Scuba Diving from a Cruise Ship

Diving from a Cruise Ship

cruise ship scuba diving

Cruise ship Scuba diving

A Cruise vacation might not be seen as an option for a diving vacation, however, it can be. Millions of people each year spend their vacations on a cruise ship. Once considered a vacation for the rich or elderly, the cruise ships now see passengers in every age group and in many economic groups. Some ships are small with only a hundred passengers or even less. Many of the new cruise ships have well over 5,000 guest on-board. Warm weather destinations are some of the most favorite cruise destinations, however, you will see sailing to Alaska, the Baltic Sea and even to the Antarctic.

While a cruise ship might not be the first thing comes to mind when planning a dive vacation, you might not want to dismiss it straight out. If you are looking to dive three or four dives a day every day of your vacation, then a cruise will not fit your plans. However, if you are looking for a dive vacation that balances diving with other activities or need to take into consideration the needs of traveling companions that are not divers, a cruise may be a good choice.

scuba diving holidays at sea

Sports Bar on Norwegian Getaway

If you have never taken a cruise, here are a few basics. A cruise ship can be compared to a full board resort. The cruise fare will include your stateroom and many of the on board activities. Your meals are included as are some beverages during meals. You generally will have a few options of where you want to eat. There will be one or more fine dining restaurants and one or more causal restaurants or buffets. Some cruise ships offer specialty dining at a small surcharge. Some the larger cruise ships will have over a dozen different places you can eat a mixture of included and at an additional cost. Each evening you will find in your stateroom a newsletter showing all the activities the following day including the opening and closing times of different venues. In the evening, expect to find a number of shows and other nightlife offerings. On the days you are in a port, the newsletter will list information about the port including the times you can leave the ship and when you must be back on board.

A typical cruise is a week long and will have four or five ports of call, the remaining days will be at sea. Depending on the cruise you select, you may find that diving is possible at each port of call. Most of the Caribbean best diving destinations are also visited by cruise ships, as are Mexico’s Pacific coast, parts of the Mediterranean, Australia and ports in Asia. A recent cruise gave me the opportunity to dive in Honduras, Belize, Costa Maya Mexico and Cancun. I left from Florida so arriving a few days early gave me the possibility of some dives before the cruise. That trip brings my total to 12 dive destinations and 40 dives while taking a cruise.

Shore Excursions and Port Calls

When we talk of a “Port Call” or “Ports of Call”, we are simply talking about a stop the ship makes on their itinerary where you can get off the ship. You will also see the terms “Pier” and “Tender” applied to the port calls. When a cruise ship is at a port that is “Pier”, guest can walk on and off the ship. The term “Tender” means that the cruise ship anchors in deep water and a smaller boat called a tender transports

cruise ship scuba diving destinations

Norwegian Sky in Nassau

passengers to the shore. The tendering process adds to the time it takes to get off the ship. The term “Shore Excursion” is used by the cruise industry to mean a tour activity off the ship. The cruise lines arranges with local tour operators tours that can be offered to the guest on board the ship. These are sold on board and before the cruise on the cruise line’s website. A debate you often hear from experienced cruises is whether to book a cruise lines offered shore excursion or do it yourself. Both those for and against using the cruise line suggested tours have merit. On the positive side, the tours are aligned with the ships arrival and departure times. While a cruise line will clearly state the tours are by independent tour operators, if the tour is late returning to the ship the cruise line will know and insure that the passengers are not left behind. On the negative side, cruise ship sold shore excursions are often a cattle boat activity. Hundreds of passengers get off the ship, file onto buses that travel to the tour’s destination. At the tour stop, passengers file off the bus, follow a tour guide with a little flag, then back on the bus to the next destination. Also, cruise ship lines are in business to make a profit, so there is a mark up added in to cover the cruise line’s cost and a profit margin.

These concerns can also be raised concerning scuba diving as a shore excursion. I have dived using the ships shore excursion as well as arranging my own. Years ago, scuba divers and snorkelers were often grouped together and fifty or more people may arrive at a dive site at the same time. Today, the trend is to keep them separate and the cruise lines deals directly with dive operators not tour operators who sub contract. The cruise lines generally do not announce who operates their tours, however, with the power of the internet the identity does not stay secret. In most cases, the cruise lines are working with a leading dive operator in each port.

