Friday, May 30, 2008

RIP FAYE

Still haven't finished my holiday post, perhaps on the weekend. In the interim some random stuff this week....................


  • I just teared up on the phone when one of my elderly customers called to tell us her daughter passed away on mothers day. This client herself was on her death bed a couple of months ago, the same daughter called up to tell us & ended up crying on the phone to me for 1/2hr. I sent a get well card & got all the guys to sign it. I've never met either of them in person, but spoken to them many times over the past 15 year's I have been here. Both mother & daughter were always up for a joke & a laugh. It's always sad when a parent outlives a child. RIP Faye.


  • I am hoping to get to Body Balance tonight! I think it has been 6 weeks since I've been - my foot injury made it difficult to do some of the yoga & balance moves; & I've had a dodgy neck too. I made it worse on holidays doing backward rolls of the side of the boat while diving (water entry method) & have been seeing my new chiro twice weekly since I've been back. I'm almost back to full movement. If the chiro says no, I will go & tready or bike at the gym instead.


  • I went for an enormous walk on Tuesday night with (my PT friend) Kym who is recovering from surgery & cant do her regular training for a while yet. I just measured it on the melways, & we walked just over 10kms!!! No wonder I got a blister on the side of my heel. We'd not seen each other in person for months so the time flew as we had plenty to catch up on.


  • I am loving a new toy I bought from my Chiro. It's called a Posture Pole & it Rocks!!! it is a semi circle pole that you lay on your back on & it opens out your chest & shoulders & realigns your back. For people who work at a desk & find their shoulders creeping up & forward, & neck & head creeping forward all day it is awesome! It certainly beats using 2 tennis balls in a sock & laying on them & having to move them along your spine every couple of minutes. Now I can do the lot in one hit. I already feel like I can breathe deeper.


  • My cold sort of came back, but in my chest this time: lots of chunky coughing (Sorry!). Seems to be subsiding & I only had one night with majorly cough interrupted sleep.


  • I'm getting my hair cut & coloured tomorrow..............I want to keep the length, but might let Alex have his way with everything else! My cuz is coming in too (she used to work there) so between the two of them, I'm hoping to have fabulous hair!


  • Who's excited about seeing the new SATC movie??? I am going with 2 girlfriends next Saturday. Should be a hoot. We are shouting ourselves with gold glass tix, but the only session we could get into was at 10.30am! We will consider it a champagne breakfast.

Hope you all have a fabulous weekend :0)

This is Rosy yesterday, when i first spotted her, she was perched on top of 2 x car batteries stacked on top of each other in the sunshine. Of course she had to move before I could snap her.


Tuesday, May 27, 2008

PRE HOLIDAY READING

I polished off 3 books from "the list" before I went on holidays..........

Looking for Alibrandi, Melina Marchetta– now I understand why my cuz said the book was better than the movie. But aren’t they always (the books I mean)? Some of the book didn’t make it into the film, & 2 of the characters were combined. I certainly understand the liberties taken & the film remains one of my all time favorites; the book held me captive from beginning to end.

5 stars

The Time Travellers Wife, Audrey Niffenegger – I struggled to finish this book & while I am glad I did, I found the Henry’s coming & going sometimes confusing & a little repetitive. Perhaps this will be better as a film?

3 stars.

GriEve, Lizzie Wilcock – This book moved me deeply & gave helpful insight into the anxiety & depression in adolescence & in particular self mutilation/harm. While I am by no means qualified to judge the accuracy of the “psychiatric” aspects of the subject, from my own experience of a close friend experiencing this illness, it rang true. This book was short listed for the Victorian Premiers Literary Awards Price for Young Adult Fiction 2006. It gives hope that mental illness is being more openly discussed. I hope that more compassion & understanding can be forthcoming.

5 Stars

Monday, May 26, 2008

PRELUDE

Our trip to the Philippines this year was special. We have been to the Boracay island a few times now; we learned how to scuba dive there in 2001, went back & did our advance open water dive course, & subsequently encouraged other friends to come to this paradise.

We had decided not to go back after our last visit March 2006 as it was becoming a more popular desitnation & considerably more commercialised; we also wanted to visit other countries & to vary our diving.

We received the following email on the 18th December 2006.

***longish post, grab a cuppa, hopefully you'll find it worth it in the end

Dear Friends

On Sunday the 10th of December Typhoon Seniang developed into a category 3 storm with winds up to 150 km/hr. As it swept through the central Philippines they eye of the storm formed and reached its maximum power as it passed directly over Boracay Island. Seniang was not expected to develop so quickly into such a powerful storm and what everybody hoped would not happen, happened; a direct hit by a storm which was just too powerful to pass by and be forgotten. The whole island is now recovering and repairing; some better than others. We at Fisheye Divers have also been hard hit by Seniang.

