The HUGYCUP ends

On the 18th of April the HUGYCUP competition ended.  8 weeks of shoot-out competition in which only photographers and videographers diving with Asia Divers could participate and take their chance to, maybe win, one of the big prizes. The total value of all prizes to be won is over 30000 Euros.  All participants have now the time to work on their pictures, adjust and select the very best ones ! The videographers can start to edit. Everyone has time until the 31st of July to send in their final selection of pictures. Judging will take place in august by an international jury of well-known underwater photographers and videographers. Award and prize giving will take place in Belgium on Saturday the 26th of September in presence of Mr. Allan Nash, managing director of El Galleon dive resort and Asia Divers. As organizer I would like to take this opportunity to thank all the staff at El Galleon and Asia Divers for a perfect service and good organization. It was a pleasure to see at all times everything going smooth and easy. Great diving, great food, great atmosphere and nice weather. Thanks and hope to see you all back again !!

To keep up with the weekly tradition of a Hugycup picture. This week’s highlight a 1 cm juvenile oriental sweetlip. When you find one, it looks like a fast fluttering little butterfly hiding in between the coral. A challenge for a picture.

Danny Van Belle, Organizer HUGYCUP

Farewell to our friends from Island Dreams

El Galleon Update

By Ken Knezick, Island Dreams Travel,

As I wind up another very satisfying visit to El Galleon Resort, permit me a few comments on this most recent trip. For starters, I’m gratified to see so many smiles on the faces of both the 36 intrepid Island Dreams dive travelers and the amazing staff that has served us so graciously over our 10-night stay.  Despite our large group size, the resort and Asia Divers are clearly working at top efficiency. All of our needs have been met, and expectations exceeded, with nary a command heard.  Everyone here knows their job and does it with integrity and good humor.

Copyright Ken Knezick -

Copyright Ken Knezick –

Dining – El Galleon’s open air,

ocean view dining room is one of the most attractive and accommodating you will find anywhere in the world.  Under the tutelage of Corsican-born Chef Anton, the delicious and varied cuisine and friendly service are well equal to the organic setting.

Copyright Ken Knezick -

Accommodations – The lodging rooms continue to be simple, but meticulously clean and comfortable with good air-con. While some guests were reluctant to make the hike upstairs to the Seaview rooms, I found the short bursts of cardio to be enjoyable and rewarding, perfectly replacing my visits to RPM Spin Class back home, and making me feel much better about enjoying Chef Anton’s chocolate croissants with my morning coffee.


Dive Operations – For all of the other creature comforts, it is the dive deck that places El Galleon and Asia Divers head and shoulders above almost any other dive resort I’ve experienced in 35-years of leading scuba tours  around the world. From 6 am through return of the night dive, this expansive area is a hive of well-orchestrated activity. My guests repeatedly remarked that they felt as if they had a personal dive valet to assist them throughout the day. Thus my hat is off to owner Allan Nash, dive coordinator Kjell, repair maestro Andy, and the entire remarkable team of divemasters, boatmen and dive deck staff.

The Diving – None of the above would be of much import if the diving was not equal to the rest of the El Galleon picture. Fortunately, on this count my guests and  I again come away very much satisfied.  As easy it is to get to Puerto Galera, this region is host to a stunning variety of diving options and marine life variety. Our Island Dreams package had three two-tank trips to Verde Island, where we enjoyed great visibility and a swirling cornucopia of marine life. Other dives offered coral reef, wrecks, critters, and muck diving. The night diving is superb. Best of all, most dive sites are within a five minute ride from El Galleon’s excellent dock. But enough talking, check out a few of the images I produced on this trip, and  then come enjoy El Galleon Resort for yourself.


All though it has no importance in a photo competition competitors are always looking out for the most seldom seen critters of the underwater world. It’s however better to make a breathtaking picture of a common nudibranch than to have an interesting picture of a seldom seen animal. Nevertheless at the HUGYCUP at Asia divers we’re always “hunting” for a rare find as a breathtaking picture of a unique find can also push a bit towards a winning picture. This week we found one of the holy grails for underwater photographers & videographers : A hairy frogfish ! I’ve logged now 4150 dives and it’s only the third time in my life I had to pleasure to see a black hairy frogfish. Most of the time they are pinkish/white and juveniles tend to be more orange/brownish. Where does the black one fit in ??  In the picture, a 3 cm size,  black hairy frogfish from the dive site  ‘The boatyard’. The HUGYCUP is entering its 7th week. Two more weeks to go, who knows what we’ll find next at the amazing dive sites around Puerto Galera.

Just about to head out on a HUGYCUP photo dive with Steve Watson, John Van Lent, Danny Van Belle, Anouschka Mornie, Daan Deubare,  Beth Watson and a whole heap of very big cameras!


Happy Easter from Puerto Galera

It was all sunshine and smooth seas for us this holiday. There was a looming typhoon that managed to stay way up north from us which made everyone very very happy! It’s been great to have lots of old and new friends here enjoying our piece of paradise.

It was wonderful as always to have Jeff and Julie Barker here and it was made even more special by them bringing along friends Derek (Tim) and Debbie Jeffrey.  Congratulations to Jeff for getting his 900th dive as well. You can see he got to go home with a brand new t-shirt!

Our Hong Kong guests Chris, Kelly, Ian, Emma, Shane and Vickie (aka Dickie) all had a splendid day at Verde Island, with two great dives on the pinnacles and a delicious El Galleon BBQ on the beach, accompanied by a few sundowners. A great day was had by all followed by a great night back at the Point and Barrel bars!

Alli took this happy gang over to Chicken Feather and Bonito Island for a change of scene and some time to play in the bubbles. (Sue Goodman, Garry and Zoe Ames, Beth and Steve Watson, Mal Hammer, Matt Watts)

Getting to know Puerto Galera

It’s been great to have a team from the Dive-Market Development Group of the Philippine Department of Tourism here with us. They we’re here conduct a Product Audit of Puerto Galera dive establishments and dive sites. This is part of the Dive-MDG’s initiative to know, further develop and do product matching of Philippine dive destinations. We hosted the team for three nights and got them out on some beautiful dives to show them how wonderful the diving is in Puerto Galera. Thank you to Mr. Domenic Contreras, from the Regional Office, Ms. Rita Doctor and Ms. Celstine Sy, from Dive-MDG for joining us at El Galleon and Asia Divers.

The HUGYCUP is entering the 6th week of the competition

The past week has been a macro photography week. Visibility wasn’t so good and so everybody was more concentrating on the small stuff. One of the key points to get some good pictures is a very good buoyancy control! Avoiding a lot of backscatter in the background can be achieved by hovering and not putting yourself down on the sand bottom. When in complete control of a good neutral buoyancy underwater you will be amazed how close you can get to some shy animals. It’s sometimes forgotten but before becoming a keen photographer you have to be …… a good diver.

03e2   In the picture this week a garden eel from ‘Giant clams’ at less than 10 cm distance from the lens. Camera Canon 7D / Camera settings – F 11 – 1/60 sec – ISO 200 – Inon Z240 Flashes
Picture by Danny Van Belle


Also from the HUGYCUP. Congratulations to Françoise Jadoul for getting her 1000 dive Club T-shirt. It’s been a very well earned shirt as this has taken 40 years of diving to get it!


Alli has been spending some time with Filip Staes learning all the ins and outs of being an underwater model recently.  Here is a nice shot he took over at Verde Island. Maybe Alli will need a nice yellow dry suit soon…