Shore Excursions or Self Booked?

Whether you should book a shore excursion from the cruise line or do it yourself is not an easy answer. The first point should be, are you comfortable with who the dive operator is. While the cruise lines do not list the operators, if you look at reviews of the shore excursions you will often see the name of the tour operator. From there you can look at reviews for that company. You can also see, how much a cruise line marks up a trip. A two tank boat dive with no equipment in Nassau by the cruise line is $179, while booking direct with the company it is $150 ($139 plus 7.9% tax). In this case, the company does provide a pick up at the cruise terminal for direct bookings, however, that is not always the case.

plan ahead and save on cruise diving

plan ahead and save

If you are considering making a reservation direct with a dive operator, there are a number of items to carefully consider. First and foremost is the times. Your cruise itinerary will show you the date and time you will be in port and the departure time. Look closely at those times, some cruise lines show the local time while others show “ship” time. Some cruise lines will move the clock forward or back during the cruise to reflect the local time where they are. Others keep the time based on the ships departure port. Ship time could be one or even two hours different then the local time. You also need to take into consideration getting off the boat. Take as an example a dive boat that leaves at 8:30 am. If your cruise is schedule to arrive at 8:00am you might be thinking of making a reservation. That might not be enough time. When the ship announces you can depart the ship, there may be hundreds already in line waiting. As you get off the ship, your ship board ID is scanned. While that will only take a handful of seconds, it adds up if hundreds are in front of you. Additionally, the passengers departing on a ship’s shore excursion will have priority over those going off on their own. If the port is one that uses a tendering you need to also consider the time it takes to get ashore. However, if your ship has a late departure, you might be able to do an afternoon dive. In those cases, you are not rushed to meet up with short deadline.

A second item, will be the meet up with the dive operator. Consider how will you get to the dive operator if doing it on your own and the cost. Some operators will provide pick up at the pier while others will not. Also, make sure about the pick up point. I recently made a direct reservation with a dive operator with a pick up point at the cruise terminal. Unfortunately for me, the cruise terminal where the pick up point was at was not the same cruise terminal I arrived at. I had to take a taxi to get there.

While boat diving is the most frequent option, look to see if shore diving is possible. I have had some great shore dives. This gives you the freedom to dive on your own schedule, and often at very good rates.

While at the DEMA show in November, I asked a number of dive operators, that were located in ports that have cruise ships, their views. The response was mixed. Those that have contracts with the cruise lines prefer you book with the cruise line. There reasoning is that the time schedule is already tried and proven. They also stated that the transportation requirement is easier to organize. Those who do not have a contract gave me a more mixed response. A few have developed their business hoping to get divers from the cruise ships on their dive boats. They provide flexibility in their dive schedules to allow for the later departures that might be needed. These shops often offer smaller boats for a personal experience and arrange to meet at the pier. Some other dive shops stated they prefer not to get cruise ship divers. They are concern with late arrivals and the uncertainty of the divers qualifications.

Royal Caribbean Offers Diving Lessons.

In years past, many of the cruise lines offered on board diving programs. Princess Cruises had their New Wave program which they ended around 2008, NCL had their Dive In program which they phased out. They still use the title but it only shore excursions. Disney and Carnival have also closed their programs. They all still offer shore excursions so you can still dive from the ships of those cruise lines.

scuba dive in the Bahamas

RCCL Grandeur Of the Seas in Nassau

Recently, Royal Caribbean Cruise line has once again fully embraced scuba diving. The cruise lines now offers PADI Open Water Certification on 10 of their ships. These ships visit a total of 14 different dive destinations. Open Water Diver students sign up for the course prior to the cruise. While at home they complete the knowledge segment using the PADI Touch app or PADI eLearning® online. On board the instructors verify the satisfactory completion of the knowledge segment and start the confined water elements of the training. They do this in one of the swimming pools aboard. The students complete the four open water dives at two different destinations. Besides the Open Water Diver training, Royal Caribbean also does a “Try Dive” program. This is a training session using a swimming pool on the ship. The dive instructors on the Royal Caribbean ships also conduct “Discover Scuba Diving” programs. Those divers who have not had a dive in a while can do the “PADI Reactivate Program” as well. These 10 ships also have a PADI 5 Star Dive Center on board.

