Diving in Dauin and Apo Island with turtles

We arrived mid day with the ferry from Liloan in Cebu to Dumaguete, which only took like 30 minutes. We took a tricycle all the way to Dauin for 450php, all though we knew there were jeepneys for much less, but we didn’t know exactly from where yet.

We had a sweet driver who acted like a tour guide, he was like ”This is the bla bla university, I work here during nights” ”This is the City Hall” ”This is this town” ”This is Robinson mall”. Dumaguete is quite a big city, with a lot of people and students. Somehow it reminded me a little bit of Santa Fe in Argentina, haha. The ride from the pier to Dauin was about 1,5 hours along the ”highway”.

Taking the tricycle from Dumaguete to Dauin

Taking the tricycle from Dumaguete to Dauin

We arrived at Bongo Bongo Divers and were a little confused because nobody sort of took care of us… We sat at the ”reception” for about 30 minutes before the receptionist came and showed us around – the kitchen area, the hammock area and the drink fridge – we got a paper with our names on and every time we took a beer or a coca cola from the fridge, we wrote it up on our paper, and we pay in the end. Very nice to always be able to have something cold to drink! There is always tea and coffee available too :)

What we spent in 6 days. :)

What we spent in 6 days. :)

Our room was very basic, it was a cute tree/bamboo double room with a nice window overlooking the garden, but the only thing in the room was the bed and a mosquito net. I would have wished for at last a chair or a night table or something, but but. Happy I have my packing cells so I could spread them out on the floor haha. The bed was very comfortable with a nice mattress, so we were happy, at least me, Duilio didn’t fit with his feet inside the bed, and he is only 1,76m, I wonder how it works for the really tall vikings, haha.

I’m glad we had a mosquito net, which we put up at night and made us feel protected, haha. Just above the ceiling of straws you could here weird noises during all night, it was either rats, birds or lizards (the lizards make a very particular sound), which felt like there were trying to bite through the ceiling. Good to have ear plugs! :)

Our double room at Bongo Bongo dives, it's a very comfortable bed, but we don't have any furniture at all :(

Our double room at Bongo Bongo dives, it’s a very comfortable bed, but we don’t have any furniture at all :(

Our dive instructor, Richard, was french and his girlfriend Virgina, was spanish. They were the first ones to greete us when we got there and were super nice. Richard was occupied with some Open Water students, so he asked if it was ok to start our Advanced Open Water course 2 days ahead, which was fine for us, since we were quite tired and wanted to relax a little bit.

Bongo Bongo Diver, to the left you see our instructor Richard

Bongo Bongo Diver, to the left you see our instructor Richard

Yep. This is us relaxing in the hammocks. At least me. Haha

Yep. This is us relaxing in the hammocks. At least me. Haha

We did one dive along the coast there next day though, to try the equipment and see a little bit what’s there. We went with Marvin who is an expert in Macro diving, and Virgina joined to. We put our dive gear on at Bongo Bongo and walked down to the beach and went in just there. At first it was only sandy bottom, and I was like ”Well…. Where is the amazing diving everyone is talking about here in Dauin?” but then we came across many different cool creatures we’ve never seen before. Me and Duilio would never have been able to see it if they didn’t point it out, and in the end it was almost our favorite dive haha.

We saw a thorny seahorse, so cute, it was all curly and sweet. We saw lion fishes and scorpion fishes as we have seen before though, we saw flat fish, a big crab, and we came across hairy frog fish which is quite unique. We also spotted a very cool fire urchin!

A thorny sea horse!

A thorny sea horse!

Boxer fish doing the duck face ;)

Boxer fish doing the duck face ;)

Redish and angry scorpionfish

Redish and angry scorpionfish

Wow! Amazing kind of hippie or trance fire urchin

Wow! Amazing kind of hippie or rave – fire urchin

Love these translucent things

Love these translucent things

A hairy frog fish!

A hairy frog fish!

An amoeba, but it looks like a alien brain or something

An amoeba, but it looks like a alien brain or something

We also saw  4 flamboyant cuttlefish, which Virgina said wasn’t the easiest to come across. And they were amazing! They look something between a mini elephant and a squid haha, and they change colors so they can camouflage themselves. On their backs you can see like waves of colors changing, and then from like a deep purple redish color it becomes the same color as the sandy bottom and then back. It was really fascinating to watch. One of them was hunting and took out like a long thing tongue and ate something; don’t know what it was though. But it was really cool, have it on video. :) Anyhow, we were very happy about that coastal dive :)

They look something between a mini elephant and a squid!

They look something between a mini elephant and a squid!

