Late NEWS...Asia Divers and Club Paradise are up and running on the DivePhotoGuide website
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
Great NEWS...BUSUANGA AIRPORT in PALAWAN Philippines extended... now more flights,comfort...plus several Whaleshark sightings in the Coron Island area
NATURE is a lot closer now....
BUSUANGA AIRPORT Palawan Philippines...
Busuanga Airport, landing point for CLUB PARADISE, EL RIO Y MAR and the DUGONG DIVE CENTER now has a 1500 meter concrete runway plus a 400 meter gravel extension.
This gives a new dimension to tourism in the islands of the Calamianes. Whereas before only 19 seater planes were able to land, Busuanga airport is now being served by the super fast 32-seater Do 28 (needs only 35 minutes to get there from Manila) and the 50 seater Dash-7.
Starting next week, May 17, 2008 the service of a 72 seater plane from Phil Airlines will begin daily flights. This will bring the total seat capacity per year to about 100.000 seats yearly. New hotels, lodging houses and resorts are under construction and on the planning board. Present room capacity of 400 rooms will be double within an year.
© Gunther Deichmann - the spectacular marine life in Palawan
The Government has decided to pave the road from Coron to Busuanga Airport to modernize the road system and create more comfort for all travelers. Guests of the Philippine-Micronesia Alliance and CLUB PARADISE, EL RIO Y MAR and DUGONG DIVE CENTER will get to their destination a lot faster and more comfortably now.
This will increase their time to enjoy all the exciting dive sites to see the Turtles, Dugongs, WWII Wrecks, a whole fleet was sunk in this area and of course beautiful reefs in this area.
Another great NEWS is, several Whale-sharks have been in sighted in the Coron, Palawan area, a good reason for planning your next trip to PALAWAN...the Philippines best kept secret...NATURE at its best.
© Gunther Deichmann - the WWII Wrecks of Palawan
© Gunther Deichmann - the WWII Wrecks of Palawan
Did You Know...? Dinosaurs dung...& three DUGONGS spotted at the HOUSE REEF at Club Paradise last week...Dive with Dugong Dive Center
THE HOUSE REEF ...
CLUB PARADISE PALAWAN.
© Courtesy of Dugong Dive Center in Palawan, Philippines
click the image or the link below to visit the website @
just received this report from Dirk Fahrenbach, yes three
DUGONGS right at the
House reef at Club Paradise grazing the seaweed bed.
This is the only place in the Philippines where you can observe these amazing and gentle creatures in the wild, the area is well protected by a conservation Park.
Another article but not related to our Dugong sighting is that of a Auction where some fossilized Dinosaurs dung has been sold for some US$ 1000.00 very interesting reading...
Dino dung snapped up at auction
Jurassic-era coprolite, or fossilised dinosaur dung
Two pieces of dinosaur dung have been sold at auction for $960 (£486) at an auction house in New York.
The fossilised dung, which resembles rock on the outside, and a colourful mineral inside, is 130 million years old, from the Jurassic period.
Auctioneers Bonhams of New York said it sold for twice the expected price.
The buyer is reported to be Steve Tsengas, the 71-year-old owner of a company that sells products to treat pet animal waste in Ohio.
Marketing tool... for the full story click the link below...