Friday, October 25, 2013


Bad news first: I just finished my last dives of my year in SE Asia :(

Good news: IT WAS AWESOME! Sabang is a small town in Puerto Galera, approximately 3 hours south of Manila. The diving was great and we found an amazing dive shop that caters to backpackers and gave us a great deal on diving and renting a camera. Krista's underwater camera broke, and my underwater housing still has a busted O-ring, so it was a delight to be back in the water and able to take photos.

The town itself was tiny and a bit seedy - it's known for the diving and the girlie bars. However, it's also safe and we never stayed out late since we were doing so many early dives. Here are some photos that will help show all the lovely things we saw!

Giant trevalies playing in the current at Canyons

beautiful coral formations


massive frogfish

Alma Jane Wreck

crazy artichoke-looking corals


school of catfish??

lovely worms

SEAHORSE! He has some babies in his belly :)

It was really bittersweet to realize that I'm done with tropical diving for the near future - it's been more than a hobby and more than a habit. It's been my livelihood and driving passion for the last year, and I've seen so many beautiful things in Thailand, Indonesia, Cambodia, and the Philippines. I've been so lucky and blessed to be out here with friends and family, and I can't imagine a better way to explore SE Asia. Thanks to everyone who has read my blog and supported me from wherever you are - it's greatly appreciated! Now that my diving has wrapped up, it's time to focus on my last adventure before the flight home (and a whole series of new adventures).

We are off to Hong Kong now for 4 days, and then HOME! HOME HOME HOME! Crazy how the time has flown :)

Friday, October 18, 2013

Wrecking Coron, Palawan

Hi from the Philippines! I'm sorry for not updating more often but Internet has been a rare commodity in the last week and a half. On October 10, Krista and I flew from Bali to Manila to meet Lara, Wyatt, Emma, Leah, and Andrea. Together we went to Boracay and Palawan. 

Boracay is a small island that is practically all beach, but we arrived during a typhoon so weren't able to dive and take full advantage. The snorkeling was great - lots of health corals and fish, eels and razor shrimp fish. We also saw a fire show one night and generally relaxed. It was quite the island paradise! Lara visited Boracay 5 years ago and was surprised by how much more developed it is now, and I can only imagine how much more crowded it will be in a few more years...

Then we were off to Palawan and DIVING!! It's one of the top spots in the world for wreck diving and after 6 dives,  I can see why - there are 10-11 Japanese ships from WWII that were sunk from 42 meters deep to the surface (all shallower than around 140 feet, within recreational dive limits). They are SPECTACULAR. The shops are still in great condition and have huge passageways that are dive able and take you into the heart of the engine rooms, decks, and more. These photos aren't great because we used a GoPro and have to take stills from the videos to get really high quality, but you can imagine how incredible it felt to dive through these husks of amazing war ships. WOWWW!! They are also hosts to very healthy corals and that's very cool as well :)

We also spent the day at the most beautiful beach in the world! Well that's my judgement anyways - the sand was pure white and there was great snorkeling just a 2 minute kick offshore. We also had some amazing grilled fish. I don't eat much seafood anymore but this was done island-style and was delicious!

Krista and I are heading to Puerto Galera soon to do more diving before we go to Hong Kong. Sadly, everyone else is heading back to the States in the next two days so we'll be flying solo... It's been a whirlwind Philippines trip and it was so fun to see some of my CA friends before I go home. It's helping to ease the transition a bit and I'm getting excited for the next two weeks and then heading back to California!

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Dragons and Diving

Komodo is really wonderful! Our dive trip was everything we hoped for - lots of current, stunning corals everywhere, and some beautiful big stuff as well. We saw a manta and many white and black-tipped reef sharks, as well as a bamboo shark, turtles, nudibranchs, crocodilefish, mandarinfish, ribbon eels, and more. Sadly my camera is out of commission and Krista's wasn't able to capture all the variety of color and life, but here is a sampling of some of the best pictures we took.

Crocodilefish! Sorry it's upside down...
Blue spotted ray
Teeny baby boxfish!
Anemone shrimp in the middle of the photo
Kulh's stingray
"Rave" Nudibranch
We did a total of 10 dive together in Komodo, and I did 3 additional ones before Krista arrived. I think working here would be exhausting since I was very tired after only 5 days of fun diving! Our liveaboard was tiny - we had 6 customers and 2 staff, as well as the boat crew. Food was AMAZING, the others on the boat were a lot of fun, and we all had a wonderful time. Plus we saw Komodo dragons - what more could we want?
Mama lizard

Well... the boat didn't have any freshwater shower so we didn't smell our best... but that's part of the experience, right?

Now we're off to Bali for a night and then the Philippines to meet up with Lara, Wyatt, a few other friends, and travel a bit around the islands! We're going to get in more diving as well so stay tuned for photos and updates!

Thursday, October 3, 2013



I never thought this day would come!! I can't believe I'm here and even after doing 3 amazing dives, it hasn't hit me that I am in Labuan Bajo and diving some of the most beautiful sites in the world. What an amazing world!

It's nice to be with Wicked again - I feel like part of the family already. The first night I went to a big staff celebration for the end of the busy season, and all the Indonesia staff were dancing and partying. Very fun! Dani and Anna trained me in Khao Lak and have been working here, so it was great connecting with them again. They are truly lovely people and might visit in California!!  Mom and Dad, you have to meet them - they are two of the loveliest people I've ever met and have been nothing but kind and welcoming to me from day 1.
Rooftop hangout at Wicked! The view is spectacular and faces sunset! (Scroll down for sunset photo from the roof)


All my friends from Khao Lak - Bas, Dani, Anna, and Ricky
boats in the harbor
I flew here on an epic overnight sleeping-in-airport journey and arrived to see this stunning view from the Wicked Diving shop.  Yesterday I went on 3 dives and saw a grey reef shark, adult bamboo shark, and 2+ meter white tip reef sharks. I also saw a manta, two turtles, and leafy scorpionfish. HOW AMAZING IS THIS PLACE?! The current was so strong that at points I was holding onto my guide or a rock just to keep from flying across the dive site, and I actually saw other dives getting pushed around like they were in a washing machine.

Krista just arrived today and we are going on an epic 4-day diving binge before we head to the Philippines. Krista did her divemaster recently and was a scientific diver with me at Stanford. We also lived together for 6 months and she is great!! It's a taste of home and good for easing me back to California life, since I'll be home in a month (October 30) and will have to adjust to the real world again.
sunset from the roof at Wicked
I can't describe with words how special the diving is here. My camera O-ring is busted but Krista has an underwater camera so don't worry - I will still have photos to post. I'll update again when I have photos that will stun and amaze you :)

Krista and I! Expect lots more photos

Friday, September 13, 2013

Pics Speak for Themselves

The island is still a dream come true. We haven't found many seahorses, but I've seen lots of new things and the people are absolutely wonderful. I've attached pictures that give a sampling of what I've been doing. I'm currently booking my ticket to Labuan Bajo to do a liveaboard dive trip and some day dives with Wicked Diving in Komodo National Park. I'll be meeting up with my good friend Krista, who just earned her divemaster in California, and we'll be diving up a storm in Indonesia and in the Philippines. Can't wait! I'll be on the island until it's time for me to fly at the very end of September.
pregnant male (see the pouch?)

Fighting with the transect poles

hauling tanks = old man face

hijinks :)

Uly wanted a snack



lovely corals and sponges

we're professionals

miles and miles of healthy corals at some sites