Remembering 2010: Marking 102 Dives with video
Probably the best investment I made this year was for a decent underwater video camera. I accumulated over 42GB worth of raw underwater footage and I must say that documenting my dives is easily the most rewarding experience this year, perhaps ever! As a volunteer for WWF Philippines I also donate all my videos to their coral triangle efforts.
So here they are, my top diving vids for 2010:
Watching all of these videos could take a while. If you have time to spare, do grab a bag of chips and a drink. Enjoy!
These two dives were my first foray into underwater video. After watching several tutorials in wildlife videography, I must say it turned out pretty well. About 30 minutes worth of footage was turned into this compressed summary. I accompanied the WWF and the Cebu Pacific team for a little hands on with Apo Reef. Amazing! The clarity of the video is credited to the extremely good visibility. This is the view between 40-60 ft underwater.
Blessed to be only two hours away from where I live, Anilao is “Manila in regulators” (in the same way that Boracay is “Manila in bikinis”). These are two videos taken in popular dive sites including the Cathedral (populated with reef fish and a cross), the healthy Twin Rocks, muck diving and critters in Secret Bay.
Cathedral and more
Twin Rocks and Secret Bay
Out of four trips this year, three had all to do with diving. 2010 blessed me with trips to Malapascua to see the elusive thresher sharks and to Pescador Island in Moalboal to witness the sardine run. My third dive trip had me coming back to help in an earth day project, planting mangroves in the Olango wetlands. Naturally, we got to sneak in one dive in Mactan for some cleanup work. I was particularly proud of my work with the sardine run vid as it had some viral life on Facebook. Also the song I used (“Walls” by Kogo) was picked up by their vocalist and he sent me a Facebook message telling me to use all of their other songs for my videos!
Malapascua and Gato Island
The Sardine Run
The Olango Wetlands
San Agapito Reef, Verde Island
Philippine reefs are beautiful, no doubt. But nothing prepared me for San Agapito reef. This is the heart of marine biodiversity in the entire world with the biomass so thick, you could cut it with a knife. This is it ladies and gents — reef diving can’t get any better than this. I wanted to create a stark contrast in the video with the musical selection. Don’t be fooled — despite the serene background music, the currents are strong and exciting. Evidence of this in how frantic you can see the small fish swim.
Getting Wrecked in Puerto Galera
Known as an alternative party place for Filipinos, Puerto Galera is also home to some of the best diving in the country — and even the world. We were able to visit two wrecks, the Alma Jane which is used for Nitrox training as it is at 80ft deep and the Sabang Wrecks, a series of three scuttled boats is home to several types of critters including moray eels, crabs and shrimp. Oh, the one thing that sucks about diving near Sabang … when you surface, you most probably will see a lot of shit floating by as the sewage system of Galera is effed up. ARGH.
Crown of Thorns Cleanup, Hamilo
Sometime in May I volunteered to document the purging of a Crown of Thorns infestation happening in Santelmo Cove, Hamilo Coast. This is a reef adopted by the WWF for their conservation efforts and I can see why — at 40ft deep, coral patches dapple the flat bottom with a rather rich marine population. It was the first time I saw over 30 cuttlefish swim by a group of divers.
That’s it folks — 9 videos for the year. For 2011 comes the challenge of pulling through a Tubbataha trip come this April 2011. Let’s do this!