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Take in the Atmosphere

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Reflecting on our visit to Atmosphere Resorts & Spa in the Philippines, looking through our images, reminds us that whilst this is, for sure, a world class site for diving and underwater photography, it is much more than that. As you arrive, the beauty of the place is apparent immediately, with well spaced bungalows lining the lush gardens leading down to the bar, restaurant, pool, dive centre and shoreline.

You are made to feel welcome and part of the family as soon as you start the check in process and we decided to take advantage of a welcome treatment at the spa right away to refresh our travel weary bodies. The spa is incredible. I have never seen such a beautiful and tranquil place, with ponds and running water reflecting the flowers, trees and massage areas. A treatment here is the best way to start and end a diving trip.

The dive centre is very well organised and there is a large and well-equipped camera room alongside the spacious briefing area that boasts large maps of the area as well as a recent sightings board. The staff cannot do enough for you, always carrying heavy equipment to the boat for you, helping rise and dry equipment, and the guides are always available to discuss the next weird critter you would like to find and photograph.

The bar overlooks the infinity pool that looks right out to the sea, past the black volcanic beach. The staff host a cocktail evening once a week, where everyone gets together for a couple of drinks and nibbles as the sun goes down. The restaurant serves incredible food, with excellent vegetarian and vegan options, from a varied and interesting menu. You dine overlooking the sea, and we were lucky enough to also get the meet the knowledgeable in-house sommelier and do a wine tasting experience in the climate-controlled wine cellar that looks onto the restaurant. Here we got to taste some of his favourite wines on the extensive wine list and talk about what bottle we would select for our final night. This is an activity well worth adding to your itinerary.

The diving here offers incredible reefs (like those at Apo Island), and world class muck diving. As discussed in a previous blog, Atmosphere even have their own frogfish expert on site. We saw a host of amazing critters in our short stay here and would go back in a heartbeat to dive here again.

Our final day, which was of course non-diving, saw us head out of the resort to take a little local flavour. The team ordered us a local form of transport that is basically a motorbike, with a large sidecar attached and this took us to the local village of Dauin to visit Finbar, a restaurant and craft ale bar that is popular with staff and guests alike. The journey alone is worth the experience!

Alas that is it from our stay at Atmosphere Resort & Spa. It also marks the end of our trip to The Philippines. It is an amazing country and dive destination, with a diverse range of diving opportunities that would keep any diver entertained. Be sure to experience it for yourself…


Equipment Used:

  • Olympus OM-D EM-1 MKII
  • Nauticam Housing
  • Olympus TG5

For more information about Atmosphere Resorts & Spa visit their website by clicking here.

For more information about visiting the Philippines click here

Nick and Caroline (Frogfish Photography) are a married couple of conservation driven underwater photo-journalists and authors. Both have honours degrees from Manchester University, in Environmental Biology and Biology respectively, with Nick being a Fellow of the Royal Photographic Society, a former high school science teacher with a DipEd in Teaching Studies. Caroline has an MSc in Animal Behaviour specializing in Caribbean Ecology. They are multiple award-winning photographers and along with 4 published books, feature regularly in the diving, wildlife and international press They are the Underwater Photography and Deputy Editors at Scubaverse and Dive Travel Adventures. Winners of the Caribbean Tourism Organization Photo-journalist of the Year for a feature on Shark Diving in The Bahamas, and they have been placed in every year they have entered. Nick and Caroline regularly use their free time to visit schools, both in the UK and on their travels, to discuss the important issues of marine conservation, sharks and plastic pollution. They are ambassadors for Sharks4Kids and founders of SeaStraw. They are Dive Ambassadors for The Islands of The Bahamas and are supported by Mares, Paralenz, Nauticam and Olympus. To find out more visit www.frogfishphotography.com

Marine Life & Conservation Blogs

Creature Feature: Porbeagle

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In this series, the Shark Trust will be sharing amazing facts about different species of sharks and what you can do to help protect them.

This time we’re showcasing the robust Porbeagle, one of the only known sharks that may love to play..

Shaped like a rugby ball, this muscular stocky shark is incredibly hydrodynamic and built for endurance. Dark grey-blue in colour with a white belly, they have a pointed snout and large black eyes.

Porbeagle’s belong to an elite group of sharks known as the mackerel sharks. These include some of the most powerful and agile sharks in the world, such as the White Shark and Shortfin Mako. This group are endothermic, so can keep themselves nice and warm, due to a remarkable adaptation known as a rete mirabile. This makes them more efficient hunters and able to tolerate colder waters.

