The SCUBA thread Part II

The recommendations in the articles are very helpful reminders – breathe slowly (pause on the inhale), move slowly, get more of a macro view from higher, streamline equipment, get proper buoyancy and trim, exercise (including recommendations on yoga) among many other good ideas. Thanks much!

Back from Palau.

Hard to believe 7 hours ago I was kayaking through the Rock islands, dives on Blue Corner running through my head.

Ever experienced sensory overload underwater? Well, if not, then imagine this.

You are perched at 20 meters looking out over a wall that plunges down to 900 meters, in front of you are patrolling Grey reef sharks, snapper, barracuda, whitetips, wahoo, etc…Glancing over to your right, a herd of Humphead Parrot fish crunch noisily on the coral reef, while above, a 4 foot Napolean Wrasse ambles around. To your right, a school of about 2,000 jacks, and Trevally in bad ass black hunting mode are shooting around, looking for an easy meal. A turtle ambles by, white tip reef sharks rest in the sand behind you.

That was one frigging dive.

I didn’t shoot digital, so will have to wait for pics. The lenses I was planning to buy used from the dive shop both flooded, so didn’t get in as much wide-angle as I would have liked. Still will have images from the trip in a few days though.

Amazing stuff…More to come later.

[quote=“MJB”]Back from Palau.

Hard to believe 7 hours ago I was kayaking through the Rock islands, dives on Blue Corner running through my head.

Ever experienced sensory overload underwater? Well, if not, then imagine this.

You are perched at 20 meters looking out over a wall that plunges down to 900 meters, in front of you are patrolling Grey reef sharks, snapper, barracuda, whitetips, wahoo, etc…Glancing over to your right, a herd of Humphead Parrot fish crunch noisily on the coral reef, while above, a 4 foot Napolean Wrasse ambles around. To your right, a school of about 2,000 jacks, and Trevally in bad ass black hunting mode are shooting around, looking for an easy meal. A turtle ambles by, white tip reef sharks rest in the sand behind you.

That was one frigging dive.

I didn’t shoot digital, so will have to wait for pics. The lenses I was planning to buy used from the dive shop both flooded, so didn’t get in as much wide-angle as I would have liked. Still will have images from the trip in a few days though.

Amazing stuff…More to come later.[/quote]

This is just a small sampling of what we saw at Blue Corner during the above mentioned dive…Thats me, poised at the wall on the lookout for sharks:

[quote=“MJB”][quote=“MJB”]Back from Palau.

Hard to believe 7 hours ago I was kayaking through the Rock islands, dives on Blue Corner running through my head.

Ever experienced sensory overload underwater? Well, if not, then imagine this.

You are perched at 20 meters looking out over a wall that plunges down to 900 meters, in front of you are patrolling Grey reef sharks, snapper, barracuda, whitetips, wahoo, etc…Glancing over to your right, a herd of Humphead Parrot fish crunch noisily on the coral reef, while above, a 4 foot Napolean Wrasse ambles around. To your right, a school of about 2,000 jacks, and Trevally in bad ass black hunting mode are shooting around, looking for an easy meal. A turtle ambles by, white tip reef sharks rest in the sand behind you.

That was one frigging dive.

I didn’t shoot digital, so will have to wait for pics. The lenses I was planning to buy used from the dive shop both flooded, so didn’t get in as much wide-angle as I would have liked. Still will have images from the trip in a few days though.

Amazing stuff…More to come later.[/quote]

This is just a small sampling of what we saw at Blue Corner during the above mentioned dive…Thats me, poised at the wall on the lookout for sharks:

[/quote]

Ohhhhhhhhhhhhh!

Sweet. How was jellyfish lake?

You’ll have to ask Ratlung…I went snorkeling in the bay around the bend looking for baby stingrays.

Several of us (MJB, Ratlung, FinsAreFun, Tanguero) went to Palau together for the Solar New Year holiday and dove with Sam’s Tours. Recommended for divers who are comfortable with themselves in current, surf, and surge. MJB asked me to post a few digital photos from our trip.

