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It really is more fun in The Philippines!

Nick and Caroline Robertson-Brown

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#itsmorefuninthephilippines is the promotional strap line for The Philippines and we couldn’t agree more. As a diving destination it is pretty hard to beat. Our recent trip saw us visit three different islands and resorts: Magic Island Dive Resort in Moalboal on Cebu Island, Magic Oceans Dive Resort in Anda on Bohol Island, and Atmosphere Resorts & Spa in Dauin, near Dumagete on the island of Negros Oriental in a trip that lasted just under three weeks including travel.

We flew with Philippine Airlines from Heathrow to Manilla and then on to Cebu, with our return flight going from Dumagete to Manilla, and then home. To maximize our diving during this multi-island trip, we used the ferry to get from island to island, so we did not need to worry about no-fly times. If you want a bit of variation on your trip, then trying out 2 or even 3 islands is a great way to get a true taste of the region.

Throughout the trip we experienced fantastic diving, with knowledgeable dive guides expertly finding us astonishing photographic subjects. From the smallest nudibranch to the largest fish in the sea, The Philippines seems to have it all. The islands offer a perfect mix of pristine coral reefs, clear blue seas and incredible marine life. If you are an underwater photographer, then you will be delighted with the photographic opportunities you can find here, be it super macro or wide angle that floats your boat.

To read in more detail about our epic Philippines trip, follow these links:

Magic Island Dive Resort, Moalboal, Cebu

Mandarin Magic 

Whale Sharks of Oslob

Moalboal Sardine Run

Magic Ocean Dive Resort, Anda, Bohol

Magic Critters 

Meeting Shaun the Sheep

Night dive 

Atmosphere Resorts & Spa

Love Frogfish? 

Apo Island 

Atmosphere 

We had an amazing time. The people are warm and friendly, the sun was shining, the diving was incredible – we could not have asked for more.


For more information about these resorts, The Philippines and travel, please check out these links:

Magic Resorts

Atmosphere Resorts & Spa

The Official UK Travel Guide to The Philippines

Philippine Airlines

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Introducing Thresher Shark Indonesia

Nick and Caroline Robertson-Brown

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Thresher Shark Indonesia was founded in 2018. Their work aims to protect endangered pelagic thresher shark (Alopias pelagicus) in Alor Island, Indonesia through investigating the critical habitat, socio-economic importance of the species for the community and conservation outreach to local schools. They combine research and community engagement to inform policy decision for local protection of the species.

Thresher Shark Indonesia first documented thresher shark sighting around Alor diving sites, they began collecting movement information through satellite tagging studies, and also gained the perceptions about the fisheries dependency of thresher shark fishing. Thresher shark fishing in Alor was previously unknown to local government institutions. Their outreach activities have successfully been delivered to more than 500 Alor communities through radio, community events, and other engagements. This has shifted the perception of the local communities to the importance of conserving thresher sharks and valuing them as a local tourism asset in Alor.

Over the coming weeks we will look into the current projects of Thresher Shark Indonesia in more detail.

To learn more right now, visit their website by clicking here

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Black Water Diving with Magic Resorts

Magic Resorts Philippines

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Floating, weightless surrounded by the blackness of the ocean at night time, that eery sensation of not knowing what lies beyond the glow of your flash light, that’s the first feeling I got on my very first Black Water Dive.

For many, I am sure Black Water Diving is a new term in the diving world, or maybe even something you have never heard of before, so what is it? Well, you head off into the middle of the ocean, where it’s deep. Really deep. At least 300m deep, and deeper seems to be better, of course its “Black Water” so this is at night time.

Diving out in the middle of the ocean at night has its concerns. The main one is the depth, you wouldn’t want anyone sinking down to the bottom. The second, is losing a diver. You’re out in the middle of nowhere and it’s dark. On the first attempts at Magic Island, we had the divers tethered to the boat via a 20m rope with a weight on the bottom and a carabiner clip attaching them to it. This allowed them to slide up-and-down the rope, but they couldn’t slide of the end due to the weight. The issue here is movement. The boat drifts along at a different speed and sometimes direction to the diver, depending on the current and the wind. This results in the divers been pulled along and unable to look at any creatures. In short; it doesn’t work and the freedom you get from diving is gone.

The fix to our issues was somewhat simple and a little scary, at first. After asking around to a few friends (thank you) we discovered you only need one line attached to a small buoy, not the boat, with a weight on the end. Then you need lots of lights and some strobes. The strobes are attached to the buoy, so the boat crew can easily keep watch. The flash lights are attached to the line at certain depths, we chose 7m, 14m and 21m which is the end of the line. Then you jump in and dive around the line. This helps with having a reference and more light to see stuff. And the stuff… that’s why you’re really here at this point, at this time of day.

That eery feeling, been lost at sea, sinking to the bottom of the ocean, all of these concerns soon go to the back of your mind as you become memorised by creatures you never imagined existed. Everywhere you look there’s something to see, the ocean out here is absolutely full of life. Jellyfish, siphonophores and comb jellies are a certain, and they all have their own beautiful display, from neon lights to strange flamboyant dances, or both. Cephalopods are also a common sight, especially small squid that dart around leaving jets of ink in the water as they get spooked. Less common is the paper nautilus, a pea sized animal that clings to debris drifting through the water column. I could fill the rest of the blog with all the critters you can see, but I wouldn’t want to spoil it for you.

The best way I can explain the feeling you get from black water dives, is to imagine mixing the nervous excitement you had when you took your first breaths underwater, and the sense of wonder and awe after completing your most amazing muck/critter dive. If your looking for the next adventure in the scuba world, make sure to visit Magic Island and book on a black water dive.

For more information about Magic Resorts visit their website by clicking here.

Written by: Jamie Gladwin – dive center manager and PADI Course Director at Magic Island Dive Resort.

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