Where Do You Want to Dive?

The diver who has a non diving partner or family members may find it easier to suggest a cruise vacation over a dive resort. For the diver a cruise offers the ability to experience more than one destination. Cruises can also be a better value, since so much is included. You owe it to yourself to look into it before your next trip.

Concrete Ship Wreck of Subic Bay

A Concrete ship of the same class as YON-146

A Concrete ship of the same class as YON-146

The Concrete Ship Wreck of Subic Bay YON-146

World War II saw many interesting ship building activities, Concrete Ship building being one of them. Since the large ship yards were turning out capital ships, the corn field ship yards created the LST. These ships yards got that nick name because many of them had been farms before the war. Far inland, they used the nations waterways to get the ships to the coast. All this ship building put a strain on the production of steel. Steel production limits meant critical items were often delayed. Fuel barges being one of them. Concrete boats or more accurate ferrocement boats had been made many years before. The origins have been lost but some suspect that there were ferrocement boats as far back as the Roman Empire. In WWI, 12 ferrocement ships were built by the US Navy but with poor results. The Cement industry had a pamphlet showing the benefits of ferrocement.

WWII saw the effort renewed and learning from previous mistakes 24 ships were ordered. Early in the war it was

Concrete Ship YON-146 during WWII

Concrete Ship YON-146 during WWII

seen that fuel storage was becoming a issue. The success of this ferrorcement concept and the need for fuel storage lead to the ordering of ferrocement barges. These are barges in the sense that they had no engines and were pulled by tugs. They did, however, appear as ships. The first fifteen of the barges built were designed to transport oil from the Texas coast to the East coast oil refineries. Additional contracts created both bulk cargo barges and liquid barges. The largest barge was the B7-A2 design which was 375 feet long, 360 feet at the water line, with a beam of 56 feet. It had a height of 38 feet of which as much as 26 could be draft. The Landing Ship Tank was only 326 feet long and 50 foot beam. 22 of the B7-A2 were built, they were classed as “YO” if they were to carry bunker fuel and “YOG” is carrying “clean” fuel such as diesel or gasoline. The “N” was not always used, it designated a non-self propelled vessel. One of the barges was modified before launched to have half of the tanks aviation fuel and the other half water.

Two concrete ships were scuttle at Normandy to create a breakwater. Breakwaters containing floating concrete ships from WWII can be found in the Powell River in B.C. Canada and the Chesapeake Bay in Virginia.

YON-146 was built in National City Ca, starting on 23 Feb 43 and ready for launch on 16 May 43. She officially

Seafans on the Concrete Ship YON-146

Seafans on the Concrete Ship YON-146

entered service on 12 Aug 43. While the war records for the barge is sketchy at times, she is known to have been initially assigned to Asiatic-Pacific Theater at Port Purvis Anchorage, Florida Island, Solomons Island Group. She seem to been moved to Guam in 1945 and in early 1950, she was towed from Guam to Pearl Harbor where she entered dry dock for a short time. This information of her time in Guam comes from the University of Hawaii. Acanthophora Spicifera is a type of red algae also know as Spiny Seaweed or Prickly Seaweed. It is the most common type of sea weed in Hawaii, however, it did not exists there before 1950. A heavily fouled YON-146 has been “accused” of bringing the seaweed and two fish species to Hawaii. Research has clear her of the fish but she still listed as a possible source of the sea weed invasion.

YON-146 was back at an Pacific Area advance base (probably Subic Bay) starting in June 1951.She was involved in Operation Ivy at Eniwetok Lagoon for most of 1952. Operation Ivy was a nuclear testing program in the Marshall Islands. After the operation she returned to Subic Bay here she was active until added to the disposal list on 24 Apr 57. However, YON-146 was lost by accident in July 1957.

