ThThTh Invades Anilao, Philippines

Tell us your tale of coming nose-to-nose with a 6 gill [--this big--], or about your vacation to turquoise warm waters. Share your adventures here!
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Scubie Doo
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ThThTh Invades Anilao, Philippines

Post by Scubie Doo » Sun Mar 11, 2018 6:14 pm

In his thick accent Pong, our dive master, explained what we would be seeing during our first dive in Anilao. He mentioned Mimic Octopus, Flamboyant Cuttlefish, Peacock Mantis Shrimp, and several other cool critters. As I descended to the mucky sand armed with my camera my heart raced with excitement. I had meticulously planned for the critters I wanted to see. In fact, I made a top (25) list of these “bucket list” critters. I even bounced the list off my three PNW dive buddies (Viw, Gdog, and stphmartin) in order to validate the critters (and to selfishly recruit 3 more sets of macro eyes). As I started to search for my first critter a Lionfish came toward me from my left. I thought, “A Lionfish for my first critter?” Oh well, snap, snap. A couple courtesy shots. Shortly after that encounter Pong rattled his signaling device. I darted over to see and boom critter #5 a Flamboyant cuttlefish. “Sweet!” I thought, off to a great start. We patiently took turns photographing and videoing this amazing critter as it changed colors and hunted for food. Shortly thereafter, rattle, rattle. Oh, I know that sound. A tiny Frogfish, my first encounter. Heck yes! This is getting good. After the first dive we came up and were all so excited about what we saw. This experience continued for (11) days and (45) total dives. We were absolutely diligent about our routine.

6:30am - Wake up and prep the camera
7:00am – Eat breakfast
8:00am – On the boat
8:30am – Dive 1 Splash
10:30am – Dive 2 Splash
Noon – Lunch and Naptime and Change Camera Batteries
2:30pm – On the boat
3:00pm – Dive 3 Splash
5:00pm – Dive 4 Splash
7:00pm – Dinner and Beer
8:00pm – Bedtime

The only modification was boarding the board at 3:30pm on Night dive days. We kept this up for 11 days. I know, I know, the math doesn’t work. I snuck in one black water dive on the 10th day of the trip.

The dives included muck dive sites, reef dives, sandy dives, pinnacle dives, and wall dives. Each dive was an adventure and the critters were simply amazing. The averages of the (45) dives was 65.5 feet deep, 61.5 bottom time, and 77.7 degrees. I wore a 5mm westsuit with a hood and we dove 32% Nitrox the entire trip. I also reached dive 900 on my 9 year dive anniversary.

In fact, the only critter on my top (25) list we did not see was a Jawfish with eggs in its mouth. Yes, that is how specific my list was. In fact, I even had an Emperor Shrimp on a Nudibranch. And speaking of Nudibranch, I photographed over (60) different types of nudibranch and sea slugs. When I got home I was faced with 2,700 photos to review and I thought, how am I going to get through all these? I usually go through photos by dive. This time, I attacked them by critter type, which made things fun and interesting. I ended up with so many keepers I created several galleries for the trip. Here are the results of an amazing trip.



Top Critter Gallery (Click on any photo to see Gallery):

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Nudibranchs (Click on any photo to see Gallery):

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Did not make the cut (Click on any photo to see Gallery):

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Tom Nic
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Re: ThThTh Invades Anilao, Philippines

Post by Tom Nic » Sun Mar 11, 2018 7:37 pm

Wow. Just wow.
More Pics Than You Have Time To Look AT
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Re: ThThTh Invades Anilao, Philippines

Post by dlh » Sun Mar 11, 2018 8:31 pm

Super cool, sounds like a great trip. I need to go there!
Dave

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Re: ThThTh Invades Anilao, Philippines

Post by Gdog » Sun Mar 11, 2018 8:48 pm

It was a fantastic trip, and much thanks to Calvin for suggesting that location! The staff at Crystal Blue were so friendly, the food was awesome, the diving was way more than I had expected. Here are a few of my favorites shots. We will post more as the thread goes on Im sure.

The best start is probably with Nudis; there were countless different ones. Here are a couple of my favorites;

Nembrotha Kubaryana Nudibranch.jpg

Chromodoris Willani Nudi.jpg


The little things were really so difficult to shoot, and yet so cool;

Whip Coral Shrimp.jpg

Whip Coral Ghost Goby.jpg

Unhappy little Crab.jpg

Fire Urchin Shrimp Pair.jpg

Crinoid Shrimp.jpg


This shot was maybe one of the coolest finds to me. An Emperor Shrimp on a Nudi;

Emperor Shrimp on Nudi.jpg


There were larger cool finds to shoot too;

Peacock Mantis with Eggs.jpg

Large Frogfish.jpg

Common Clownfish Hiding.jpg


I was so excited that I got a decent shot of these Harlequin Shrimp;

Harlequin Shrimp Pair.jpg


But this shot was the top of my list. We went to photograph these guys 3 different times at 2 different locations. I was so frustrated thinking that I still hadn"t managed to get a decent shot. Turns out, some of the first shots I took turned out decent!

