The next SCUBA diving adventure is coming soon! I’m heading to the Philippines to SCUBA dive Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park on the Philippine Siren with seven friends. We’ll be on the “extended” trip boarding the Philippine Siren in Puerto Princesa, Palawan Island and disembarking at Cebu City, Cebu island. This adventure has been a long two years in the making, but it’s almost here, and before I know it I’ll be taking off from SFO headed to Manila. I’ve been saving my United miles and will be flying round trip to Manila using those miles, and on the way home I’ll be flying first class. Woohoo!
Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park is a remote collection of two coral atolls in the Sulu Sea that is only accessible from March through June (when the weather permits) that is known for its incredible coral reefs and marine biodiversity. The park consists of approximately 10,000 hectares of coral reef at the heart of the Coral Triangle, known for its beautiful coral and a high density of marine life including many endangered species (sharks, turtles, whales…). In addition to the Tubbataha Reefs we’ll visit Apo Island, Dauin, Sumilon Island, Pescador, Oslob, and Moalboal to name just a few of the famous dive sites! I am so excited to be diving such an amazing place! And we’ll be diving on the Philippine Siren, one of the luxury liveaboards owned and ran by Worldwide Dive & Sail.
An extra adventure to El Nido, Palawan! Due to the flights available when booking with miles I ended up arriving in Manila a few days earlier than I need to be. I considered options of what I can do (not really wanting to stay in town for three days) and decided to go to El Nido to check out that beautiful area of towering limestone cliffs. I’ll do a kayak tour through the islands around El Nido; Big Lagoon, Small Lagoon, Secret lagoon, how cool does that sound. My Sony in its housing is perfect for kayaking and snorkeling because it is so small and easily hand held. I’m staying at a nice looking hostel for a decent price with a private room and bath. The resort with the rooms over the water I wanted to stay at was $375 a night, sigh…a bit more than I can afford. And I’m flying to El Nido from Manila to save time and then will ride the bus from El Nido to Puerto Princesa. An extra adventure!
Getting ready for the trip. I’m at that point of trip preparedness where I’m getting my gear serviced and looking into either upgrading my laptop or trying to do a trip with only my iPad. My Sony NEX5 camera needs servicing and I am thinking about leaving the trusty Nikon D300 at home and taking a lighter weight camera with me for land photography. I have my packing down to a science and can go on a three-week trip with only one checked bag, my carry-on and a camera backpack but am taking flights on some smaller airplanes where baggage weight is restricted. The dilemma is not whether I want to pay overweight charges, but how much do I want to pay in overweight charges, and honestly how much weight I want to pack around on my back. So many decisions to make before departure day!
I’ll be making updates to my blog as I am able before I go and while traveling. Parts of the trip will be completely unplugged. No “cloud” in the Sulu Sea, haha. So keep an eye here and on my Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/DivermaidenTravelBlog for photos and updates on the journey.
If you have any questions you can leave a comment here or on the Facebook page (which will probably get faster replies).
See you in the water!
Here I go again, off on another adventure!
On this trip I will be visiting Micronesia, specifically Kosrae one of the Federated States of Micronesia and Palau (Republic of Palau) which is also part of the chain of islands known as Micronesia. Micronesia is comprised of thousands of small islands in the western Pacific Ocean. People at work keep asking me where Micronesia is so finally I printed a map and put it on a wall in my office. The easiest way to explain the location is to think of Hawaii, then head west almost until you get to the Philippines. There in the middle of the ocean are the islands of Micronesia.
Palau is known for its SCUBA diving, which is why I’m going of course. I’m hoping to see huge schools of fish, sharks, and reefs covered in a rainbow of colorful coral. Hopefully we’ll see manta rays and turtles also! I’ll be sailing with seven friends on the Palau Siren a beautiful sister ship to the Indo Siren that Randy and I cruised to Komodo National Park in Indonesia on a few of years ago. I’ll be joined by seven friends on the Palau Siren, all underwater photographers, looking forward to diving in the beautiful ocean there.
But first I’m making a stop at Kosrae Village Ecolodge where I’ve wanted to go for years, ever since I met Katrina and Bruce, partners at the ecolodge and NCUPS members from way back. At Kosrae I’m planning on doing some diving along the stunning reef known for its abundance of marine life and pristine hard corals. I’m also going to do some relaxing, read some books and do some walking around the island to take in the local culture. Generally take it easy and get rid of the stress from the busy fall and winter that I’ve had this year.
Keep an eye on Divermaiden.com where I will be updating with pictures and stories as the internet access allows.
Last weekend was the Monterey Shootout, a three day event where underwater photographers meet in Monterey, California to shoot (still photography and video), process and submit their work to be judged. On the last day, at the awards ceremony, the winners are announced and incredible prizes are given out to the winners. I’ve participated in this event since the late 1990’s.
This year was special for me because I was going to shoot with the system I put together using the Aquatica NEX5 housing that I won at the competition last year!Read More
Please help in the effort to prevent mining on this beautiful little Indonesian island where I have stayed and gone SCUBA diving. Currently there are white sand beaches, green lush jungle and healthy coral reefs. If they mine this island there will be nothing but raped bare dirt. Please watch the video and sign up using the link below to help prevent mining on Bangka Island.
Sign up to protest the proposed Bangka Island mine at Rainforest-rescue.org.
A few images from my stay on Bangka Island.
I have more images from North Sulawesi, Indonesia (and other dive destinations) in my Underwater Galleries!Read More
In 2008 Randy and I went to Bonaire with another couple, one of whom wasn’t a diver. This is a pretty common situation where a dive group or couple has a member that isn’t a diver or maybe isn’t as avid a diver as the rest. Sometimes that person may be happy sitting by the pool or the beach reading a book but not always. Because we had a non-diver in our group on that trip we ended up doing a lot of non-dive related land-based activities. Bonaire is a small island. It takes less than one day to drive all the way around Bonaire. But there are a surprising amount of non-diving activities for such a small island. This blog features some of the fun land-based activities on Bonaire.Read More