Late Breaking NEWS...Sharks basking in the limelight... one of the most spectacular wildlife sights anywhere in the world
Must read and
It has been described as one of the most spectacular wildlife sights anywhere in the world - let alone Britain.In the last week the first basking sharks of the summer have been spotted off the Cornish coast.
As part of their annual migration they are now arriving in their hundreds.But do not be fooled - actually catching more than a fleeting glimpse of these elusive creatures is far harder than you imagine.
Trying to find a basking shark is to go in search of a mystery. We know very little about them, except that at this time of year, and without fail, they come to Cornwall in their hundreds... complete story and Photos @
Science: Fossilized Octopuses found, a rare discovery from the Cretaceous Period rocks in Lebanon by German Paleontologist
next time you come across an Octopus remember that they have been
around for million of years. This image was taken in the Sabang Bay
area during a night dive in Puerto Galera Philippines. Check with
our Partner Asia
Diver to take
you out for a night dive, the best time to spot these amazing
Knowing and understanding Fossils this discovery really amazes me, very rare indeed since Octopuses don’t have any hard shell like Ammonites, Belemnites and other species in the this family group.
Read below excerpts from the science report, for the complete story and Photos go to the LINK below.
Rare Fossil Octopuses Found
By Live Science Staff
posted: 18 March 2009 10:32 am ET
It's hard enough to find fossils of hard things like dinosaur bones. Now scientists have found evidence of 95 million-year-old octopuses, among the rarest and unlikeliest of fossils, complete with ink and suckers.
The body of an octopus is composed almost entirely of muscle and skin. When an octopus dies, it quickly decays and liquefies into a slimy blob. After just a few days there will be nothing left at all. And that assumes that the fresh carcass is not consumed almost immediately by scavengers.
The result is that preservation of an octopus as a fossil is about as unlikely as finding a fossil sneeze, and none of the 200 to 300 species of octopus known today had ever been found in fossilized form, said Dirk Fuchs of the Freie University Berlin, lead author of the report.
Fuchs and his colleagues now have identified three new species of octopuses (Styletoctopus annae, Keuppia hyperbolaris and Keuppia levante) based on five specimens discovered in Cretaceous Period rocks in Lebanon. The specimens, described in the January 2009 issue of the journal Palaeontology, preserve the octopuses' eight arms with traces of muscles and rows of suckers. Even traces of the ink and internal gills are present in some specimens.
"The luck was that the corpse landed untouched on the sea floor," Fuchs told LiveScience. "The sea floor was free of oxygen and therefore free of scavengers. Both the anoxy [absence of oxygen] and a rapid sedimentation rate prevented decay."
Prior to this discovery only a single fossil species was known, and from fewer specimens than octopuses have legs, Fuchs said...
More @ http://www.livescience.com/animals/090318-fossil-octopus.html
Palau! A Report by Jem Kemp continous...Three of us were lucky enough to dive at Blue Corner and it really is as good as people say. In fact it’s better still!
Kemp from Blue
Horizons Travel reports... his Journey continous in
Palau Micronesia... Diving and Touring the Rock Islands with
who have not yet dived or spent time with Sam’s
Tours here is some
information on how it all works:
Sam Scott, Dermot Keane and the team have established themselves as one of the regions most highly regarded Dive Operators – check their excellent website for the awards. Sam’s is located on Malakal Island which is connected by a short road bridge to Koror. It is within walking distance of the Palau Royal Resort, West Plaza Hotel and, critically, very near to Kramer’s restaurant and bar!
© Gunther Deichmann - Sam’s Tours Facilities from the air
Sam’s provide a full range of day tour
options including diving (of course) but also guided kayaking tours
(perhaps the best and lowest impact way to visit the Rock Islands),
land tours, Rock Island Tours, snorkelling trips, WW2 history tours, fishing,
private sailing etc. Dermot points out that the non-diving trips
are increasingly popular as more and more guests appreciate the
wide range of above water attractions in and around Palau. There is
also the full range of PADI courses available.
The logistics for the day tours are perfectly organised for all clients – guests are collected in the morning at their hotel by Sam’s Tour staff and transferred by road or boat to Sam’s centre. Here they are briefed for the day’s activities by tour guides, dive leaders etc and then head out for adventure. Sam’s have a large compliment of fast modern boats that are ideal for travelling out to the islands and beyond.
© Gunther Deichmann - cruising the amazing Rock islands
our trip we were lucky enough to have a days diving with
Sam’s. In all there were six of us guests on the boat and
experience levels ranged from Instructors through to novice. By
careful use of different dive sites and locations throughout the
day Sam’s provided the best possible day for everyone.
Three of us were lucky enough to dive at Blue Corner and it really is as good as people say. In fact it’s better still! A howling current meant that we held on to the edge of the wall at about 15m deep and watched the marine world go by. For lovers of big stuff this is way cool – countless Grey Reef sharks, a huge school of jacks, an equally big school of barracuda in the deeper blue, Spanish mackerel cruising by and inquisitive Napoleon wrasse ducking between our fins. Plus of course dozens of other species made this a very special dive.
All this on free Nitrox!
© Gunther Deichmann - aerial view of the Blue Hole and Blue Corner
surface interval was spent on a beautiful sandy beach with a super
lunch provided by Sam’s. Each guest is asked for their choice
of food for the day and magically a Bento box full of goodies
appears at lunchtime. Our boxes included sushi, prawns, rice and a
spicy beef course.
© Gunther Deichmann - Reef Sharks at Blue Corner
of the days diving brings us back to Sam’s Tours and a
welcome ice cold drink (or two) at their Bottom
Time Bar and Grill
which overlooks the Rock islands. We were then assisted back to the
hotel by a complimentary transfer.
Sam’s Tours facilities include a well stocked dive shop, new equipment rental, lockers, very impressive digital photo centre, free Nitrox for certified divers, the bar and restaurant and of course the very best staff whose attention to detail make for very happy guests from around the world. They also have very clean toilets!
Thanks to Dermot, Adela, Russelle, Jim, Joe and everyone else at Sam’s for making it a memorable day.
Our partner destination Palau in Micronesia has received some very early Christmas Gifts...
We are proud of our partner
destination and of course our partner
Tours who was recently awarded
Operator of the Year. Now Palau in Micronesia
has scored big, see below the details from Scuba Diving
Is this a Palau Christmas Tree? hmm...
© Gunther Deichmann - aerial view at sunset
near the 70 islands, Palau, Micronesia
Here are the results of SCUBA DIVING MAGAZINE
Readers' Choice Survey:
SCUBA Diving Magazine Top 100
Readers' Choice Survey Jan/Feb 2009 Issue
Pacific & Indian Oceans
TOP DIVE DESTINATIONS:
TOP WALL DIVING:
TOP UNDERWATER PHOTOGRAPHY:
TOP MARINE ENVIRONMENT:
TOP MARINE LIFE:
TOP WRECK DIVE:
TOP BIG ANIMAL ENCOUNTERS:
TOP MACRO LIFE:
Direct from Palau...It's official.......Sam's Tours wins PVA's Tour Operator of the Year Award!
Congratulation to the Management and staff at Sam,’s Tours in
Palau Micronesia for achieving this outstanding
Sam’s Tours location in Palau Micronesia
It's official.......Sam's Tours wins PVA's
Tour Operator of the Year Award!
Sam's Tours - TOUR OPERATOR OF THE YEAR!
Palau Visitors Authority (PVA), Palau's official tourism board,
announced their selection of Sam's Tours as "TOUR OPERATOR OF THE
YEAR" for 2008. The announcement and award presentation took place
during the Annual Christmas Gala of the Belau Tourism Association
(BTA), Palau's private sector tourism industry association,
recently held at the Palau Pacific Resort.
Awarding winning is not new to Sam’s Tours which has been consistently recognized over the years not only by government and industry bodies for their commitment to development of sustainable tourism in Palau but also by their customers for consistent service excellence. In 2007 Sam's Tours received a Top 10 Sponsor Award from PVA for "their continual support and sponsorship" and in 2006 the private sector Belau Tourism Association recognized Sam's Tours with their Outstanding Member Award for their "dedication, support and commitment over the years to Belau Tourism Association and its objectives.”
The readers of a leading international dive magazine have recognized Sam’s Tours more than any other dive center in Palau or Micronesia with seven “Readers Choice Awards” since 1997 including a Gold List Award for top dive center, top staff, and top value.
Sam’s Tours is the first and only dive center in Palau to receive the Palau Conservation Society “Ten Year Partner in Conservation Award” and is a Corporate Sponsor of the Palau Shark Sanctuary, a shark conservation organization founded in 2001 by Sam’s Tours General Manager, Dermot Keane, to help bring an end to the destructive practice of shark-finning by foreign fishing fleets operating in Palau’s waters. The Palau Shark Sanctuary received a PATA (Pacific Asia Travel Association) Environmental Education Gold Award for their work.
“Sam’s Tours has consistently demonstrated their long standing commitment to responsible tourism development, environmental preservation, and excellence in customer service and while recognition is not what drives us to excel, we sincerely appreciate the acknowledgment of our efforts by our industry peers and our valued customers alike” said Dermot Keane, General Manager, Sam’s Tours.
A newly discovered fossil from China shows the turtle's shell evolved.
the turtle's shell evolved...
Odontochelys semitestacea was probably aquatic
The turtle only had a shell covering its underside
A newly discovered fossil from China has shed light on how the turtle's shell evolved.
The 220 million-year-old find, described in Nature journal, shows that the turtle's breast plate developed earlier than the rest of its shell.
The breast plate of this fossil was an extension of its ribs, but only hardened skin covered its back.
Researchers say the breast plate may have protected it while swimming.
The turtle fossil, found near Guangling in south-west China, is thought to be the ancestor of all modern turtles, although it differs markedly; it has teeth rather than a bony plate, the shell only covers its underside and it has a long tail.
The fossil find helps to answer key questions about the evolution of turtles, Dr Xiao-Chun Wu from the Canadian Museum of Nature was one of the first to examine the fossil...read more and the complete article @
DivePhotoGuide: An Underwater Photographer's Guide to Puerto Galera
An Underwater Photographer's Guide to Puerto Galera
Matt J. Weiss / November 24, 2008 12:00AM MST Category: Photo
Puerto Galera, Matt Weiss, El Galleon, Gunther Deichmann, Asia Divers, Muck Diving, South East Asia,
It has been a while since the last installment, Bali, on my guide to Southeast Asia. The story can be seen here.
Many of the photos below are from our good friend Gunther Deichmann, who is a one of my favorite photographers and had too good of a library of Puerto Galera images to not include.
I’ve never had such preconceived notions about a destination as I did the Philippines. Shrouded in mystery…war…pirates - that kind of stuff. Conversations with people who had visited the Philippines left me with a feeling of exotic dread, the idea that the place was somehow different, even downright eerie. A quick Google search for “Manila” was no help. Things like “armpit of the world”, “urban sprawl”, “pollution and poverty”, were not uncommon descriptions. This misconception would soon turn into nothing less than photographic opportunity...read more click here
A Kitchen to be reckon with…after a good dive you need a good meal… a Gourmet special from El Galleon in Puerto Galera Philippines.
This is easy now since El Galleon is part of Asia Divers.
We have just received word that their super modern and new Kitchen will take care of any hungry stomach.
So next time you in Puerto Galera check their new menu or even better book you next dive vacation with Asia Divers and stay at El Galleon I am sure you want be disappointed.
See below the info which has just landed on my desk…
restaurant already has some great new items on the menu and in time
will have many more great mouthwatering suggestions.