MJB At Blue Corner
Arguably the world’s most famous dive site, and for good reason. There was something to fascinate no matter which direction you looked or where you went to check it out. Here MJB betrays his excitement as he is poised to pounce on a photo opportunity.

Shiver of Sharks
Whitetip reef sharks patrol the dive sites regularly. This shiver of four came up the wall and swam across the reef plateau behind us.

Battery of Barracuda
Blackfin barracuda and bigeye barracuda like we find in Kenting beside the power plant outfall are common and in much greater numbers. These were enjoyed during our ascent to the safety stop.

Spotted Eagle Ray
This spotted eagle ray was Ratlung’s first ray and I thank him for bringing it to my attention. It cruised up next to us some four meters away and started chomping on the reef, perhaps to root out a crustacean or some such. Then it swam almost right towards us, veered off a bit, made a turn behind us about two meters away, and did a rooting around action right there. Finally finished it flapped its wings once and sailed off into the blue. Look and see if you agree, if we anthropomorphize then it has the goofiest darn face I think I have ever seen on a sea creature.

Giant Trevally
These guys travel singularly and seem to be active hunters. Again, we know it is just us painting human emotions on wild animals, but notice the cruel turn of its mouth. There was something intimidating about this creature. If we are lucky, FinsAreFun got a good picture of one of these in its black coloration that he will share with us when he can.

Did anyone get elsewhere to dive for the Solar New Year holiday?

Peace.

Tanguero

Great shots!

Do any wreck dives?

Beeeyoootiful photos.

No; first visit to Palau and short duration, we focused on the sea life dives.

Closest we got to a wreck was noticing an aircraft propeller blade tip sticking out of the water as we raced from the dive sites back to the dive shop at the end of the day.

As a TDI Deco diver and PADI Wreck diver, I personally am interested in visiting wrecks and hope to do so on a subsequent visit to Palau.

Peace.

Tanguero

No; first visit to Palau and short duration, we focused on the sea life dives.

Closest we got to a wreck was noticing an aircraft propeller blade tip sticking out of the water as we raced from the dive sites back to the dive shop at the end of the day.

As a TDI Deco diver and PADI Wreck diver, I personally am interested in visiting wrecks and hope to do so on a subsequent visit to Palau.

Peace.

Tanguero[/quote]

Palau diving is so huge that there is no way you can even take in a fraction of it within the short time we had there. It was my fourth trip, and even with probably 50+ dunkings I’ve only been wreck diving twice.

Also during this trip we had rather inclement weather which affected the visibility to some degree. The waters within the lagoon were especially murky (where all the wrecks are) and wasn’t especially favorable for wreck diving on this run. Don’t worry, Palau isn’t usually someplace you visit only once.

Tanguero, thanks for sharing the awesome pics :notworthy:

No; first visit to Palau and short duration, we focused on the sea life dives.

Closest we got to a wreck was noticing an aircraft propeller blade tip sticking out of the water as we raced from the dive sites back to the dive shop at the end of the day.

As a TDI Deco diver and PADI Wreck diver, I personally am interested in visiting wrecks and hope to do so on a subsequent visit to Palau.

Peace.

Tanguero[/quote]

Palau diving is so huge that there is no way you can even take in a fraction of it within the short time we had there. It was my fourth trip, and even with probably 50+ dunkings I’ve only been wreck diving twice.

Also during this trip we had rather inclement weather which affected the visibility to some degree. The waters within the lagoon were especially murky (where all the wrecks are) and wasn’t especially favorable for wreck diving on this run. Don’t worry, Palau isn’t usually someplace you visit only once.

Tanguero, thanks for sharing the awesome pics :notworthy:[/quote]

The pictures you just posted are clearer than my bath tub geeze…

No; first visit to Palau and short duration, we focused on the sea life dives.

Closest we got to a wreck was noticing an aircraft propeller blade tip sticking out of the water as we raced from the dive sites back to the dive shop at the end of the day.

