Shooting and Scuba Blog

  • Dona Marilyn Wreck dive: Malapascua Philippines

    Dona Marilyn Wreck dive

    Diving from Malapascua Philippines with Thresher Shark Resort

    Off we go from Thresher Shark resort again loading directly from the beech via a gang plank, just so easy.
    I had a awesome Thresher Shark dawn dive getting back around 7am this morning check out my blog on that Dawn Thresher Shark dive 
    Then I had a nice brewed coffee and a great breakfast and chilled for couple of hours then at 9:30am it's time to head out to the wreck of the Dona Marilyn sitting in 32m. She was a inter-island ferry that sank on 24th October 1988 while sailing from Manila to Tacloban City.
    looks like a big wreck.
    Dona Marilyn Wreck dive Dive map of the Dona Marilyn Wreck
    Looking forward to this dive. Should take us about 90mins to get there.
    My Filipino dive master guide Vic has checked I have everything I need and he completed the boat briefing and now it is time to sit back enjoy my coffee and chill as we head to the dive site.
    I will be diving 32 Nitrox EAN on the first dive then air for the second.
    The dive boat is a traditional Filipino out rigger design with a friendly crew I met earlier in the week. One of the crew used to live in York... it's a small world.
    I would recommend a dry bag for your dry gear though as these boat are not very dry, water seems to come from every direction, including through the deck lol catching you out every now and then!!
    Sea conditions look good and it's a nice 32 Dec C.
    A very pleasant cruise out to the dive site watching a few of the smaller 7000 Filipino islands on the horizon.
    I have to say I am having a good time here at Thresher Cove Resort on Malapascua island. It was worth the 3 hour drive from Cebu to Maya Port and 1 hour crossing from Maya Port to Malapascua island. This is my last day diving and I wish I was staying longer. I have met some very friendly people during my stay. But I will be back as we are planning a TAL Scuba Divers club trip / holiday.
    We arrived on time and spent 10..15mins dragging with an anchor and using visual reference points of islands in the distance to find the wreck.... real old school as No one on the island seems to use GPS.
    Once the wreck was secured we descended down the line with a very strong current hand over hand..
    The wreck sits on the bottom at 32m rising up to about 18m from the surface.
    Vic my Filipino dive master and guide kept a careful eye on me as I penetrated through this large 100m wreck.
    Dona Marilyn Wreck
    She was caught in typhoon Unsang and sank leaving 389 dead, there were only 147 survivors.
    The Doña Marilyn was the sister ship to the Doña Paz which was the deadliest every none wartime maritime disaster.
    She is 100m long and sits on the bottom lying on her starboard side. Covered in encrusted coral and old fishing nets she has a bit of a spooky feel.
    We enter the wreck and made our way through her to the other end staying at around 25..30m for most of the penetration. Interesting Wreck but she is starting to break up so this is an advanced penetration and I would recommendation that most divers stay on the out side.
    When we reached the end of the wreck and turned Vic pointed out a shark hiding under a plate, though I can not remember what he said it was called, anyone know the name of this shark?
    Shark found hiding on Dona Marilyn Wreck
    We also saw a few large rays before leading me back along the shallow side of the wreck showing me several more interesting nudibranch on the way back to the shot line.
    Dona Marilyn Wreck Nudibranch Dona Marilyn Wreck Nudibranch
    Viz was about 15m and diving on 32 EAN we just managed to stay out of Deco during our 34m 33min dive.
    We ascended up the line in strong current to do our stops before exiting the water up the ladder or rather stairs between the out riggers and hull.
    Filipino Dive Boat Steps
    For the second dive we are going to do he 30m long tunnel on Cato island.. Another good dive see my blog on Cato island.
    All in all a good dive and worth the trip
    If you would like to join us on one of our holidays check out our trip page... or join our dive club... TAL Divers  check out our holiday pages...
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    Trevor - TAL Scuba
  • Scuba Diving with Thresher Sharks day 2: Malapascua Island - Philippines

    Update - Up close with Thresher Sharks in the Philippines, Malapascua Island

    I did the Thresher Dive again this morning and (See my previous blog, Scuba diving with Thresher Sharks)

    Wow Just amazing... Awesome...

