A Travellerspoint blog

Diving

sunny 28 °C

A few days ago myself (matt) and brenton did an open water dive course, it was pretty awesome. We started the course with a dive at a little island with a beach on it. Our instructor Borge showed us how to set up the scuba tank, it took a few tries but we eventually set it up properly as we got into the water the feeling is just so surreal staying underwater for a long period of time is so cool. Our first dive we made it to a depth of 18.6 metres. Our second dive was at the same place it was cool because we got to see heaps of different fish and coral it was amazing to see how much life is actually living underwater. Our third dive was at a place called Barracuda Lake. This is such a magical place, when you first hop in the water it is freshwater and a nice temperature but when you get to about 8 metres the water starts getting warmer then at about 10 metres the water is 38 degrees it is like swimming in a Jacuzzi as you go deeper the water goes into salt water. It’s awesome. The next day we went back to the beach did another training dive but after that we went to a place called 7 islands and did a current dive that is where you get into a current and follow it till it ends this was good because we saw so many fish and coral.
That night we had to complete a theory exam on diving I was a bit nervous when the instructor was marking mine just hoping that I passed turns out I finished with high scores ☺ I was happy about this so I am now an official open water diver. Later that day we were able to go on an open water shipwreck dive we went to a wreck that was about an hour from where we were staying I forget the name but as we went lower we saw more fish but the visibility wasn’t very good. The second wreck we went to was a wreck called Tangat this was a better wreck we saw 4 lion fish and 2 stone fish that was pretty scary because I almost hit on of the stone fish. We then moved on to barracuda lake again it was cool and the reason it is named barracuda lake is because there is one barracuda trapped in the lake I was up the front of the group with brenton so I didn’t get to see the barracuda but the rest of the group did. Yesterday we hopped on a boat called the Joe to take us to El nido we had a 10 hour boat trip ahead of us but it went pretty quick because I slept the first 1 and a half hours then watched a movie and then slept again. So it was alright. When we arrived at El Nido we caught a trike to a resort called Island Front. This was a resort on the beach but it was to expensive so we stayed 2 nights and are now in a homestay on the beach in heart of El Nido until next time andiamo - Matt

Posted by mike1967 03:18 Archived in Philippines Comments (0)

Coron Palawan Philippines

I was feeling a bit more inspirational about 3 hours ago and typed a big long blog all about how great Coron is. What i didn't mention was the lack of electricity for about 12 hours a day. I lost internet connection and lost all the blog somewhere. ahwell here's the abridged version. Came in on a really hairy flight, the locals clapped the pilot when we landed safely, we all think air travel is the safest transport going, not so the filipino's. Anyway found the accomodation, SeaDive Coron. Fantastic place. We're all in one room and apart from the farting and burping and mucking around we're all getting along pretty well. I'll be happy to be moving on to El Nido to get some separation. A seven night sleepover with teenage boys can make anyone a bit testy.

Well the Philippines is the pinnacle of diving in the world and Coron is the capital. The boys have decided to use one of the big ticket experiences and get their PADI diving endorsement here. We all went island hopping and snorkelling, which was out of this world but there off to dive the WW2 Japanese fleet wrecks. Apparently the best wreck diving anywhere. There are divers from all over the world here just to dive these wrecks and they all rate them the best.
Brenton and matt have already dived the coral bommies and reckon it was awesome so the wrecks promise to be better again. We haven't been getting much in conversation at dinner, both shattered after big days. We haven't been in bed later than 9pm yet. beats sitting in front of a telly until 2 am.

Coron town is built right on the water. At first you think this is a bit confronting with the mayhem of the traffic and people and animals but once you get into the flow of it, it all becomes easy. Everyone runs a tiny business and despite how primitive i would doubt if there wasn't too much you couldn't get. I went up and met the local Firies and they really made me welcome. Typical fire station, SO doing all the work and firemen asleep in the chairs, nothing changes. LOL. Off to El Nido on Sunday in a leaky boat for seven hours, can't wait. Andiamo. Mike

Posted by mike1967 18:10 Comments (0)

Manila

Our second full day in Manila and I think that we are finally getting the hang of the traffic. We took an amazing taxi ride to the Mall of Asia, the taxi threatened to fall apart at any time, I think it was held together with sticky tape, however we did make it. The Mall was a little disappointing, I don't really know what I was expecting but it was a lot of shops just like home only on a larger scale, including an Ice Skating Rink, Imax theatre and normal theatres.

We decided to brave a Jeepney ride to get back to the hotel area. We were directed to a Jeepney that would take us part of the way and had to swap onto another one. We were a little nervous about how to brave the traffic to jump from one to another without getting run over or beeped too much!! The local commuters are really laid back using them. They jump on and then pass up from passenger to passenger the money to the driver, meanwhile the driver is making his way through traffic seemingly unaware of what is happening in the back but ready to put his hand up to receive the money while continuing through the streets. There really seems to be no road rules but they obviously have a set of their own as it seems really chaotic but there are rarely any accidents.