On Saturday night the crews of "Marcelina" and "Fisheye Divers" our two dive boats, took some provisions and prepared to spend the night aboard. As is usual procedure during approaching storms, all anchors are put out on long lines and the crews are ready to move when conditions dictate. In this case the boats were anchored at the southern end of Boracay which at that time was the best shelter around the island. If a storm is far away the wind usually comes from a steady direction but quick changes in direction indicate that the storm is closing in. By day break on Sunday the wind was shifting dangerously and the captains decided to move to the east of the island along with the majority of Boracay's hundreds of motorboats. The wind suddenly all but stopped and this moment was used to anchor in the much calmer eastern location. This proved to be the eye of the storm passing over head, the quiet lasted just 45 minutes before all hell broke loose.

The eye wall is where the strongest winds are found and after the deceptive lull the full fury was felt. Within moments waves up to 8m high picked up and crashed down capsizing and smashing boats as if they were toys. The smaller of our boats capsized and began drifting further from shore first, pounded by the waves, Alfredo and Ever hung on to the wreckage. Marcelina also capsized soon after and her 4 crew could do nothing to save her. Details are sketchy but we know that Fisheye was broken in pieces, the heavier parts sinking and the rest lost to the waves. Ever managed to make it to shore after spending 4 hours in the water beaten by the wreckage and the waves, Alfredo swam to land sooner. Both survived their ordeal with cuts and bruises only, thankfully.

Captain Bentot and his 3 crewmen managed to make it out of the capsized boat and finally onto land after a dangerous swim. Marcelina drifted away and after air and sea searches around the neighbouring islands on the following days, no trace has yet been found. She may have broken up and gone to the bottom although this would be unusual with this type of boat. It is strange that no wreckage has been found and we are hoping that something salvageable will show up in the coming days.

In one hour 90 % of all the boats on the island were smashed, sunk or drifted away. Unfortunately several boat men have not been as lucky as the 6 from Fisheye and around 15 are missing. By Friday several bodies had been washed up on the beaches and there is not much hope for the others. We are thankful that our men survived and all have recovered well after their ordeal. Our thoughts are with the families of the lost.

The picture on land is also disastrous. Few buildings on the island have been left undamaged. Many homes have been completely destroyed; others suffered major damage with many losing their roofs. Several resorts have also suffered heavy damage. Many large trees were downed and signboards and furniture tossed about and wrecked, several people were injured by debris and shattered glass. Electricity and phone services were cut off due to fallen posts. Power was restored after 3 days but is not functioning at 100%. The fresh water system also closed down, indeed the whole island was at a standstill for 3 days. No water, no ice, restaurants and bars closed and many, many displaced residents and tourists.

We on Boracay are in a way luckier than many parts of the Philippines which are battered by typhoons and landslides in that we have more means at our disposal to rebuild. It will take a great effort but we are ready to take on this task and bounce back. At Fisheye we hope to buy a boat similar in size to Fisheye before Christmas so that we can offer our guests dives around Boracay Island. We will also build another safari boat, but this will take time.Many of you came to Boracay especially to take diving trips aboard Marcelina and we know you all enjoyed our safaris. Unfortunately we will not be able to offer those trips during the first half of 2007, but we will work hard to have a similar and hopefully better boat ready before the end of next year. We would still love to see you during this coming season and will use all of our imagination to give you great dives anyway.


We hope you have a Happy and Safe Christmas


Best regards

Carlos, Peter and the Fisheye Team

"
How could we not go back & support our friends in rebuilding not only their business, but their lives?

Carlos' sister (also a good friend of my mate Kerryn's) co-ordinated a central fund for donations to help. We recieved this letter in August 2007

My name is Bentot Sedantes, I have worked at Fisheye Divers since November 1999 as a boatman and later as captain of the Marcelina. During typhoon Seniang Marcelina capsized and drifted away, I lost all my clothes, shoes, back-pack, cell phone and wallet. I received Pesos 5,000 from the money donated to Fisheye to replace some of my lost items. I am very grateful for your generosity and would like to say a big thank you. You have helped us a lot and we appreciate it very much. Thanks and Mabuhay!

Bentot.

My name is Alfredo Gabay, and I have been at Fisheye divers since March 1998 employed as captain of the dive boat. I live in Carabao Island with my wife and 4
children. Seniang blew away the roof of my house and the water damaged many things inside. During the typhoon I was on board the dive boat which capsized and sunk. I lost my back-pack with clothes, shoes and wallet. At home my kids lost all their school books and our t v and radio got wet. I received Pesos 9,000 from your donations: 4,000 to fix the roof, 3,000 for clothes and 2,000 for school supplies for the children. Thank you very much for helping my family, you are very kind! Good luck to you.

Alfredo.