 

She is the largest ship wreck at Subic, however, she is seldom dived. Subic Bay has very poor visibility at times and this wreck sits at the mouth of the largest river. The B7-A2 has a 36 foot freeboard and this wreck sits upright in about 120 feet of water, however silt has filled in around the wreck so that she raises only about 10 feet from the bottom and the holds are mostly filled in with silt. Still divers who explore her will find huge sea fans and schools of small fish.

ice_cream_barge

While concrete ships might seem unusual there is one that is in its own category. The Navy adapted a Army Barge, refrigerator, light to a floating ice cream factory.

 

Hey it is 2016

Aqwary Dive Update

WOW, can you believe that 4% of 2016 is gone already? Like everyone, I made New Year’s Resolutions, well no mine are goals.

A few are writing related. Looking over my writing for the last year, I saw a few shocking items. I wrote 4 ebooks but they were all ghost written. My own lifestyle book only had one new chapter completed. Only a few articles that I wrote are with my byline. So in 2016, I will “hire” myself to write. I will add me into my work schedule.

A couple are scuba diving related. One and many who know me will laugh, I will take a week long dive vacation. Yes I am often traveling and I dive when I do, but I want a full week of diving every day and no work. Second, I will “FINALLY” get my master diver rating. I been saying that for over a decade. The third is that I want between 150 and 200 dives this year and four new dive destinations. Too often, I had let other thing get in way of my diving. I am slightly behind already this year, but part of that was because of commitments I had made before the New Years.

File 25-12-2015, 2 55 11 PM

aqwary cloud view

This first post of the New Year is also my first full post on the Aqwary Smart Console. Last July, I posted about the Aqwary Ambassador program. I was one of ten that they accepted back in September, however, due to customs and other “official” red tape I did not get mine until just before Christmas. I did a couple of dives to get use to them and testing the different features. The first dive was interesting and the other divers were as amazed with the Aqwary smart consoles as I was. We dove on the Japanese Patrol Boat at Subic Bay on the first dive. The patrol boat is only about 35 meters long but the visibily was poor about 5 meters. The dive plan was for the dive leader to lead everyone around the boat once, then when back to the descent line each dive team would go off on their own. The dive leader was carrying my second counsel so I could test the buddy feature. Through out the dive I knew exactly where the dive leader was, it was great. Most of the other dive teams checked in at least once to see how the buddy finder worked around the wreck. The second dive was on a shallow dive site with better visibility. After the dives, I used the resorts WIFI to upload the dive logs. This was the first time I had used a dive computer that was air integrated, so it was interesting looking at my consumption rates.

So much for the past and on to 2016. I hope my first dive of 2016 is not an indication of the rest of the year because I aborted it. My back-roll did not go right, not sure what happen but I felt like I did a bellyflop and got the wind knock out of me. After a few minutes, my breathing did not feel comfortable so I aborted the dive before descending.

I had planned on the first dive to compare the smart consoles dive computer with my old Genesis Resource Nitrox and a new Suunto Zoop. The first planned site was deep so I had EAN-32 and had set the computers to that. I saw a blog post last year where someone asked about a Genesis Resource Nitrox and over a 100 poster told him the the resource was not Nitrox. Just so I do not get a hundred people telling me I am wrong, the Genesis Resource Nitrox is the forerunner of the Genesis React Pro, it is Nitrox and I been using it on Nitrox dives since 1999. it uses a Haldanean decompression algorithm which by today standards would be consider aggressive. On my first dive with the console last December I saw that at 24 meters that my Genesis gave me ten minutes more NDL.

The dive on the El Capitan was not so deep and the deep portions were gloomy so the test did not go as well as IJanuary 12 2016 dive would of liked, and the photos are too hard to read. The Suunto is seen as a conservative model that uses a modified Reduced gradient bubble model (RGBM). The smart console also uses a RGBM algorithm. During the dive, I compared the computers twice and found that the suunto was the most conservative of the three. About 20 minutes into the dive I dropped to 20 meters to see what the NDL time would be, the Suunto said 49 minutes, the Aqwary reported 53 and the Genesis reported 61. Both the Suunto and the Aqwary have the option to select different risk levels both were set to standard. While not a scientific and in-depth evaluation, I now do have a good overview of the settings.

aqwarydivesiteTwo other points about the dive and the smart console. When I reached near 5 meters, the console showed me a countdown for a 3 minutes safety stop. That is a nice feature. The other thing that was nice and impressed many of the other divers, was I had uploaded to my cloud and then downloaded to the console a map of the dive site. So as I was diving, I had a Map of the dive site and my computer readings at one glance.