Flamboyant cuttlefish, a mother and a kid I think, they were changing colors all the time, like a wavy disco on their back!

Flamboyant cuttlefish, a mother and a kid I think, they were changing colors all the time, like a wavy disco on their back!

Flamboyant cuttlefish

Flamboyant cuttlefish

It looks like squid-man in the Pirates of the Caribbean, haha.

It looks like squid-man in the Pirates of the Caribbean, haha.

In bongo there where almost only Danish people, Virginia told us it was 26 people staying at Bongo Bongo of which 19 where Danish! Haha. Quite many. I mean, Denmark is a very small country! Haha. One of the owners of Bongo Bongo is a Danish guy, Magnus, and somehow when Danish people look for dive schools around Apo island, they find Bongo Bongo.

We stayed in Dauin for 6 nights, but we never really had a conversation with any of the Danish except for Magnus mother who where giving me a lot of compliments all the time hehe, and Stefan and his girlfriend. Stefan is doing his Dive Master there and staying for a couple of months. One day they arrived with groceries and we asked them where they had bought it, and they told us about a super market in the Robinson mall in Dumaguete, which we had passed on the way here.

Next day we took a jeepney for 15php per person to the Robinson mall and wow, it was a weird feeling, it felt like I was in Spain. First time we see a mall and a big super market in Philippines, we have only been in local markets and small kiosks. The mall had a lot of shops – clothes, jewelry, massage, a cinema and everything. But the super market was amazing. I was so happy to buy soya milk and cereal, kikos (like toasted corn, very typical from spain), wine and peanut butter, feta cheese, broccoli, kidney beans… It all ended up quite expensive though, about 2500php, but it was worth it. We had breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks for the whole week.

The robinson shopping mall!

The robinson shopping mall!

At the mall.. playing some. Trying to get the portable wifi... I didn't. :(

At the mall.. playing some. Trying to get the portable wifi… I didn’t. :(

We got our Padi advanced books and chose which adventure dives we wanted to do for the course. To do the advanced open water you have to do 5 adventure dives. Obviously there are some which you can’t do in the Philippines, like the dry suit or the altitude diving. There are two obligatory ones – the Deep dive and the Navigation dive, and then we chose Peak performance buoyance dive, night dive and drift dive.

We went to Apo island to do the deep dive down to 30 m, where you also take with you a card with different color dots, and when you are 30m under you look at the card and write down what colors you see. The colors change in the depth, the red was dark brown and the orange was more of a light brown. At Apo island it was filled with corals and we saw a couple of big turtles, so cute!

Tiny jellyfishes everywhere!

Tiny jellyfishes everywhere!

Diving the wall and the cave

Diving the wall and the cave

 

Diving in Apo island

Diving in Apo island

The second dive at Apo island was the drift dive, we started at Coconut point, went down quickly all together in one place and drifted with the current to another place. You didn’t have to fin anything, just go along with the current, drifting from the entry point to the exit point. You see a lot on the way, but there isn’t time to get a close look at anything really haha. The boat picked us up at another point. I noticed that I have learnt to breath better, in the end of the dive I still had over 100 psi left, so we who had a little bit left dived under the boat for about other 15 minutes before ascending.

Big turtles! I love the turtles :)

Big turtles! I love the turtles :)

Plenty of sea snakes here!

Plenty of sea snakes here!

Diving. Love the formation of the coral!

Diving. Love the formation of the coral!

Apo island

Apo island

Another kind of nudy branch

Another kind of nudy branch


Then we did a third dive there, just a fun dive,
and I really enjoyed that one, we were only 3 divers and 2 dive masters, and it was very calm and we had time to observe and look at things calmly. After that we headed back to Daiun.

Diving in Apo island

Diving in Apo island

I call this the mushroom (kantarell)

I call this the mushroom coral (Visst påminner det om en kantarell?)

The broccoli corals ;)

The broccoli corals ;)

Blue sea star hugging the coral and the fish is just hanging out there

Blue sea star hugging the coral and the fish is just hanging out there

Sea cucumber with amazing pattern!

Sea cucumber with amazing pattern!

Corals. They look sharp!

Corals. They look sharp!

A huge nudy branch, like 30 cm!

A huge nudy branch, like 30 cm!

Logging in the dive book!

Logging in the dive book!

I was super tired when we got back home, after filling in our log books we decided to have dinner out.

We walked around a bit in Dauin looking for a mexican restaurant we had heard of but we never found it. But we got to see some of Dauin, which is very calm, and people are sooo friendly and genuin. They sit outside their houses and say ”hi! Good afternoon! Hello, how are you?” it’s really the feeling of a small little town where everybody knows each other.

