

Views from the shack we had the dinner, you might wanna click the picture to get it bigger!
The duck BEFORE (still alive)...
...and after

Thursday, January 26

Open Water Diver

Today we did our second set of diving and by tomorrow I'll be certified for Open Water diving which means I can go to 18 meters deep anywhere in the world. After that I will take my advance diving certificate which will allow me to 30 meters deep.
The divers
Our local Evolution bar & restaurant - The Craic House
We were diving at around 7 meter deep Japanese Second World War shipwreck today. It's been pretty windy and some rain so the water wasn't that clear today but it was still very cool to see the old wrech and all the coral and fish inside it. There were lots of Barracuda's swimming around the ship as well. Diving is AWESOME! If you haven't tried it I strongly recommend you take your license somewhere in Asia since it's very cheap and also the stuff you see is BEAUTIFUL!

We also dove around and another person who was with us diving had an underwater camera so I got some pictures from today!

Sea urchin
Seastar, eaten this in China but it taste BAD
There's a dog who's taken a liking to our beach-hut and sleeps there all day. Unfortunately it's kinda lazy and didn't even notice when we saw the cleaner go to our room. So much for a watchdog, but it's cute :)

Wednesday, January 25

Malapascua - PADI Dive Training begins

The reason we came to Malapascua was because I've hear the water is clear, weather is good, beautiful, cheap and it's calm. Second reason: I want a diving licence. And what better place to do it at than here where it's also very affordable compared to Finland. It costs about 350 Euro here while its over 2000 Euro in Finland.

Ice cold beer here, yes!
We only slept for a few hours after last nights/days chaotic traveling for 19 hours but I wasn't a bit tired in the morning. Kinda excited about the diving thing! In the morning we completed some paperwork and stuff online before we started checking the diving gear. After a quick inspection we had some basic tests and how to use the equipment in the water for a few hours. When we passed all the tests and went for a 30 minute dive on 6 meters next to the Daka Daka island. There were sea stars, corals, cuttlefish, all sorts of colorful fish etc etc. Too bad I don't have an underwater camera. Was amazing! But I guess it will get better, this was just a "taste" of diving. Tomorrow morning at 8.30 we will continue. And if your reading this in your office, let me tell you I wrote it all in a hammock on the beach. Peace! Nu e de sommar, nu e de sol!

Vacation in Philippines - Manila stop

Chinese New Year = Vacation! So now for the next 10 days I'll be around Philippines. I booked the tickets in time but it was still almost sold out since so many are leaving China for the holidays. The tickets cost me pretty much the same as tickets home to Finland although this is much closer.
We had a connective flight in Manila and got around 5 hours to go see the city in between the flights. Arriving at the customs was smooth, visa upon arrival for Finnish citizens 3 weeks without any kind of application. Visa was free even thought the Internet says it costs 25 U.S Dollars.

Add about Russian choco, now haven't I heard that phrase before...
People here speak really good English, in China they are no where NEAR the level and China should be more developed than here (but then again so should Korea and Japan be). Anyway, the policeman at the airport told us to go to a huge recently opened mall. It was just next by the sea and had a huge Ferris Wheel we went to ride. Also some shows by a local fat magician man :) They even had an ice skate park, in +32 degrees sunshine. Must be energy efficient to keep it cold. The people who were skating probably never seen skates before, they kept holding the rail and had shaky legs.
Some skyline pictures of Manila city here, not too clear though. The city wasn't as poor as i expected after hearing all kinds of stories and seeing video footage or then I obviously didn't move far enough from downtown.
After a few hours in Manila we got a cab back to the airport and it was half of the price compared to the departing on. Around 1,5 Euros so it's really not a big loss...We flew to Cebu city which is about 1 hour south east of Manila. We had had a car pick us up at Cebu airport and it drove around 80-100km/h in the jungle on REALLY bad roads. This was the first time in my life I got carsick but managed to be withouth throwng up. After 3 hours of crazy-frenzy driving we arrived safely (What's the odds after THIS ride??) to the port where a boat picked us up. It was quite stormy and VERY dark. But another 40 minutes later we finally arrived to DIVERS PARADISE! MALAPASCUA! This is thanks to Matt Reed @ Evolution Divers who is our dive instructor and has been living on this island for over 2 years now. A good 7am - 2am trip in total.