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My 100th Dive

 

I recently logged my 100th open water scuba dive, a personal milestone. The site was Medicare in the Santa Sofia Marine Protected Area, near Padre Burgos, Southern Leyte, Philippines.

The site was a 40 minute boat ride form the Coral Cay base near San Francisco Southern Leyte. It was the second dive of the day.  My dive partners were Yvonne and Cheryl, a fellow Coral Cay Volunteer. The site is a sloping reef in front of the town of Padre Burgos. Our dive profile was to be 18 meters for 37 minutes. After entering the water and performing an ear check at 4 meters we settled in at about 15 meters. We cruised along with the current southward along the reef, moving almost effortlessly with the flow.

On this dive there were a plethora of damsel fish, butterfly fish (alibongbong  isda in Visiyan), Angel fish, a Sea Turtle and a school of 6 Spade fish swimming in formation. The sheer abundance of life in the coral triangle is amazing. Now that I have had two weeks of education in the identification of the life forms found in the local marine environment, I have even a greater appreciation of the complexity of the coral reef environment.

Since the start of December I have logged over 30 dives at Coral Cay. The really cool thing about diving every day for a month is being really comfortable and very efficient under the water. I have discovered through gaining total control of my buoyancy, the experience of scuba diving is like being weightless. You can float around with the thousands of reef fish rising and falling by controlling the amount of air in your lungs, or float around upside down peering into all the nooks and crannies of the coral formations – having reef creatures stare back at you from their hiding spots. This is the Zen of diving.

There are many more dives to be done and the next few weeks are to include survey work in teams of 4 divers.

I am looking forward to the next 100 dives and the different counties and underwater landscapes to be explored.

Divers down!

About the author: Apparently born under a wandering star, Michael spent hours as a kid poring over maps, atlases and plotting where he wanted to travel when he grew up. Sadly Engineering school got in the way….. “it takes 5 years to complete and a lot longer to get over”. He still considers himself a “recovering” Professional Engineer. He escaped the rat race at 44 and now pursues his passions for travel, photography, Tai chi, scuba diving, cooking and sampling the world’s wines. Michael is also… Fiercely independent, a bit of a rebel, is on a self-imposed media diet & married to an incredible lady.

2 comments… add one
  • Mike Wilchewski

    Hi Mike,
    I thought I would check in and see how much fun you have been having on your expedition. I have been reading through your postings and it sounds like you are having an amazing experience, learning lots about marine biology and creating awareness about another very worthy environmental cause. Cheers!

    Mike Wilchewski

  • mbauche

    Hello Nicole

    We are having an awesome time. Today is our last free day before we start traveling home. We are in Dauin near Dumagutee in Negros Oriental. Tomorrow we fly to Manila and Thursday we are on the way back home. I have logged about 58 dives over the past month, cool considering it took 15 years to log the first 70.

    The diving is amazing and the Filippino people are very cool. This has been an excellent trip.

    See ya soon

    Love Michael & Yvonne

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