Porbeagle’s look a lot like White Sharks, so are often mistaken for them. As they’re found in UK waters, this has led to many false reports of White Sharks in the UK. But Porbeagle’s are around half the size. Although still a large shark, the biggest Porbeagle on record is 3.6m. While the largest White Shark is 6m.

Found worldwide in cold-temperate waters, Porbeagle’s are strong swimmers. Travelling thousands of miles in search of food and to give birth. One individual, tagged in Irish waters, journeyed over 2,000 miles to Newfoundland in Canada. A known mating ground for Porbeagle’s.

Porbeagle’s may live on their own, or in small groups made up of similar sized or same sex individuals. With males and females coming together usually in September-November to mate. Yet in some places this can take place in January.

These sharks reproduce slowly, so are extremely vulnerable to destructive fishing. Females take 12-16 years to reach sexual maturity, males 6-10 years. After 8-9 months, females will give birth to litters of just 1-5 pups, which are relatively large at 60-80cm long.

Two distinct populations exist – the north Atlantic and south Pacific. Individuals from these areas don’t seem to mix, resulting in key differences. North Atlantic Porbeagle’s get a lot bigger, and don’t tend to live as long as those in the south Pacific.

During the day Porbeagles tend to spend their time in deeper waters, rising to the surface at night. They’re opportunistic feeders, mostly eating small fish – such as mackerel, whiting and herring – as well as octopus, squid and cuttlefish.

Highly inquisitive, Porbeagles have been seen chasing each other, rolling at the surface, and even pushing around floating objects and kelp. Could they be playing? Currently there are no scientific studies to back this up. But what an interesting study that would be…!

  • SCIENTIFIC NAME: Lamna nasus
  • FAMILY: Mackerel Sharks (Lamnidae)
  • MAXIMUM SIZE: 3.6m
  • DIET: Small fish & squid
  • DISTRIBUTION: Wide-ranging in temperate waters (except North Pacific).
  • HABITAT: Coastal and oceanic waters from 0-1,800m deep. Prefers temperatures below 18°C but can tolerate -1–23°C.
  • CONSERVATION STATUS: Vulnerable

For more amazing facts about sharks and what you can do to help the Shark Trust protect them visit the Shark Trust website by clicking here.

Header Image: Doug Perrine / Alamy

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Miscellaneous Blogs

The BiG Scuba Podcast… with Grace Marquez.. Fine Art for water lovers

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The BiG Scuba duo, Gemma and Ian chat to Grace Marquez,  a visual artist and creative consultant living Canada. She works primarily in acrylic paint on canvas or wood boards and her subjects include the diverse and rich marine life and environments found underwater.

Her work is 100% informed and inspired by her love and her passion as an avid cave, technical diver and active scuba instructor. She enjoys sharing the wonder of the underwater world with new divers. While she has dived all over the world diving reefs, mines, and caves, she is happiest diving the many shipwrecks in the cold water of the Great Lakes.

Have a listen here:

Find out more at:


Find more podcast episodes and information at the new www.thebigscuba.com  website and on most social platforms @thebigscuba 

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Competitions

Red Sea Northern Wrecks & Reefs plus Tiran

Custom built itinerary scheduled to include Abu Nuhas wrecks, the SS Thistlegorm, the fabulous reefs at Ras Mohamed including Shark Reef, then over to Tiran to dive Gordon, Jackson, Thomas and Woodhouse reefs.

You’ll visit any number of other wrecks including the beautiful Carnatic and the wrecks of the Giannis D, the Chrisoula K and the Marcus, all at Abu Nuhas.  And you can’t miss the Rosalie Moeller and the Dunraven!

 

But this trip isn’t just about wrecks – far from it! Ras Mohammed, the protected marine reserve of the Red Sea, delivers schooling fish, spectacular corals, and we drop-in numerous times on the best sites before heading over to Tiran to dive the immense reefs of Gordon, Jackson and Woodhouse.

 

What are you going to see? The most stunning corals, abundant marine life, and exceptional wrecks. Turtles, Napoleon wrasse, morays, dolphins, maybe a manta, and perhaps even whale sharks. Hammerheads off the back of Jackson Reef are a possibility, and don’t forget the little critters either! This trip delivers, time and time again.

 

From £1599 per person based on double occupancy.  Full board basis, buffet meals with snacks, tea and coffee always available.  Add a week on at Roots Red Sea Resort before or after the liveaboard for just £695pp.  Stay in a deluxe chalet on a soft all-inclusive basis and enjoy 10 guided shore dives and unlimited, unguided house reef diving.  Flights and transfers are included.  See our brochure linked above for the full itinerary.

 

This trip will be hosted by The Scuba Place.  Come Dive with Us!

 

Call 020 3515 9955 or email john@thescubaplace.co.uk

www.thescubaplace.co.uk

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