Monday, April 11, 2011

21 Feb 2011 - Finally time for some land photos

Magandang umaga! The sky is clear with the sun out in full force. It's the first time we have a bright sunny day and yet is our last diving day for this trip. For once I decided to try something else for breakfast instead of the usual omelette while some others are sticking faithfully to their fruit yogurts. For me, it's mixed fruits pancake which I find pretty nice but nothing exceptional.

And it's off to the dive centre as usual. It seems less crowded today, perhaps because we're not heading to Pescardo for the sardines? While the weather looks great for diving, we choose to do the two boat dives today and call it a day. We could have easily squeeze in the 4pm house reef dive and still make it for our flight the next evening with ample time to spare for the 24 hour no fly interval. But I'm not taking chances getting stuck with excess baggage from my wet gear. My check-in baggage alone is already a whopping 25kg on my incoming flight! And that's excluding all the camera, housing and netbook which I'm hand carrying. And besides, I haven't had a chance to do any sunrise/sunset photo shooting thus far in this trip. Thus for once, the DDMD (Die Die Must Dive) spirit takes a backseat and have just 2 relaxed dive. For that matter, I was just mostly enjoying the dive and was hardly even grabbing any shots in the two dives (Like less than 10 shots each dive).

It was lunch at our usual hangout between the two dives. The carbonara pasta I had came in a huge portion but I watered it all down nonetheless. For sure all the finning and tank carrying is not sufficient to burn off all these extra carbs that I've been piling on these couple of days. Strangely enough, some of us commented that my pasta looks like the "hokkien mee" we have back home. But despite its less than ideal appearance, it actually tasted pretty good without any lingering strong aftertaste during my afternoon dive.

As always, time is never enough when I'm out enjoying and we concluded our dives without any major hiccups. And soon it was the most dreadful part of the trip where I have to wash up the gear. Being a basic no frill operation, we do have to set up our own gear and do our own cleaning up of the gear. Not that I mind since it's all my own gear and I would have expect to properly maintain and keep it in good shape. What's nice is that the washing is facilitated by a clean and spacious area in Blue Abyss. There are at least four rinse tanks for different equipment. Two tanks were available for the cameras, one for the booties and another for fins, BCDs and wetsuits. In addition, there are also a number of hoses for us to wash both our gear and ourselves. Since I'm going to be cleaning and soaking my gear in warm water when I get back home, I just do a "quick" rinse. But that still took me quite a while to get through with the cleaning. With the sun out today, we have a good chance of having our gear dried by the time we check out tomorrow. I leave my gear at the dive centre to dry while I get back to the resort for a quick rinse myself.

Drying my gear after the last dive at Moalboal, Philippines
With all the diving and cleaning up behind me, it's time for some land shoots. It's our final evening here and I'm not going to let this last chance slips by. Otherwise I'll be carrying all that extra weight from my land camera and tripod in vain. Being located much further east from Singapore but yet sharing the same time zone (GMT +8), the sun rises and sets at least an hour earlier. Not so good for sunrise but great for sunset since I can pack up and have dinner earlier after doing the sunset photos.

Fortunately for us, it was low tide and thus we can head on down to the "beach" below our resort for the sunset shooting. Why I said "beach" is that there isn't exactly a real stretch of sandy beach around the dive resorts. At best you may a couple of metres of sand inward from the shore during low tide, and that can be totally submerged during high tide. Oh well, at least there's some sand and it's not all rocks and boulder like in Anilao. During the shoot, I saw another group of divers heading down from Blue Abyss for their dusk dives. Oh boy, how I wish I could do that too. Soon, the sun was gone shortly after 6 in the evening and it's finally time to pack up and chill. Since I'm already shooting at the beach below the dive centre, I head up to gather and bring my gear back to the resort. 

Sunset at Moalboal, Philipppines

Sunset at Moalboal, Philipppines
Low tide at Blue Abyss house reef - Moalboal, Philippines

Panoramic view of shore to Blue Abyss house reef - Moalboal, Philippines
Some of the folks is having their dinner at our regular hangout while myself, RL, GT and NE decides to head over to the other side for some yummy dinner on our last night in Moalboal. For once, we've already a destination in mind and headed over to Pizzeria for dinner. We shared two pizza and a pasta among myself, RL and GT, while NE had some fish (tuna?) steak. Among the 2 pizzas, I really really love their Siciliana pizza with cheese, sun-dried tomatoes and other stuffs. That's my favourite pizza among the few we had in this trip. For that matter, I rank it among my all-time favourites! Service at the restaurant was pretty poor though. The waitress(es) doesn't seems too interested in serving us. But the more appalling situation was in one of our orders. As both RT and I were vegetarians, we specifically requested for the pasta to be without the ham in them. It may have slipped their mind when they brought out the pasta with a generous helping of hams. Guess what they did after we told them about the mistake? Instead of preparing another set, they simply went back and picked out all the hams! How we knew was the evidence left by one piece of ham that they've missed. It was truly disappointing in this aspect. But still, I must give credit for that wonderful Siciliana pizza. Yes, I just simply adore it! Haha, I was secretly hoping everyone is full so I can have some extra helpings. *Slurp* Yummy! :p

Pizza at Pizzeria (Photo courtesy of GT)
The rest of the folks are chilling with some drinks when we got back to the resort. Only join them briefly before I head back to the room to do some packing for the trip back the next day.

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