Dive Talk

Jacket or Backplate and Wing?

By | Dive Talk

The ultimate BCD choice: Jacket or Backplate and Wing?

Many of my students ask me why I have a ‘different’ BCD. To clarify: I dive with an Aquamundo aluminium backplate and wing. They ask me what the benefits are and if those steel bolts don’t hurt my back. My answer is always the same: I like the minimalistic design and the elimination of the need for extra led weights and the type of design makes sure that those bolts don’t touch my back.
Like most divers I also started my PADI Open Water Course with a jacket style BCD. When you are a novice diver it is mostly the only type that you are exposed to. Still only a few dive instructors teach their courses in a backplate and wing BCD, but it is on its way back.

Originally introduced in the world of technical diving, the backplate and wing has been making its way into the recreational diving market in the past few years. For novice divers the backplate and wing seems like a difficult operating system, so for all my Open Water Courses I still have my students wear a jacket style BCD. For Advanced Open Water I like to give my students the choice. Most still opt for the familiar jacket style, but there are definitely a few that are intrigued by the backplate and wing and take it out for a Peak Performance Buoyancy dive. It is a whole new thing to get used to, because the bladder is located on your back instead of around you. This has massively improved my trim after a bit of practice. I’ve got to admit that the first five dives were a bit uncomfortable. The transition isn’t the easiest, so I’ll say to all of you out there that have tried it only once and didn’t enjoy it: try it for at least 5-10 dives and I’m sure you’ll be joining us backplate and wing lovers.

One of the things that the naysayers are bringing up is the lack of pockets. Luckily Apeks, Scubapro, Aquamundo, Waterproof, Halcyon to name a few have invented some nice shorts and wetsuits with pockets attached to them. Also you can purchase pockets to attach to your harness, so problem solved.

Another problem for some seems to be the weight. Many divers tend to travel around with their gear. Now depending on what kind of material you choose for your backplate (aluminium versus steel), it’s not that big of a difference with the jacket style BCD especially looking at the massive shapes the jackets are being made in now. My backplate and wing can be taken apart completely, roll up the straps of the harness, fold the bladder into a small package and stick the backplate somewhere in between my clothes. So it might be a little heavier but is nowhere near as bulky… There are less colossal BCDs around, but many travel light jackets are not as durable.

Quite curious: still leaning towards the jacket BCD or did I persuade you?

Always wanted to try a backplate and wing but didn’t dare to purchase one yet? Come on down to Liquid and get out diving with one of our PADI Instructors or Divemasters, we’ll convince you that this is the best way to go!



By | Dive Talk


Every diver will remember this on at least one of their dives: a small burrow in the sand, a shrimp busy shovelling out all of the sediment and a tiny fish guarding the entrance to their little Batcave. These little bodyguards are called gobies.

With this statement however I do highlight the more well-known part of the Goby family. There are many different types like Coral Gobies, Dart Gobies and Partner Gobies. Only about 100 of the over 2000 known species are working together with burrowing snapping shrimps. These 100 species are called the Partner Gobies and their special relationship with the shrimps is what intrigues me.

This symbioses works well for both the shrimps and the gobies. It is still unsure why these two species have evolved into being dependent on each other. Theories state that gobies are unable to make their own burrows and need the shrimps to dig the holes for them. In return the gobies turn into their personal bodyguards and hover just above the entrance to the elaborate tunnel system to warn the shrimp when a predator is getting a little too close. When trouble is near, the goby warns the shrimp with a so-called ‘tail flick signal’. The shrimp quickly protects itself in the burrow and makes some room for the goby to join him.

The shrimp has a long antenna that keeps in contact with the goby, especially when he’s out shovelling his front yard. All that we as divers see is the nicely landscaped garden entrance of the burrow but there is actually an entire tunnel system that can cover an area of about one square metre to about 50cm to 100cm deep.

Because this would take one tiny shrimp quite a while to dig by itself, usually they work in pairs. Most burrows are inhabited by two shrimp, a male and a female. The only way to distinguish that for us as divers would be to check which of the two claws is larger in size. This will be a different claw for both of the shrimp.

Since the shrimp are born to dig, the tunnel system is ever expanding and therefor even the entrance moves over time. It doesn’t look like much, but every day the entrance shifts a few decimetres!

