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The Scuba Place Photography Workshop with Phil Medcalf: Puerto Galera May 2024



The Scuba Place is excited to announce a new partnership with Phil Medcalf of Alphamarine Photography with a Photography Workshop at Scandi Divers in Puerto Galera Philippines in May 2024.

Phil has been scuba diving for over 30 years and has been taking digital pictures underwater for over 15 of those. In that time, he’s dived around the world including the UK, Egypt, Indonesia, the Maldives and Australia. Along with his wife Anne, he turned his interest into a business in 2017 and now they own Alphamarine Photography Ltd an underwater photography training and retail company. They have a highly rated blog on their website and a Facebook Q & A group with over 2000 members worldwide.

Phil and Anne have written on underwater photography for magazines and presented on the subject at every Go Diving show since the event started. Their workshops and online courses on uw photography and photo editing attract students from around the world. Phil’s expertise ranges from getting the best from budget-friendly compact cameras to using the latest high-end mirrorless options. His experience as a retailer gives him a much broader knowledge base than many underwater photographers when it comes to the equipment in use.

Before running Alphamarine Photography full time Phil worked in health care for over 25 years. During that time much of his role involved teaching skills to adults and he brings this experience as well as Anne’s expertise as a university lecturer to how the workshops are designed and taught.

Phil will be hosting The Scuba Place’s first underwater photography workshop at Scandi Divers in May 2024. With a blend of formal and informal coaching, Phil will conduct both group and one-to-one instruction. A daily talk will cover topics such as Understanding Exposure, Composition and Lighting, Shooting in Manual Mode, Equipment and Postproduction. Phil will make himself available to answer questions, give advice and conduct ad hoc teaching sessions throughout the workshop. He will also have some demo equipment to try such as wet lenses and strobes. And everyone participating in the workshop will have the opportunity to have one on one time with Phil where he can review your images and give you specific advice. The aim of Phil’s workshop is for everyone to be happier with the pictures they are getting at the end of the trip than they were at the start.

The Scuba Place say they could think of no better place to kick off this new partnership than Scandi Divers in Puerto Galera. Situated on the Verde Passage, Puerto Galera is widely recognised as one of the most bio-diverse bodies of water on the planet. It contains more varieties of fish than the Red Sea and more varieties of hard and soft corals than the Great Barrier Reef!

The water temperature in Puerto Galera averages around 29°C throughout the year, and the visibility is excellent. Surrounded by beautiful reefs, thriving with marine life, Puerto Galera has an abundance of amazing dive sites, most of them within a few minutes boat ride of the resort! There are wrecks, caves, muck dives, shallow coral fields, and drift dives. Plenty of opportunities for both wide angle and macro photography!

The Scuba Place previously visited Scandi Divers in April 2023 and absolutely loved it! The diving was spectacular, the food was scrumptious, and the people were sensational! You can read their full trip report here. The resort is located on Big Laguna Beach with over 40 rooms. The Sky View Restaurant & Bar is on the second floor allowing for great views. The Beachfront Restaurant is on the first floor and offers a great spot to meet your dive buddies for happy hour! Both offer the same menu with international, Filipino and western cuisine. The Scuba Place team were on a full-board basis and never disappointed with any meal!

The onsite dive centre has a five-station camera room for underwater photographers. The dive package for the workshop includes up to 4 dives daily. Two morning boat dives are offered after breakfast followed by one afternoon boat dive after lunch back at the resort. Dusk and night dives are also an option. A Verde Island day trip is Included as well as a blackwater dive. NITROX is available on a per tank or weekly charge, and The Scuba Place analysed their tanks with between 30 and 32 and had great fills over 200bar plus during our last stay.

John and Mona from The Scuba Place say they “are thrilled to be going back and as aspiring underwater photographers, we’re looking forward to learning from one of the best! So if you’re looking for an amazing dive holiday… Come Dive with Us and Phil Medcalf!”

Photography Workshop with Phil Medcalf

Scandi Divers – Puerto Galera Philippines

  • 10 night itinerary
  • departs Saturday 25 May 2024

Itinerary highlights :

  • Return flights London Heathrow to Manila vis Dubai on Emirates Airlines departing 25 May 2024
  • 1 night accommodation in Manila
  • 9 nights at Scandi Divers Resort in selected room type with full board
  • 8 days diving with 3 boat dives and 1 night dive per day
  • Verde Island excursion with lunch and one hour massage session included
  • Photo Workshop with Phil Metcalf of Alphamarine Photography with daily talks, group and one to one coaching, ad hoc teaching sessions and advice
  • All transfers and taxes

from £2549 per person based on double occupancy

Check out the full itinerary and brochure here.

Contact The Scuba Place today and book your space!!

Email or call 020 3515 9955.

Want to know a little more? Here are some links :

For all things Phil and Anne of Alphamarine Photography

For more on Puerto Galera and Scandi Divers

For the April 2023 Trip Report and Underwater Images


The Scuba Place designs and builds custom scuba diving holidays.  With personal knowledge and experience diving in many of our destinations, there is no one better to help build your dream dive holiday.  Come Dive with Us!