We had a pretty quiet afternoon and packed up ready for an early start tomorrow morning to Coron.

Posted by mike1967 00:26 Archived in Philippines Comments (0)

Manila

Hard lessons learnt already

sunny 28 °C

After our first night in Manila we had a bit of cabin fever and needed to get out of the room. We managed to see a cock fight and put on a bet. It was a mad spectacle. Probably wouldn't go again but good to see all the same. We had a couple of horse drawn buggy's called Kalesa's that took us all around. Man some people are poor. It was incredible to see tiny kids literally playing in the Manila traffic. the drivers took us to a shooting range where we all had a go at some pistols and the boys had a crack at an Uzi. Again probably never do it again but the smile on Matt's face was priceless. This is where we got ripped off the first time, at 50 pesos a round they reckon we used 280 because of the Uzi's which was bullshit but you don't want to argue with a gun shop owner in a foreign city. Call me a a big girl but we paid the money and got the f#ck out of Dodge. Something told me it was not up for negotiation. The second time we got hit was by the drivers, slammed us again. I was that pissed off with myself that I vowed it wouldn't happen again. The problems here are many and most operators will take advantage of tourists if you are not strong with them. Our problem is we are naive and not used to negotiating or bartering a price. I say it because it is our problem. Had I been a bit stronger and aggressive I would be a fair bit richer now. Anyway lessons learnt the hard way, blew our weeks budget in a day. Just about had enough of Manila, doesn't seem to be an awful lot to see except the hustle and bustle and it being so different to home. The people here have been very friendly. They seem to be very quick to smile and are very polite. One more day and we're off to Palawan, the reason why we came. Definately need to see some sand and coral.

Posted by mike1967 02:45 Archived in Philippines Tagged people Comments (0)

Getting here

Before we leave

overcast 28 °C

I remember saying to Patti, "how hard could it be?". Well turns out it's pretty hard in parts but it's like when you ask someone how they got through a massive job or event in their lives and your thinking that you couldn't have done it and it would all have been too much but the fact is is you just tackle it in little chunks and you get through. Once we made the decision to go we knew we had to prepare so we spent ages on the itinerary. Firstly you can't see everything so we picked experiences that we each wanted to do and built a bit of a frame work around them. Matt wants to Scuba so the first stop is Coron, Palawan Philippines. The rest of the planning for that part of the trip is then built around that. We will plan as we go and try and get a more local feel for a place.

The next thing was how do you pack for a 12 month trip around the world? The answer is you can't. We really had to avoid the panic of thinking that we had to be prepared for every known weather situation just in case we found ourselves on top of Everest in a snow storm or Morocco in a heat wave. The fact is we want to travel lightly and everywhere we're going will have shops. Just like you would do at home, we'll shop and throw as we go. We did spend some money on a couple of Goretex jackets and light weight gear but we are generally going for the "look like everyone else" look!. We avoided branding as much as possible. We didn't want to look like we are sponsored by HH or be walking around a city looking like we'd lost our mountain to climb. You get the drift.

The big elephant in the room is " How are you going to afford it?" The fact is that everyone travels differently. I can say that we spent around $24000 before we left the country. That was Round the World tickets, shots for every disease, travel insurance, packs and gear. That was a major expense but unavoidable of course. As for the rest of the budget I suppose it depends on ourselves and the level of comfort we want. We are in some cheap travel countries at the start but we move on to Europe and USA later in the year. We have rented the house to a friend, I am lucky enough to be on paid leave and there are no school fees this year. Our normal living expenses have been heavily reduced so whether we are travelling or at home we still have to eat and live as we would. I'll post a better blog about it when we're more into the trip to gauge how it's all going but hopefully there shouldn't be many surprises.

Lastly was the preparation of affairs before we left. I won't bore with the details but can be a little frustrating. I was amazed at how much correspondence and paperwork is delivered to our home every month. Most systems will not just send electronic bills. All banks and Utilities want a street address so all of our mail had a change of address to my parents place. Patti located most of our bills and we managed to change most over the phone but every day more would sneek in like the once a year donation to Unicef or a Superanuation statement. I know we didn't get them all. There are some problems with paying bills so we asked a trusted family member to open our mail and let us know when a bill was received and we B pay it.

Like i said before, the task looks daunting and for most people far too much uprooting but we are motivated to make this happen for us and the boys. We had a bigger view on what we want out of it and for us it is worth all the hassle. First stop Manila. Let's Go! Coles

Posted by mike1967 14:41 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

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