Alright guys, this was my impressive goby knowledge. Is there anyone else with more amazing facts about gobies?


Into the Blue

By | Dive Talk

Have you ever been into the blue?

Have you ever felt tiny? And by this I mean in the scheme of the universe that feeling when you realize that you are a minuscule element; part of something massive; yet slightly insignificant! Ominous I know, but honestly it’s an amazing feeling and one that not many people will ever get to experience unless you happen to be an astronaut or a scuba diver! What am I talking about… dives! Maybe it’s time you take a dive into the blue.

If you have ever leapt of a boat in the middle of the ocean with no reef below you, or walls to guide your descent, or line to follow then you know exactly what I am talking about; that feeling of being completely overwhelmed by just how huge and infinite the ocean actually is.

I will never forget my first foray into blue diving. As a young relatively new PADI instructor – we are invincible don’t you know – I did many things that nowadays I would probably classify as pushing my own personally boundaries a little bit. And my first blue dive was one of those experiences.

There was a group of us, all likeminded new PADI Instructors with a rare day with no courses to teach. So instead of relaxing and taking time to off gas – remember I said we were all invincible – we agreed to take out the boat and go on an exploratory dive. The dive did have a purpose; we had been told of a sunken island not far off the wall and thought it sounded cool. So off we went with rough coordinates in hand in search of our new mystery dive site.

After a while of simply cruising around looking for a landmark that we were not really sure existed we decided to try our luck in essentially the middle of nowhere. Buddy checks were completed, dive plans were drawn up, safety procedures were discussed – we may be invincible but we were not stupid divers – once everyone was ready we leapt of the stern of the boat and slowly began to descend into the blue.

into the blueWow!! What a feeling, you see the sunlight above streaming through the water, the abyss below you getting darker and darker calling you to dive deeper and deeper. Strange jelly fish like creatures dancing and sparkling as they float past; schools of fish darting below and above you and then there is that sense of being totally lost, adrift at sea with nothing around you but bubbles and blue – amazing!

Now don’t get me wrong as wonderful and awe inspiring that is; it is also incredibly daunting and slightly terrifying! With no visual reference to guide you it is very easy to drop well below your planned depth, suffer from vertigo, get overcome by narcosis or simply feel inadequate, which is a feeling no diver ever likes to experience. Then there is that other fear of what is out there! After all there are some big fish down in the deep that surface for one reason only – dinner! And with no reef nearby for protection what would you do if that lone giant of the deep decided to swim up for a visit! (narcosis is really quite vivid at this depth)

We never did find the sunken island, but we did have an experience of a lifetime. Yes we pushed our personal boundaries a little; yes we all thought we saw a giant of the deep just slightly out of our direct line of vision to decide if it was a giant shark, whale or squid! And yes we all survived! As a likeminded group of divers who all happened to be good friends it was the perfect way to experience our first blue dive. Have I done them since, yes a few times and were they as good as the first? Yes they were. But every time I have jumped off the boat and sank into the blue abyss I have been with likeminded divers and friends. People I am comfortable pushing my personal boundaries with.

If you have been into the blue, I recommend you try it. Just remember to dive with people you know, after all it’s a big blue and very deep ocean out there!


Shore Diving

By | Dive Talk

Shore diving

When most people think about diving they picture themselves on a big boat on a sunny day cruising the tropical waters of the Philippines. I am going to paint you a different picture in this blog and I will convince you why shore diving is just as much fun!

At Liquid, we do quite a few shore dives around Dauin and to be honest I’m quite happy about that. Let’s start with the drive… Narciso, our well-trusted chauffeur, is a character! He jokes around with our staff and customers constantly but is very helpful. He drives us carefully up our dirt track to the main road. Then as soon as we pull off the road to go to the dive site, we drive through the Negros Oriental countryside. That means cows, chickens, farmers, water buffalos and kids playing and waving. So you get two in one: a countryside tour and a visit to the wonderfully weird aquatic world of Dauin.

