Diving: My biggest fear came true

If you’ve been paying attention to my endless rambling, you know that this weekend Karl and I went to Batangas to get our diving certification.

I have always wanted to scuba dive, but Karl wasn’t very excited about it, but said “fine” to make me happy.  My BIGGEST fear about diving was one I made very clear pre-trip:  that I would LOVE it, and want to do it again and again and again and again.  Why was that my fear?  Well, it is not a cheap hobby…

So after a lot of not so exciting classes, and a long night at the pool (which still didn’t have me convinced I was going to like this diving thing), we were up at 4am on Saturday, Karl filled up the cup he got at our goodbye party with coffee, and we made the long 2.5 hour drive over to Dive & Trek in Batangas.

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Once we got there and parked the car, it was another 10 minutes on a boat over to the resort (also note this was Karl’s FIRST ever picture showing off his braces!).

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And we finally arrived!

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(Yes, it rained a bit during our weekend – but mostly we were under water and had no clue!)

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I got a ton of pictures of us taken while diving – but I didn’t bring a USB drive, so I’ll have to get copies of it and post them later.  I can’t wait to show you how dorky we looked!

But how was diving? 

A.M.A.Z.I.N.G.  I mean, seriously, it way beyond my expectations.  It’s a whole different world out there…  It wasn’t just pretty tropical fish (though they’re incredible!), but corals, plants in every different shade and color (and OMG, they’re HUGE!), giant 3 feet long clams, blue starfish, bubbly marshmallow-like starfish, sea cucumbers, and a bunch of other things that I don’t even know what they are (it’s not like you can ask questions underwater…).  It’s incredible to think all that we miss by just hanging out on top of the water! 

My only disappointment?  I really wanted to see a turtle, but that didn’t happen.  Hopefully next time!

We needed 4 dives for our certification, but we ended up doing 6 dives!  We even took a boat out to Ligpo Island to see the rest of the corals. INCREDIBLE!  Basically everything around the island is this giant coral mountain with amazing corals and plants. 

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I mean, I’m talking about things I never even knew existed.  You know Finding Nemo and all that colorful environment of the cartoon?  TOTALLY real.  And to think it’s all alive!   (I know I must sound like an idiot for those of you reading this who have been diving for a while, but it’s one thing to see pictures of it or see it in small fish tanks or aquariums, and another to see it in person in their native environment.  It’s not like I didn’t know it was real before, but it’s a whole other experience seeing it for myself and being part of it!)

So yeah, we’re hooked.

And this weekend?  We’re back in Batangas, this time for our advanced certification, because it seems like for the wrecks in Coron, it’s best if you can go deeper.

We were exhausted at the end of our last dive on Sunday, but took a few pictures during lunch.  (Yes, Karl shirt says “100% Grouchy” and yes, I bought it for him, and yes it suits him!)

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Seriously it’s hard to beat this view…  Dive & Trek was very barebones when it came to our accommodations (single beds pressed together, no hot shower, not enough light in the room to read…) but the place was SO relaxing…  Plus, you didn’t have to travel to experience the sea life, all you had to do was get in the water and it was all there!

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You can see the clouds approaching on our boat ride back, we basically just made it in time to get to the car before the storm hit us.  Perfect timing!

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And the drive back was interesting to say the least.  Miles and miles on this street and the flags would never end!

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And after being stuck in traffic in Tagaytay (we took the scenic way back – and we MUST go back to see the lake), we had to buy a snack off a road side vendor.

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We’re back in Batangas this Saturday, and on my list of things to buy?  An underwater casing for my camera.  Because I want to be able to show you all how amazing it all really is!

(I honestly think that the Philippines is one of those secret travel spots that no one really knows about.  This country is incredible!)

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11 Comments

Filed under Diving, Philippines, Travel

11 responses to “Diving: My biggest fear came true

  1. Joy

    Glowing neon green with envy over here. We’ve gone scuba diving a few different spots, our favorite being off Molokini in Hawaii. A close second was Batangas in the Philippines – I hear it gets even better further south in Boracay.

    We haven’t been back to the Philippines since BK (before kids). I’ve been living vicariously through you. Glad you had a wonderful dive trip!

  2. I’ve been diving for the last 15 years and it’s amazing. So. So. Amazing. I get by only going once a year, and lately it’s only been to the Caribbean, because yeah, it’s an expensive hobby (and now my parents don’t pay for my trips…that sounds really spoiled, but they really like diving and I was lucky enough to get to go with them growing up). Hopefully in the next few years we’ll get out to the Pacific, because the fish life is soooo much better out there.

    What kind of camera do you have? I have had casings for Canons and Olympus cameras, and my parents have casings for their Lumixes. A few unsolicited tips, if I may – don’t get a housing for a DSLR, that is just going to be a massive thing to haul around (we used to have one and it was such a pain), and if your camera doesn’t have a screen that is larger than 2 inches, just buy a new camera and housing – it’s so much more worth it to have a 2.5 or 3-inch LCD screen (and you will never use a viewfinder, so it’s worth it to sacrifice it). Don’t use anything that takes AA batteries. Canon and Olympus make really good underwater casings, but the Nikon ones are pretty terrible. Point and shoot cameras are cheap enough now that it might be worth it to invest in a camera that you pretty much use for diving, because that way you don’t risk something happening to it and having to buy a whole other camera and case, if you can’t find the camera on eBay. Also, don’t buy a housing for a camera that is more than a year old, because the housings are so expensive that if you get one for a camera that is two years old and the camera only lasts two years, you’ll be shelling out another $500 in two years. Feel free to e-mail me if you want more advice – I’ve been diving with digital cameras in housing for about 10 years now.

  3. liz

    Isn’t it crazy how tired you get underwater? I used to drift dive a lot in the Niagara River and after an hour of just letting the current drag me, I was beat.

    Also, I hope your next assignment is somewhere with good diving too, because the DC area has nothing interesting.

    • We were exhausted! I wasn’t tired at all IN the water (too distracted looking at pretty things), but holy crap I wanted a nap as soon as we got out! Not much of a current except on our last dive (which got cut short since we’re “beginners” and current is on the advanced course — which of course we’re doing next).

      I know DC sucks for anything fun… Fingers crossed is a place we can continue diving, because I don’t see us getting sick of it anytime soon!

  4. Al

    Great blog! Too bad there are no pictures. Dive in Coron, that’s where I saw sea turtles. 🙂

    Before you leave the country you MUST visit Tubataha Reef! One of the best dive site in the world. Never been but dreaming to get there. Its a one week full board in a ship and never ending dives for one week.

  5. Karl looks so great in his braces!

    We tried diving in Aruba! I would love to be certified. I would want to learn somewhere like where you are there, so I could enjoy the beautiful underground scenery, not here in the murky lakes. I can’t wait to see the underwater pics!

    • You guys are more than welcome to visit (we have the space) and work on getting certified here. I really think the Philippines is the secret place no one knows about, because the diversity here is spectacular. Amazing!

  6. Pingback: One Year Ago Today… | Carla Runs the World

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