Tuesday, June 21, 2016

End of High Season Party!

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A happy dive shop crew
After a long and successful high season, the dive shop staff at Exotic Island Dive Resort were treated to a night of fun and games on the beach outside the resort. This season has been one of the most productive in the company's history so it was time to give something back to the staff who have worked tirelessly to make it all possible.






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Everyone enjoying themselves except the pig
As is traditional in Malapascua and the Philippines a pig is often guest of honour at any celebration or significant gathering. Unfortunately for the pig, this normally involves being skewered by a long stick and roasted over a fire for a couple of hours before anyone turns up. Despite the inequality, spirits were high and getting higher by the glass as the night kicked off with a much welcomed feast and a wide range of beverages.











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Matching leg lengths clearly not an issue
After eating it was time for the games to start! There were five teams in total drawn randomly from a hat who commenced battle over some of the most rediculous  games imaginable. These games included a sack race and a three legged race which brought many a school sports day memory flooding back to the Blog. Some kind of drinking race followed before a game which involved two people running fast towards each other in an attempt to burst a balloon which was tied around the waist of one of them. Utter madness but everyone survived. Sport was the winner.





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Ted calls the numbers
To finish the night there was a hotly contested game of bingo which saw many prizes distributed among the staff. PADI Open Water manuals and PADI back packs were among the items won during an entertaining session which ended with everyone taking something valued away. From here the party moved on to and finished at Malapascua's premier Karaoke venue where many a famous song was both bettered and at times completely butchered! All in all, a great night!!

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Environmental issues are close to our hearts at Exotic Island Dive Resort

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'There's grass in my gin and tonic'
This week Exotic welcomed acclaimed academic from Miri City council, John Paul Mouton who is on a region wide evidence gathering tour. John Paul or JP as he likes to be known can be seen here (left) visually inspecting a sample of Malapascuan water. After asking him exactly what he was looking and testing for, the blog received a detailed answer, developed a migrane and retreated to the sanctity of the bar.









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We love sharks
As has been well documented on the Blog in the past, Exotic Island Dive Resort is passionate about the plight of sharks and has hosted many presentations from various charitable organisations who share this passion. This week, two of our latest Instructor graduates delivered a Shark Aware presentation which both informed and caught the imagination of our packed restaurant. Plates of food went untouched for long periods as our guests from all over the world found themselves captivated by Andy and Erika. Hopefully, nights like these can raise awareness and turn the tide in favour of these amazing creatures so that they are not driven to extinction.

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We love the Recreational Dive Planner
PADI Instructor Mr. Andy Threapleton isn’t just adept at delivering inspirational talks regarding the challenges faced by the aquatic world. The following day in fact, Andy embarked upon a PADI Open Water Course with Phoebe and Frank. As part of the course our enthusiastic Chinese couple learned much about the theory of diving. Here we see them looking at a large version of the Recreational Dive Planner and learning why computers are such a god send!  

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A real Devil Wray
And back by popular demand it’s the game that has taken the diving world by storm! After going viral last month, Hake or Fake returns this week with two pictures of a particular aquatic species. Your job is to study both specimens and work out which is the real one and which is the fraud. This week’s species is the Devil Ray.

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A grass Devil Wray

Let’s be honest, this game is complete and utter rubbish so please don’t contact the Blog with your answer or complaint, it’s just for fun!

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Sambawan Island Uncovered

view from the top of sambawan
 A day trip to Sambawan Island is one of the little known pleasures that Exotic Island Dive Resort offers to its guests as an alternative to Malapascua, our world renowned host island. With beautiful scenery and thriving marine life, it's no wonder this stunning island paradise is becoming more popular with divers. Just check out this view from the easily accessible peak of the island.
view from the lunch table


As with all of Exotic's day trips, one of our very own chefs joins the expedition to cook and serve up a delicious barbecue for lunch. Here we see some of our guests making their way through the assortment of skewers on offer to them with one of our fine vessels, Exotic 2 in the background.






view of the diversity of corals
              Sambawan island is a marine sanctuary and no wonder. The island boasts a wide range of marine life which includes many types of hard and soft corals. Check out these bad boys. Reef sharks, turtles and sea snakes are often seen as well as many species of reef fish.
However, it's not only divers who can enjoy Sambawan. With areas sheltered from any current, snorkelers too can take advantage of all the interesting goings on in the more shallow regions of the island. All in all a great day out and just one of the many options that Exotic offers its guests. Highly recommended too.

