Sunday, January 06, 2008

Puerto Galera, Philippines trip with Tech Asia - January 1-6, 2008

I just got back from another trip to Puerto Galera with Tech Asia. This makes it my fourth trip in 3 years; I seem to be settling in to a routine of visiting Tech Asia twice a year. Some people ask me why I keep going back. It’s a long list of reasons, but if I had to summarize, it’s because Tech Asia is a squared away dive operation. They have the experience to get things done efficiently, correctly and safely. They take care of all the logistics flawlessly. And they follow DIR principles, so everyone is on the same page. Nowadays they even rent Gavins. I could go on, but why not just go check it out for yourself?

This trip, GUE Tech 2 diver Serko came with me. He was my buddy on all the dives. We rented Gavins for all 7 dives. The dives were done using 21/35 for backgas and 50% and 100% for deco. Profiles were generally 25-30 min at 45-54m, followed by deco of 25-35 min. Because we had scooters, all the deco was done by ascending slowly up the reef. This wouldn’t be possible without the scooters as the currents can be strong and unpredictable and most times we would just do blue water ascents.

The water temp this time of the year was a lot colder than I remembered. I froze pretty badly the first day with my old beat up wetsuit so I ended up buying a new one. The weather was perfect for a light drysuit like a 30/30.

I flew into Manila from Hanoi, where I was on vacation. Serko met me at Manila airport and we took a 2 ½ hour car and 1 hour boat ride to PG. By the time we got in, it was after midnight. We stayed at El Galleon, as usual. El Galleon is simple and clean and convenient for diving with Tech Asia.

The first day, we did a scooter introduction workshop, covering basic procedures.
We then did a 30m dive on a small wreck in the bay, followed by a long scooter up the beach. The second through fourth days were similar, with one dive in the morning and one in the afternoon.

We saw some pretty interesting things this trip. Some of the highlights were a pair of pipefish that looked like this, a black and brown patchy seadragon, 2 huge reef sharks in a cave, and 2 banded sea snakes. This was in addition to the usual stuff like lionfish, trumpetfish, snapper, batfish, bannerfish, sweetlips, puffers, etc.

All of our dives were longer than 60 min and were spent entirely along the reef; this was very different from the typical wreck diving that we do with 25 min bottom times and 30 min of blue water deco. It’s amazing what the scooters allow you to do!

No underwater pictures from this trip and my hands were full with the Gavin.

1 comment:

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