As a TDI Deco diver and PADI Wreck diver, I personally am interested in visiting wrecks and hope to do so on a subsequent visit to Palau.

Peace.

Tanguero[/quote]

Palau diving is so huge that there is no way you can even take in a fraction of it within the short time we had there. It was my fourth trip, and even with probably 50+ dunkings I’ve only been wreck diving twice.

Also during this trip we had rather inclement weather which affected the visibility to some degree. The waters within the lagoon were especially murky (where all the wrecks are) and wasn’t especially favorable for wreck diving on this run. Don’t worry, Palau isn’t usually someplace you visit only once.

Tanguero, thanks for sharing the awesome pics :notworthy:[/quote]

The pictures you just posted are clearer than my bath tub geeze…[/quote]

I wish that were true, but I did have the worst vis on this trip out of the four. One day back in 96 I descended down through blue hole and it was like floating through air. The vis had to have been close to 60 meters…Like looking through gin. The best we got this round was 20-25meters, but plenty good enough for capturing the wildlife we encountered. We got rained on hard nearly every day out on the water, and made good use of our Taiwan motorcycle raingear while everyone else suffered. Consequently there was a hell of a lot of fresh water mixed with salt inside the lagoon, which really did affect our vis for the trip. The only beach stop we made on the entire trip was during a huge downpour which had us huddling under an awning on Ulong Island, smelling barbecue from a Palauan family staying out there to celebrate the new year. More often than not, we surfaced to pounding rain after a dive.

We ended our trip in style though…On the last day, we had a late departing flight and decided to take advantage of a Kayaking tour through the Rock Islands. A fantastic, relaxing adventure which loaded 6 kayaks and ourselves onto a very small boat for the ride out. After a brilliant day of WW2 memorabilia, kayaking through hidden coves (in the rain) and snorkeling cave access-only marine lakes (in the rain), we headed back to the dive shop. At about 100meters from shore, our guide suddenly screams at us “Everybody off the boat Now!” Three fat middle age dudes and a reasonably fit younger type ungracefully exit via quick belly flop wondering what the hell happened. Turns out as he was backing in, water came in over the transom and threatened to sink the little boat. It seemed a fitting end to our trip, laughing uncontrollably as the boat docked without us. On the positive side, I can say I was in Palaun waters only two hours before my flight, as my dripping dive bag attested to.

[quote=“MJB”]I wish that were true, but I did have the worst vis on this trip out of the four…One day…vis had to have been close to 60 meters…Like looking through gin. The best we got this round was 20-25meters, but plenty good enough for capturing the wildlife we encountered…We got rained on hard nearly every day out on the water…and made good use of our Taiwan motorcycle raingear while everyone else suffered…Consequently there was a hell of a lot of fresh water mixed with salt inside the lagoon, which really did affect our vis for the trip…More often than not, we surfaced to pounding rain after a dive.

We ended our trip in style though…Kayaking tour through the Rock Islands…kayaking through hidden coves (in the rain)…snorkeling cave access-only marine lakes in the rain…guide suddenly screams at us “Everybody off the boat Now!” Three fat middle age dudes and a reasonably fit younger type ungracefully exit via quick belly flop wondering what the hell happened…Turns out as he was backing in, water came in over the transom and threatened to sink the little boat…It seemed a fitting end to our trip, laughing uncontrollably as the boat docked without us…I was in Palaun waters only two hours before my flight.[/quote]

MJ’: You have never seemed the type who had unnecessary experience staring through gin :wink:

Trip factually reported by MJB, now some embellishments required.