The next deep dive, I will use my Genesis as my control and set the console to very conservative. I will wait until the Aqwary goes past the NDL (but still within the NDL on the Genesis) and try a “deco” dive.

History of the Spanish Armed Transport San Quintin

History of the Spanish Armed Transport San Quintin ex S/S Andes

A BOILER OF THE SAN QUINTIN © 2015 CHARLES W. DAVIS JR.

A BOILER OF THE SAN QUINTIN © 2015 CHARLES W. DAVIS JR.

For decades, we have called the San Quintîn wreck a gun boat. Recently I started to try to find a better description of the San Quintîn to improve what we know and possibly find a photograph or one of a similar vessel. In the process, I found some items that did not fit with this wreck being a gun boat. Over time, I decided to start researching based just on the name and the reason it was sunk. Once I eliminated that it was a gunship, I was able to find other references to a Spanish ship by the same name. After a couple hundreds hours of research, I was able to find an authority reference to the sinking of the Transport San Quintîn. The San Quintîn performed numerous duties until she was scuttled in 1898. Some times she was a mail ship, providing service from Manila to other Spanish outpost. At others, she performed duties as a Armed Transport. Many times she was accompanied by the Armed Transports Cebu and Manila.

I am sure there may be those who not accept my version of the ship’s identity on face value, and others who might appreciate the steps that lead me to the history. I will post a separate article, giving more details on the research itself.

History of the Armed Transport San Quintîn

The lines of the Cunard Lines S/S Andes

In 1850, the British and North American Royal Mail Steam Packet Company ordered four identical iron screw Passenger/cargo vessels from the Scottish ship builder William Denny & Brothers. They were the Andes, Alps, Australia and Sydney. The ships were listed as 1275 grt/866 nrt , the length of 236.6 feet (72 meters), beam of 33.2 feet (10.1 meters) and depth of 24 feet (7.3 meters). The ships were mail ships. These were basically passenger ships that also operated under a contract to transport mail. The ships were design to carry 62 passengers in first class and 122 in second class. Prior to these ships, all the ships of this company were side wheelers and most wood. Only a few more side wheeler were built by the company after this and no more wooden ships.

In 1850,the British and North American Royal Mail Steam Packet Company changed their name to Cunard Lines. Before being completed, the Australia and Sydney were sold to Australian Royal Mail Steam Navigation company. The Cunard Lines took possession of the S/S Andes on August 18, 1852 and the S/S Alps five weeks later. The S/S Andre made its maiden voyage to New York sailing from Liverpool on December 8, 1852, however, problems with it propulsion system forced them to return to port. The problems were corrected and the ship arrive in New York on Christmas Eve. The Ship continued to sail that route until 1854. In 1854, with the out break of the Crimean War, the British government leased the S/S Andes and the S/S Alps. The two ships were initial used as troop transports and later the S/S Andes was used as a hospital ship. After the war, they returned to service with Cunard Lines.

Walters, Samuel, 1811-1882. S.S. Australian 1862. oil on canvas ; 71.3 x 107.7 cm. National Library of Australia

In 1859, the Spanish government bought both the S/S Andes and the S/S Alps. The S/S Andes was renamed to the San Quintîn and the S/S Alps renamed to Mandingo. The San Quintîn’s initial role seems to be primarily as a mail ship.

Note on names: The Andes is often shown as Andes (1852). This is to keep it from being confused with two later mail ships named Andes in the 1900s. San Quintîn is also seen spelled as San Quentin.

While there is not a definitive history of the San Quintîn, there are many historical references to her.

