Finally saw my first turtle, diving certification and monthly budget

Well, it’s a rather soggy Sunday afternoon, and my lazy butt has just noticed that I haven’t put up a new blog post in quite a few days.  I had – at one point or another – made a solemn oath that I would put more effort in maintaining my blog, but once again, my “Squirrel!” level of attention (that’s an “Up” movie reference, by the way) has once again worked against me.  Keeping the video part of this whole adventure is actually a lot easier than the actual blogging.  I can only assume that the whole three dimensional aspect of  putting a movie together is more stimulating than staring at the big blank page on my computer monitor.


As  the title implies, I have FINALLY made my first sea turtle sighting!  The momentous occasion occurred this past Wednesday at our weekly potluck right on the beach at the Dauin marine sanctuary.  Even though she works until at least 1 PM every day, Michell and I still make the effort to make it down to the picnic to partake in both the good (usually home-cooked) food and the pleasant company. It has been raining pretty bad for the past few weeks (with teh occasional typhoon possiblity looming), so we hadn’t been down for a while.  Luckily, the weather held out and it was a pretty great day!  Since we were late, the Thai soup cooked up by Mario (who insists he is not a chef – yeah, right….) was already gone, but I was still able to woof down a good amount of food before donning my snorkel, mask and fins and stumbling down to the water.  It was pretty calm, considering the still unkempt weather, but I did not that the water was a little cooler than usual. Not testicle-constricting cold like it tends to be in New England but cool nonetheless.  Swimming out only about 15 meters, I happened upon a small coral formation that was topped by a sea anemone and its accompanying family of clownfish (Nemo’s!).  I filmed some great footage (see the vid, below) there and then swam out a bit more, where I FINALLY spotted a sea turtle!  It was actually a bit anticlimatic, as the little guy (I think it was a juvenile) couldn’t get away from my pale, pasty self fast enough.  I had jerked the camera around to get it, and I didn’t know (until later that afternoon) if I had gotten it on film or not.  Thankfully, I did.  You can also see towards the end of the video that a very small lionfish has also made the sea anemone it’s home.  The adults (and kids, for that matter) can hit you with a nasty sting from their dorsal fins, but they are still a beautiful fish.  Needless to say, I was very glad to get back to the house and see that I had gotten both the turtle and a bunch of other good footage on my trusty GoPro Hero 2.   🙂

You can see the baby lionfish up towards the left of the anemone.
There he goes!!!

I also spoke to a guy over at Bongo-Bongo dive center about getting open water certified.  It’s going to cost about 15,000 pesos for certification (about $350 USD) but I am hoping to do a good video on the process and maybe get some discounts on further certifications (up to divemaster/dive instructor) in return for doing some Youtube/blog advertising.  Bongo-Bongo is actually in the hands of the brother of Michell’s immediate supervisor, so it was fun to learn a few of her boss’s nicknames while growing up.

We are going to be migrating our blog over to WordPress.  Blogger is great, but there are some custom things that I want to do that I can’t do with our present platform.  I have absolutely no idea what I am doing, but Michell referred the IT guy from her work who is helping me/actually doing all the technical stuff.  I got a domain (, hosting (HawkHost) for a year, and I think Rob (our IT guy) is already lining up the migration.

A number of Youtube viewers have asked how much it costs to live here.  The answer, of course, is “It depends,” but I took it upon myself to track every single expense that was incurred during the month of July.  Up to July 25, it has been $969.  My monthly budget is about $1500, so it looks like we are going to have a surplus yet again.   Which is pretty great!

OK, that’s enough for today.  Check out the video, and know that I will try to stay on top of the blog.  I would like to see it thrive over time, but I guess I am the only one who will ultimately decide whether it flourishes or withers away.

Take care, ya’all!

Comments 10

    1. Post

      Thanks, Gail! We will try to keep them coming. I will be doing some more travel videos in a just a little bit. Although the travel stuff requires a lot of work (shooting and editing) and don’t get too many views, they are still my favorites.


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  1. Great video! Do you know how expensive some of those small fish are in pet stores here in US ? But it is wonderful seeing them in their native environment. Do you have any friends or know of anyone there who has a salt water aquarium? And I know you keep calling the area where you dive a sanctuary, so I assume that taking a few home as pets would probably not be acceptable.

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      Yeah, Dauin Marine Sanctuary is strictly protected – no fishing or stepping on coral and a small fee from divers goes to it’s ongoing maintenance. It’s a wonderful place. If you want the map of how to get down there, check out the map to the sanctuary HERE. Thanks, Lee!

  2. i’ve been there when we were doing fish identification. almost died actually because i stayed in the water snorkeling for about 2.5 hours both my gastrocnemius muscles cramped but luckily i was already near the shore so i was able to swim dramatically to safety. you where pretty close to those trigger fishes also do some scuba diving from the 80 feet drop zone, you can find some barracudas there 🙂

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      Thanks, Armin. Yeah, I have some footage of a barracuda there and a sea snake. Getting a cramp like that can be deadly – nice to see you survived!! Too bad teh coral got so beat up from Sendong. The old reef on the eastern side of Apo Island was COMPLETELY destroyed by that storm. 🙁

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