The kitchen staffs are delighted with the many new and improved ways they can now cook and prepare for you.
El Galleons new and long
It’s been most of 2008; El
Galleon has ducked and
weaved its way through the construction of its new kitchen. Many of
our friends have seen the kitchen evolve into what has to be said,
one of the best kitchens in the Philippines.
With the help of some very good and well-known chefs here in the Philippines, the design and flow of the kitchen is perfect. The Fagor equipment arrived all the way from Spain late October and was installed by end of the first week of November.
With Christmas approaching you can be sure our chefs will be hard at work to come up with meals you’ll find hard to believe exist in this pristine part of the world.
To you all, from all of us at El Galleon, Bon Apatite...
The new turtle species is a missing link between land and water-based turtles
By James Morgan
Science reporter, BBC News
The new turtle species is a missing link between land and water-based turtles The earliest turtles known to live in water have been discovered on a Scottish island.
The 164 million-year-old reptile fossils were found on a beach in southern Skye, off the UK's west coast. The new species forms a missing link between ancient terrestrial turtles and their modern, aquatic descendants.
The discovery of Eileanchelys waldmani, which translates as "the turtle from the island", is reported in the Royal Society journals. The turtles were found embedded in a block of rock at the bay of Cladach a'Ghlinne, on the Strathaird peninsula.
It contained four well-preserved turtle skeletons, and the remnants of at least two others...check out this amazing and complete article with photos @
Underwater Photography & Science from Puerto Galera image of an Octopus makes the science paper…
An Octopus from Puerto Galera makes it into a major
105 page science Paper.
supplied this image for research purpose some time ago and now it
is published in a major study on Octopuses.
If you interested in Octopuses or if you are a Marine Biologist and like to read the complete article you find the address below.
To many pages to post here.
Oceanography and Marine Biology: An Annual Review, 2008, 46, 105-202
© R. N. Gibson, R. J. A. Atkinson, and J. D. M. Gordon, Editors
Taylor & Francis
Biology of the planktonic stages
of Benthic Octopuses
ROGER VillANUEVA & MARK D. NORMAN
Institut de Ciències del Mar (CSIC), Passeig Marítim de la
Barceloneta 37–49, E-08003 Barcelona, Spain
Sciences, Museum Victoria, GPO Box 666, Melbourne, Vic 3001, Australia
Figure 16 (Villanueva & Norman) Adult Octopus cyanea
in camouflage display amongst
soft corals,Puerto Galera, Philippine Islands. (Photo:
A Triggerfish and Nudibranchs encounter…diving in Puerto Galera, Philippines
Check out the speed and movement...
Once up on a
cruising at the Sinandigan wall in Puerto Galera and looking for unusual Nudibranchs.
All of a sudden and out of nowhere I got confronted by this giant Triggerfish charging me, I used my Camera Housing as a shield and sure enough…clonk …he hit it right on..
This Guy was serious and his nest must have been around in the area, I had stumbled into his territory unwillingly.
I moved slowly back but he kept coming at me… full speed, I managed to get off a few shots as he kept charging me. The image above is from this encounter and I was lucky to escape his Jaws, but the housing had a visible scratch on the side.
He followed me for a while almost to the surface and my Dive Buddy kept on laughing, it must have looked very funny to him fighting of this fish with my housing and strobes attached.
So if you go diving and you spot a Triggerfish watch out and circle around him you never know where his nest maybe, move back very slowly and keep an eye on him if charged.
Trigger Fish can cause some serious injury with their powerful Jaws and I have talked to divers who have not been so lucky or had a camera housing to protect them.
the way, the Sinandigan Wall Dive site is a must for any Underwater
Photographer looking for Sea slugs and Nudibranchs, check with your
dive guide at
for more details and make sure
he keeps an Eye out for the unexpected Triggerfish at the same
Spotlight on: Sam’s Tours Palau, Micronesia Crown Jewel of the Pacific
Sam’s Tours Palau, Micronesia...Crown Jewel of the Pacific
As a member of the Philippine - Micronesian
Alliance, which seeks to combine the diversity and macro-abundant
seas of the Philippines with the dynamic and rich meg-faunal realm
of Micronesia, I am in a fairly unique position to write about many
of the alliance partners. Over the past decade, my work has brought
me into very close associations with many of the partners and I
currently work directly with three of them (Club Paradise, Blue
Horizons Travel and Tours, Asia Divers). I would like, however, to
begin this series with the Alliance partner with whom it all
started for me way back in 1998:
Sam’s Tours in Palau Micronesia. Sam’s Tours really doesn’t need a lengthily introduction. Almost every diver in the world is familiar with Palau and Sam’s Tours since they are often mentioned in the same sentence. Ask any diver where they most want to go and if Palau isn’t mentioned it’s because they have already been there or are new to the planet Earth. Every diver dreams of the day they can wave in the currents with thousands of reef fish including dozens of sharks at the famed Blue Corner or be swept along vertical walls adorned with a multitude of colorful corals, sponges, and anemones.
For me, though, Sam’s greatest asset is their approach to the diversity of tours that can be offered in Palau. Not just diving, Sam’s Tours offers guided trips to explore the magic within the Rock Islands via kayak or boat, fishing expeditions (both reef and deep sea), and land-based tours to the large volcanic island of Babaldoab or historic Pelelui.
Although I feel in love with the diving, it was the beauty and excitement of exploring within the Rock Islands that kept me there. Kayaking amongst the lush, jungle-draped limestone islands provided a sense of tranquility mixed with the excitement of encountering rare organisms, lost WWII wrecks, or colorful birds. It is probably why I gravitated towards the kayaking rather than the diving, and Sam’s Tours made it possible for me explore my own passions and translate them to my guests with their commitment to fostering this adventurous spirit in all of their guides and guests.
Simply put, whenever I talk with divers and we find ourselves talking about Palau, I make sure to tell them to spend time on top of the water amidst the Rock Islands as well as below among the huge schools of fish. And with Sam’s Tours, you can do it all.
By Lee Goldman,Marine Biologist
Dirk Fahrenbach is on the Scuba Channel two cool Video Clips, Underwater Special and the Octopus on the Catwalk
the scuba diving web tv
Dirk Fahrenbach from Dugong
Dive Center and Club Paradise in Palawan,Philippines has his Videos
now on the Scuba Channel, or go to our Podcast and Video section
right hand side to view more Videos from the Philippine-Micronesia
Or click this LINK
The Divers Choice!
the LINK to the Scuba
National Geographic Traveler: Amazing Photos of Sailfish a great article not only for Underwater Photographers.
Thanks Marilyn for sharing this with us.
Hi Gunther, I thought you might like these photos of a large group of sailfish off Isla Mujeres in the Gulf of Mexico, attacking a huge bait ball of sardines. The sailfish work together to reduce the size of the baitball, and Nicklen shows them sticking their long noses into the swirling mass of sardines, then suddenly shooting up their sails and flashing wild colors to scare the bait fish:
The video shows the sailfish in action:
Dont miss this show on the BBC...Palau reveals new fish species... Pacific dives recover novel fish... The bright blue damselfish is finally in the hands of science, blue damselfish found 120m down off Palau
for the images and Video please go to: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/7564126.stm
Pacific dives recover novel fish...Marine biologists being filmed for a BBC TV series have confirmed an astonishing 13 new fish species on a single expedition in the Pacific Ocean.
The bright blue damselfish is finally in the hands of science.
The researchers have a further 15 animals they think may also be new to science but require additional study. The haul comes from deep dives made across reefs in Micronesia. The quest to find the novel fish is detailed in the series Pacific Abyss and includes the capture of a long-sought and spectacular damselfish. The team concentrated its efforts on waters referred to as the "twilight zone".
Sited some 60m (200ft) to 150m (500ft) down, this is a transition region between depths that still receive some sunlight during the daytime and waters that are in perpetual darkness.
The twilight zone is rarely explored, being below the activity of normal scuba activity but above the operations of most submersibles.
The scientists had to use sophisticated closed-circuit rebreather gear to avoid decompression problems. Even so, for safety reasons, their dives were strictly time-limited, and each sortie saw a quick scramble to net as many different fish as possible before the required slow ascent to the surface.
The newly described species include several new colourful damselfish in the Chromis genus; at least one new species of basslet (from the Plectranthias genus); an unusual hawkfish and a new species of butterflyfish.
The most spectacular recovery was of the bright blue damselfish found 120m down off Palau. This was described recently in the scientific literature by team-member Dr Richard Pyle, from the Bishop Museum, Honolulu, Hawaii.
The fish has been named Chromis abyssus in honour of the TV series.
The story is a more complicated one, however, because Dr Pyle first saw this fish more than a decade ago. Other researchers, too, had sightings, including one from a small submersible and another from a Remotely Oerated Vehicle (ROV).
It was during the BBC filming, though, that nine specimens were finally captured, allowing for an official scientific submission this year.
Discovery of a new fish species
Pacific Abyss starts its three-part run on Sunday, 17 August, on BBC One, at 2000 BST
Lets call it double "D"…What have Sam’s Tours and Dugong Dive Center in Common? Easy…Dermot and Dirk… both are members of the Philippine-Micronesia Alliance…the Divers Choice. A funny story in the recent Fins Magazine…
Discussions with Dirk and Dermot…
“Disclaimer: no person in their right mind should take anything in this column seriously.
We certainly don’t”
If you have a question about diving, life or anything at all that you’d like addressed (but not necessarily answered) by our resident know-it-alls Dirk and Dermot, email us at:
email@example.com. Selected question will receive a special gift.
As seen in the latest edition of Fins Magazine...
to read this issue go to:
Dear Dirk and Dermot,
I was reading one of your answers the other day, and realized it made no sense. What exactly qualifies you to give advice to other people? And are you guys a couple?
-bothered in boracay-
Dear bothered in
First of all, we’re not a couple. Dermot’s definitely not my type, and he certainly doesn’t look good in a skirt, despite what he himself might believe.
Second, when you spend all your time on a sun-drenched, idyllic tropical island like I do, you develop a unique perspective on life, which I am happy to share with others. Besides, I’ve found over the years that diver banter generally makes very little sense, so what difference does it make?
Dear bothered in boracay,
As an Irishman, I’m a natural born advice giver, having put in many years of intense apprenticeship at some of the world’s preeminent institutions of (senseless) advice giving…Irish pubs! You should give it a try.
As for whether we’re a couple or not… Dirk only wishes. I’m so out of his league.
Dermot Keane is the general manager of Sam’s Tours in Palau, and Dirk Fahrenbach is the owner of Dugong Dive Center, located on Dimakya Island in the Philippines.
Both Resorts/Dive Centers are members of the Philippines-Micronesia Alliance.
Breaking NEWS...NEW Travel, Tour & Diving packages soon to be published from The Philippine-Micronesia Alliance destinations…S.E.Asia Kayak Tours has joined the PMA
Stay tuned or subscribe to our blog for all the details and cool packages very,very soon.
have also the pleasure in
announcing our NEW
partner Lee Goldman
Kayak Tours...I have mention this in my earlier
blogs but as of today it is official.
Welcome to Lee and Jasmine Goldman
Kayak Tours with their new Eco and adventure
travel tours, a great and exciting addition to the
Next week we announce the
S.E.Asia Kayak Tours new website (asiakayaktours.com)
and of course within a week or so you can find it on
alliancediving.com site including their exciting Kayak
and Wilderness travel tour packages.
Bill Stinnett our partner from Truk Lagoon has dropped by also this weekend to say hi, a hectic week indeed with Matt Weiss from DivePhotoGuide.com returning tomorrow from Club Paradise too.