Saturday, April 9, 2016

It's Competition Crazy at Exotic!


There was excitement throughout the resort recently as a partial eclipse of the sun peaked at about 0858 on Wednesday morning. One of our vastly intelligent instructors, Daniel Richardson, rigged up a very simple pin hole projector, allowing people to stop damaging their eyes by looking at the real thing and instead view a well formed projection instead. Science can be fun. Staring directly at the sun can be stupid.











A real turtle
A grass turtle
A few weeks back the Blog published a picture of a shark crafted from a clump of grass by Exotics groundsmen, our green fingered experts known as the 'Green Team'. The resulting mail we received can only be described as an avalanche although split into two camps. Firstly, those that thought the aquatic sculptures were a sensation. Secondly, those who thought the sculptures were a sensation and yet so lifelike that they could perhaps be real and not made from grass after all.


So just for the second group of conspiracy theorists we start a new feature this week titled,

           'Hake(as in the fish) or Fake?'

 Please don't write or call Exotic with your answer as this feature is just for fun only. Which one is real?






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Lucky the cat
Introducing, on the left being held by the happy lady is a new addition to the Exotic team called 'Lucky Cat'. On the right the happy Lady holding Lucky Cat is Liesbeth from the Netherlands. And Liesbeth has every right to feel like she's won the lottery. By finding Lucky on Exotic's very own House Reef recently she was able to claim an Exotic t-shirt as a well deserved prize and doesn't she look thrilled. Lucky will be hiding all over House Reef this year allowing all our guests the chance of winning a whole host of goodies.









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Another winner
Slightly old news to report here but a couple of weeks ago on Easter Sunday Exotic's annual Easter egg hunt was held and again the venue was House Reef. It seems we're overdosing on competitions and prize giveaways here right now. It's totally crazy to be honest. All eggs were recovered safely and prizes ranging from complimentary dives to free meals in our restaurant were handed out to delirious guests. Here's one of our guests looking overjoyed to have found his egg.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Blog March Round Up featuring a Poser in a Wet Suit and a Grass Shark

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New instructors and Staff Instructor in good spirits
Congratulations to Calle, Charlene, Mark, Mathias and Max to whom we doff our caps. After three weeks of hard work during the IDC and a successful Instructor Examination, we pronounce you PADI Instructors. Also a big shout out to Maciek, (far right) who assisted as a Staff Instructor on the course to great effect by passing knowledge from his his years of experience to the candidates.









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Robin hard at work
If dressing up in a synthetic suit is your thing then be warned there are no dodgy night clubs on Malapascua. There is however, world class diving and world class facilities here at Exotic Island Dive Resort. This week we received our annual shipment of brand new dive equipment which included a range of Aqualung wetsuits for the exclusive use of our guests. Great thanks to our work experience intern and 18yr old Swedish pretty boy Robin for modelling part of our new range. The Blog was desperate. Apologies.







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A shark made from grass
At Exotic we're lucky to have the finest team of groundsmen on the island. The 'Green Team' as they're fondly known, spend hours making the surroundings here beautiful and peaceful for the relaxation of our guests. And what a fine job these craftsmen do.
Hey look out! It's a shark! Relax, it's not really. It's actually a section of grass cunningly moulded into the likeness of one by one of the Green team. A White tip perhaps.



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Sunset without the sunset but nice anyway
And finally, we end with a picture captured yesterday just as the sun was taking it's final bow for the day. No words needed. We're blessed here.



Saturday, March 12, 2016

IDC Lunchtime Scoop

This week the Blog pulled out its camera and chased the ongoing PADI Instructor Development Course as the candidates participated in a Discover Scuba Diving workshop during which they learned various techniques to handle non certified divers.

After the session we thought we'd ambush the candidates over lunch and ask them a few incredibly non testing questions about the course. Introducing from left to right, Calle, Max, Charlene, Mark and Mathias.

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A happy and confident group of PADI instructor candidates


Blog: Good Afternoon guys.