    Thresher Shark coming straight at me Head on Thresher Shark Malapascua
    I did a second Thresher Shark dive this morning with Thresher Cove Resort and saw at least 5 Thresher Sharks of various sizes.. probably about 8, it is hard to keep track as they appear and then slip back into the dark water..
    They came so close about 1m straight at me and over the top.... so close I think I could have touched them...
    Was just amazing to see them so close up... so excited I forgot to take pictures to start with...
    Coming from.the left...the right even left and right at the same time...
    One came straight at me..about 1m from me and when I moved the camera did a hard left and powered away at great speed... so agile... such acceleration... you have got to come and see this for yourself...
    I took these with my Olmpus TG5 no strobe or light, I have so got to go back with a Go Pro or better, the dawn light is poor, they were just so close.
    Thresher Shark at Monad Shoal Thresher Shark at Monad Shoal

    I have got to do this again...
    why not join us... check out our holiday pages...
  • Scuba Diving with Thresher Sharks: Malapascua Island - Philippines

    Time to see Thrashed Sharks up close and personnal..

    Dawn dive with Thrashed Cove Dive centre here on Malapascua Island, Philippines

    Dive Site Monad Shoal

    Malapascua is the only place in the world you can expect to see pellagic Thrasher Sharks who rarely come shallow enough for scuba divers to see. They normally spend there time at 200 to 600m. Thresher Sharks grow to almost 4m in length including their over sized shocking tail! These graceful sharks stun their pray with their tails, nature is so amazing.

    Up early with the cockerels

    I can hear 3 or 4 cockerels in the back ground making a right din and off to the dive centre I go.. boat should be here any min.

    Time to enjoy the Sun rise

    Dawn at Thresher Cove

    Fingers crossed I get to see Thresher Sharks today... really looking forward to seeing Thresher Sharks up close and personal.

    As the tide is out we are taking a tender out to the dive boat from the beach. The crew have loaded and assembled our scuba kit... I analysed my tank.. Nitro EAN 32...

    There only 4 of us diving this morning with 2 dive master and 5 boat crew.

    Time for a cup of tea while we travel out to Monad Shoal, Only about 15mins to the dive site.

    To see Thresher Sharks it needs to be a dawn dive as they arrive at the cleaning station at dawn as the cleaner fish awake and go to work. Then they descent back into deep water.

    Camera is ready computer set to Nitrox, gear checked... fingers crossed

    Monad Shoal Map

     

    Kitted up... excited.. Here we go.. Jumped in with Vic my Filipino guide and descended slowly to about 28m hung around for 10min and WOW my first Thresher Shark at about 32m... awesome... really close maybe 2m but I made the novice mistake of not prepping my camera on the way down.. about another 10mins and my second sighting and another Thresher swam around us a few times really good sighting... guess I will be signing up to dive again tomorrow as soon as I get back to Thresher Cove, Just have to get some more awesome Thresher Shark sightings tomorrow morning. It has to be good to make me want to get up for another dawn dive!

    Must bring my Prism rebreather next time so I can stay longer.

    Thresher Sharks

    The Thresher Sharks swim up from 200..300m to the cleaning station to be cleaned in the early hours... Vic tells me you have a 95% chance of seeing Thresher Sharks every morning. I talked to others on the boat and they had also seen sharks the day before. No flash photography so a Go pro or similar would be a good choice.

    Pelagic threshers sharks are one of 3 species of thresher sharks. They’re more tropical than the common and big eye thresher species, and only found in the Indian and Pacific oceans.

    Thresher Cove Malapascua, Philippines

    Here we are back at Thrashed Cove

    Returning to Thresher Cove

    Looking forward to doing it again tomorrow.

    Now where is that fresh brewed coffee and breakfast

    Check out day 2 update on Awesome Thresher Shark dive

    Read about scuba diving Gato Island with Thresher Cove resort

    why not join us... check out our holiday pages...