  • This may have been the worst conditions a diver encounters at Palau, short of typhoon kicking butt as it forms and begins maturing from tropical storm on its way to really kick butt elsewhere.
  • Worst weather conditions Palau may have to offer was still the best massive amounts of fish dives I have ever done.
  • The fish were all right there, not only off in the distance; if the visibility were farther it would have mattered little because there were too darn many fish right in our faces and in the way for us to see that far.
  • We pay our dues and hone our skills diving Taiwan NE coast, we cash our chips with the requisite advanced skills appreciating dive destinations such as Palau.
  • Raingear was a key equipment item we brought and thanks to MJB for the reminder well beforehand; for those unfamiliar, wearing a wetsuit in a stiff breeze leads to evaporative cooling off the surface which can chill the wetsuit-clad body; raingear works both ways in keeping rain out but especially in this case keeping wet in when worn over the wetsuit, minimizing evaporation off the surface of the wetsuit greatly reduces cooling that leads to chills. Other divers on the boat were huddled to hide from the wind, the Taiwan expat divers with their scooter rain gear on our boat (us) were enjoying the adventure, standing in the wind braced against parts of the boat, talking with each other about what we had seen, and laughing about what a wonderful adventure it all was.

Groove on some more images:

Napoleon Wrasse

Green Sea Turtle

Bignose Unicornfish

Crescent-tail Bigeye

Shadowfin Soldierfish

Thanks for all the encouraging and supportive comments regarding the posted photos.

Peace.

Tanguero

You might want to think about taking a bath more often than twice a year. :slight_smile:

It was a great trip and the awesome pictures Tanguero took will serve well in keeping this fantastic experience fresh in my memory.

I also owe my thanks to MJB, who made the importance of rain gear on a boat in the middle of the pacific clear to me well in advance. As soon as I put on my jacket, I felt nice and comfortable. I did feel a bit bad under my rain gear while I saw the young lady with blue lips shivering on the floor of the boat. I wanted to share my jacket, but was fighting off an oncoming cold.

Further thanks go to Tanguero who pointed out a special diving mask on the last day before departure. I was suffering from a case of swimmers ear and he remembered a diving mask that keeps the ears dry and made it possible for me to actually go diving in Palau. Here the link:

joediveramerica.com/page/JDA … sk/ME55-BS

I called IST in Taiwan, and they provided contact information for retail stores that would have this mask in stock. So I picked one up the evening before our departure. No only it prevented my ears from getting wet and possible worth, after each day of diving, I kept feelin my ear getting better.

Thanks for the props and you are completely welcome, buddy. That mask was a key to the adventure. We had been monitoring Ratlung’s progress fighting the ear infection and hoping for the promised miracles of modern pharmacology when memory coughed up knowledge of the product and the lead that IST is a manufacturer which we passed along immediately. Applause for Ratlung’s tenacity to, in what seemed like just a few hours, turn a lead into an acquisition. I treasure his story of the first time with the mask, wondering if it was really doing its job and keeping his at-risk ear dry. He loosened the cup over the healthier ear and may have been somewhat startled by the flush of water that confirmed to the engineer’s questioning mind that the ear had been completely dry, validating that the at-risk ear was likely fully- and properly-protected.

Peace.

Tanguero

Well, unlike all the digital boys who get to shoot with instant results, I had to wait nearly a week to get my images back…It’s clear to me that I’ve slipped badly skill-wise from lack of practice, but nevertheless have a few images to share:

This was taken at a dive site called Siaes Tunnel, at a depth of approx 30meters:

This shot is of a Dad and his 6 year old daughter, and despite being at a depth of only 10 feet with no scuba or sealife, remains one of my favorite photos from the trip:

This shot, taken at Ulong Channel is of Lettuce coral and Bigeye squirrel fish:

Tanquero lining up a Sea Turtle for the shot:

If you want to feel the immenseness of Palau…Chuck your scuba gear, take a deep breath and drop…Me at about 14meters:

School of Crescent tail big eye at Ulong Channel:

And no trip to the tropics is complete without Clownfish:

All in all I wasn’t too happy with what I came out with. I flooded two lenses, had a coffee can lid taped onto my strobe as a diffuser and a few other technical issues. Sharks eluded me completely, and the one image I have really isn’t worth showing.

Next time I won’t spend ten years between photo shoots :unamused:

I thought clownfish had three stripes? Great pics!