A new Cuttle fish discovery...more Alien then we previous thought...almost from a sci-fi horror movie Alien...
© Gunther Deichmann
- Alien afternoon in Puerto Galera
Philippines, a great dive destination to see these Aliens... or
venture to Club Paradise in Palawan and dive with Dugong Dive
Center at their house reef you might encounter the yearly mating
behavior of these amazing marine creatures.
Cuttlefish spot target prey early...
By Matt Walker
Cuttlefish (Animal Behaviour)
Embryos exposed to crabs preferred them as prey later in life. It's a bit like something out of the famous sci-fi horror movie Alien.
Before they have even hatched, cuttlefish embryos can peer out of their eggs and spot potential prey. It is the first time any animal has been shown to learn visual images before they are born.
Ludovic Dickel and his colleagues at the University of Caen Basse-Normandy, France, made the discovery by placing crabs alongside cuttlefish eggs in a series of laboratory tanks.
Those embryos exposed to crabs preferred them as prey later in life, the scientists report in the journal Animal Behaviour.
The young embryos must be able to see through their translucent egg case, the scientists believe, and learn which animals are worth hunting even before they have hatched.
"This is the first time there is evidence of visual learning by embryos," said Dr Dickel.
Embryos are known to able to pick up chemical and auditory cues - unborn gulls, for example, learn to recognise the alarm calls of their parents whilst still in the egg, while salmon and frog embryos can learn the chemical signatures of the surrounding water before they hatch.
But until now, no one has looked at whether unborn animals can also learn visual images. Dickel and his team decided to study embryos of the cuttlefish Sepia officinalis, a relatively advanced ocean-going mollusc closely related to squid and octopus.
Majestic but deadly: Cuttlefish are efficient killers
They harvested wild eggs, and placed them in tanks filled with sea water. Crabs, a common prey of adult cuttlefish, were also placed into the tanks, but enclosed in separate compartments. Crucially, the compartment sides were made of clear glass, so the crabs were in plain view of the eggs.
But the embryos could not smell or hear the crabs. Once the cuttlefish embryos hatched, they were instantly moved, to ensure they could not glimpse the crabs, and were not exposed to any other prey until they were seven days old.
They were then set free in a lab tank full crabs and shrimp, another cuttlefish delicacy…read the complete story and some photos @
DIVE SAFARI TO THE EAST CAPE OFF DAVAO...looking fo Tiger sharks...an interesting story from Alan Nash at Asia Divers
Hi everybody, this is Allan I like to share a short story from my resent trip to Davao.
SAFARI TO THE EAST CAPE OFF DAVAO
It was May 19 when we boarded a plane for Davao city on our way to explore the Cape, east of Davao bay. Some weeks before the trip I was asked if I would join the trip as an advisor on the dive sites and fish life found in the area. Out of curiosity and the promise of big action, tiger sharks and strong currents I said, I’m on.
After arriving in Davao, checking ourselves in, we met up with Andrew Macdonald, Jane, Carlos, Peewee, Maeng and Frank the owner of Davao Scuba. After a very good brief of what we will be looking for (big action and tiger sharks) and how we intend to proceed, it followed with a tour of the dive centre and the boat we would spend the next few days on. It was to be roughing it as one would say, sleeping on a camp stretcher on the open deck of a Bunker and showering from a camp shower rigger from the roof, no mirror for the morning shave and little if any privacy with the exception from the bathroom toilet, Ha me hearty, those were the good old days!
We met the next morning at 4am and set off at around 5ish. The weather was perfect and as the sun rose we were well on our way heading east for the cape. Arriving at around 12:30 we were anxious to see the dive area and what the currents were doing. As expected, it was howling! We looked for a suitable place to jump in and take our first look at what the conditions would be like and if in fact the fish life was as prolific as we had been told.
After deciding on a course of action we developed a plan that incorporated the safety needed to be diving in strong currents and in a very remote area as it was. We entered in some howling current, descended to about 20 meters in waters that had at least 60m visibility and drifted along the back wall of this very long underwater extension of the cape. During the dive we seen a turtle and some very small reef fish, but no big fish! We were surprised to see little coral and an area that would have been half the size of a football oval completely dynamited without any life on it at all. Disappointment was setting in after our hopes of big fish and shark action. We ascended and gathered for a dive debrief and to recalculate our course of action for the following dives. The second dive was on the east side of the cape, this time much better reef life with some soft and hard corals, schooling fish at one point, and towards the end some big fish were spotted at around 40 plus meters, but little else except a screaming current.
After our first night of spaghetti Bolognese a couple of beers and a very early night, it was time to go over our plan for chumming the waters. Andrew and Jane had built this very elaborate system consisting of a bottomless plastic bucket and a metal waste paper bin lashed to the bottom of the plastic bucket with cable ties. With over P5,000 of fresh finely ground fish and large fish heads we set ourselves up to start the chumming process. We had thought that after four hours the chum we had placed would drift to a reef called Widows reef (70 plus meters deep and some 7k away) where it has been said some large tiger sharks would hunt the area. We had hoped the chum would draw these sharks to the cape, where we would be patiently waiting to see them. After an entire day of waiting and doing three dives we came to the conclusion, either we were not putting enough chum, not enough patience, or there was not tigers. In fact we had not even a small fish try and take our fish heads we had dangling over the side for hours! It was quiet an unhappy sight seeing this fish head dangling inches below the surface, and in my experience, had there been any sharks or pelagic, they would have been there for a feed.
Disappointed and exhausted, as we were after waiting for the sharks and wearing ourselves out fighting with currents during our three long dives, we decided we had had enough and retired back to the small bay to rethink our next move. We invited a local Barangay official to come and speak with us on the boat. She told us that the dynamiting and cyaniding had stopped some year and a half ago. However she also told us, as did the fishermen we talked to, confirmed the Taiwanese long liners had just finished fishing the area two week prior. With other information on the over fishing of the area and a brief explanation of what we thought would be appropriate action for her Barangay, (ruling the cape) we decided that any further dives would lead us to the same conclusion. The area needs at least three years of no fishing to bring back the fish and corals to an acceptable level where divers could be interested in diving the area. Shame as it may be, the cape has all the ingredients of an exhilarating dive area. If the sharks and fish had have been there, we would have with out any doubt said it could have been one of the Philippines premier dive destinations for big fish action, we certainly had the currents, that the fisherman can’t remove.
Setting our course back to Davao we decided to do a dive off Davao, one of the more popular dive sites called Lapot (spelling, sorry guys) a very advanced dive with again lots of current. The time of day we got there proved to be slack tide and we had almost no current, however what a fantastic dive it proved to be. Fantastic formations, sea fans and ferns with walls covered with soft corals. We did not see that much fish life, but I’m told, if there was current there would have been big fish! The fact is, the fish life we did see was everything from pigmy seahorses to fire gobies and lodes of other small reef fish, more than enough to satisfy the keen diver.
A very big thank you to Andrew and Jane for organising a wonderful exploration trip, even if it did not prove to be a great spot, it was in deed adventure and fun. Thanks to Peewee and Maeng for their company and great humour, I don’t think I have met with happier people. And not to mention the crew who took care of us and made sure everything worked and went well.
PADI Course Director,
Asia Divers with El Galleon,
Puerto Galera, Philippines
Certificate IV workplace training
ASIA KAYAK TOURS & Wilderness travel continues, part three of a series by Lee Goldman, EXPLORING Palawan in the Philippines…Natures paradise...THE DIVERS CHOICE.
I like to introduce also two NEW banners from two of our partners soon featured on our website and at DivePhotoGuide.com
our last stop has us at one of the Alliance partners,
Club Paradise and Dugong Dive Center. Again we’d like to thank them both
for a wonderful time. We stopped here for the rare opportunity to
swim with, what else, Dugongs.
While we did see one, it decided to play shy and swam away rather
than being usually curious allowing guests of the resort to swim
with them in their natural environment. The other major attraction
here is Apo
Reef, and we had one of
the best days at Apo you can imagine. At first, we were concerned
about the 3.5 hour banca ride in open ocean to the reef, but we had
smooth as glass conditions the entire way out and back. And when I
mean smooth as glass, there wasn’t so much as a ripple on the
water. Dolphins jumped for us several times on our way out and upon
reaching the reef, we were greeted by over 100 foot visibility and
great conditions for snorkeling. Although we had a brisk current,
it was just enough to allow us to see everything without the need
for swimming. We just drifted over the hundreds of reef fish,
including Pyramid butterflys and White-tail surgeon fish as they
congregated in massive schools in the currents to feed. After a
nice walk up in the lighthouse for a birds-eye view of the reef, we
snorkeled the nearly current-less north reef and were treated to
nice coral and plenty of reef fish. Turtles and sharks were spotted
throughout the day. We returned, tired but excited at our
Photo: © Lee Goldman - Strapweed Filefish
our first snorkeling and kayaking expedition to the Philippines was
a huge success. Many might be wondering why I am so excited about
snorkeling in the Philippines and perhaps even why this is being
mentioned on a website that caters to divers. The obvious is that
many divers are avid snorkelers, but more importantly, this trip is
designed to expose divers to areas of the Philippines, especially
El Nido, that they wouldn’t normally see. The whale shark
portion, quite frankly, would appeal to any admirer of ocean
critters as it is one of the best big animal encounters in the
world. Thus, getting divers excited about this would not be hard.
The main part of the trip is in El Nido, and since it is not known
for it’s diving, it may be overlooked by many divers coming
to the Philippines. I assure you though; it is one of the best the
Philippines have to offer.
Photo: © Lee Goldman - yellowtail Coris (Coris gaimard),
juvenile phase belongs to the Wrasse family
Not only is it recognized as one of the
most beautiful tropical destinations in the world (and this
Planet and Conde Nast Traveller saying this), but as a marine biologist
who spent many years guiding in the Indo-Pacific, I can tell you
that the snorkeling here is world class. One doesn’t need
dive gear when everything is in less than 3 meters of water. There
is incredible diversity and abundance of coral and plenty of rare
fish in El Nido. In addition, there are juvenile fish that divers
may only see as adults in the outer reef environment.
My point? If you are planning to visit the Philippines, it is more than worth your time to visit El Nido and camp, kayak, and snorkel among some of the most breathtaking scenery. Even the seasoned diver and naturalist will be amazed at the opportunities to see unique terrestrial and marine organisms.
PALAWAN Philippines…Part two on the Wilderness Kayak Tours by Lee Goldman…Palawan the PHILIPPINES best kept secret & NATURES Paradise…brought to YOU by The PHILIPPINE-MICRONESIA ALLIANCE, The Divers Choice
© Gunther Deichmann - Nature at its best...pristine Jungle in Palawan
main focus of the trip is the incredible area of northern Palawan;
El Nido and Bacuit Bay. This is easily one of the most beautiful
places I have ever been (and I worked in Palau, San Juan Islands
and Vancouver Island in the Pacific Northwest, Belize…) so I
have an idea what pretty is. We spent our time here snorkeling,
kayaking, and camping.
While it is hard to say what activity is best in El Nido, for me snorkeling ranks up there at the top. There are over 400 species of coral in Bacuit Bay and in a recent survey lead by the world famous ichthyologist, Dr. Gerald Allen, they recorded over 800 species of fish, including several new species and records of fish. What make it so special are the gigantic islands in the bay that provide protection from potentially large ocean swells that may damage coral. Fields (and I mean fields) of staghorn coral, table corals that measure 3 meters in diameter, un-imaginable colors radiating from all types of hard and soft corals, beautiful and rare fish and all this in 1-2 meters of water! On our trip we spotted hundreds of juvenile fish with some of the guests favorites being the Humphead grouper, Zebra lionfish, Helmut Gurnard, and Javanese Damselfish. I am a coral guy, so to see such healthy and diverse coral gardens was the ultimate treat for me.