    Trevor - TAL Scuba

     

     

  • Scuba Dive site Gato Island: Malapascua Island - Philippines

    Dive boat at Thresher CoveDive site Gato Island with Thresher Cove Resort - Home of the Thresher Shark

    A June day scuba diving with the team at Thresher Cove Resort and Dive Centre on Malapascua Island in the Philippines, home of the Thresher shark. Heading out today to see white tip sharks at Gato Island which is a marine reserve and I am told a paradise for photographers. I left the Thresher Cove Dive centre, boarding directly from the resorts beach onto the local dive boat via a ramp and we headed off to dive site Gato island for 2 dives. This is about a 45min boat trip. I was offered Tea, coffee and water on board. When we booked the dive the day before we were asked to choose a sandwich or salad, I opted for Tuna salad.

    My Aqualung and Apex dive Kit was assembled and waiting for me on board. Vic my Dive Master and guide introduced him-self and made me aware of the safety gear, drinks and loo extra. It was a very brief briefing but I am sure a much more in-depth briefing would have been given for a less experienced diver. A good start to the day.

    Gato Island Dive MapI am looking forward to diving Gato Island as it sounds fun, especially the tunnel! My DM made sure I had a torch and said I would need it! Conditions are good, 32c. Slightly lumpy sea conditions in open sea and these traditional local out rigger boats are not the most stable and definitely not dry lol as spray surprised me once or twice. Good job I am water proof.

    Arriving at Gato Island, we jumped in for the first dive dropping down to 20m for a 45min dive. Viz about 10 to 15m and a bit milky as the weather has not been great for the previous day.

    Lots of Nudibranch, Cuttle Fish, Puffer Fish, Sea Snakes, Moray Eels and more.

    Surfaced close to the island and then swam out a few mins for the boat to pick us up, the usual ladder that drops down between the boats side floats and the hull.

    Removed fins and walked up the steps in full kit. Crew lending a hand though you do not really need the help – it was more like walking up steps than a ladder.

    During an hour surface interval with lunch I had a really nice Tuna salad sandwich I had chosen before the dive (very fresh and tasty). Had a coffee and a chat with Vic, dive master / guide who has worked for Thresher for about 4 years since they started. He has many years’ experience with other local dive centres before joining Thresher Cove Resort.

    white-tip reef shark Malapascua Island Thrashed Cove

    Vic’s a really nice Filipino who speaks very good English, the rest of the crew were helpful and did all the re tanking and putting together kit before and between dives... Just sit back and enjoy the day.

    The second dive was through a tunnel that runs right through the island, from one side to the other, about 30m I guess. Saw a great big lobster and some White Sea Horses which were awesome. Unfortunately the current was strong, so we could not go see the Black or Yellow Sea Horses. I did see some really interesting friendly Cuttle Fish, White Sharks, Lion Fish, Nudibranch, Puffer Fish and much more! We then swam around the island and back to the boat... A really pleasant dive that I enjoyed. Viz on this dive about 5 to 10m but much better in the tunnel. I could easily have spent another half hour in the tunnel and would like to dive it again and explore more.

    Back on the boat to Thresher Cove, to be dropped off and enjoy the rest of the day. We left about 10am and arrived back around 14:30. The crew again unloaded all the kit and washed it, before hanging it all to dry. I watched them throughout the day and they took great care of every ones kit, better than a lot of boats I have been on. A really great team.

    Dawn at Thresher CoveTomorrow it's a 4:30am start to go see Thrasher Sharks at the cleaning station.... I cannot wait!

    why not join us... check out our holiday pages...

    Trevor - TAL Scuba

     

  • Gunpower Tactical Package

    Following on from Yesterday's post about the new Gunpower Air Rifles, we now have a first look image for the Tactical Package. Available as an upgrade when purchasing a new Gunpower Rifle, each Tactical Package includes the Picatinny Rail and vertical foregrip (shown here attached to a Gunpower Stealth rifle). Whilst the Enfield sight and laser shown in this first-look are sadly not included in the package, they give a great idea of the variety of configurations available on these lightweight and versatile Air Rifles.