Candidates: (no reply, but then they were eating at the time)

The Blog continues with some disarming small talk: So how's the IDC going so far?

Candidates: Good (and slight variations of)


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Charlene handles two acting novices


Sensing them off guard the Blog moves in for the kill: What made you choose to do your IDC in Malapscua and the Philippines with Exotic?

Max: A friend of mine called Adam became an instructor with Exotic in 2014 and highly recommended the place in terms of the location and the course itself.

Blog: Malapascua is certainly an idyllic location but can you expand on what you mean by the course itself?

Max: Most IDC's appear to be ten days in length where as Exotic run a course that lasts almost three weeks. I didn't want to be rushed.

Calle: Nor me. I like the extended course especially seeing as English isn't my first language so we have more time to adapt and it's easier to adjust.


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Under control via the tank valve technique



Blog: Interesting. Mathias, we've become quite familiar with you at Exotic, you've been here ten times? What made you come back here yet again?

Mathias: (false laughing) Well not quite, this is my fourth visit to malapascua. I first came in 2013 mainly to fun dive although I did a nitrox course. The following year I did my Rescue course and on my previous visit I dipped my toe into the world of tech diving. This time I undertook the Divemaster programme and now the Instructor Development Course.

Blog: Thanks Mathias (for the life story) but why Exotic?

Mathias: I just think this place has everything. The scenery is beautiful, the diving is superb and the facilities at Exotic are second to none. And the senior management team are great. No but seriously, in terms of boats, safety equipment and all other facilities I don't think anywhere else on the island comes close. Also, previous candidates I've spoken to have rated the Course Directors here quite highly which I found important too.

Blog: You Creep. Yet true, and high recommendation if ever i heard it. Mark and Charlene, you two did your Divemaster courses in Australia I believe. What brought you both over here?

Charlene: Same as Max, the Exotic IDC was recommended to us by other divers we met from our time in Australia.

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Nice circle guys


Blog: Recommendations seem to be going a long way. So the exam starts tomorrow. How have you enjoyed the course?

Mark: The course is challenging and great fun at the same time. Thankfully, we've been able to go dive with the Thresher sharks on a few occasions as unlimited diving is part of the IDC here. Woop Woop!

Blog: Easy now Mark.

So there you have it. Some lunchtime views from our almost but not quite new PADI Instructors. In a few days we'll welcome the arrival to the island of a PADI examiner who will give these guys a rigorous examination minus the rubber gloves. Hopefully we'll all be celebrating at the conclusion.........

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Calanggaman Day Trip Expose

Business as usual here at Exotic Island Dive Resort as we help bring joy and happiness to the lives of all our treasured guests that visit us in Malapascua, Philippines.
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Approaching Calanggaman Island 
Every few days we run a day trip to the beautiful island of Calanggaman and yesterday was one of these days. The Blog asked one of Exotic's longest term inmates, Katie, if she'd take a few pictures to document her day there. Well she did, and here we see the amazing view as the boat draws near to the island. Just look at that sand bar stretching towards the camera. Super camera work.



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On Calanggaman Island
All of Exotic's Calanggaman trips allow for lunch to be taken on the island itself.  Here we see Katie's boat for the day, Exotic 8, on the beach while all the guests enjoyed a barbeque under the shade of the palm trees. A barbeque prepared by no less than one of the resorts chefs. Does it get better than this?





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Beside Calanggaman Island
Well the answer is yes. The diving just off Calanggaman island is wall diving of the highest class featuring numerous schools of fish of a wide variety. That said, the Blog's editorial meeting was quite feisty when Katie returned with close up shots only! Anyway, who doesn't love a frog fish like this fine specimen.








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Orangutan Crab
As everywhere around Malapascua, the macro is sublime and the colourful walls of Calanggaman island are no exception to this rule. Just admire this Orangutan crab peeping out from its home within the bubble coral.







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If looks could kill
And despite the fact they're absolutely everywhere out here in the Philippines, who doesn't like Nemo! Aggressive little bugger too and film didn't show that did it?
Pictured below is Katie herself. She arrived four months ago for a stay of just a couple of days and just never left! Thanks for the pictures Katie...


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Katie