olsob, whale sharks

KendrickWhaleshark

last week, i went to cebu and stayed at yoshi hirata’s resort in cebu (mactan) club paraiso / pcom dream. yoshi is a marine biologist who moved from tokyo to the philippines to start up his own dive operation. he is the #1 world premiere whale shark photographer (published by the likes of national geographic and BBC) and not only is he among the world’s best marine photographers, he is also a fantastic chef!  he arranged for us to dive with the resident whale sharks that frequent the shallow waters of oslob, 3 hours south of cebu. the following are some shots i got of these gentle giants. we encountered around 6 of them on 2 dives with the largest being around 10m (over 30 feet) long. i took these shots with the 5d mark iii in natural light with a nauticam NA-5DMIII underwater housing and ultra wide angle canon 16-35mm f/2.8 L II USM lens. click the image for full size.

WS4

SFWhaleShark

WS1

WS3

WS5

hippocampus bargibanti

pygmyjer

i just returned from anilao, in batangas, philippines testing out my new nauticam NA-5DMKIII housing for my canon 5D Mark III DSLR camera. it was my first attempt at super macro photography and was terrific fun. one of my favourite macro finds (i think i can speak for most divers) is the ever shy pygmy seahorse (scentific name hippocampus bargibanti). these tiny creatures measure around the size of your pinky fingernail and are generally found well camouflaged amongst soft corals and gorgonian sea fans. i found this little guy (pictured above) hiding amongst a sea fan with around 6 other of his (or her…i’m still learning to tell the difference) companions! an adult can measure as short as 13 mm in length – that’s around 1/2 an inch! pygmy seahorses are unique in that they breathe through a single gill slit on the back of their heads, as opposed to the more common seahorse that has gill slits on both sides of its head. but similar to the common seahorse, the males brood and take care of their young. i took this photo while in anilao with my canon 5d mark III DSLR inside a nauticam NA-5DMKIII housing, dual inon Z240 strobes, f11, 1/125 sec, canon 100mm f2.8L macro IS USM lens. – jeremy

more new divers: connie, michael, ray, candace, maggie & adrian!

last week i was back in the sunny philippines in puerto galera teaching another group of divers all from hong kong. we escaped the huge torrential rains that plagued the hong kong pearl river delta and spent just under a week in oriental mindoro enjoying the magnificent sunshine, diving, mango shakes (and yummy korean food) at song of joy dive resort in puerto galera – where i usually hold my open water check out courses in the philippines. connie, michael and ray finished their open water licenses early on, while candace and maggie joined later to finish theirs. adrian moved up to the advanced open water diver level. despite seeing only one green sea turtle we still managed to spot all sorts of other weird and wonderful creatures underwater. it never rained once and the diving was great. congratulations to all the new divers – dive safe and let’s do it again!

adrian, vic, johnston, zoe & thorpe – new PADI divers!

the last week of september found me once again in puerto galera, philippines for another terrific dive certification trip. this time i went with colleagues from my airline, Cathay Pacific Airways and partner airline, Dragonair. pictured above left to right, congratulations go out to Adrian (Cathay 747-400 pilot), Victoria (Cathay 777 pilot), myself as their certifying instructor, Johnston (Cathay 777 pilot) and  Zoe (Dragonair A320 pilot) for earning their PADI Open Water Diver licenses. Thorpe, also a Cathay 777 pilot (the one taking the above photo and pictured below) also completed his PADI Advanced Open Water license along with Zoe as his buddy. this photo was taken just after a refreshing afternoon rainshower passed through as we were enjoying a bbq picnic on a small beach called Friday’s. the divers had just completed their compass navigation snorkel swim when the rainshower passed through. so typical of weather in the philippines, even the sun shines through the rain! we saw some fantastic sealife – the highlight being a giant hawksbill turtle on their very first open water dive! (it was the largest hawksbill i’ve ever seen!) a good sign and a terrific start to their diving adventures. congratulations all. let’s go diving again….soon! dive (and fly) safe!

 

congratulations new PADI Advanced Open Water Diver, Susan!

a few weeks ago a huge typhoon (typhoon nesat) tore its way through northern philippines. despite the challenging weather and conditions, we managed to escape the major force of it as we were down south in puerto galera, philippines. fortunately, susan hall (joined by already certified diver, xavier law  (pictured above) was able to complete her open water and advanced open water diving license! we had to cancel one day of diving when the typhoon was directly overhead us, but the conditions cleared up quite nicely a couple days after. despite the visibility being lower – as expected after the typhoon – we were still able to enjoy our short trip to PG. congratulations susan! if you could handle those conditions, you can dive anywhere!

tubbataha reef, philippines – cornered hawksbill

tested out my new sony high definition (HD) underwater video camera with light & motion housing at tubbataha reef national park in the philippines last month. tubbataha reef is listed as a world heritage site and it is perhaps the premiere dive spot in all of the philippines. the reef is located southeast of palawan right smack in the middle of the sulu sea. the visibility was incredible. clear blue water topping almost 200 feet. the water was warm (30 degrees) and currents light. below is a short video clip of our group chasing one of the resident hawksbill sea turtles. it was definitely the star of the show with everyone taking photos of him. unfortunately it ran out of swimming space and we cornered it, but still allowed him room to escape! here is just a simple video clip testing my new HD video camera. more tubbataha videos to come. enjoy.

new diver! congratulations soe

on 25 april 2011, soe, an optometrist from hong kong, earned her open water scuba diver certificate! after 4 dives in puerto galera philippines with her husband, andy (also an optometrist) and a few of my family and friends, we welcomed her into the scuba diver ranks. we saw some spectacular sealife in PG – the most ‘exciting’ was a huge sea snake (sea krait) that was very curious and swam right towards soe and i to say hello! sea kraits are highly venemous and poisonous but they are very friendly and inquisitive and don’t pose any threat if you respect their presence. we saw some sea turtles as well in some great, clear, blue water diving across the channel at Verde Island and it was a good first experience for soe and the gang. congratulations once again soe! keep diving, and good job!