While most of the bay can be accessed boat, kayaking is the only way to see this place. Picture perfect shallow lagoons, intimate stands of mangroves, and paddling next to a 300m vertical cliff face that erupts from the water is a pretty amazing experience. We conduct our kayaking with complete boat support, so we transport the kayaks to our designated area. We had great weather; calm seas and cloudless skies. Our daily excursions were designed to go to places that not many other tour groups go and because we are camping out in the heart of the islands, we could easily time our visits between other operators.
We are also the only outfitter that provides luxury camping in Bacuit Bay. Our campsite provides large walk-in tents with mattresses, fans, lights; a dining tent with sit-down meal service; a chef (who did a fantastic job preparing 3 – 4 course breakfast, lunch, and dinner meals for us); a generator to charge batteries (and make fresh fruit shakes or margaritas); a comfort room tent and shower tent and we also had a certified masseuse there to help with folks whose muscles were in need of attention after a day of snorkeling and kayaking. Arriving at camp in time for the sunset was a great way to end the day. Of course, waking up to a beautiful morning amongst the islands was a great way to start the day as well. For those wishing to get the most they can from El Nido, our expeditions should not be missed!
Can YOU identify this Fish? Wilderness travel...Snorkeling in Palawan & Whale Sharks in Donsol... by Lee Goldman
This is Lee…Lee Goldman that is… I thought you might like this article and read about my recent experience in the Philippines...
Hi Lee, Gunther here…of course you always welcome and we are very happy to publish your real life stories, thanks Lee please keep it up, we appreciate your input very much.
See below the story which I have just received, thanks again to Lee Goldman, Marine Biologist, who always finds the time and supplying us with some interesting articles.
Identify this Fish? Please help...
Photo © Lee Goldman, image taken in the Philippines
Islands of Palawan. Okay, so the title sounds like we spent the
entire time in Palawan, but our first 2 days of the expedition were
snorkeling with Whale sharks in Donsol. Come ‘on, how can I
invite guests to the Philippines and not expose them to one of the
best big animal encounters a snorkeler can have!
This entry will be a quick one because how can I describe the experience? Amazing, exhilarating, sometimes exhausting. Because visibility often does not exceed 12 m, when you see a whale shark, it is an up close and personal encounter! The guides put you right near them and as they swim by, you are sometimes only a few feet from them. My guests all commented on how amazing it was that they actually had to swim away from the sharks rather than having to chase them down. Needless to say, our experience with the whale sharks in Donsol was exactly as it has always been promoted; come and swim with lots of whale sharks. We swam with no less than eight. We also had a chance to snorkel in the area. Due to proximity of the rivers, visibility was not optimal, but we didn’t miss a beat. Many varieties of fish and coral exist there and for most of my guests, new species of fish were checked off in their fish identification books. For one guest, an avid admirer of nudibranchs, a new species of Phyllidia was her treat for the day. As a guide who spent many years in the Philippines and Palau, you may think I had seen it all. No way, that’s what I love about the Philippines; new species of fish I may know but not seen, or in my case in Donsol a new species of fish I had no idea existed.
Even some of the better ichthyologists could not help me with the identification. I intend to pursue this one and will keep everyone updated as I know more. Anyone out there with a suggestion?
Our Philippine-Micronesia Alliance
partner in Palawan Philippines is Club Paradise & Dugong Dive
Center for all your travel arrangements and
for Lee Goldman's Wilderness travel contact our partner in
PALAUTOURS.COM updated today May 7th 2008...including the FSM...Federated States of Micronesia...plus a lot more very soon.
Before you make all our travel arrangements check it out...why not stop over in the Philippines for a few extra days and Dive some of the best Bio diversity in
the world. Plan your trip as a combination Philippines - Micronesia then you have the very best of both worlds.
Think about it.
PalauTours.com Now... Welcome to Micronesia!
The colors of the Pacific...
(FSM - The Federated States of Micronesia)
Chuuk (Truk Lagoon) - Yap - Kosrae & Pohnpei
Click the image or the link below
As promised... we have just updated the
palautours.com site changes and NEW additions are as follow;
Micronesia section is updated see the screenshot on this blog - a Palau and Regional map has been added -
in the Photo Gallery we have now provided caption on all the images for easy identification - Getting here is
been updated - some pages have additional text - plus we have changed some photos in various categories.
More to come by this weekend and an incredible update is in progress for the Dive sites of Palau, we will feature
most of the dive sites and not only the popular ones, a big undertaking but I am sure you enjoy it once that is done.
We try very hard to have our first listings up also by Sunday, please stay tuned or start subscribing.
Your Palau Tours Team
A NEW Website on PALAU Micronesia...bringing the Philippines and Micronesia closer? Travel News from the Pacific...
a very interesting NEW site which promise to be a huge source of information, I guess they still sorting out some issues but from what I have seen so far WOW.
If this site goes the way it looks already then what else do you need for your information on Palau and Micronesia.
The Philippine-Micronesia Alliance is keeping an eye on this one and we try to link up with them sooner than later.
Have a good browse, even it is not quiet finished but it is certainly very impressive.
Your Tour Guide to Palau and Micronesia
© Gunther Deichmann - Kayaks in the Rock Islands, Palau
click the image and go to our Gallery @
PALAUTOURS.COM is a unique and very informative site for
all Your requirements before traveling to Palau in Micronesia.
The site is fully up and running but we have to fix some minor glitches
and add some more exciting pages for you.
By this coming weekend we should have everything just about in place.
The interesting part is, not only Palau will be represented but we include
islands like Yap, Chuuk, Pohnpei and Kosrae in due time.
Just stay tuned or subscribe to our RSS feed for the latest developments.
With these addition we bring you a lot closer to this amazing part of the world, You dont get any closer to Nature...above and below the waves.
To some extend these islands are still unexplored in parts hence the recent discovery of some unusual inhabitants (see our last blog) the scientist are still debating who and where these small people came from. PalauTours.com is trying to keep you well informed from this part of the World, not only on leisure activities, but news on Marine life, Science projects, discoveries and of course environmental related issues. If you have any interesting stories please dont hold back, send it to us, we love to publish it.
© Gunther Deichmann - Hotel, Resorts, Restaurant and Bar
on Palau...click the image and go to Palautours.com
© Gunther Deichmann - Duty Free & Retail stores, Tour Operators
Government offices, Conservation & Medical services
plus a lot more...click the image and go to Palautours.com
© Gunther Deichmann - the World famous Blue Hole and
Blue Corner, Palau, plus many more different dive sites in our
Dive section including Dive Centers & Dive Resorts...
click the image and go to Palautours.com
We like YOU to use Palau Tours as your Resort, Hotel, Restaurant, Dive & Tour guide... YOU be amazed how beautiful this part of the world really is.
Late breaking NEWS from the ADEX show in Singapore, plus...MacDive Matchmaker realizing that his beloved Suunto D9 and Mac computer were having communication issues...
See below the latest NEWS from Fins Magazine...
This information has been provided by Fins Magazine... click the link above for more information...
Saturday, 19th April 2008, 12:48 pm by FiNS Team
Realising that his beloved Suunto D9 and Mac computer were having communication issues, Singapore-based Kiwi Nick Shore created MacDive, a free application to help the two get along.
Nick says: “There wasn’t an application that had the functionality I wanted or the look and feel of a Mac application, and I thought it would be easiest to just start from scratch and make the exact app I wanted. Plus, this way I could make it free. I worked on MacDive in my spare time after work. It’s been a real labour of love. I know there are many divers who are also Mac users and who, like me, have been frustrated with the lack of options available for Macs. I hope MacDive will help make them happy.”
While developing MacDive, a number of divers in Singapore loaned him their Suuntos for testing. As a result, the application is currently compatible with the D9, D6, D3, Cobra, Cobra 2, Vyper, Vyper 2, Gekko, Vytec and Mosquito.
Nick plans to continue developing MacDive, adding support for more dive computer brands as well as additional functionality, and he’s keen to receive user feedback on where to take the application next.
At the same time, Nick is working on a project with two programmers and divers from Belgium and Canada to make it easier to develop applications for the majority of dive computers on the market.”First things first, though. I’ve got to get in the water and do some testing of my own!”
MacDive is available for free download at: http://thedoorisajar.org/macdive
About 40 million years ago, when the Earth looked dramatically different to how it does today...did you know?
dont like to talk always about diving and how great our
destinations are ...No...
we like you to be informed about our fragile environment and the
latest NEWS... as a matter of fact keeping you in touch with the
latest science and new discoveries is very important to
We do care... a lot!
A big thanks' to Walter Ty for bringing this to my attention.
DID YOU KNOW? Is brought to you by the Philippine - Micronesia Alliance, the Divers Choice.
We care about our Environment!
To watch this amazing video click the image
40 million years ago, when the Earth looked dramatically different
to how it does today, a tiny arachnid was crawling around in the
But the little bug was soon to meet a sticky demise. As it crept up a tree trunk, it encountered a blob of tree resin and its spindly legs rapidly became stuck-fast in the gluey trap.
Fast-forward a few thousand Millennia and the creature still sits in the same pose, preserved in a small lump of amber.
However, its location is now rather different from the prehistoric forest floor where it once roamed.
I noticed something was in there hiding beneath a layer - it looked like a leg
It can now found within the vaults of London's Natural History Museum - taking pride of place as the latest donation in the museum's palaeontology collection.
"You can just spend hours and hours looking at amber," said Terry Collingwood, who discovered the amber-encased creature.
The Rochester-based fossil collector had bought a batch of amber on an online auction site before noticing, on closer inspection, that one of the pieces looked a little unusual.
"I spent a long time looking at this piece and then I noticed something was in there hiding beneath a layer - it looked like a leg.
"So I started to work on the piece, polishing it and working to get those layers off.
"And then I eventually saw it - I realised straightaway that it was something special."
He sent the mysterious creature off to the Natural History Museum to be checked out.
"When we looked at the amber under the microscope we could see it was a harvestman," said Dr Andrew Ross, collection manager of fossil invertebrates and plants.
Harvestmen belong to the arachnid class.
At first glance, with their eight legs, they look similar to spiders. But, while spiders' heads and abdomens are segmented, harvestmen's bodies and heads are fused together. They also lack silk glands - making spinning webs impossible.
Amber with arachnid (NHM)
Usually some of the legs will snap off as the insects try to escape the sticky resin, but this one must have got stuck fast
Dr Andrew Ross, Natural History Museum
Closer examination revealed that the specimen was rare, a species called Dicranopalpus ramiger, which is now extinct.
"This one is quite a young spider", explained Dr Ross. "Its body is the size of a pinhead and its legs are about 6mm long.
"But what is really interesting is that all of its legs are still intact - usually some of the legs will snap off as the insects try to escape the sticky resin, but this one must have got stuck fast."
Dr Ross said that fossil finds like this recent donation from Mr Collingwood were extremely important.
He said: "They are a record of something that lived millions and millions of years ago.
"Amber is particularly special. It preserves some of the smaller animals that you don't get preserved in rock.
"It gives us a fantastic insight into lots of prehistoric insects."
Mr Collingwood added: "I just love insects in amber. Knowing something is going to be at the Natural History Museum is just wonderful."