Especially from an instructor’s perspective shore dives are quite easy and interesting. A fair amount of beginning divers experience sea sickness and going by land transportation just takes that completely out of the equation. Plus for most of our PADI Open Water Course students it is less daunting to walk into the ocean as opposed to jumping off a boat into the ‘abyss’. We try to give our students as many different experiences as possible, so shore diving in Dauin and diving from a boat at Apo Island are a popular combination. At first shore dives are a bit of a challenge because most divers are not accustomed to it. Even more experienced divers struggle a bit. Here are some tips to make your shore dive a little easier:

Dive guide

1. Do a buddy check! Remember the Begin With Review And Friend? As with any dive, go over your gear with your buddy and make sure everything is working properly. Don’t be that diver that just went into the water with their tank closed and their fins still on shore… And at the same time make sure your buddy, divemaster or instructor has everything as well 😉

2. Defog your mask and put it on whilst on shore or standing in ankle deep water. Also use your snorkel, especially when going through mild surf. Now you’ll be able to breathe and see, a very big advantage…

3. Now inflate your BCD! Even though you’re walking into the water at some point you will not be able to stand anymore. Some positive buoyancy can be quite useful then.

4. Walk out to waist deep water and put your fins on. Don’t let go of your one fin while putting on the other! You should be facing towards shore to make sure the waves are pushing you forward. This way you can brace yourself with your feet in case a wave catches you off guard. You wouldn’t want to be falling backward and now laying tank down on shore, not so easy to get up!

5. Now descend together with your PADI Divemaster or Instructor and enjoy your quest for the Dauin critters. Frogfish, seahorses, ghostpipefish, nudibranch and different kinds of octopi, we’ve got it all…

6. Instead of hanging in the blue for your safety stop, you can continue your hunt for critters whilst releasing some of that nitrogen you have absorbed. Swim along the bottom back to shore and ascend when you’re in shallow water.

7. Stand up again in waist deep water and reverse the procedure of point 4 for taking off your fins. Keep facing towards shore though!

8. Walk out slowly, time it well with the waves and store your equipment. Your adventure is almost done! Only thing that is left is the drive back to Liquid where that cold drink is just calling your name.

Come and join us


Diving with a stick

By | Dive Talk

Diving with a stick

NikonosDo you go diving with a stick? Personally I don’t as I really do not see the point unless I have a camera and intend to use the stick as a measuring device. This is originally what ‘dive sticks’ were designed for, a tool for underwater photographers to gauge the distance of their topic. But then this was back in the old days of film, not digital cameras; when maybe 1 out of every 20 divers had a camera; instead of now a days when 1 out of every 20 divers does not have a digital camera; that let’s face it they really do not know how to use. In fact they should probably leave it at home and practice on their buoyancy skills instead.

Oh hang on that’s where the stick comes in!!

diving with a stickWhat first started off as a probe for experienced divers with cameras has now become a crutch for less experienced divers with and without cameras! We see it all the time when diving; the dangling stick that as soon as a diver wishes to stop and look at something is taken in hand and unceremoniously jammed into the nearest object whether it be sand, rock, hard coral or soft coral, all so the diver can stop for a few seconds and look at the pretty nemo fish!!

Not to go on a rant here but honestly why do you need the stick to stop and look at something! I get it if you are in strong currents then maybe having a stick can be useful especially if you are not so experienced. But knowing where it is acceptable to place the stick in these circumstances is another issue. During a relatively gentle dive, there really is no need for anyone to need a stick. Try using your buoyancy instead – after all this really is the only skill a diver needs for recreational diving – so by using a stick to assist these divers are basically saying they cannot be bothered to learn the one skill that makes diving what it is.

Breathe in breath out a good mantra for above and below the ocean. But when you are trying to stop and look at something this is when your breathing itself becomes a skill, after all this is buoyancy! If you do not understand this simple premise then I suggest you contact your local dive shop and ask to do the Peak Performance Buoyancy Specialty – I can guarantee that course does not include a stick!

Pygmy Seahorse StickNow let’s talk a little about the other stick wielding atrocity we witness underwater- moving marine life! Just because it is a metal stick does not mean it will not hurt the teeny tiny pygmy sea horse you are now essentially ramming with a giant metal probe so he looks at you while you blind him with your camera flashes!! There is a reason seahorses and other critters tend turn their backs on divers – they do not like us!! We are big noisy, cumbersome, hurtful and usually blind everything we see. If I were a sea horse I would also turn my back and I would be rather annoyed if someone then started ramming with a giant metal probe!