Pygmy Seahorse.jpg


I took a day out on about day 9, as my ears couldn't take any more of the 4 dives a day regimen. But after one day out, I dove the last 2 days for 8 more dives. I got in 40 dives, with 2200 underwater photographs to go through. It will take me several weeks more to finish, but these are some of the better ones.

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Re: ThThTh Invades Anilao, Philippines

Post by Gdog » Sun Mar 11, 2018 8:57 pm

Before I go any further, let me just say...This trip was EPIC!!!!

The diving was so good, I pretty much forgot to take very many decent topside shots. Most are from my phone. I did borrow a 7-14 lens from Stephen Martin for a couple sunset shots. Here are some of the topside pics;

The first two shots are sunset pics taken with Stephens lens. Almost every night the sunsets were specatular!

Anilao Sunset 2018.jpg

Dive Boat Sunset.jpg


The rest are just a bunch of topside snaps from my cell phone. A couple of the shots are from the airport in Taipei, Taiwan.

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IMG_20180219_101944.jpg

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IMG_20180212_061234.jpg


What a great trip, with some really great people. Thanks for putting up with the old guy!
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Scubie Doo
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Re: ThThTh Invades Anilao, Philippines

Post by Scubie Doo » Sun Mar 11, 2018 9:40 pm

Sweet, you got me eating breakfast in Taipei. Lol.

Awesome photos gdog.


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Re: ThThTh Invades Anilao, Philippines

Post by Gdog » Sun Mar 11, 2018 10:18 pm

Man, great shots Jesse! Noodles in Taipei....nothing better!

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Re: ThThTh Invades Anilao, Philippines

Post by bradmond » Mon Mar 12, 2018 8:48 am

thanks great for the report write up and pictures..fantastic. Looks like a purple hand next to Gdogs frogfish.

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Re: ThThTh Invades Anilao, Philippines

Post by stphnmartin » Mon Mar 12, 2018 9:17 am

Just when I was getting my cold water diving legs back you had to go and make this post! Incredible photos! Crazy good! Dang, want to be back there now.

I'll have my video of the trip done in a couple months.
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Re: ThThTh Invades Anilao, Philippines

Post by Scubie Doo » Mon Mar 12, 2018 9:30 am

stphnmartin wrote:Just when I was getting my cold water diving legs back you had to go and make this post! Incredible photos! Crazy good! Dang, want to be back there now.

I'll have my video of the trip done in a couple months.


Can’t wait to see it Stephen. So many cool critters.


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Re: ThThTh Invades Anilao, Philippines

Post by YellowEye » Mon Mar 12, 2018 11:09 am

Woot, woot! Great photos and report guys! So sorry we missed it... sounds like a trip of a lifetime!

Jesse -- I especially love your Porcelain anemone crab, the pic of the two coleman shrimp on urchin, the clownfish snaps, the lionfish in profile, and the banded pipefish. Wow!

GDog -- awesome, awesome sea horse! I see a lot of photos of these sea horses on online forums and facebook groups, and yours rises to the top :) Outstanding. Your amenone fish and frog fish are pretty epic too!

Great work and awesome finds guys! Can't wait to hear more about the trip (including those noodles) and to see the videos too!
Last edited by YellowEye on Mon Mar 12, 2018 11:26 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: ThThTh Invades Anilao, Philippines

Post by Scubie Doo » Mon Mar 12, 2018 11:20 am

Thanks YE, we needed your wide angle magic out there :)


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Re: ThThTh Invades Anilao, Philippines

Post by Gdog » Mon Mar 12, 2018 11:24 am

stphnmartin wrote:Just when I was getting my cold water diving legs back you had to go and make this post! Incredible photos! Crazy good! Dang, want to be back there now.

I'll have my video of the trip done in a couple months.

Man, I can't wait to see Vals video, and your video! Can you put a rush on it, or is there no rushing perfection?!

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Re: ThThTh Invades Anilao, Philippines

Post by Gdog » Mon Mar 12, 2018 11:26 am

YellowEye wrote:Woot, woot! Great photos and report guys! So sorry we missed it... sounds like a trip of a lifetime!