  • Cuba seems to have been one of the early assignments for the San Quintîn. The New York Times has a number of mentions of her arrivals and departure from Havana. This is from a NYT story of March 1862: The steam transport San Quintin, of the Spanish Navy, which arrived a short time ago from Vera Cruz with nearly two hundred sick soldiers, left again for the same place the day before yesterday, with provisions for the army and forage and maize for the horses and cattle of the expedition.
  • The Micronesioan Area Research Center, Guam published in 1998 a book titled: Chronicle of the Mariana Islands. Recordings in the Agaña Parish church 1846-1899. This book is a translation of the Parish records of the church in Guam. Most of the record was written by Father Aniceto Ibáñez and records the activities of the church and reflects the life in Guam. Only the introduction of the book is available on line. The introduction is mostly about the priest of the church. It notes that the entry for 1884 is short but does include that Father Franciso Resano return to Manila for health reasons aboard the steamship San Quintîn.
  • 21 August 1885 the San Quintîn arrives in Yap to establish a capital for the Caroline Island. The following day the ship Manila arrives. The San Quintîn, under the command of Capt. Guil de Espana, brought the new Governor-general, two priest (one being Father Aniceto Ibáñez as vicar) and others to Yap. Between the two ships they had soldiers, laborers and the materials needed to build a church and the governor’s residence. The ships were unloaded, however, the governor did not like the location. The group spent three days searching the surrounding areas until they found a location the governor’s liking. He sent runners out to notify the locals to be at the location the following morning for a flag raising ceremony. When the group arrived back at the ship, they found the German flag raised and the German cruiser Iltis in port. The Spanish withdrew, however, the public backlash almost caused a war between Germany and Spain. Some reports state that it was the S/S Carriedo that accompanied the San Quintîn. This was the transport Manila’s name before being purchased by Spain. It was owned by a private firm doing mail service between Manila and Singapore.
  • March 14 1887 the transport Manila transported a new Governor-general by the name of Posadillo, soldiers, priest, workers and colonist to the island of Pohnpei. They were to set up a government and establish a colony. The actions of the new government was harsh on the natives mostly the actions of the governor’s executive Manuel Torres, a Spaniard born in the Philippines. At the end of June, the natives refused to work. Posadillo send Torres to the chiefs to demand they attend a meeting, Spanish soldiers were sent to enforce the attendance. The natives killed most of the group. Those that survived reported back and the colony evacuated to a ship that had been grounded and damaged. The Governor stayed in his residence until 3 July, when he tried to escape to the ship. He and all of is staff were killed, however, the Filipino troops were left unharmed. The natives offered to let the colonist return home unharmed but they stayed onboard ship. In August, The San Quintîn arrived on a routine run and discovered what had happened. She left behind supplies and reported the event to Manila.
  • In 1891, The transports—the Manila, Cebu, San Quintîn, and Marquez de Duero carried an attack force of 1,240 men against the Maguindanao and Maranao (Muslims in the southern portion of the Philippines). The attack was unsuccessful. Moro reports had the transports Manila, Cebu, and San Quintîn bringing supplies to the Spanish Colonies in the area until 1894. No Spanish records confirm this.
  • Current records show that the San Quintîn was decommissioned in 1894.
  • In his nearly 1,000 page book “ The Spanish American War” published in 1911, the noted Naval Historian Rear Admiral USN (retired) French Ensor Chadwick discusses every naval aspect of the war. At the beginning of the war, then Captain Chadwick was chief of staff to Admiral Sampson, commander of the North Atlantic Fleet. The Captain was also the commander of the USS New York ACR-2. The book shows a partial transcript of a planning meeting held on March 15,1898. Admiral Montojo meet with General Primo de Rivera and the Governor-General to discuss defense plans. The admiral’s plans were approved. The admiral issued orders to Captain del Rio to sink the transport San Quintîn and two old merchant vessels.
  • While not specifying the type of ship, Admiral Montojo’s battle report verifies that the San Quintîn was sunk as ordered.

sanquintin.subicStorms and the passage of time has reduced the wreck. At the time of her being scuttled she would have been just below the surface. It seems likely that the majority of the ship is below the sea floor.

A great deal of time went into research and writing this article and I retain full copy right over its contents. Unless noted, the images used here are believed to be public domain. I will authorize rights to use this content provided that the following is included:

Contains material © Charles W. Davis Jr.

