30th Anniversary Memories in Puerto Galera

As many of you know we are celebrating Asia Divers 30th Anniversary this year. It’s hard to believe thirty years ago our dive center in Puerto Galera Philippines came to be. There are just so many memories to share of our home and the people who visited us in Sabang and Small Lalaguna. Some came to take PADI scuba diving courses to learn to dive or upgrade their diving skills, some were already divers and wanted to see all the beautiful corals and fishes our area in the Philippines, some came because they just wanted to chill out in the sunshine and have the sea breeze on them. And of course, some came for the great times socializing with friends at the Point Bar. Whatever the reason, we’re just glad to have had all of you in our lives. Here are a few good shots from 1994-1999 from Terry Collins. See if you can recognize a few people in them!

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Time is ticking away for our 30th Anniversary festivities. Remember that we’ve added a bit more fun into the big party on Saturday night at our platform as this will now be a Fancy Dress/ Costume Party. Use your imagination because there is no theme and anything goes. The more creative the better…just make it comfortable so you can dance and drink in it!

See the itinerary below.

Friday Nov. 24th
Verde Island diving: Includes 2 dives with BBQ and drinks. It will be a wonderful day over there with lots of time to relax and enjoy the beach after diving.

Saturday November 25th
Our 30th Anniversary party (Costume) on the platform: Includes buffet dinner, fire dance, fireworks and live band.

Sunday November 26th
Golfing at Ponderosa ending with a Sunset cruise with drinks

How Asia Divers began…Allan’s story

Many people who live and work here have “their story” on how they landed up in Puerto Galera in the first place. It makes for very interesting conversation in the bar, and what you’ll find out quite often is most of us really did not plan on living here. Here is Allan’s story.

 How I became a dive resort owner, by Alan Nash

I was formally in Hong Kong working as a construction supervisor and the partner in a nightclub called Rick’s Café. After seven years in HK, I decided I wanted to buy a boat and sail around Asia for a couple of years. I managed to get my masters two and engineer two for costal sailing but had no experience in blue water sailing. I resigned my job and told the company I would see them in two years, went to Hebi Haven yacht club and asked if anyone needed help sailing their boat somewhere in Asia. That’s when I met up with an American guy (Ogle Warfield) with a 42ft Tiana (the Elusive Butterfly) leaving for Puerto Galera, Philippines.

Five days after leaving HK we got sight of the Philippines Islands, and San Fernando. From then on it all went wrong and I had the worst trip you could imagine, typhoon, almost lost the boat on a reef coming into Subic Bay without harbour charts! The owner called a mayday when approaching Subic Bay; I was somewhat disappointed with his decisions. Then he managed to jump into the water with my passport in his pocket, bugger.  After several days in Subic Bay sorting out passports and drying off we headed to Puerto Galera. I arrived in Puerto Galera on the 28th of October, twenty days after leaving HK on October 8, 1985.

Ending up in Puerto Galera I could not wait to get off the boat. I said to myself if this is what it’s like living on a boat, forget it, and went looking for something to do. That’s when I walked into a dive shop called Reef Raiders owned by two Australian’s, Jim Wilson & Neil (Snake) Krumbeck and a German Willi Tobler. The freelance instructor Dave Penman (English) met me when I walked into the dive shop and we quickly became friends. I was already a certified diver, but had not dived for a few years. He took me out on a dive and I just fell in love with the diving all over again and loved the area. So I asked Dave to take me through the PADI Open Water Course again and onward and upward. He did and within two months I was a divemaster working for the Reef Raiders. I became an instructor in March 1987, and worked with Dave as the instructional team for Reef Raiders until May 1988 when a fire ripped through the beach and took the dive shop with it.

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Small Lalaguna in the early days

I never intended to start my own dive shop, but with not having a dive shop to work out of, and not wanting to go back to working in the real world, I suggested to Dave if he would like to start a dive shop since the previous owners had decided they’d had enough and were heading home. Dave agreed and with that, we worked day and night recovering whatever we could from the fire, regulators, charred wet suits that had been saved but left on the beach. Ten tanks were saved as these tanks were rented out the night of the fire, and a handful of masks and fins. Within a week we had borrowed a thousand dollars and purchased a small 2.7cfm compressor, we were up and running. We used the name Reef Rangers until one of the owners of Reef Raiders came back with a Japanese guy and resurrected Reef Raiders, and asked us to change our name. With that I decided on the spot it would be Asia Divers and Asia Divers was born.

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Reef Raiders Willy, Jim, Allan

We started Asia Divers (now where Tech Asia Divers Institute stands) in my spare bedroom being the equipment room and used my kitchen and balcony as classrooms and my living room as the bar. After five great years we badly needed our own rooms so in December 1992 we purchased El Galleon dive resort with seven usable rooms and a small restaurant. Today we have 30 rooms, a new kitchen, pool, three bars and an incredible dive platform.