Check out this incredible video & click this link:
Sharks could protect us from severe storms and Typhoons...stop the killing of this amazing creature which has been around for million of years
DID YOU KNOW?
Is brought to you by the
Philippine - Micronesia
the Divers Choice.
We care about our Environment!
could protect us from Typhoons and other bad storms…real
amazing stuff from a researcher…and thanks again to Walter Ty for
bringing this to my attention...
Super interesting article and one more reason why we should take care of our sharks and environment.
the killing of our Sharks,
slurping of this tasteless soup must STOP!
"They could protect us from disaster."
© Gunther Deichmann - a storm over the Pacific...
...can sharks give us some warning signs?
Sharks 'may predict the storms'
Lauren Smith Courtesy of the BBC
Lauren Smith studied dogfish, a type of small shark Sharks could be used to predict storms following research by a marine biology student.
Lauren Smith, 24, is close to completing her PhD studies into the pressure-sensing abilities of sharks.
If her studies prove the theory, scientists in future could monitor the behavior of sharks to anticipate severe weather fronts.
Research was partly carried out in an altitude chamber at the National Hyperbaric Centre in Aberdeen.
Miss Smith, originally from West Bromwich, had previously investigated the behavior of lemon sharks in the Bahamas. She then used their near relations, the lesser spotted dogfish, for further research at Aberdeen University's altitude chamber at the National Hyperbaric Centre.
© Gunther Deichmann, Shark and Photographer,
that is how it should be...
Who can say if this could lead to sharks predicting weather fronts... but it certainly opens the way to more research, Lauren Smith. It is thought her work is the first of its kind to attempt to test the pressure theory.
It was prompted by an earlier shark habitat study in Florida, which coincided with the arrival of Hurricane Gabrielle in 2001, when observations suggested that juvenile blacktop sharks moved into deeper water in association with the approaching storm.
Miss Smith said: "I've always been keen on traveling and diving and this led me to an interest in sharks.
"I was delighted to have been able to explore this area for my PhD, particularly as it's the first time it's really been explored fully.
"How many other students get the chance to put a shark in a chamber to study its behavior?
"Who can say if this could lead to sharks predicting weather fronts, there's so much more we need to understand. But it certainly opens the way to more research."
The chamber's changes in pressure mimic the pressure changes experienced in and around the ocean, caused by weather fronts, and the protocol was approved by the Home Office.
Sharks were found to head for deeper water ahead of bad weather.
Miss Smith, who completed her first degree in marine biology and coastal ecology at Plymouth University, studied shark behavior in the wild at the Bimini Biological Field Station in the Bahamas.
It has been established that a shark senses pressure using hair cells in its balance system.
Work at the Bimini Shark Lab enabled her to observe shark behavior by placing data-logging tags to record pressure and temperature on juvenile lemon sharks, while also tracking them using acoustic tags and GPS technology.
In Aberdeen, she was able to study the effects of tidal and temperature changes on dogfish, none of which were harmed, in the aquarium.
She also tested the pressure theory by recreating weather conditions at the chamber at the National Hyperbaric Centre.
She is due to complete her PhD and prepare papers for publication later this year and will be looking for a job which will give her the chance to expand her experience of shark research.
David Smith, of the National Hyperbaric Centre, described the student's research as "ground-breaking".
Scuba divers get the chance to observe the wired and wonderful… amazing things happen on our planet… courtships and rock an’ roll…
The courtship of the sea horses and now the Dolphins continuous…
I thought Valentines day was over…I guess not, here I am getting articles from Asia Divers in Puerto Galera and now a very interesting story from our silent supporter Walter Ty, thanks Walter we all appreciate your input.
The last blog has been on the mating and courtship of the sea horses…now we have some real weird ones from the Amazon river dolphin's courtship, some how all during the month of March… enjoy this cool story. Wave some branches at your girlfriend, and you be alright… maybe.
My blog is going to be a bit thin in the next two weeks, I am off to India for Apple, it is the World Tour of Aperture 2, my part is the intro into this sure amazing software in Mumbai.
Now enjoy the story…courtship about Dolphins…this is really wired stuff…
Amazing how much we learn everyday about our precious environment…lets keep our planet in one piece and green!!!
I have to sign off now, I am listening to Wishbone Ash…not Nash… sorry folks…to cool to miss… right Allan…who is Allan… you better check out the Point Bar in Puerto Galera you might run into him…they play the coolest music on the beach. The Philippine-Micronesia Alliance The Divers Choice.
© Gunther Deichmann - aerial over the Puerto Galera area
with the Point Bar, Asia Diver & El Galleon, red circle.
Now to our main story...Dolphin woos with wood and
Courtesy by Richard Black
Environment correspondent, BBC News website
The Amazon river dolphin's unique courtship...
A South American river dolphin uses branches, weeds and lumps of clay to woo the opposite sex and frighten off rivals, scientists have discovered.
Researchers observed adult male botos carrying these objects while surrounded by females, and thrashing them on the water surface aggressively.
Writing in the journal Biology Letters, they say such behaviour has never before been seen in any marine mammal.
The boto lives in only two rivers, and numbers are thought to be declining.
A group of British and Brazilian researchers studied the dolphin's unique courtship behaviour over three years in the Mamiraua Reserve, a flooded rainforest area on the Amazon.
"You see them coming up with bits of wood or lumps of rock in a very ritualised manner," recalled Tony Martin from the Sea Mammal Research Unit at St Andrews University.
They may be fairly numerous now, but they're going downhill fast and we can't see any end to it,Tony Martin.
"Quite often they'd slowly come up above the surface in a vertical posture holding this stuff in their mouths, then sink down rotating on their own axis.
"They would also throw it or smash it against the surface, and it does appear that the waving around and bashing is to impress the ladies; but at the same time there's a lot of aggression between adult males, and we have to infer that's part of it."
Professor Martin's group established that rock carrying and branch thrashing were almost exclusively the preserve of adult males, and that they did it more when lots of adult females were present.
Although the males were more aggressive towards each other at these times, they were never seen to hit each other with the rocks or plants.
Three years ago, scientists found bottlenose dolphins in Australian waters carrying pieces of sponge, either to help with foraging or to defend against predators.
But using objects for socio-sexual display is a novel finding.
"I naively imagined this kind of thing was seen in other mammal species," said Professor Martin.
"But I was quite surprised when I consulted friends and colleagues, and it turns out that only chimps do anything similar - and that's much less sophisticated."
How and why the boto evolved the behaviour is unclear; although as cetaceans communicate largely with sound, it appears likely that the displays also create an impressive auditory impact on females, rival males, or both.
Hooked on boto
This research stemmed from a larger project, Projeto Boto, aimed at conserving the Amazon dolphin and its habitat.
River dolphins are among the most threatened of all cetaceans; the baiji, a native of the Yangtze in China, may already have gone extinct in the last two years, while numbers of the Indus or blind river dolphin of South Asia are believed to be down to around the 3,000 mark.
Botos are increasingly turning up harpooned, their flesh used for bait
Compared to these species, the South American dolphin is in good health in its traditional haunts along the Amazon and Orinico rivers. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species suggests "there are probably tens of thousands of botos in total".
But the future does not appear secure. The Red List concludes that the boto is threatened by dams (causing fragmentation of their habitat) and pollution, such as from mercury used in gold mining.
"With growing human populations in Amazonia and Orinoquia, the conflicts between fisheries and dolphins are certain to intensify", it notes.
Projeto Boto has found that fishermen are increasingly catching the dolphins for use as bait to catch a fish, the piracatinga, which usually feeds on dead flesh.
Meat from the caiman, a close relative of the alligator, is also used for this purpose.
Projeto Boto scientists are regularly finding dead dolphins, either harpooned or entangled in ropes.
"We lost half of the animals from our study area in just five years," said Tony Martin.
"They may be fairly numerous now, but they're going downhill fast and we can't see any end to it."
For more on this story and some photos go to:
A Tribute to John Bennett...the Legend lives on...he was the deepest diver in the world & and Pioneer...we miss you John.
"He was the the greatest diver that ever lived... a memorial yesterday for John Bennett who died 4 years ago 15th of March. A very sad day not just for the dive community but his closest friends & loving family ! Gabby, Josh & Katie. We gathered yesterday for a remembrance of this great man that lead the way for divers & pioneers of today, he was a LEGEND, we love him & miss him. The deepest diver in the world John Bennett, we will never forget you,
from Mark Cox, a good friend."
© Photo: Mark Cox, Australia
© Photo: Mark Cox, Australia
Shark feeding...a very sad Shark encounter...a tragedy that happened in the Bahamas...lets learn some lessons from it...plus photographing Crocodiles
DID YOU KNOW?
Is brought to you by the
Philippine - Micronesia
the Divers Choice.
We care about our Environment!
You might remember one of our previous
article, the issue on Shark feeding, below is a
follow up article from Lee Goldman our
consultant for marine environment and conservation.
Lee is also the one who is conducting the Kayak Wilderness Adventure trips in Palawan. (see below)
Best Adventure Trips 2008
A Masked Ball in the Philippines
Thanks' Lee for your very interesting article we appreciate this very much and while I am on the subject Sharks here is a reminder...
Stop finning...Dont slurp this disgusting
© Photo Courtesy of Sam's Tours Palau
Confiscated Shark fins in Palau, Micronesia
Sharks have been around for million of years and have survived... well trying to survive...we are entering their territory, respect and watch them from the distance.
I write in one of my next blogs an
article on the Saltwater Crocodiles...captured...released...by some
photographers who are seeking the "great shot." Easy done... they
even tied them down with a string and retouch the rope or string in
the computer...a practice in Palau and other places by some
operators...totally unacceptable by myself.
You dont nail your kids on to the floor either to get this
great shot...or do YOU?
Let's leave our wildlife alone and develop the skill/technique to do this from a distance with out stepping into their territory.
The same applies for some underwater photographers who walk all over the reef, instead of swimming.
See below the very interesting letter from Lee Goldman
Several weeks ago I wrote a blog about shark feeding. I didn’t take sides. I presented the current arguments from supporters for and against it. I thought it was important to show that very few published studies exist that maintain any solid conclusions about shark feeding. In my blog, my only personal view concerned the ‘idea’ of shark feeding and, although seemingly popular in its appeal, how I believe it could detract from the overall diving experience at particular destinations around the world.
Out of respect, I waited a bit before I submitted this follow up in the wake of the tragedy that happened in the Bahamas. But I did want to respond, because clearly this situation was a direct result of the shark feeding activity. To those in opposition against shark feeding, this was a situation that solidified their platform and, in all truthfulness, gives them the good evidence they need to put a stop to this practice. To those who favor shark feeding, this is a tragic event, but isolated. Compared against the number of people who participate in shark feeding on an annual basis, this incredibly misfortune event represents a fraction of a percent.
Once again, I will not take sides. But, I do want to point out something that seems horribly wrong to me. Something that as a SCUBA Instructor, expedition leader, and tour coordinator is paramount to producing successful tours. Safety.
Before I get deeper into what I mean by Safety, I want to set it up a bit more. I received an article from Gunther about the accident in the Bahamas. In the article it mentions that although there seems to be more shark attacks (which the author claims is the result of an increasing exposure or encroachment of people into the sharks territory), there are comparatively fewer deaths than several decades ago. I will not debate the higher numbers of swimmers, but I do have another point of view against the reasons for lower deaths. The author asserted that our knowledge of trauma treatment has gotten so advanced, that the attention to highly traumatic wounds, such as shark bites, can be treated with a high level of success. Okay, fair enough. I believe that is an accurate statement. But I have something else to add, which, in all of my responder and wilderness first aid courses taught me as equally important: timing. Timing in the form of how fast can the victim get proper medical treatment.