Jesse -- I especially love your Porcelain anemone crab, the pic of the two coleman shrimp on urchin, the clownfish snaps, the lionfish in profile, and the banded pipefish. Wow!

GDog -- awesome, awesome sea horse! I see a lot of photos of these sea horses on online forums and facebook groups, and yours rises to the top :) Outstanding. Your amenone fish and frog fish are pretty epic too!

Great work and awesome finds guys! Can't wait to hear more about the trip (including those noodles) and to see the video too!

Eric, it was the trip of a lifetime! Thats what we were saying. And if you noticed, there werent many WA shots. Thats cuz we needed you along!
Thanks for the compliments!

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Jan K
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Re: ThThTh Invades Anilao, Philippines

Post by Jan K » Mon Mar 12, 2018 12:23 pm

Well, you guys certainly covered the whole spectrum of critters in that part of the world.
No need to go now, I just can sit back and enjoy this. If I went in person, I could not possibly see even fraction of what you captured so well.
Are going to dive in our cold, murky waters after this ?
Congratulations!
Great job.

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Re: ThThTh Invades Anilao, Philippines

Post by Scubie Doo » Mon Mar 12, 2018 1:42 pm

Jan K wrote:Well, you guys certainly covered the whole spectrum of critters in that part of the world.
No need to go now, I just can sit back and enjoy this. If I went in person, I could not possibly see even fraction of what you captured so well.
Are going to dive in our cold, murky waters after this ?
Congratulations!
Great job.



Jan, thanks. People think I’m crazy, but I love our cold and dark waters. My restrictive dry suit makes me feel safe and cozy. So “yes” I will dive these puget sound waters. :-)


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Re: ThThTh Invades Anilao, Philippines

Post by jmartel » Mon Mar 12, 2018 2:10 pm

Great photos, guys. Anilao and Lembeh are high up on my list. I was in Palau at the same time you guys were down there.

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Re: ThThTh Invades Anilao, Philippines

Post by Sharkb8 » Mon Mar 12, 2018 5:55 pm

Absolutely amazing photos! Can’t wait to see the video work also. Anilao is one of several choices for my 40th bday trip next year if we can save up enough.....pretty sure this report seals the deal!
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Re: ThThTh Invades Anilao, Philippines

Post by oldsalt » Mon Mar 12, 2018 6:42 pm

While I have dived PI a few times while deployed in the navy (1966-1990), you saw so much more than I saw. You mentioned Pong with his thick accent. When I am in a situation in which I struggle to understand, I realize it is because the speaker speaks my language better than I speak his. What a marvelous adventure. I will continue to follow your postings.
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Re: ThThTh Invades Anilao, Philippines

Post by ScubaJess » Mon Mar 12, 2018 6:53 pm

Man you guys are so cool!!!! I cannot believe how many incredibly neat sea critters you saw!!! Also nice schedule you guys are diehards! :joshsmith: :joshsmith: :eric: :luv: :taco:

Really great report and photos!! :luv: I love all the colors. Topside looks really fun too! What was in the noodles?

Those Sea horses are soooooo cool and all those shrimp! WOW I really want to go there now :)

Looking forward to the videos from Stephen & Val. :popcorn:
Live Long And Prosper!!!

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Re: ThThTh Invades Anilao, Philippines

Post by theonly_JT » Mon Mar 12, 2018 8:46 pm

Ahhhh!!! that all looks sooo incredible... guys i'll be adding Anilao to my dive bucket list... just gotta finish this pesky medical school stuff first I suppose. :rofl:
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Re: ThThTh Invades Anilao, Philippines

Post by Vjw » Tue Mar 13, 2018 12:23 am

Absolutely stunning photos!!! Excellent recap of the trip and our awesome diving schedule! I’m so glad I got to go with you guys and see all these crazy shaped critters! It was truly wonderful. Thanks for posting them all!

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Re: ThThTh Invades Anilao, Philippines

Post by Scubak » Thu Mar 15, 2018 8:06 am

Wow! Just WOW!!!
What an amazing trip! Now I will have to add that to the bucket list for sure!!!
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Re: ThThTh Invades Anilao, Philippines

Post by tykeal » Tue Mar 20, 2018 11:52 am

That's an amazing trip report!

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Re: ThThTh Invades Anilao, Philippines

Post by Vjw » Sun May 13, 2018 11:49 pm

Greetings everyone - here's a 5 minute video of the epic creatures we saw in Anilao this February. My favorite is still the blue ring octopus, but I like the turtle at the end alot too! Enjoy!


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