Some divers tell me they like their sticks as it is a good signaling device, I understand this but does it really need to be two feet long! I use my thumb ring as a signaling device underwater and it makes just as much noise as a giant metal stick!

Next time you are out diving, just try leaving your stick back at the shop and spend a little time concentrating on your buoyancy skills – it’s not really that difficult – and the Yoda like feeling you get from being totally motionless an inch above the reef without aids (your stick) or using your hands to skull will remind you of how awesome diving can be!



By | Conservation, Dive Talk


There are many different types of divers out there. Some love diving on sandy slopes where they spend hours searching for tiny critters that you barely see with the naked eye. Others love jumping off a boat in the middle of the ocean and floating in the blue, waiting; hoping that something large and predatory swims by.  Then there are those that love the adrenaline of entering a wreck or cave not knowing what is around the next bend or down the next deck. Then there are divers like me who love nothing better than a gentle dive on a healthy coral reef. Luckily I have Apo Island in my backyard.

Apo Island Coral ReefMany divers laugh when I say this is my favorite type of dive, some shrug their shoulders and say ‘well it’s a little boring, but I guess coral is pretty’. For me, coral is not just stunning to look at with a vast array of colors, shapes and sizes, but it is an amazing animal to watch. Yes, that’s right I said animal.  Not many people or divers for that matter know this little interesting fact – coral is not a plant it is, in fact a living breathing animal, a marine invertebrate to be exact.

The first coral reefs were formed over 500 million years ago so technically corals are as old as dinosaurs and not yet extinct – although through global warming and general disregard for the reef we are doing a good job of trying! An individual coral is called a polyp, which is a small simple organism distantly related to jellyfish and anemones. They are formed mostly of a large stomach, with alien-like tentacles protruding. Corals tend not to be singular creatures. Instead, many polyps live together to form a coral colony – which we consider the basis of a reef.

day of the tentacleAs with most beautiful things underwater, coral is a carnivorous and a potentially rather deadly animal. Just ask any diver who has had an unfortunate encounter with a fire coral! During night time is when corals come alive and begin to hunt. Now I understand that watching corals hunt is not as interesting as watching a shark or large fish, however imagine if you were a plankton or small shrimp happily swimming by and then bam! An alien-like tentacle hits out at you from the lovely coral colony below. This innocent looking tentacle not only packs a whopping punch but also has a nasty little sting in it that temporarily stuns you allowing the coral to open its mouth and devour you alive! Bet that gives you a different perspective of coral.

No matter what type of diver you are there is a common rule amongst us which should be followed by all; the rule of look but do not touch any animal underwater. This rule is pushed on you from your first learning experience (well it should be if you have a good instructor). We all know that if you touch an underwater animal you can essentially kill them. Many underwater creatures have a special coating to their skin that protects them from germs and infections. When we touch them we dissolve this coating allowing germs from our skin and the ocean to penetrate through to the animal and create disease.

Coral is no exception, in fact as one of the largest animals in the ocean we really should learn to respect coral a lot more. How many times have you seen a snorkeler using the century old hard brain coral as a stand so they can take a break from swimming or the diver with the camera who is desperate to get the perfect photo of the frogfish, carelessly lying on a beautiful soft coral colony! You know what those polyps are doing at this time – screaming in agony as they are being crushed alive! As the coral song says ‘would you step on a cat – no you wouldn’t do that!’ So Coral Polypwhy do so many divers and snorkelers think it is acceptable to step, lie, touch, stand and generally beat up coral!

Coral does form the foundation of our reef systems, which in turn attracts the fish, the critters, the sharks, rays and all the other wonderful creatures so many divers are desperate to see. Without coral there will be no reefs, no fish, no sharks, no rays no nothing!! So maybe next time you go on a dive you should take a little time to appreciate one of the oldest living creatures in the ocean and remember it is not a plant but in fact a living breathing creature.


Teaching my first course

By | Dive Talk

Teaching my first course

After I took my PADI Instructor Development Course I was looking forward to teaching my first course and couldn’t wait to see who my first students would be.