Florida banned shark feeding from their waters. Whatever their reason is, right or wrong, agree or don’t agree, it is illegal. The response from the operators who provide this type of activity was to go farther offshore, to international (or Bahamian) waters where the activity is legal. See where I am heading? Going farther offshore to circumvent the law reduces the margin of safety. The margin of safety in this situation is clearly the ability to quickly evacuate the victim to a trauma center where their chances of surviving the attack are exponentially higher. The operator could have 50 years of experience with no customer having ever been attacked before, with a great first aid kit on board. The bottom line is that safety was compromised by making the hospital farther away, making the time for properly trained EMT’s to arrive longer, making the time for the victim to reach proper medical facilities longer…and making the conscious decision to do this so as to provide a service, but also to earn a living.
Again, being in the dive industry I know all about liability. I know the assumption of risk must be acknowledged by the participant. But there must also be a reasonable amount of safety built into the program. Traveling so far offshore and engaging in this type of activity is not reasonable to me. And remember, were talking about divers that are 100% exposed to the sharks. If this were a cage diving experience and something tragically went wrong, I would not be as concerned, because the cage is itself above and beyond reasonable safety. Accidents do happen. But what exactly was their safety plan. It sounds like they did all of the necessary things correctly, but were themselves a victim of their own decision to go farther offshore. Perhaps, there should have been a compromise for their activity? Perhaps there should have been a discussion like “okay, we have to go farther offshore, so we need to make it safer because we don’t have as direct access to evacuation and EMT care. Let’s put people in cages or…”. I don’t know the “or…”. If I was an operator, you bet I would.
I said I wasn’t taking sides and it may appear that I am. I assure you, I am not. I am merely pointing out a situation that must be addressed in order for this type of activity to continue. Similar to my approach to any high risk adventure that is made available to the public (usually a less-informed public) for a price, I am not in opposition, just asking for a higher margin of safety.
Please, my approach here could be dead wrong. I encourage anyone who disagrees with me to say something. Maybe the boat had a full service trauma room on board. Maybe an EMT was there. I don’t know. All I know is what was presented in articles and news reports. Thus, this is probably what the general public knows. And the general public doesn’t need anymore stories about sharks harming people; it needs more stories about people harming sharks.
Lee Goldmann - Marine Biologist
ФИЛИППИНЫ - МИКРОНЕЗИЯ АЛЬЯНСУ ® 2008 From Russia with Love... sounds familiar...yes, 2008 Golden Dolphin Photo and Film Festival, Moscow
ДОБРО ПОЖАЛОВАТЬ К НАШЕМУ ФИЛИППИНЫ - МИКРОНЕЗИЯ АЛЬЯНСУ ЭТО ТВОЙ ЛУЧШИЙ ПАРТНЕР ДЛЯ ПЕРВОКЛАССНОГО ПОДВОДНОГО ОТПУСКА
You have to check this article... very cool indeed,
from Dive Photo Guide, one of our supporters in the
I guess it is very cool at this time
of the year in Russia...but the girls
From Russia with Love... sounds familiar...yes, even more so once you see some of the images from the Golden Dolphin Show you have to see these Girls...
I have included below for our Russian readers an intro into the Philippine-Micronesia Alliance in their russian language. Enjoy the article from Dive Photo Guide and have your own opinion on the photos...brrrrrrrrr but so HOT..., well the russians certainly have a very different approach, how would that be in the tropics?
2008 Golden Dolphin Photo and Film Festival in Moscow
Author: Jason Heller / March 01, 2008 12:00AM MST
Golden Dolphin, Moscow, Russia,
by Gyula Somogyi
February 14 - 17, 2008: Moscow was home to the VII Annual International Foto and Film Festival, the Golden Dolphin. The capital of the Russian Federation serves as a huge scene to this festival - the combination of the beauty of the underwater world and the rich city results a very colorful and lively festival and exhibition.
The big exhibition hall is in the Gostivny Dvor, just a few steps form the famous Red Square. The huge open air space accommodated all the booths, the movie theater booth and the photo exhibition as well.
Golden Dolphin Moscow Scuba Expo
Make no mistake: the heavy diving market of Russia is one of the biggest in the world! Several newspapers, tabloids, websites and diving clubs serve the demand of the diving community, especially in Moscow. Sim Magazine has chosen a very special way to promote the magazine, as you can see here below...you don't see this type of promotion in the US.
Read the whole article and check out some "Hot" images just click this link.
See below for our Russian friends, all our partners have their pages in russian, plus so many other languages to choose from...
ФИЛИППИНЫ - МИКРОНЕЗИЯ АЛЬЯНСУ ® 2008
ДОБРО ПОЖАЛОВАТЬ К НАШЕМУ ФИЛИППИНЫ - МИКРОНЕЗИЯ АЛЬЯНСУ ЭТО ТВОЙ ЛУЧШИЙ ПАРТНЕР ДЛЯ ПЕРВОКЛАССНОГО ПОДВОДНОГО ОТПУСКА
Огромная площадь теплых тропических вод Тихого океана между Филиппинами и Микронезией известна среди дайверов всего мира еще и своим богатым многообразием подводного мира. Более 1300 наименований рыб, более 700 видов кораллов... Здесь вы найдете бесконечное множество тем для подводных съемок, включая и удивительную коллекцию ...затонувших кораблей.
Наш ислючительный индивидуальный сервиc от первоклассных отелей для подводников на Филиппинах, Палау и рэк-лагун в Микронезии, а также разнообразие туристических маршрутов делает путешествия и подводное плавание в этом фантастическом месте Тихого океана еще интересней и удобней, чем прежде. Пережитые подводные впечатления останутся в вашей памяти навсегда.
Филиппины-Микронезия Альянс обладает лучшими отелями, которые могут быть предложены в этих местах. Наши партнеры подобраны нами так тщательно, чтобы помочь каждому подводнику провести первоклассный отпуск на самом высоком уровне профессионализма, безопасности и наслаждений.
Итак, передайте планирование Вашего отпуска нашим целевым экспертам. Мы озаботимся о том, чтобы Ваши тихоокеанские приключения стали единственными в своем роде впечатлениями. Сядьте поудобнее, расслабтесь и предоставьте нам спланировать отпуск вашей мечты, мечты каждого подводника.
Вашими партнерами в высоклассном подводном отпуске являются:
На Филлипинах - Asia Divers with El Galleon Resort, Puerto Galera, Club Paradise & Dugong Diving Center, Palawan Pinjalo Diver Resort, Boracay
В Паллау, Микронезии - Sam’s Tours, Palau Truk Lagoon Dive Center, Chuuk
With Love from Palau... Sam's Tours timed it right for Valentines day this week...
Sam, you making a lot of divers very happy...not only with the service and diving, but been also very connected to the rest of the world.
"Hi Mom, hi darling dont worry I am fine, the diving has been great lot's of sharks and awesome schools of fish and guess what I am sending you some photos with my next email...your..."
Click on the images and find out more about Sam's Tours Digital Photo Center - DPC
The Digital Photo Center is getting more and more popular and not only for Photographers, the iMac's are a perfect choice with their build in Camera.
Say hi and see your loved ones on Valentines day on a nice
20 inch iMac screen.
Digital Photo Center at Sam's Tours
Palau, Micronesia, is getting more and more popular not
only with photographers but with customers who just like to say hi
to their loved ones...great timing
for Valentines day.
From the rental of Video Cams and small digital Canon Cameras...to the more pro, the ability to use Photoshop Elements or Aperture...Yes, you can do all your own editing or let Sam's Tours staff help you with the safe keeping and storage of your images...and now also available headphones for your connection and chatting away to your loved ones via Skype...
I guess iChat is only around the corner.
You are in the middle of the Pacific and can communicate with the rest of the world after your diving with Sam's Tours, now that is real cool.
The Survivor Micronesia series on TV may have shown you how fantastic Palau really is, and if you have missed Survivor Micronesia you can always check out some of my images on Palau and go to Gunther Deichmann's PhotoShelter Archive or to the PhotoShelter Collection for all other special selected stock images including Micronesia and the Philippines, just click on the links... Sam's Tours is also a founding member of the Philippine-Micronesia Alliance... very simply The Divers Choice. Top dive site and destinations, modern facilities and very, very connected with Wi-Fi and pro photography setups in the Philippines and Micronesia. We keep you in touch no matter how remote the destinations are...
is diving... ours is service... and the ultimate in island
Check out the images from
our other destinations just click here.
I have received today these images from Dermot Keane the GM at Sam's Tours, Alex one of the Girls and a new DPC staff prepared them for us, thanks Alex.
Asia Divers with Tech Asia, a wreck and tech diving story from the Philippines by Dave Ross
have received this interesting article on Wreck and tech diving
from Dave Ross, Dave is from
Asia/Asia Divers with El Galleon Beach Resort
located in Puerto Galera, Philippines and members of
Philippine - Micronesia
Coron with Tech Asia…. by Dave Ross Tech Asia
Coron bay, in the western Philippines,
has been a known diving locale since the 1980’s. Having been
the scene of a September 1944 air strike by the USS Lexington lead
Task Force 38, at the time, the longest range carrier based air
strike in history. As diving opened up in the Philippines, the area
necessarily attracted those with a nose for history and wreck
diving. Of the principal wrecks, some were identified accurately
and immediately. The IJN seaplane tender Akitsushima for example,
reported sunk in the US After Action reports, is an unmistakable
vessel. For the oilers and merchant ships present at the time of
the raid, identifications were shakier. Partly this is the product
of researchers trusting in the reporting of the post war
authorities, charged with putting a positive ID on such a vast
number of maritime casualties. Often the ship that best fit the
action reports went down in the annals as the victim, and nobody
involved at the time had any real reason to question any grey areas
or anomalies. Reports from bodies such as JANAC were often taken as
One of the men who took the keenest interest in the Coron story and her losses was Capt. Peter Heimstaedt, who in the early 90’s, dived, and exhaustively documented what he saw. He became a friend of ours through communications on other ships sunk in the Philippines, and kindly came to Puerto Galera in his free time to give a presentation on Coron in July of 2007. During the evening he showed us clear photographic evidence that the oiler thought to be Taiei Maru, was in fact the Okikawa Maru, and the ship once known as “Hector”, or the Tangat Wreck is the Olympia Maru.
The last vessel to have bred confusion, having been thought to be another of the many Taiei Maru’s, or another Olympia, was confirmed by Capt Heimstaedt in 2006 to be a vessel whose original name was Morazan, turned Ekkai Maru when she fell into Japanese hands in 1941. A source which convinced him of this was the excellent reference N582 Japanese Merchant Ship Recognition Manual of 1944, issued by the US Navy Dept – Division of Intelligence. He was sure his identification was solid, and passed this on to us, though had not yet returned to Coron to verify this with a dive.
How Tech Asia came to be involved in
this story was through slightly unforeseen circumstances. Following
Capt Peter’s talk we had two week of liveaboards on the M/B
Rags II. The first week, in October 2007 had perfect weather, and
the divers and the divers spent a lot of their time on the deeper
and more exposed wrecks such as Irako and Akitsushima. However the
November week was more influenced by the bizarre behaviour of
Tropical Storm Lando, which crossed Mindoro, went all the way to
Vietnam, then turned around and came straight back. The couple of
days of unsettled seas it created caused the divers to divert away
from Irako to more sheltered sites, the Morazan amongst them.