    Gunpower Tactical Package
    Order your rifle here and remember to select the upgrade when purchasing!

  • Gunpower Airguns available now

    I've had my eye on Gunpower airguns after seeing John Patton reviewing the Airforce Talon SS over at The Gun Collective, what caught my eye was the breech loading mechanism, built in silencer (Our US cousins sadly are much more restricted on external silencers than we are) and the stripped-down design of the rifle. Like the FX Impact we're starting to see more and more rifles hitting the market with drastically reduced weight, which makes HFT style shooting, or accessibility to new shooters much much better. I myself love my own rifle, but lugging around 7kg of rifle during an HFT shoot can really take it's toll.

    Gunpower however, are offering a range of rifles / pistols in much lighter weight brackets. All of which can have their bottles removed for take-down transportation and unlike their previous models, feature a few comforts like an integrated pressure gauge. Gunpower have covered most bases here, with a variety of rifles for different needs, including their very own target rifle "The Edge" which features a dry firing system, as well as short and long barrel rifles for use in hunting, competition or plinking.

    One much sought after upgrade on these rifles is a picatinny quad railed handguard. Now for anyone that know's me, picatinny is the gold standard in attachment systems for optics and accessories, so it's great to see that this add-on will be available as an optional extra when ordering rifles from our supplier. The rails do have to be machined to fit the model of rifle ordered, so these will NOT be available separately.

    I'm looking forward to a close-up look at these when the become available in the next few weeks, so if these whet your appetite for something lightweight and flexible then you can order yours right now here at Shootingandscuba

  • Gun video's under attack from YouTube

    I've just been made aware that in the last 24 hours, several YouTube channels including Military Arms Channel (link produces a live error from disabled), Airgungear.co.uk and even Daystate have all been disabled, removed or deleted.

    At the time of writing, our own ShootingandScuba channel is still live and being downloaded in case, however we don't yet know the full scope of these deletions.

    Has YouTube finally shown it's nature and gone full anti-gun? We'll all know soon enough.

  • Update on Air Force One Airguns!

    We've had a pleasing update from the UK distributor of Air Force One airguns, to confirm that after the Chinese Lunar New Year, they expect their first shipment to leave China and start making their way to the UK. Pre-order customers have already been notified and there's still time to reserve Airguns from the selection we have on order.

    If these are proven to be popular, it's been suggested that we could see more variations of this kind of Airguns heading our way!

  • Daystate .308 Beaumont Grizzly

    New Daystate?

    I spotted this in my news feed late yesterday and couldn't resist sharing it. There are a few things that I spotted throughout the video that I'm genuinely excited about. First off, like the Tsar before it, this seems to be an outreach rifle (this time between Daystate and Beaumont Technologies) that takes a great rifle (in this case the Beaumont AST) and add's Daystate's experience and refinements to it.

    First Impressions

    My first reactions are to draw attention to that outstanding stock design. If anyone know's my preference in rifles, they will know that the profile, adjustable comb height and long forward length are all massive ticks in the box for me. Also worth noting is that Beaumont use integrated Picatinny rails on their action block. I'm crossing my fingers, toes and anything else applicable that we're going to be seeing this happening more and more on Air Rifles. I've tried to avoid repeating the video content here, so that you can see for yourself what's on offer.

    A UK Version?

    I have no idea whether we'll see a UK version in .308 (or .303 for that matter). Personally if I can get this in a UK legal power in .177 I'll definitely be after one myself!

  • Umarex confirm Glock licence

    Over on Umarex.de and Armex's Twitter and Facebook account they have confirmed that Umarex have successfully negotiated a licence to produce Airguns based on Glock firearms.

    As a big fan of their licenced HK pistols and how far they have advanced in recent years, this is a welcome move that will likely see current Gen 4 Glocks and maybe even a Gen 5 hitting the market. If they can fill the frame with the same advanced internals as the recent blowback HK USP then these will be super high quality and realistic airguns.

    Personally, I can't wait!

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