We were surprised to see so many big mansions there though, they have huge colorful houses with big gardens and stuff, mixed with the neighboring house which was made of bamboo. And also; everywhere you see dogs, cows, roosters and even goats! You have to sleep with ear plugs, because they sound all night!

The streets of Daiun

The streets of Daiun

A mango tree. They wrap newspapers around them. Don't know if its from keeping them from birds or so they mature..

A mango tree. They wrap newspapers around them. Don’t know if its from keeping them from birds or so they mature..

We ended up having dinner at the Dive café around the corner of Bongo bongo, where we had our first breakfast before going to the mall. We met Soo who we had dived with earlier at Apo island today there. Apparently there was a buffet that night, eat all you can, and we never heard the price until after… 350 php per person!! Quite expensive… but we were very full after that haha. It was our most expensive dinner though.

Next day we did the Peak Performance Buoyance, and now I understand why everyone always look so surprised when we say we dive with 8kgs each (both me and Duilio). In the end we noticed we only need about 3 kgs each. We dived through some rings and did some hovering.

We also did the navigation dive with a compass, going straight ahead, doing a 180 degrees turn and getting back to the same point. I sort of missed a little bit there because I saw a crab going into the sand, and I turned around to see if Richard had seen it, and then I didn’t know where I had been heading the first time, so turning back got a little bit miss calculated. . We learned to count kick cycles and we clocked ourselves on 20m. It was fun. I was a little bit scared when I was going to do my square navigation, because we did it alone, and you have to change the bezel 90 degrees to do the square, and if you put it wrong you loose orientation, and I was afraid of getting lost alone, but I did it right and got back :) It took a while though since I went like 1 minute in each direction. But it was very cool!

Our last adventure dive was the night dive, we went in just when the sun was about to get down, with our lanterns. It was really cool, the colors change during night. We saw a huge squid, like 1 m! And we saw a sleeping turtle in a small cave. We dived around a sunken little boat where there were many lionfishes too. We did the dive with another Danish couple who where doing the advanced course, they had just done their open water course and now suddenly I was the most experienced one after Richard, haha, so I tried to had that in mind, but after getting kicked from the Danish girl like 5 different times in the head, I ended up pushing her body from me every time she approached and touched me. I don’t know if she couldn’t calculate distance or anything, but she could come from above you and doing a narrow descend just in front of you kicking with the fins on your tank and in the face, or trying to squeeze in between me and Richard even if it was only like 40 cm between us, so she pushed me to the side – but sometimes I couldn’t go to the side because there were corals there or something – so I had to just stop, stay still, hold my mask and regulator so they didn’t get kicked of, until she had hustled herself next to Richard, and then continue behind them. It happened so many times I couldn’t believe it, both me and Duilio where like ”WTF?!” haha.

We are both happy we did the advanced course after doing a few dives in-between, to get more out of it and understand more about yourself as a diver. Like Virgina, all though she is a little extreme haha, she is a super experienced diver with over 300 dives, but she didn’t do the advanced until a couple of weeks ago, haha. I think it would be good to have minimum 15 or 20 dives before doing the advanced at least. Richard has been great too, always happy and with a lot of energy. :)

After the night dive we celebrated that we were done with our advanced open water course with a nice dinner and wine – the one we had bought earlier at the super market– oh, it was so good!! I have missed to drink wine, haha. Wine here is very expensive compared to beer, but in the super market we found a bottle for 184 php, about 3-4 euros, from Argentina. We thought we’ll try it at least – and it was good! :)

Now I'm certified! Until I get my card home, I have this temporary card

Now I’m certified! Until I get my card home, I have this temporary card

Happy with being able to cook!

Happy with being able to cook!

We stayed one more day just relaxing, reading book in the hammock and having a pizza and a drink at a resort with a nice pool, and then we decided to move on a little bit earlier.

Chilling out at El Dominos resort, such a nice pool!

Chilling out at El Dominos resort, such a nice pool!

We ate breakfast calmly, packed our bags, donated the rest of our food to Monica and John from Spain and England that arrived yesterday, and took the jeepney to Dumaguete Market, for 15 php each, then a tricycle to the Pier for 17 php each. Quite much cheaper then how we got here! All though we had to be in a crowded hot jeepney for over an hour, but I like it, to do it the local way :) We also started talk to a Philipino in the jeepney that where living in Saudia Arabia since 9 years back, only visiting their home city for some vacations now, and they helped us with the tricycle to the Pier, so sweet.

Duilio in the jeepney, we sat in the middle on thin benches that you put up once the sides are full. 30 people in this small van!