I wanted to introduce others to the sport that I had fallen in love with. The opportunity to take someone underwater for the first time was something that I was looking forward to.
Just woke up

Then finally I had the knock at my door. I mean that quite literally, as I was still in bed when a fellow instructor woke me up by banging on my front door. With that disoriented feeling, you get when woken up suddenly, I fumbled to open the door and see what the commotion was all about.

“Do you want to teach a course today?”

“Huh?” was all I could think to mumble before my brain caught up with the question.

Of course, I wanted to teach a course. It was my big moment, someone was going to try diving for the first time and I was going to be their instructor. Awesome.

I figured I would have a coffee and take a look through my instructor manual so that I was prepared to meet my student. Then I was informed that my student was already in the shop filling out paperwork and I was to start class in 5 minutes. Only 5 minutes to prepare for my first ever Open Water student?

I thought that I could pull it off. But just as I was coming to grips with that is when the other shoe dropped. I was told that “Oh, by the way, it’s a Rescue Course”.

Rescue? Really?

That’s how I got my first Rescue student. It was the first course that I ever taught. And to top it off, I would need to teach the Medic First Aid course as well. (this was before Emergency First Response existed)

Now I love Rescue, but at the time it was incredibly daunting to have to walk into the classroom and dispense that type of knowledge and teach those skills.

I was still coming to grips with thinking of myself as an actual scuba instructor, especially as I had yet to do any real teaching. I could lead dives and knew my way around the dive center, boat and dive sites, but this was different.

Teaching the Rescue Diver course is hard work. In the evenings, I would look over what needed to happen the next day and try to plan out skill practice and scenarios.
rescue course

You have to subtly manipulate the training so that skills build naturally and your student gets the opportunity to learn from their mistakes. By the end of the course, the student needs to be able to do the skills correctly without over thinking them. Repetition is the key to learning emergency skills and procedures.

For the Instructor, you have to be constantly aware and be able to spot small problems with the skills and keep your student engaged. Of course, there is a tendency for instructors to go overboard (literally and figuratively) when conducting a Rescue course. But maintaining the balance between making a student work hard and breaking them has to be respected.

It turned out to be a great course, at least for me. I learned a lot in those few days. I was pulled far from my comfort zone and had to think on my feet to try to teach the course as best as I could.

I have taught hundreds of Rescue courses since that first one, but as they say “you never forget your first”. And as it so happens, she is now an instructor as well. Several years ago I met up with her and we had a good laugh over the fact that she was my first student.

As a fellow instructor, she knew all too well how it feels to teach a course for the first time. It breathes new life into your teaching, which is why I always encourage my Instructor candidates to learn to teach some specialty diver courses. Teaching entry level courses like DSD’s and the Open Water Diver Course are rewarding and fulfilling but by teaching a wide range of courses you become a stronger Instructor overall.

As a new Instructor, don’t assume your first student will be new to diving. In fact, your first student could be a Divemaster Trainee!

To all the Instructors out there. What was your first course?


Dive Technology – They saw you coming!

By | Dive Talk

Dive Technology

There is a well-known phrase for anglers, walk into a tackle shop and it’s the angler who gets hooked – I think it’s safe to say it is probably the same for divers and new dive technology. With so many things to catch the magpie’s eye, we can draw a lot of parallels to diving.
I know my wife’s worst fears are when I get chatting with another technical diver about their equipment and the new ‘stuff’ that is out there. However, there are probably just as many conversations about the ‘why/who would buy….? Let’s take a look at some of the diving industries treasures.

Snorkelling Revolution
Full face snorkel

It seems many divers question the need for a snorkel. Whether it is just plain uncomfortable, gets tangled in long hair or worst of all, keeps getting water inside. In all honesty, snorkelling as a pure-hearted SCUBA user is more cumbersome and uncomfortable to me. Well, lady luck has just walked around the corner and provided the ultimate solution to my snorkelling concerns and fears – (SERIOUSLY, WHO BUYS THIS???) – introducing the latest and greatest in diving technology……the full face snorkel. With a snorkel tube reminiscent of a……. (wait, I don’t think I can say that) and a dead air space greater than Narnia this truly is an impressive design.

bathtub snorkelTo quote “Tribord Company has come up with a rather simple yet brilliant design whereby you are not required to breathe through your mouth while wearing this mask, which, in turn, eliminates any chance of misting.” Finally – a solution to a problem that never really existed! Phew

This is a genuine review of the product. I love to imagine this person product testing this in the bath!!