Call us at 020 3515 9955 or email at

Find us on

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Marine Life & Conservation

Project SIARC through to the finals of The National Lottery Awards



Project SIARC

Project SIARC has been nominated alongside 16 other projects from across the UK to be named National Lottery Project of the Year.

The marine environment in Wales is teeming with life; beneath the often-murky waters are little understood species of shark, skate and ray (elasmobranchs) of conservation importance.
Project SIARC is catalysing links between fishers, researchers, communities and government to collaborate and safeguard elasmobranchs and support a green recovery in Wales.

“We are so grateful for this nomination – it’s thanks to all of our wonderful communities, partners and volunteers working with us to help safeguard and celebrate sharks, skates and rays in Wales”, commented Project SIARC Technical Specialist and regular Scubaverse contributor Jake Davies.

You can support Project SIARC by voting for them online here and by commenting the hashtag #NLASIARC on the pinned post over on National Lottery Good Causes page.

For more information about Project SIARC, visit

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Marine Life & Conservation

Silent Reef Keepers: The Fight to Save the Caribbean Reef Shark



Caribbean Reef Shark

The Kingdom of the Netherlands will ask for increased protection for the Caribbean reef shark during next month’s Conference of Parties for the Cartagena Convention (COPs) on Aruba.  Caribbean reef sharks play a critical role in maintaining a healthy reef ecosystem and building resilience within the oceans. This increased protection is critical for ensuring a sustainable future for this iconic species.

The Caribbean Sea is renowned for its crystal-clear waters, vibrant coral reefs, and a dazzling array of marine life. Among the charismatic inhabitants of this underwater paradise is the Caribbean Reef Shark (Carcharhinus perezii), a species that plays a crucial role in maintaining the health of coral reef ecosystems. In the Dutch Caribbean, these apex predators face mounting threats, but there is hope on the horizon. At the upcoming Conference of Parties for the Cartagena Convention (COPs), the Kingdom of the Netherlands will seek increased protection for these magnificent creatures by listing this species on Annex III of the SPAW Protocol.  Annex III includes plant and animal species which require additional protection to ensure this species is able to adequately recover their populations in the Wider Caribbean Region.


Caribbean reef sharks thrive in warm, tropical waters of the Caribbean region, with a distribution range that stretches from Florida to Brazil. This species is one of the most encountered reef shark species throughout the whole Caribbean Sea.  Growing up to 3m (9.8ft) in length, this shark is one of the largest apex predators in the reef ecosystem and is at the top of the marine food web, having only a few natural predators. 

In addition to being of great economic value, as shark diving is a major draw for divers from around the world, this species is also critical for maintaining balance within the reef ecosystem. Their presence helps regulate the population of smaller prey species, which in turn, prevents overgrazing on seagrass beds and coral reefs and eliminates sick or weak fish from the population. This balance is essential for maintaining the health and diversity of the entire coral reef.


Despite their ecological and economic significance, Caribbean reef sharks in the Caribbean face numerous threats that have led to a population reduction estimated to be between 50–79% over the past 29 years. In the (Dutch) Caribbean this is mainly caused by:

Habitat Degradation: The degradation of coral reefs and seagrass beds due to climate change, pollution, and coastal development has a direct impact on the availability of prey for these sharks. Loss of habitat reduces their ability to find food and shelter.

Overfishing: Overfishing poses one of the most immediate threats to Caribbean reef sharks. They are often caught incidentally in commercial fisheries, where fishermen are targeting other species, or intentionally, where they are sought after for their fins, used in shark fin soup.

A Call for Increased Protection

There are different organizations and individuals working to protect sharks and their habitats in the Dutch Caribbean. A significant milestone was the establishment of protected areas such as the Yarari Marine Mammal and Shark Sanctuary between Bonaire, Saba and St. Eustatius.  Another milestone was in 2019 when the Dutch government adopted an International Shark Strategy. The strategy sets out which protective and management actions for sharks and rays are to be taken by the government in all seas and oceans where the Netherlands has influence (including the Dutch Caribbean).  Additional efforts are still needed to create more marine protected areas, enhance enforcement, reduce pollution in the ocean, and promote sustainable fishing practices.  These species know no (political) boundaries and their protection requires broadscale conservation efforts within the Dutch Caribbean and beyond.


The Caribbean reef shark is a species of paramount importance to the (Dutch) Caribbean’s coral reefs. With the extra protection being requested during the next COPS meeting in Aruba, there is hope that this species will have a healthy future. By recognizing their ecological significance and the challenges they face, we can work together to ensure a brighter future for the Caribbean Reef Shark in the Dutch Caribbean and beyond.



The Dutch Caribbean Nature Alliance (DCNA) supports science communication and outreach in the Dutch Caribbean region by making nature-related scientific information more widely available through amongst others the Dutch Caribbean Biodiversity Database, DCNA’s news platform BioNews and the press. This article contains the results from several scientific studies but the studies themselves are not DCNA studies. No rights can be derived from the content. DCNA is not liable for the content and the in(direct) impacts resulting from publishing this article.    


Photo + photo credit: Jim Abernethy-all rights reserved

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