The 2011 Philippine Biodiversity Expedition dive team has completed a very successful first few days of research SCUBA diving in the Mabini area of the Philippines. The team traveled with 4 trucks and vans from Manila, through Batangas, Anilao, and finally to Mabini.
Shortly after settling into accommodations, an orientation and dive safety briefing was held. This included location and review of our automated external defibrillator (AED), 1st Aid, and oxygen units (brought on each dive boat), review of the dive plan, and equipment configuration overview for the Academy research divers who are using new backplate/wing buoyancy compensators and regulators and more thanks to Hollis/Oceanic.
After the orientation, we did shore entry check out dives, getting comfortable with equipment, proper weighting, practicing a few skills, and then some collecting. The conditions were are superb with 75-100′ of visibility in flat calm 80 degree water – perfect for a first dive!
Since we’re planning multiple days of repetitive diving, we decided it would be best to dive on Enriched Air Nitrox to extend our bottom time and also reduce our nitrogen exposure. Enriched Air Nitrox is a mixed gas composed of higher levels of oxygen than air (which is composed of 21% O2, 78% Nitrogen, and 1% trace gases). Specifically we’re diving on Nitrox 32% which is the most common and versatile mix for our use.
The last two days were packed with scientific diving involving quite a bit of collecting along with photo and video documentation. All of the collecting requires a great amount of processing lasting late into the night.
More to come, time to get ready for another night dive!
Diving Safety Officer
California Academy of Sciences