Our family, the team, is as solid as a rock and we do know how to have fun, it’s our pleasure and our job, one that none of us would trade for anything. We love Puerto Galera, the diving and dive industry as a whole and the many new and old friends we meet every day who appreciate that common interest.  We have come a long way and it’s been a great ride! Looking forward to the next 30 ye

Whos’ been doing what at Asia Divers

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It was a great time having Steven Chang here from RIDA Scuba Diving Club, Kaohsiung City, Taiwan with his group of 13 divers.  John and Jenny Butler have been diving with this wonderful group and with us for years so it was real nice to hook up our two companies to make this trip to Puerto Galera so amazing for all of us. If you live in Taiwan you can contact Steven at www.ridasports.com  or E-mail: rida2941@yahoo.com.tw about dive courses and other trips he’s doing. Hope to see you all back here soon!

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Tommy has been riding motorcycle from Perth to Ayers Rock through the central of Western Australia. The road is called Great Central Highway and is mostly dirt road. He will return along the Old Gun barrel Highway that will be more of an adventure as it us not maintained as the southern route. More on that when he returns to Perth as it is no mobile or internet connection available in this part of Australia.

This was spotted in NY.  El Galleon is proud to be part of the change. No more plastic straws!

Time to boogie at Asia Divers 30th Anniversary

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Guess who’s dancing up a storm for our 30th Anniversary?!  Asia Divers 30th Anniversary celebration is getting real close. Contact us if you would like to attend this fun-filled weekend as we do have a few rooms open as of today. The dates of the event are November 24, 25 and 26.  Contact admin@asiadivers.com

Here are some of the events we have planned for the weekend:

Friday Nov. 24th
Verde Island diving: Includes 2 dives with BBQ and drinks. It will be a wonderful day over there with lots of time to relax and enjoy the beach after diving.

Saturday November 25th
Our 30th Anniversary party on the platform: Includes buffet dinner, fire dance, fireworks and live band.

Sunday November 26th
Golfing at Ponderosa ending with a Sunset cruise with drinks

Mid autumn fun at Asia Divers

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Mid-Autumn dinner with Andy, Qun and all of their students. We’ve had a very busy week here with folks celebrating the Chinese Mid-Autumn. So here’s a few fact for you folks that might not know what this holiday is all about:

Why Mid-Autumn Is Celebrated at Month 8 Day 15? It’s Mid-Way Through the Third Season. The date of the Festival is the middle of the autumn season, according to the Chinese calendar. The third lunar season “autumn” is months 7–9. As the four seasons each have three (29 or 30 day) months on China’s traditional calendars, day 15 of month 8 is “the middle of autumn”.

For the Full Moon

On the 15th of the each lunar month, the moon is at its roundest and brightest, symbolizing togetherness and reunion in Chinese culture. The harvest moon (the full moon at Mid-Autumn, closest to the fall equinox) is traditionally believed to be the brightest of the year.

For Harvest Celebration

Month 8 day 15, is traditionally the time rice is supposed to mature and be harvested. So, people take this festival as an opportunity to celebrate the harvest and worship their gods to show their gratitude.

Sha Tin College week

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Wonderful to have the group from Sha Tin College, Hong Kong back with us again for their CAS week.  Some took part in PADI diving courses and some did the Activities program. In the group we had 12 new Open Water divers, and one Advanced diver. The Activities group kept busy with sailing, Extreme Sports, golfing, water sports, zip line and a trip to Tukauran where they got to enjoy the waterfalls.  Everyone also spent a day on Verde Island visiting a local school to have some fun interaction with the local kids and end the experience with an awesome BBQ . We had a fun send-off in El Galleon with a cultural dance performance, fire dancers and a great band!  Thank you to all of the teachers and especially Mick Wilson for getting this all organized this year. Looking forward to seeing you back again in 2018!

“Monday News” October cover photo

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Check out our October “ Monday News” cover shot. This cool image of our dive crew on the bridge connecting the pontoon to the platform was taken from Beth Watson with her drone. Check out more of Beth’s amazing images which have been published in books, magazines, newspapers, brochures, web sites and have been selected for juried art exhibitions. Visit www.bethwatsonimages.com. If you would like to get on our mailing list to keep up to date on all the news here at Asia Divers please email instructors@asiadivers.com

Animals on the prowl

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September is the time of year when El Gal and Asia Divers sees the return of the “Animals”  It’s been a long time tradition over many years for the Animals to meet up here to celebrate the birthdays of Larry Bird and John Tucker. It’s also a reflective time for a select few as they experience their religious callings. In-between all this they also got to do some incredible diving and enjoy perhaps a drink or two with their good friends.