After about 20 hours of flights from San Francisco to Honolulu to Guam to Manila, an overnight stay in Manila, a three hour ride in a van, and a one hour boat ride, we finally arrived at the Atlantis Dive Resort in Puerto Galera yesterday afternoon (Tuesday, April 7).
I have not spent much time here, but everyone on the expedition seems really excited to be at this location. The Atlantis Resort seems to have gone all out to accommodate the unique needs of our scientific research teams.
We have a large section of the dining area reserved for examining and processing marine specimens that we bring in — a very curious sight for tourists staying at the resort having their breakfast!
The dive shop seems world-class and more than able to handle the amount of diving gear we’ve brought with us, including elaborate re-breather apparatus for deeper dives. The boats that take us out on dives are just a few steps from the resort, which if you have ever waddled around wearing scuba gear is a huge benefit. And the kitchen staff have been very accommodating of our unique meal and drink needs, so we can stay fed and healthy for our long stay here.
We’re actually in the nearby town of Sabang, which has a huge sign at the port that indicates that we’ve chosen the right place to make our temporary home.
Yesterday afternoon, after settling into the room, I had my first real snorkel outing with Lindzy Bivens, also from Teacher Youth Education. Lindzy is an accomplished distance swimmer and experienced snorkeler. So appreciated her help in getting used to being in the water. An obvious example of my newb-ness was that I had my wetsuit on backwards!
Anyway, after a few minutes of testing our gear, we spent a happy 45 minutes just checking out what could be seen just a few meters from shore. We were blown away by the lush coral and aquatic flora despite being directly in the path of very active boat traffic lanes. We saw beautiful sea stars, tiny crabs hustling along in their protective shells, iridescent fish darting around, and a lot more.
This morning is our first real snorkel outing with some of the researchers, including Rich Mooi. Can’t wait to find out what we’ll discover!
Meanwhile, our researchers are every day discovering new species with each dive. I look forward to sharing more about their most exciting finds. Stay tuned!