Always a man to seize an opportunity to bring a dive to life, our guide, Technical Wreck Instructor Sam Collett, seized the Peter Heimstaedt information and ran with it. Armed with all the commonly found Coron literature, plus` some 30’s photos of Morazan, he tasked the eight divers in his care with examining ten photographically observable features and comparing them to the ship itself. These ranged from the numbers, position, and spacing of portholes, to positions and style of air vents, railings, doorways and davits. Also some distinctive fittings on both masts, and bolt holes on the funnel where a letter “V” had existed. Morazan had operated under Vaccaro Brothers in the Honduras, and their logo appears in old photos. Everything observed by Sam and his divers matched Morazan to the last detail. Though merely confirming another mans research, the clear verification brought tremendous satisfaction to the day for the divers.
Following the trip, some internet browsing threw up an interesting history, starting life as the S.S. Manco, sold and renamed Morazan and working the Amazon for years before moving to Hong Kong, eventual capture by the Japanese in Shanghai, and a watery grave in the Philippines in 1944. From this history arose one more interesting observation. The hull of the ship still bears the letters “CEI……SH” , which for years has puzzled everyone. Whilst serving in Honduras and the Amazon, the ships home port was La Ceiba – just maybe these letters reflect the name of her former home port?
The Morazan/Ekkai Maru story is just a
single chapter in two weeks of excellent, shallow ( it
doesn’t always have to be deep and helium) technical diving
that we managed to run. Great fun – I guess that means
we’ll have to go back!
Dave Ross - Tech Asia
Feedback on the shark feeding story by Lee Goldman
I have received already a response to this article from Steve White the editor of Action Asia magazine, thanks Steve for your input.
An interesting post Gunther. I like the guy's approach in not outright saying 'yay' or 'nay' to feeding. It's a true dilemma, with good points on both sides.
Shark feeding... is it right or wrong...do we have to interfere with our marine life for thrills?
is it right or wrong...
do we have to interfere with our marine life for thrills?
© Gunther Deichmann - You can see action like this without the need for feeding...
Blue Corner, Palau Micronesia, shark dives with Sam's Tours are carried out the natural way.
I have received this
article from a good friend and marine biologist, very interesting.
I just returned from Chuuk Micronesia and during my stay found out
that a dive guide had been bitten by a shark, yes he is is ok., but
with scars to prove the story.
No, this is not fiction, this one is real, our dive guide (very experienced) went to a dive site where shark feeding had been carried out by some dive operator in the past (not Truk Stop Dive Center), he had not been in this area for a while and to his knowledge the feeding was not done for sometime, No he did not feed the sharks on this dive but somehow noticed the more aggressive behaviors of this normally docile animal, OK that is all I can say for now, read the story and opinion from a marine biologist view and YOU decide for your self what is right or wrong.
The Philippine -Micronesia Alliance does not support any shark-feeding or intervening in the natural Marine life. We do care about our environment!
Just before I left Guam for my permanent move to the Philippines, I read an email sent out by a local dive shop advertising ‘Big animal encounters’ in Yap. Having been there a few times, I immediately conjured up images of mantas gliding by in channels leading from the outer reefs into the inner lagoons and a variety of reef sharks patrolling the reefs around the island. I clicked on the link to see what it was all about and was surprised to see that it involved shark-feeding. My immediate thought was ‘why they decided to start this practice’? I went to the website of the operator and found that they have been doing it for many years. My thoughts changed immediately to ‘why didn’t I know about this earlier’? I have been in the diving industry for many years in Micronesia, beginning my career as a guide in Palau. Again, why didn’t I hear about this? Certainly during my visits to Yap, and diving with the operator, I would have heard of this. But, no, I really didn’t up until two weeks ago when I read the email.
Dismissing the thought of not knowing about the attraction was much easier than why were they doing this in the first place. What about it was bothering me? As a Marine Biologist, and a dive Instructor still with important ties to the industry, I knew there was a fierce conflict between those that subscribe to the practice versus those that don’t.
Those that feel shark feeding is good cite the thousands of encounters with sharks (and these come from operators from South Africa to Australia to California to the Caribbean, to tropical Pacific) without incident. Further, they expound on the important considerations these encounters provide people, namely that the intimate experience which brings a greater appreciation for sharks, thus, ultimately, this is a way to increase conservation efforts. I kinda agree with this, especially in situations where unless there is a bit of shark feeding / baiting, most people would not have the chance to ever see these magnificent creatures (example: Great Whites in SA and AU, and pelagics of the California coast).
Those that don’t agree with shark feeding feel that it promotes an activity that could potentially cause harm to humans (whether it is those participating in the shark feeding program or nearby swimmers). Further, they argue that the feeding causes unnatural aggregations of sharks to the areas on the reef where the feeding takes place. Also, it may make the sharks ‘dependent’ on these feeding rituals and it could potentially upset their natural feeding patterns – which leads back to the potential attacks due to the association of food with humans.
Well, both sides have a point except that both sides are basing their information on un-proven points. When Gunther asked me to write something up, my first task was to do a literature search to see what the science has to say about this subject. There currently (to my knowledge) is nothing out there (yet) about this. Florida has banned the practice mostly due to ease fears from potential tourists (and rightly so, with my full understanding for their actions in tact) and in response to all of the media attention in 2001 about the now misrepresented ‘summer of the shark’. A number of fatal shark attacks were taking place off of the Florida coast. It got media attention due to the number of attacks that happened within a relatively short period of time. Yet, the total number of attacks never exceeded previous year numbers, thus, contrary to what the media was reporting, there was no exponential increase in shark attacks – and no reason to lay blame for the cause on any good suggestion to fall their way. Most importantly there was no scientific basis for Florida to come to their decision. Hawaii is putting legislation through the system to ban it but it has not been made into law. They are also working off of fears.
So, okay, now we have Yap. What make Yap unique among the other operators doing tropical reef shark feeding is that they are not bringing in unnatural aggregations of sharks…they’re already there. They are also not endangering local and visiting swimmers since the area where they are feeding is not a public or even visited swimming hole. So with the information, it really leaves the anti-shark feeding advocates with little left to argue with Yap about.
So why am I bothered by this?
It took a few more days of thought until it finally hit me. What’s bothering me is that by conducting shark feeding it loses the charm of being Yap. When we think of many areas in the world that have reefs, we rarely associate sharks with them (or rarely see them while we are diving may be a better way to put it), mostly because they are either fished out, not really prevalent in the first place, or wary of humans. Remember, shark feeding is a way to DRAW IN sharks so that customers, who would not normally see them, get a chance to see them. When I think about Micronesia, my mind drifts off to a place that is still raw with marine-life, including sharks. One does not have to bait them in for close encounters. Shark encounters are already going to happen. As divers, we know that nature is unpredictable and it is the chance to see the animals that gives us a thrill and an even bigger thrill when we get to see them. We hedge our bets on getting these encounters by visiting magical places like Micronesia and leave being overwhelmed by the entire experience. To me, shark feeding in Micronesia is, well, cheating the experience. It’s like having a full house in poker and cheating for four-of-a-kind…when you know that the full house is top hand. To me, Yap may gain some of the ‘benefits’ of shark feeding (mostly the ‘commercialization’ of shark encounters), but it loses some of its natural appeal. Now Yap can be lumped in with other countries promoting this experience, and for those who have been diving for many years, you know that most of these destinations may summon up ‘cattle-boat’ diving mentality as well as clearly being right ‘ON the beaten track’. Yap was not destined for this. Go there, it is absolutely worthy of being the far-flung, exotic, beautiful, customs-oriented island that you think of as Yap. Commercialization is the last thing you’ll think of when your there…but maybe not anymore.
Ahh, I could as easily be wrong or misguided as I could be right or spot-on when it comes to my thoughts about this subject and the island of Yap. This is just my opinion as someone who fell in love with this area after spending many years traveling and diving in other exotic locals. It was the raw natural beauty and the thrill of encounters with incredible marine life that kept me and continues to keep me entranced to this day.
From a Marine Biologist
Chris saw a Whale-shark while participating in an Intro Dive & diving with Mantas in Palau plus Survivor Micronesia
Scuba diving with us in the Philippines, Micronesia and the Pacific in 2008.
The Divers Choice.
scuba-uitrustings duik - plongée de scaphandre - Tauchen mit Unterwasseratemgerät - diving dello scuba - diving do scuba - salto de la escafandra autónom
Filippijnen - Philippines - Philippinen - Filippine - Filipinas - Philippines - Filipinas - Micronesië - La Micronésie - Mikronesien - La Micronesia
vreedzaam - Pacifique - pazifisches meer - pacifico
H a p p y H o
l i d a y s
© Gunther Deichmann - Palau, Micronesia
Quiet again in Palau after the Survivor show/filming is over.
Select a beach and have a romantic Vacation, like the couples
on the three Coconut Island.
Click the image for more photos of our destinations.
Blog post from Sam's Tours Palau
SURVIVOR MICRONESIA - Officially Announced!
Survivor 16 or Survivor Palau as it has
been generally referred to up until now, is officially announced as
Survivor Micronesia. Big Fish Inc., the production company who shot
the show in Palau from September through December this year has
already packed up and left town. The town is markedly quieter now
that the production crews are gone and the beaches in the rock
islands that have been off-limits during the shoot are once again
open for access.
It was good to see some old friends that we met during the last Survivor Palau shoot a few years ago. Chances are that TV viewers here in Palau may not even get to see the show when it airs unless that local cable company can work out a deal.
With Survivor: China concluded, CBS announced the new season of Survivor will be called Survivor: Micronesia - Fans versus Favorites and will feature a tribe of long-time Survivor fans up against fan-favorites from previous seasons.
For more information check out:
While Survivor Micronesia is getting top billing on the Internet, it is Palau's awesome scubadiving that continues to wow our visitors. Just yesterday one of our guests Chris saw a Whaleshark while participating in an Intro Dive! I've been diving here for 10 years and haven't seen a Whaleshark yet! The mantas have been plentiful and very playfull in the late afternoons near German Channel and there have been a few tiger sharks seen in the area too. Visibility has been spectacular and all in all, the diving has been spectacular these past few months. How can you tell? Just take one look at the divers faces as they get off the boats or listen up at the bar as friends sit around and relive their dives. So, turn off the TV, pack your bags and come on down to Palau and see for yourself what all the fuss is about!
happy New Year -
prost Neujahr -
bonne année -
onnellista uutta vuotta -
gelukkig Nieuwjaar -
ath bhliain faoi mhaise -
selamat tahun baru -
godt nytt år -
szczliwego nowego roku -
feliz ano novo -
gott nytt år manigong bagong taon -
sawatdii pimaï -
kung hé fat tsoi - xin nian kuai le / xin nian hao
godt nytår -
eutichismenos o kainourgios chronos -
felice anno nuovo, buon anno -
S novim godom -
sreno novo leto -
Cung Chúc Tân Xuân
yeni yiliniz kutlu olsun
Boracay... the things you find in Google
DID YOU KNOW?
Is brought to you by the
Philippine - Micronesia
the Divers Choice.
We care about our Environment!
what you find on the Net these days...
Millions of articles on the best beaches in the world... but some how and rightly so, Boracay is always on the first page, read just some of the things I have picked up recently. Why not choose Boracay's Pinjalo/Calypso Dive Resort as your next stop for your hard earned vacation, a member of the Philippine-Micronesia Alliance located on one of the best beaches in the world. read on below articles from an Individual and the Citibank World Privileges/Travellers Guide.
© Gunther Deichmann - the famous White Beach
© Gunther Deichmann - Pinjalo Resort, dont you wish you where here...
And back we went...