Duilio in the jeepney, we sat in the middle on thin benches that you put up once the sides are full. 30 people in this small van!

The ocean jet ferry from Dumaguete to Tagbilarean in Bohol leaves 2 times a day, one at 7.30 and one 15.00, and cost 700php. There’s a terminal fee for 15php and then if you have a big backpack that you have to check in (only one hand luggage allowed), it costs 70php per bag. The check in is one hour earlier. We got here around 12, so we had plenty of time, but we enjoyed it in the cool waiting hall, the internet is quite fast here too. :)

I just have to write down how many compliments I get about my hair (dreads). It’s so funny, completely different from Europe. Just boarding the boat, three crew members said “Nice hair!” to me. One even asked if he cut have one dread, haha. But yeah, everywhere, just if we are passing by people by the street, they say it out loud. Adorable. I’m very happy with it. :)

Next stop: Bohol!

Shipwreck diving in Coron

We have been diving for 3 days now in Coron, lovely experience! Coron is famous for its shipwreck diving.

During the second world war year 1944, about 120 US Navy bomber planes attacked the 24 Japanese ships that had anchor at Coron Bay and around Busuanga Island. It’s a horrific history around this now very peaceful place, but it’s also what has put Coron on the map for divers. I don’t know if there are so many shipwrecks anywhere else.

I dived with Corto divers, I can truly recommend them, and the apartments they have above the dive shop :)

We took tricycles from Corto Divers to the pier, and then a small boat out to the bigger dive boat. Nice bungo boat with toilet and kitchen, and enough space for us all (not like the small inflatable motorboat we had in Portugal when we were diving where we had all the gear on the floor, and it was about the size of the little boat we took now to the bigger boat, haha).

The first day we were a bigger group of 7 divers with 3 dive masters. Me and Duilio had Nicole as a dive master, she is born here in Coron. The first day we had a Danish guy, Philip, with us too in the group with Nicole. I really liked her, she was very calm and explained the planned route in before hand, and she always said ”I want you to look around and experience, take your time!” – so yes, I felt there was no rush that I would get lost or anything if I found something, we really dived in a slow pace, enjoying and taking it all in. :)

We had 3 dives on the first day, visiting 3 different shipwrecks. We were around the Tangat-area, about 1 hour from Coron with Boat.

The first ship was “Sangat Gunboat” in the East tangatIt was a submarine hunter, but the submarine “loop” was beneath instead for above, as the regular submarines. LOA 35m, beam 7m, and depth 3-18m. This was our first shipwreck dive, we thought it was really big, but our dive masters calls it “the baby ship” haha. It was awesome, and the visibility was good too I think! There were many fishes inside the ship, and you could see the sun come in though the ships windows. We saw a few Nemos :)

“Sangat Gunboat” from the front

“Sangat Gunboat” from the front

The front of the baby ship “Sangat Gunboat”

The front of the baby ship “Sangat Gunboat”

Diving inside the boat! “Sangat Gunboat”

Diving inside the boat! “Sangat Gunboat”

After that we dived at “Morazan Maru”, that was a Civilian Cargo ship from the 2nd world war, the LOA was 112 m, beam 13m, depth 12-26m. After seeing this ship I understand that they thought the other was a baby ship! Haha. Saw many scorpion and lion fish on the wreck. We dived inside through a small quadratic hole on the top of the ship and had to use lanterns to see inside the ship. It was huuuge inside! Supercool to dive around there, imagining what had been there before while looking through the ”windows”.

The entry point to “Morazan Maru”

The entry point to “Morazan Maru”

Exploring the inside of “Morazan Maru”

Exploring the inside of “Morazan Maru”

Inside “Morazan Maru”. Love the wheels!

Inside “Morazan Maru”. Love the wheels!

Dive-selfie ;)

Dive-selfie ;)

After lunch we did the third dive was on “Olympia Maru”, an army auxiliary supply ship. LOA 128m, beam 16,7 , 5612 gross tons. It’s quite shallow, 18-24m, and you go in from the shore. The visibility on this one wasn’t as good as the other dive sites, couldn’t see how big this ship really was, but yeah, I could still tell it was  huge!

 

Hungry people

Hungry people

 

The big army wheel at “Olympia Maru”

The big army wheel at “Olympia Maru”

Some fishes going up on the stairs of “Olympia Maru”

Some fishes going up on the stairs of “Olympia Maru”

 

The second day we were doing 2 dives, and we were only 4 divers with 2 divemasters, me and Duilio had Nicole and Xuan from Spain and Ahmed from Palestina had another divemaster. It’s really good that we have so small groups, we can look out for each other and it’s easier to not lose anyone. We rented another boat for the day since there was another group going to the shipwrecks we visited yesterday. So we had the whole boat for ourselves.