“Only arrived a few days ago and tried it out by sticking my head in the bath, so can’t say I’ve tested it fully. It is infinitely more comfortable than a conventional snorkel. Once you get over looking like a storm trooper and breathing like Darth Vader, I’d imagine properly snorkeling in it is brilliant.”

In the event of emergency

OK, so maybe slightly controversial on this one but I have got an engineer’s mindset so please forgive me.
SpareAir – there I said it. Didn’t quite catch it – SpareAir. Wow, these things are impressive.

spare airIf you actually work out relative breathing rates and the available gas volumes (then you aren’t using one of these) you would be more than disconcerted to hear that your whopping 200bar gives you about 30 seconds of breathing time in a REAL emergency situation at depth.

How did you get that low to begin with? Where was your buddy to begin with? You chose the smallest possible bailout strategy. Call me crazy.

Fortunately, one plucky Amazon reviewer tells us exactly how: “Bought this years ago for its purpose: emergency air. Saved my bacon when I got lost (my fault) following a newbie in a cave system off Malta.”

Wait, wait, wait….just hold on a second. Fantastic, this product managed to save your life – but how/why did you end up in this situation to begin with. It seems like an attractive prospect to those that clearly don’t know any better.

And a closing thought, it comes in about $100 more than a new 11l / 80cuFt cylinder.
For anyone who is interested: (Average/normal breathing rate at rest rate at the surface) 20l/min SCR x 4ATA (30m)= 80l/min breathing rate at depth – that is one breath (ONE!) from your spare air. This did NOT account for an increased breathing rate due to stress.

Can (not) be seen from outer space
black smb

Finally, a technical divers treat…the BLACK dSMB!! Wow – what an innovation. In my mind, the fluorescent yellow and orange surface markers were just too hard to see. Supposedly designed for a bright and sunny day when glare would make it too difficult to see a fluorescent SMB.

As one diver online said “Perfect for the Red Sea. Never been there but I assume the black would stand out against the red better than an orange one?” or my personal favourite “it’s perfect for night diving (or so I’ve been told!)”.

I think it is safe to say that if you walked out of a dive store with one of these recently, they saw you coming! You were had. Never mind, there is a lot of ‘stuff’ out there to dupe and target the unsuspecting diver – just make sure you are not ‘one of those divers’


Sidemount Diving

By | Dive Talk

Sidemount Diving

It has been an extremely busy March and April for Sidemount divers here at Liquid. But why so many?

I am fortunate to say that with the high traffic of PADI Divemasters and Instructors that frequent our doors there are plenty of candidates for the technical diving world. Unfortunately, not everyone is sold on the excitement and challenge that is ‘tech diving’. For many the equipment seems cumbersome (not as bad as most think) and the proposition of the deep, dark twilight zone doesn’t have an appeal – each to their own I believe is the term.

Sidemount diving carries with it some of the challenges and equipment that is used in technical diving – however on a recreational level seems like a nearer stepping stone for most.

I think one of the big appeals with sidemount is it isn’t out there and branded as technical diving on dive forums and the general recreation diving interweb– and not to put anyone off – but that is odd.

Sidemount DivingMany are unaware that sidemount diving really started in caves and had its own revolution when ‘normal’ technical diving equipment was no longer feasible for further penetrations and tighter spaces. So really it came from one of the most extreme versions of technical diving – deep and restricted overhead environments.

I think for most who try sidemount diving as an introduction to their technical world will find it is, and I don’t use this term lightly, EASY to transition from backmounted, single tank, recreational diving. For the life of me I can’t tell you why but something about it makes trim easier, makes people more aware of monitoring their gas content, improves efficiency and throws more enjoyment back into their diving – who only wants one cylinder, right?!
Unsure about if you will enjoy technical diving or not, or just want to spend a couple of days learning something new – come on by and give sidemount a try.

Contact Liquid today to find out about our range of technical scuba dive courses, including Sidemount diving.