 

 

Aqwary Ambassador

aqwary-dual-pack-2-600x630 If you have checked out my facebook page or that of Johan’s beach and dive resort you will see that I posted link for the Aqwary Ambassador program. This is the same product I did a review for early in the year on dive report and the Russian website. It will share information underwater such as air remaining, allow you to locate your dive buddy and even send programmed SMS messages. The Aqwary company are looking for promoters of their products using an Ambassador program. They are looking for divers who will use the smart console, report their observations and share the experience with other divers. A portion of their evaluation is completing some task many are focused on social media. My post on Johan’s facebook page got a few shares and over 360 impressions, I had some on my facebook but it is a personal page so I do not know the number of impressions. My tweet was retweeted so that helps. One of the extra task it to write a blog on why you are the best person to become one of their ambassadors. So for those who read my blogs, either my titled entries or those I ghost write please excuse my self promotion. I mostly dive in Subic Bay which is a tourist destination in the Philippines The diving in our bay is different from most of the Philippines. Our visibility is not as great and our coral reefs are scattered. What we do have is a collection of ship wrecks and plane wrecks that is unmatched in the Philippines. We have a dozen shipwreck dive sites within limits of the recreational diver and more than another dozen in the technical diving limits. We have four additional dive sites soon to be five, that are the of plane crashes. About 10% of the divers are locals with about 75% of the rest international divers. While I generally dive with one dive center, I know all the dive masters and instructors in the area and have a good working relationship with them. One of the things that I would be in the position to do is have test dives where the second smart console would be given to an international guest and I would be his dive buddy. I could ask them to post a

Keep track of your dive buddies

Keep track of your dive buddies

review on their facebook page. I would write about my dives not only on my facebook and pages but could also do so on the Subic Bay Dive Association web page and Johan Beach and Dive resorts. My post on Johan’s get between 350 to 1,400 impressions depending on the topic. On the Johan’s page I write about the diving and dive sites in my name. Johan wanted to add my reputation and following on his site. I have a good reputation as a diver and writer. Post about training, I also write about but it passes through Johan before being posted. Rooms, restaurant and catering articles are also written by me before being posted in Resort’s name. We are currently mapping a newly found aircraft. Having the Aqwary smart console on our dive the other day would have been great. We were doing a search for a missing piece but had difficulty keeping track of each other. So a portion of our dive time was keeping track of each other. The Aqwary console would have done that for us. While I have been diving for about 18 years, this year may set new records for me. I have commitments to dive a couple days a week with one dive center and additional dives each month with 4 other centers. Soon I will be diving three days a week.

The website ask: Who can become an Aqwary Ambassador?

  • You are passionate about recreational diving – you dive a lot
  • You are passionate about diving with your friends or family
  • You are passionate about socially sharing your diving experiences – you have a wide network and are active in Social media
  • You are outgoing and excellent in expressing yourself in written and spoken English – people likes to read and listen to you
  • You want to be present of developing the next generation of diving technology

Each one describes me.

Looking forward to being an ambassador, and i am promise that you will get honest reviews. starting on your own site.

Thanks for your time.

skyraider

Sorry for not posting lately. I have been busy with a number of projects including posting on Johans Beach and Dive Resorts facebook page and creating a new website for them.

Skyraider under subic bay

A recently discovered Skyraider

Also, have been doing some research. Johan has found a Skyraider aircraft and I been researching possible aircraft. I have two prime possibilities both are Ad-5Q aircraft. The AD-5Q is a modified Ad-5N changed to perform Electronic Counter Measures (ECM) missions.

The Skyraider is best known as a single seater single engine propeller driven attack aircraft. Designed at the end of WWII they saw duty in the Korean War. They are probably best known as Sandy to Vietnam Vets. The Sandy was used for close air support and as protection for search and rescue missions. Unlike the new fancy jets, the Skyraiders could stay with the helicopters and could stay on target for hours. They could be loaded with a mixture of bombs and had 4 20mm cannons. They could keep a landing zone safe for the recoveries.