My name is Harry Sioson and I work at Fisheye Divers since it opened in December 1997. The typhoon completely blew away my house so now I live with my sister. I received Pesos 15,000 from your kind donations. I have put the money in the bank and when I start to build a new house I will use the money to buy materials such as cement and hollow blocks. Many, many thanks for your help; we will always remember your generosity.

Harry.

My name is Elmer Manikan, I am Fisheye’s cook since March 2001. I live on the mainland and the typhoon took the roof of my house with it and everything inside got wet. I fixed the roof with the P.4,000 you so kindly donated. THANK YOU for giving me a new roof!

Elmer.

I am Ever Lou Gabay, boat man and I work at Fisheye since May 2002. I was on board the dive boat the night of the typhoon and lost my clothes (including everything I was wearing!), cell phone, wallet and shoes. At the same time the roof blew off my house and my chickens disappeared when they lost their roof! I got a P7,000 to replace my stuff and put a new roof on my house, plus Fisheye gave me a new cell phone. Still not sure about the chickens!
I want to say Thank you very much for your donation, it helped a lot. Salamat!!!!

Ever.
My name is Alberto “Abet” Dominggo, boat man. I work at Fisheye since November 1999. I also lost my clothes and my roof but I was lucky to survive the night floating in the terrible waves. I received P7,000 from your donations to fix my house and get some new clothes and I am very thankful to you. Maraming Salamat !

Abet.

I am Butch Sedantes, brother of captain Bentot, I work here since January 2003 as a boat man. I don’t have a house so I didn’t lose a roof but I lost my clothes, wallet and phone and spent the night swimming in the typhoon. I got a new phone from Fisheye and P3,000 to buy new clothes and slippers. Thank you very much for your help!!

Butch.

I am Eileene Guantia, secretary of Fisheye Divers since June 1998. A tree fell down and killed my pregnant cow. We used the cow in our rice fields so it’s a big loss to us. I am also pregnant and I am using the P.6,000 I received to pay my medical expenses. I am not sure if I can buy another cow but it’s more important to have a healthy baby. Thanks to your help I think everything will be fine. THANKS VERY MUCH.

Eileene.

I am Joaquin Galgo, mechanic on Marcelina since February 2006, I was on board Marcelina when she capsized and I nearly drowned but I am OK. I lost phone, wallet, clothes and shoes like the others. Thank you for the P5,000 donations, I used it to get a new phone and new clothes. Thank you very much.

Joaquin.


Wednesday, May 21, 2008

PHOTO POST

Hi all! We are back from our trip to the Philippines rested & rejuvenated, & despite being caught in between two tropical typhoons in week 2 creating crappy weather, we had a blast. Back on the weekend with more words, but here are some pic's.


The Filipino country side is very mountainous with tropical vegetation. Check out the colour of the water! We dived on 2nd world war wrecks around this area called Coron.


Magnificent Sunsets


We stayed overnight in this bay on the new Safari Boat "Maruja"


Before which, Carlos Zac & I took the rubber dingy for a sunset cruise up the mouth of the river




Plumbing Boy on the sunset cruise



Captain Bentot with one of the fish we caught on the Lures I chose!!! We brought them with us from Australia along with a couple of tubes of Vegemite which scored my mate Kerryn a free nights accommodation in a new hotel opening next year (the vegemite, not the lures)! We ate this beautiful fish within 2 hours of being caught. We had the most amazing sashimi imaginable.



The 2nd week was very wet due to typhoons on either side of the Philippines. The island was flooded for 5 days & we waded through this to get to our bungalow's. It was about ankle deep.



This is Mama Kitty & her 2 babies that took up residency on our porch finding our bag most comfy. They were to scaredy to pat, but Mama Kitty was lot more trusting (friendly?) after I scared off the Tom cat who I think was after a little jiggy jiggy.


Cheers. The only way to relax after a hard day of lying on my hammock avoiding the rain: the local beer.


Waves on the white beach in May???? This beach is usually dead flat & turquoise! Result of the Typhoon also.


Our friend & fearless diving instructor Carlos - pulling one of his favourite "photo faces"


Carlos' dive shop & our home away from home during the day on Boracay Island.



Plumbing boy again & me testing out the frame templates on my new camera.



My dear friend Kezza joined us from Hong Kong for the trip. We learned to dive together in 2000. Another of the template frames on my camera.

I hope everyone in blog land is well & will be catching up with you all now I can see over the stack of paper on my desk! XO













Saturday, May 3, 2008

GONE DIVING

The day has arrived, we are off to the Philippines this morning via Sydney. Made it to bed at 11.30pm last night & am up before the sun today (think the alarm was set for 4.30am!).

Yesterday we had a number of emergency plumbing jobs come in that sent the schedule we'd already done into chaos! Had to revise everything hence the late night. Anyhoo, on the home stretch now.

Back on the 18th of May. Hope you all keep happy, healthy, warm & safe!