Giselle, the boat we went out with today!

Giselle, the boat we went out with today!

We visited the Barracuda lake that we had visited earlier on the highlights tour, but this time we dived there. Not so much marine life – but it was still a completely unique experience – first of all – it was a very clean lake – truly crystal clear.

But the coolest is the big differences of temperature in the water, which looks like layers of blurriness, but I was SO SURPRISED that it was so hot at the bottom of the lake!! We have all learned the sign for ”cold” while diving, and Nicole told us the sign for hot, but I never thought I would need to use it haha. Until I got to the bottom, and it was like a sauna!! The dive watch said 38 degrees but it felt much much more. It was like a really hot shower! We dived only in the bikini and without wetsuits – happy we did!! Haha.

Crystal clear water at thebarracuda lake

Crystal clear water at thebarracuda lake

First time I dive without a wetsuit!!

First time I dive without a wetsuit!!

Duilios hands are in the same temperature as my camera, the rest is either at a hoter or colder level of water haha

Duilios hands are in the same temperature as my camera, the rest is either at a hoter or colder level of water haha

At the end of the dive we took off our fins, des inflated our BCDS and “walked” at the bottom. It felt like walking on the moon, almost weightless, but it goes soooo sloooow haha. Much harder than you can think, cause you still need to keep a balance haha J Then we climbed up along the rocky sides, they were quite spiky and it was about 15m climb up, I caught myself being afraid to fall down, when I remembered that I was in the WATER and I could actually swim! Hahaha. It was a really cool experience :)

Walking at the bottom of barracuda lake

Walking at the bottom of barracuda lake

The rock formations on the sides of barracuda lake

The rock formations on the sides of barracuda lake

Climbing up to the surface of barracuda lake!

Climbing up to the surface of barracuda lake!

The second dive was at Twin peaks, a coral reef close by. Besides many corals we saw sea horses, sea stars, crabs and nudy branches. A weird thing I’ve seen a couple of times now is something that looks like a metal ball, apparently it’s called “bulls eye”, and is an alga. Weird. I’m also fascinated about all the translucent sponges, like membranes.

Diving around Twin peaks

Diving around Twin peaks

Corals at Twin peaks

Corals at Twin peaks

The interesting transluscent sponges!

The interesting transluscent sponges!

A special nudybransh that Nicole hadn't seen before! at Twin peaks

A special nudybransh that Nicole hadn’t seen before! at Twin peaks

A Sea horse on the move!

A Sea horse on the move!

"The bulls eye"

”The bulls eye”

Duilio :)

Duilio :)

 

The third day and last dive day for us we went about 2 hours away from Coron with boat, with the same group as yesterday but in Corto divers boat again. I enjoyed our way there by lying in the proa reading a book and glancing at the water beneath the book, haha.

Not complaining!

Not complaining!

The first dive was at “Akitsushima”, a navy seaplane tender, where the planes used to land on the sea. LOA is 118m and beam 15,7m, 4724 tdd long tons. Depth 22-36m. This shipwreck was huuuuge. We went inside and it was literally millions of tiny fishes everywhere. We could see the engine room inside. We used our lanterns here to be able to see something. Sometimes we couldn’t see each other even when we were a couple of meters apart due to the fishes, but we had already decided a meeting point, where the ship had broken, and where we were going to exit.

It was really cool. It’s good that we did this wreck the third day after getting some more experience on buoyancy yesterday. Duilio has become a better diver, but they gave him a bigger tank with 3 liters more air for this dive since it’s much deeper here then the other dives and we consume more air. We went down to 30 m!

“Akitsushima”, a huge airplane tender ship!

“Akitsushima”, a huge airplane tender ship!

The mast in “Akitsushima”

The mast in “Akitsushima”

We went in through a small hole in “Akitsushima”

We went in through a small hole in “Akitsushima”

Inside the “Akitsushima” - huge!!

Inside the “Akitsushima” – huge!!

Cool wheels and mechanims inside “Akitsushima”

Cool wheels and mechanims inside “Akitsushima”

 

We had a break for lunch and siesta and then proceeded with a shallower dive at “Okikawa Maru”, a navy auxiliary oiler ship. Loa 160m, beam 20m, 10043 gross tons, depth 10-26m. The ship was also super huge, couldn’t see it all, we entered to a small part and used the flashlights again. Awesome. Then we dived along the corridors on the sides of the ship, cool to think that people had walked around there like 70 years ago. Many many nudybransches there. There was a quite high current there, so it was a little more difficult dive. On our way back up, we had to hold on to the cord up to not drift away with the current. Especially while doing the safety stop, we were all horizontal in the water haha.