The AD-5N was a night fighter version with a wider body, it had two up front with a technician in the rear section. These were modified to a AD-5Q, so that the rear section had jamming devices and a seat for a second tech. In addition to the ECM missions the AD-5Q was also able to operate as a night fighter.

Similar to the aircraft that has been found

Similar to the aircraft that has been found

Research has led me to a AD-5Q crashing into Subic Bay on Jan 9 1962. The aircraft belong to VAW-13 detachment Foxtrot, which was on temporary duty with the USS Lexington. The crew of four died in the crash. Another crash in 1966 was a AD-5Q belonging to VAW-13 det 1. The crew of that aircraft escaped with no injuries.

This week we plan on visiting the aircraft looking for it data plate and the marking on the stabilizer. This information will allow us to fully identify the aircraft. It also means there is one more to look for.

Barges Dive Site

The Barges

The Barges dive site is located on the north side of Grande Island. It is not what you would typically consider a wreck site, it does have a personality of its own. The true origins of the “barges” are unknown, however, I do have my own theory. I am convinced of it but lack documentary proof. I will present my theory later. Grande Island’s military importance dates back to the original Spanish fort. It became Fort Wint under the U.S. Navy until captured by the Japanese in WWII. After recaptured by US near the end of the war, it never regained its military significance. It was later used as a R&R center and at the end of the Vietnam war as a refugee camp.

It is currently the site of a resort. The “barges” is really a floating dock. How, when and why it sank is not known, and a few of the sections seem to be missing. The site is on the bay side of the island, so conditions are generally calm.On the map it is top left of the island. The first section sits about 40 meters from the beach in about 6 meters of water. It is mostly buried with just the top section visible. The next section is about 20 meters away and sits in about 10 meters of water. More of this section sits above the bottom and there are places to look in and under. These first two sections are generally parallel to a breakwater. A third section is mostly on top of the surface with little of it buried. The docks form a rough “T” with the right portion of the “T” sloping down to 32 meters and the left at about 18 meters. A bottom around the docks is mostly sand and the docks themselves have been completely covered with coral. The most common comment about this site is that the marine life always seems to change. The different depths also seem to attract its own variety of marine life. This is an all round dive site. It often used as a second dive and a training site. Discover dives and night diving is common at the site. The slope to different depths allows for deeper dives for experienced divers.

 

Philippines

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Diving Malapascua Island Cebu Philippines

I recently had the opportunity to take a working vacation to Malapascua Island. The island is located in the strait between the Island provinces of Cebu and Leyte in the Philippines. It is about a four and a half hours by bus or a two and a half hours by car trip from the Cebu International Airport. At the northern tip of Cebu you will find the town of Maya which provides ferry service to Malapascua which is about a 30 minutes boat ride away. The island is small, only about 1.6 km long and .6 km wide.

Most of the resorts are along a white sand beach at the southern tip of the island called Bounty Beach. Boats from Maya drop passengers at the west end of the beach. West and north of the beach is the area that is generally called the village. It is the largest of the nine little settlement around the island and the only one with paved roads. Most people walk to their destination but if you want a ride you can catch a motor scooter and back ride. The infrastructure is basic, some will even say primitive. Fresh water is limited as is electricity. There are no high rises or international hotel chains. It is a typical island fishing settlement. In the early 1990s, the island had a small tourism industry. It was mainly backpackers who stayed for the wonderful white sand beach, crystal clear waters and the genuinely friendly people. There were a handful of beach huts for rent. Back then Lonely Planet called it an undiscovered paradise. Dik de Boer a Dutchman and his Filipino wife read a Lonely Planet article and visited the island in 1996. They loved it and when they returned the following year they brought scuba gear and a portable compressor with them. Following tips from local fisherman they were soon diving with Thresher sharks, Hammerheads and Manta Rays. Continue Reading →

Dive Subic Bay

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Subicdive_html_m4c7b5539Subic Bay is the place to dive if wreck diving is your favorite type of diving. Subic Bay and Coron are the two leading destinations for wrecks. Subic has a greater number and they are closer together, Coron has better visibility, better reefs and caves. Subic Bay is a tourist destination, while Coron attracts mostly divers and a few other adventure tourist.