Learn to Scuba Dive in the Philippines

By | Dive Talk

Learn to Scuba Dive in the Philippines

“Well, what to say about Liquid!? Approach with caution because you will become hooked (it’s hard not be sucked in when you have such brilliant instructors like Berlinda and Michelle). Learn to scuba dive in the philippines with Liquid it’s fun, fascinating and fabulous!

Upon arrival we were greeted with the utmost warmth from all the staff (they ALL live up to the Filipino warm, kind and lovely impression you hear so much about) and the food they produce is next to nothing. Home cooked delicacies, from thick succulent pancakes for breakfast, marvelous soups, sandwiches, and salads for lunch and their three-course dinner menu Have I said how good the food is here? Dinner is served family style, everyone sitting down together to share their dive experiences, it’s a lovely way to finish off the day and get to know your fellow divers. After dinner, if you’re not too shattered from your jam packed water diving day- there’s a brilliant bar just downstairs with the most weird and wonderful cocktails – try the Vodka Paralyser. You’ve got a soft bed to roll into at the end of the night too!

Scuba Diver ZoneComing to the resort – I had never dived before and thus took the PADI Open Water and Advanced course here and my goodness what a good decision it was. We lived and breathed diving – doing a few hours of theory and few hours of diving each day. Michelle, who took us for theory was clear, concise and more than willing to re-explain anything we needed clearing up for us, she never went too fast and catered the theory to our individual needs.

After our first theory lesson, we got into the pool, donning our wetsuits and scuba equipment, unfortunately for me the pool sessions at the start did not run smoothly. I was having problems equalizing, staying under the water and generally just getting used to carrying all the weight and getting used to breathing solely through my mouth while under water. I became very frustrated (as any person does when they find it hard to pick something up to start with).

Feeling slightly disenchanted by the pool sessions, my fellow divers and B (instructor) knew just what to do to pick me up. They advised that things are a lot different when you are in the ocean and to relax, give it time and you will fall in love. B was patient went through many ways to keep buoyancy and was never flustered by my beginning negative attitude towards it.

I just want to take this moment to say, that especially B and all the instructors make you feel as if you’re learning 1 on 1 when really there’s 4 people in your group. They never make you feel like a hindrance and really go above and beyond to help you practically and theoretically.

How thankful I was that I was encouraged to stick at it, as my first dive in the ocean was like nothing I’d ever done before, I felt like the cat who got the cream when we came up for the first time, as what we saw was a whole new world. Without the staff and the friends around me I would have let my negative attitude get the best of me and would have given up before I’d even given it a go. Hating to admit it I must say that all the skills we’d learnt in the pool were vital and made the diving in the ocean a lot easier than expected.

Dauin Dive SitesThe locations you’re taken to dive, are diverse and different – of course they take you to Apo Island (ranked in the top 10 for diving) and all around Dauin/Dumaguete. You almost can’t believe your luck that you’re learning to dive in such a beautiful place.

As I’ve said I’m currently doing the advanced open water diving course at Liquid mostly because I just can’t face leaving just yet. Perfect location, awesome staff and outrageously good diving sites, where could be better really?

It’s hard to pick a company to dive with as there are so many and you never know which one is better but I would recommend Liquid to anyone wanting to learn or just be in a positive diving environment, where you can cater your dive plan yourself and then be shown all the best sites by the amazing local dive masters here who know all the best places to see what you want to see.

Scuba Dive Apo IslandI have a few friends who learnt to dive in places elsewhere who said they felt very rushed to learn the skills and they were being forced to learn the answers to the test merely to pass as opposed to becoming good divers. Here the passionate staff genuinely want you to become the best diver you can be and from the enthusiasm for the sport you learn all you need to pass the tests and so much more.

My friends expressed that they dived and then mundanely had to wash all the equipment, but here it’s practically done for you, you’ll actually find yourself wanting to help wash as it’s a great chance to catch up with everyone and get to know your equipment even better.

There are no hidden costs so you’re free to solely focus on becoming the best diver you can be.

Take it from someone who spent hours and hours looking into dive resorts before deciding on Liquid – you really won’t regret. It’s a home away from home.

Just a word on the wise side put some sun cream on your face so you don’t get the scuba diving trademark – a burnt forehead!

Liz Stevens