 

Diving along the corridors of “Okikawa Maru” (tipped down)

Diving along the corridors of “Okikawa Maru” (tipped down)

I guess this is where the “Okikawa Maru" got bombed, because it was all in a strange pile instead of looking like a ship

I guess this is where the “Okikawa Maru” got bombed, because it was all in a strange pile of construction instead of flat or looking like a ship

Some things that grow on “Okikawa Maru

Some things that grow on “Okikawa Maru”

Me, Nicole and Duilio :)

Me, Nicole and Duilio holding on to the line :)

 

So… Diving in Coron is now over for us. I’m happy to have experienced both shipwrecks, the lake and the coral reef. I’m also happy we got really good food for lunch cooked on the boat itself everyday! I’m really surprised that they can do so much in a tiny kitchen on a boat. The staff was great. We had water and beverages the whole day, got help to check the gear, put on our fins and everything. Everyone has been very friendly and helpful.

If you want to have a good experience in Coron – dive with Corto Divers! :)

 

See also: First days of Coron – Islandhoping the 7 highlights
Last days of Coron – visiting malcapuya and banana island

 

Scuba diving in Gordon rocks with sharks!

I don’t have much time to write, so I will mostly put up the pictures!

I dived at Gordon rocks, it is the remains of a crater measuring about 100 metres in diameter. Its supposed to be one of the best places to dive in the galapagos,  and it was an amazing dive… because of the sharks!! It’s the first time I ever see one. But I guess I just have to deal with the fact that it’s never going to be as beautiful as the first boat dive I did in cozumel!

It had been raining the whole morning so the visibility wasn’t that good, a pity, but still you could se around 10 metres around you. Sometimes only the shadows of the sharks, hehe.
It’s breathtaking to be so close to sharks, they swam just a couple of metres underneath me! Haha.

The swedish girl  I went with got really sea sick and didn’t dive, I feel so sorry for her!!

Oh by the way, the instructor said I was a good diver.. :) I asked why (since I’m new) and he answered because I consume very little air.. haha. Yeah I was the last one in coming up to the surface together with the instructor, all the other ones in the group ascended before me with the assistants because they ran out of air, and I still had 1000 psi left when we got up to the surface.. Cool :)

By the way I really enjoyed this gang of divers, it’s a family owned buisness, so the main instructor and the assistants were all siblings :)

Have to go now… but enjoy the pics!!

Gordons rock!

Gordons rock! The remains of an old crater!

Two people are feeling very sick.. throwing up on each side of the boat

Two people are feeling very sick.. throwing up on each side of the boat.. you see them? haha

The boat in front of Gordons rock, where we are diving!

The boat in front of Gordons rock, where we are diving!

Hammerhead!

Hammerhead!

Me :)

Me :)

A sea turtle and lots of fishes!

A sea turtle and lots of fishes!

Galapagos shark!

Galapagos shark!

Lots of sharks!!

Lots of sharks!!

Two rays!

Two rays!

Scuba diving. Me down in the left corner ;)

Scuba diving. Me down in the left corner ;)

So cute!!

So cute!!

A big ray!

A big ray!

My first real dive in Cozumel with Aqua Safari

So I got certificated with Aqua Safari, it’s a very reliable company with lots of years of experience.  I also went out on my first dive from a boat with them, it costed around 1100 pesos for two tanks. We went out like 1,5 hour from the center to the south, when our boat broke because of some water tank or something. While waiting for another boat to come so we could change to that boat to take us to the reefs, we had almost two hours to just chat and hear different diving stories. Very interesting.. It was a lot of Americans on the boat (12 to be exact), around 5 Mexican in the aqua safari crew, and me and another Swedish girl, Sandra. So funny that it was only americans and the other one was also Swedish!

Boat dive with Aqua Safari

Boat dive with Aqua Safari

So we were 14 divers and 2 dive masters down in the water at the same time. Quite many but it was such an experience. Just putting on your gear (even if I’ve just learned that the crew and other more experienced divers helped me with everything, really everything!).

When we jumped in the water and was going to descend, I really didn’t know what to expect. And I was amazed. It was really breathtaking. The most important rule in scuba diving is to always breathe, to never hold your breath because it can cause serious injuries, and I had to remind myself of it all the time. Underneath the surface lies a whole other world I couldn’t believe. It was layers and layers of corals, like a castle underneath. While “standing” almost at the bottom of it, and looking up, it was totally overwhelming. Woooow. We followed the dive master and got in holes of corals and it was like a completely different universe. We saw big turtles, box fishes, lobsters and other fishes I don’t know the name of. Awesome. We dived 80 feet, around 24 metres, so I wasn’t allowed to bring my camera since it can only be 12 metres or 40 feet underneath the water. With my open water certification I’m also only allowed to go to a depth of 18 metres, but they let me if I hold myself close to the dive master. Sooooo cooooool.

After 55 minutes we ascended and took the boat to another place and dived a depth of 15 meters. It was really current this place, totally different from the first. I couldn’t bring my camera then either, to bad. It would have been awesome to show you. But the American guy who had 25 years of experience, Ron, had a camera and he said that he would send me some pictures later, it would be totally awesome. So I will update this post later with some of the pics, until then, here are some pics from google so you can get the picture of how it was like:

The most beautiful coral reefs in the world. Pic from tropicaltravelersblog.com/

Beautiful picture from oceanfirstdivers.com/

When we got up from the last dive, it was raining and it was really windy.. but under the water you don’t notice that at all.

After getting back from the dive, I finally sent my postcards too! So many of you will now receive a post card. I haven’t been able to send them since there isn’t many post offices here, usually like one main post office with difficult open hours and really far away from where I am, but this was only one square from Aqua Safari.. so the postcards comes all the way from Puerto Escondido, like a month ago! And even Guatemala.. haha. :)

I got back to the hostel where Duilio was guarding our stuff and we took the ferry over to Playa del Carmen and directly took the bus to Tulum. We didn’t stay anything in Playa, it wasn’t at all an atmosphere I was looking for … I’m sure if you are 18 it’s great, or if you are there with lot’s of friends to party.. All the prices were in dollars, everybody on the street talking English, everybody was drinking or partying or shopping or laying on the beach.. I found it too American and too touristic. Worse then Cozumel.

 

Sunset when leaving the port of Cozumel, with the american cruises.

Sunset when leaving the port of Cozumel, with the american cruises.

We went directly to Tulum, and when we got out from the ADO bus station, we look around to see who to ask for a recommendation of a hostal… and who do we see? Pepe, from Holbox! The very Mexican guy that was in the Casa Maya gang. He worked here for a hostel called Lobo Inn, who had free bikes and internet, and a discount of the taxi there in the price, so we got there but they didn’t have any private rooms left so we had to sleep in a double bed but in a shared room, very weird. It was in a bad shape,  really hot and other people using our bathroom in the middle of the night… not cool. Also they were supposed to have a pool, which they had, but no water in it, haha.

The pool they promised us.. haha

The pool they promised us.. haha

Our backpacks. :) They are friends now, looking for a new place to stay. haha.

Our backpacks. :) They are friends now, looking for a new place to stay. haha.

Next day they had a private room available but it would cost 400 pesos with discount… So we took advantage of the free bikes thing before check out and went to the beach to see if we could find any cheap cabañas. It usually costs from 600-1500 pesos to be here by the beach, but we got a discount, 400 pesos for a cabaña just by the beach.

The room is very simple, only a bed with a mosquito net and a table. It’s half open so lots of sand gets in here with the wind, haha, and we can hear the ocean in here.  So nice. But we only have light from 19-23 in our room, and no other electricity to charge our cameras and stuff, but we can do it in the restaurant, which is beautiful. Soooo relaxed. And we have our own private beach with the beach chairs, finally! Hahaha. Very good! It’s called Diamante K.

Our cabaña! A lot of sand blows in but I love that it is rustic.

Our cabaña! A lot of sand blows in but I love that it is rustic.

Our beach at Diamante K :) Love the colour of the sea and the white water!

Our beach at Diamante K :) Love the colour of the sea and the white water!

Just before a wave.

Just before a wave.

Hahaha, such a funny pocture.

And during a wave.. Hahaha, such a funny picture.

Water splash!

Finally we managed to take the picture with a water splash!

So…. Time to have enjoy our last week in Mexico!

Cozumel – lets try to scuba dive!

So I arrived at Cozumel this Wednesday. I’m staying at a hostel called Hostelito, very clean and nice! But the dorm is big, for 26 people, and it was like 15-20 places occupated in the dorm. I was sleeping quite close to the showers and bathrooms, and there was a reality film team about 10 people here who got up really early, they all showered around 2.30-4.30 in the morning, and packed all their equipment etc…. I couldn’t sleep at all.  It felt weird to know that everyone passing my bed could see me in my bed. And it was hot too, the two ventilators in the roof on the sides of my bed wasn’t working, and my back did hurt a lot so I couldn’t find a good position to rest it and sleep. I had my first class at 8.30, but I changed it to 12.30 because I only managed to sleep like 2 hours that night.

My bed in the hostel first night

My bed in the hostel first night

When I got to the place where I’m getting certificated, it was really close that I wasn’t able to start the classes, due to my training astma. But after talking about it for like 30 minutes and since I haven’t  needed to use my inhalator in over 10 years, they let me do it. PHEW!!! I was so close to just start crying right there, haha.

Since I was so tired that day I watched 5 videos about diving, and saved the diving for next day.

There are other PADI-students here at the hostel :)

There are other PADI-students here at the hostel :)

It was the 14 of february, valentine’s day, and I was supposed to be alone since Duilio was staying for a couple of days more in Holbox, but he got here in the evening :)  Aww. We wanted to have a private room here at the hostel, but they didn’t have anyone available, only a suite which we got for 420 pesos instead of 650 pesos… and wooow, so big!! We have our own room, bathroom, shower, kitchen, balcony, living room.. haha. It’s amazing!! And the bed is sooo good! Haha. As duilio said when we went to bed ”Wow, I can’t believe this is true, the best sheets ever, so soft, without any holes or dots”. Haha. Yeah. We have had some really lousy rooms and beds before, with steel wires coming out through the madrass! Haha.

Our kitchen and living room! To the left we have a big balcony and the door there leads to our bedroom. So big!

Our kitchen and living room! To the left we have a big balcony and the door there leads to our bedroom. So big!

What an argentinian! Drinking mate and having toasted bread with cajeta...

What an argentinian! Drinking mate and having toasted bread with cajeta…

Anyhow. Next day I had my first scuba dive, and woooow, it’s totally another world!!! My instructor hold me in the hand the whole time. We went for 3 dives that day, and this is some of the things I’ve learnt: Equipment preparation, safe check, descent, buoyancy control, mask clearing, regulator recovery and clear, to use and alternative air source, underwater exploration, ascent and I’m sure some more stuff. My instructor said that the moment most people have problems with is to take of the goggles underwater, swim without seeing them, and then put them on and blow out the water so you can see again. But it wasn’t that scary. Everything has been amazing. It’s so weird to be down there with the fishes, it sort of feels like your are an intruder, visiting their calm home. Its fascinating. And it looks like they are flying around you since they are buoyancy.

Scuba Cozumel Mexico 2009 02 03_Al's Photos

Scuba Cozumel Mexico (Photo credit: connermajik-e)

So.. what I love about our stay here is the scuba diving, and our room. But Cozumel itself is disappointing. There are American cruise ships that anchors here for like 12 hours, and all the tourists go out and get drunk and buy diamonds, Cuban cigars, tequila and artesanias… 90% of the people you see here are americans. The rests are scuba divers, haha. And the town itself or the people here isn’t really anything special…. No… so I will try to have some more dives so I can enjoy the world underwater.. Cozumel is one of the top ten best diving places in the world, let’s take advantage of that!

Studying to get  the certificate..

Studying to get the certificate..

I was supposed to do my exam and my final dives today, the third day, but it rained this night and today it has been sooooo windy, so the whole harbor is closed, no one is allowed to scuba, snorkel or even bath…

So I got the day off and we hired some bikes to bike around the island, but damn it, the worst bikes ever!!!!! Mine had the brakes against the wheel the whole time so it was a  heavy and made a weird noise all the time, the gears didn’t work at all, we had to manually lose the chain to change the gear, on both bikes! Oh, but the worst was that it didn’t have any go in the bike, like it was on level 1 all the time even if we manually changed it, so bad.. so we had to pedal a lot and didn’t get anywhere!

The bicycles handlebar was a little bit crooked so it turned left all the time… what more.. oh, worst saddles ever! So unfomfortable… We bicycled to the southest point on the island, it was 32 kilometres.. and it took like 3 hours! We watched the sunset there and then we bike back in the dark, and had all the wind against us, so heavy, we were sooo tired, and our buts were really soar.. haha.  Now we are dead… But yeah, biking 62 kilometres  when you are not used to bike that much does that to you.

Out bicycling around  the island.... 32 km to get to the southest side of the island..

Out bicycling around the island…. 32 km to get to the southest side of the island..

Roadtrip at Cozumel :)

Roadtrip at Cozumel :)

At the Punta Sur, quite tired.

At the Punta Sur, or final destination, quite tired. Only 32 km back home then!

Let’s hope I can get my certificate tomorrow!