By A Yahoo! Contributor from Norway
I fell in love at the first time!!! Boracay is the best place me and my husband have ever been to!!! We have travelled a lot, but nothing can match this! We are coming back with some of our friends for two weeks in april 2005, so I see you there!!! ;O)
Citibank World Privileges/Travellers Guide
White Beach on Boracay Island, off Panay, has been....
The best beaches in the world
With 7,107 islands strung like pearls across 1,840 kilometers of the Pacific Ocean and South China Sea, and a coastline longer than the USA, the Philippines is home to literally thousands of palm fringed beaches, with warm waters, thriving coral reefs and hundreds of idyllic resorts. In fact, the Philippines probably has more world-class beaches than any other country. Here we comb the coastline to pick out some of the best.
White Beach, Boracay Island, Philippines
White Beach on Boracay Island, off Panay, has been called the best beach in the world. It has four kilometers of fine, bright, coral sand, which is always cool underfoot, shallow azure waters, and a beachfront boasting a huge variety of restaurants and bars offering cosmopolitan cuisine and good entertainment. There’s no coral along the beach, but several boat operators take snorkelers and divers to good spots nearby.
Diving with Sea Monsters? Dont worry it is a thing of the past, but scary if they where still around.
We care about our Environment!
you imagine to scuba dive with some of these sea monsters, wow that
be a real thrill or a real scare!
can relax, they not around anymore but they used to be, read this
very interesting article which was brought to my attention by no
other then our good old Walter Ty, thanks Walter.
Apologies from The Philippine-Micronesia Alliance for not been able to show you these guys, but we can show you just about everything else in the Pacific and Micronesia, try one of our specialties and come along for some great island hopping or as they say in German Inselhuepfen, remember our site is in nine languages, see you soon with your mask, fins and snorkel.
Man-sized sea scorpion claw found
Scale model of the scorpion with a human (Simon Powell)
How the creature compares for size with a human
Courtesy of the BBC
immense fossilized claw of a 2.5m-long (8ft) sea scorpion has been
described by European researchers. The 390-million-year-old
specimen was found in a Germany quarry, the journal Biology Letters
reports. The creature, which has been named Jaekelopterus
rhenaniae, would have paddled in a river or swamp.
The size of the beast suggests that spiders, insects, crabs and similar creatures were much larger in the past than previously thought, the team says.
The claw itself measures 46cm - indicating its owner would have been longer even than the average-sized human. Overall, it exceeds the record for any other sea scorpion (eurypterid) find by nearly 50cm. The eurypterids are believed to be the extinct aquatic ancestors of modern land scorpions and possibly all arachnids (the class of animals that also includes spiders).
"The biggest scorpion today is nearly 30cm so that shows you how big this creature was," said Dr Simon Braddy from the University of Bristol, UK.
It was one of Dr Braddy's co-authors, Markus Poschmann, who made the discovery in the quarry near Prum in south-west Germany. "I was loosening pieces of rock with a hammer and chisel when I suddenly realised there was a dark patch of organic matter on a freshly removed slab," he recalled.
"After some cleaning I could identify this as a small part of a large claw. Although I did not know if it was more complete or not, I decided to try and get it out.
"The pieces had to be cleaned separately, dried, and then glued back together. It was then put into a white plaster jacket to stabilise it."
Super-sized meals. The species existed during a period in Earth history when oxygen levels in the atmosphere were much higher than today.
Claw fossil (Markus Poschmann)
The fossil was locked in a siltstone from the Carboniferous Period
And it was those elevated levels, some palaeo-scientists believe, that may have helped drive the super-sized bodies of many of the invertebrates that existed at that time - monster millipedes, huge cockroaches, and jumbo dragonflies. But Dr Braddy thinks the large scales may have had a lot to do with the absence early on of vertebrate predators. As they came on the scene, these animals would have eaten all the biggest prey specimens.
"The fact that you are big means you are more likely to be seen and to be taken for a tastier morsel," he told BBC News. "Evolution will not select for large size; you want to be small so you can hide away." The scorpions are thought to have made their first scuttles on to land about 450 million years ago. While some would have taken up a fully terrestrial existence, others like Jaekelopterus rhenaniae would have maintained an aquatic or semi-aquatic lifestyle.
For more information and photos, please go to: http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/em/fr/-/2/hi/science/nature/7104421.stm
Micronesia exposed in Fins Magazine, Nov. 2007
© Gunther Deichmann
current issue of Fins Magazine is featuring a nice 12 page article
please see below some excerpts from
this current issue, you can download the whole article direct from
their website at: http://www.finsonline.com/magazine/vol_6_6/
go to our site in a few days and you find the pdf file under
Alliance& the Media at:
Fins Magazine is also available as a download in the iTunes
just check it out.
or plan your next vacation with the
Philippine-Micronesia Alliance in
Micronesia or the Pacific, we offer you the very best in marine
bio-diversity, wreck diving, wall or real shark dives, explore and
have your next adventure with us at any of our partner resorts or
dive centers. We like to express our sincere thanks to Fins
Magazine for this great and comprehensive article on Micronesia,
our partners in Micronesia are
Sam's Tours in
Truk Stop Hotel and Dive Center in
Chuuk or better known as Truk Lagoon.
The region known as Micronesia, meaning tiny islands, is in fact a vast area that includes over eight nation-statesand thousands of islands ranging from uninhabited atolls to overcrowded coral outcrops. Stretching from the Marshall Islands just west of Hawaii to theCaroline Islands east of the Philippines, and from the Marianas Islands to the north and Gilbert Islands to the south, Micronesia has less combined land area than the smallest state in the United States, yet more ocean area than the entire mainland USA. Located north of the equator, Micronesia sits on the fringes of the epicentre of marine biodiversity, making it a tropical diving paradise second to none. For scuba divers, the islands of Palau (or Belau), an independent republic since 1994, and the island states of Yap, Chuuk,Pohnpei and Kosrae, which make up the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) are of the greatest interest. From
the magnificent mantas of Yap, to the fascinating WWII wrecks of Truk Lagoon (Chuuk) to the schooling sharks of Palau’s renowned Blue Corner, Micronesia ranksamong the world’s top high-voltage dive destinations................ more
Pohnpei is perhaps best known as the site of the ancient ruins of Nan Madol, though in recent years it has also begun to develop a reputation as a great surf spot. Much is still to be learned about the mysterious Nan Madol ruins. Called the Venice of the Pacific, this man-made city with ocean-filled channels once housed a thriving, royal civilization.............
The sleepy islands of Yap (considered the most “traditional” of the territories in the FSM) have managed to let most of the modern world pass by, practicing Micronesia’s most reserved and traditional lifestyle. Many Yapese men still wear traditional bright loincloths and women grass skirts. The people of Yap marry according to custom and still practice traditional handicrafts.............
Although the island has now reverted to using its more traditional name of Chuuk, it’s known to many scuba divers as Truk, a destination world-renowned for its a vast collection of intact WWII Japanese shipwrecks, sunk during Operation Hailstone by aerial attacks launched from US Fast Carrier Attack Groups in 1944..............
Palau, of course needs very little introduction, but read more about Micronesia in the downloadable pdf file at:
From the author
“The whole of Micronesia is still relatively unexplored and a sheer paradise, with all its remote atolls and small islands covered with bird rookeries, and islands inhabited by only a dozen or so people.”
Palau, Asia Divers and Rene Buob
have just received this report from Allan Nash at Asia Divers
Puerto Galera, Philippines a partner of the
Philippine - Micronesia Alliance
and guess who is also in one of the images
Yes you are right, René Buob from Calypso/Pinjalo Dive Resort in Boracay, another member from the Philippine-Micronesia Alliance, and if you dont speak English dont worry the Alliance website has
now 9 languages to choose from, and soon one more.
I guess we all like to check out these live aboard at one time, however if you don’t like to dive from boats then our partner in Palau Sam’s Tours can take care of all your requirements, take you to the same dive sites and show you other parts of Palau, take you to the local villages, the spectacular waterfall or visit the mysterious monolith early in the morning for sunrise.
But now read the report from Asia Divers with special guest René Buob just caught on camera, I have included some images from René from his trip, thanks Rene and see if you can spot him.
© Photos courtesy Asia Divers
was over a year in the planning but finally Pete Eaton (me) and
eight of Dubai’s finest departed Manila aboard an
another partner from the Philippine –Micronesia Alliance,
flight bound for Cebu and finally on to Koror in Palau to begin
five days of sensational diving aboard the Palau
We arrived at Koror around 18:30 and were greeted at the airport by Boyet, one of the Aggressor crew who took us shopping at one of the local supermarkets for a few essentials before we boarded the magnificent Palau Aggressor.
A typical day consisted of waking up as early as possible to take in the splendid sunrise with fine brewed coffee in hand. Followed by a great breakfast.
First dive was at 7:30 and always somewhere like Blue Corner or Peleliu Express. Both these sites where my favorite as they combine great wall diving where sharks are always on the viewing list, then somewhere towards the middle of the dive a chance to hook off on the edge of the wall and watch the wildlife bask in the current, Grey reef, Silver tips, Eagle Rays, Marble Rays, schooling Jacks, Barracudas and of course the obligatory White Tips and Turtles.
Back on board, delicious snacks and an opportunity to get stuck in to a good book or just simply lie in a hammock and chill.
Second dive would be the likes of New Drop off where towards the end of one dive we had a fantastic encounter with a solitary Eagle Ray that just glided around us for twenty minutes before we had to ascend.
Back for lunch, which always had a theme, Mexican, Italian and my favorite, American with hot dogs and burgers fortified with just about every topping and relish known to man.
Third dive, lets do the Blue Hole! What a feeling descending through one of three vertical shafts that come together in to a humongous cavern that bottoms out at around 30 meters
And that’s not all! As they say in the ads, it opens out as a cave on a fantastic wall. The lighting and ambience are just amazing!
Onboard, some home made muffins or fruit and we can’t wait to tuck in!
Fourth Dive could be the entrance to German Channel and a chance to see Mantas on their regular cleaning stations or if you’re in the vicinity, Peleliu Cut with more opportunities to hook off and catch some shark action.
After all this action it’s time for supper unless your heading out on the night dive, which I must admit, I didn’t do! The temptation of sitting in the Jacuzzi with a beer in my hand watching the sunset seemed like a better idea.
If I had to list all the good things, like the totally cool skiff that has its own hydraulic platform to lift it and its cargo of divers in and out of the water then I would have to write a book!
Many thanks to Our Dubai gang! Brian, Bob, Terry, Ernie, Maddy, Stevie, John and Steve for making it happen in the first place.
Speaking for all of us Many Thanks to the crew! Capt Ike, Hector, Boyet, Matt, Mayett and our fantastic cook Rose.
Photos © Rene Buob, Calypso/Pinjalo Dive Resort Boracay
This year Asia Divers has run trips to
Cocos islands of Costa Rica, Maldives with Peter Huges, Palau with
the Aggressor fleet, Tubataha reef in the Philippines, Ecuador two
trips to Galapagos aboard the Galapagos Aggressor and much more.
Next year Asia Divers has the Sardine Run with SEAL South Africa,
two trips booked for the Maldives, two trips booked for Tubataha
and Apo reef Philippines, and you can be sure there will be more.
Should you like to join anyone of our up coming trips, or have some
place in mind you would like to go, give us a bell. We love
traveling to new and exciting places and we like to do it in style,
with all our great friends from the Asia Divers family.
This report has been brought to you
The Philippine-Micronesia Alliance. The Divers Choice.
Dont forget to check out our cool dive packages at the direct link below: