Love from Cape Cod (Part I)

Cape Cod is hook-shaped peninsula of the US state of Massachusetts, is a popular summertime destination. It is characterized by quaint villages, seafood shacks, lighthouses, ponds & bay & ocean beaches.  The bulk of land on Cape consists of glacial land forms, formed by terminal moraine and outwash plains.  Its historic, maritime character and ample beaches attract heavy tourism during summer months.

CapeCodTownsMap Cape Cod Map courtesy of Wikitravel

This beautiful destination aside from being historic dwelled so much at the back of my mind since time immemorial.  My sister always told me stories about their summer trips – with her family tagging along the kids, with friends and their family, sometimes with friends of friends – they went there every year. Practically, it’s their second home. Setting foot at the Cape is a dream trip to me.

After much prayers and discernment, I scheduled a US trip to visit my Sister and her family and to offer myself a little consolation. Since the trip fell on summer, the Cape Cod dream was few steps closer. And, it happened since my sister’s vacation was scheduled just few weeks before I go back home!

Typical scene on the beach during summer!

My blue heart was attracted to Cape with no reservations – the great Atlantic waters was for me un-chartered. It was playing a lot of thoughts just to get a glimpse of this large body with its rich marine life. Cape territory is divided into 15 towns with many villages all of which are practically have waterfronts.  Beaches abound naturally…

Breaks can create waves suitable for surfing!

The Nauset Beach in Orleans is just one of those pristine coast line that are too perfect for summer events – be it sunbathing, swimming, skim boarding or just sitting under beach umbrella and watch the horizons beyond.  It was far beyond compare to our beaches, definitely it’s clean and free from structures and obstructions.  It was naturally maintained.

When we got there, it was already filled with beach-goers we had to find a strategic spot with unobstructed view of the waters. The sun was already scorching and decided not to swim, my sister said the waters too cold for her even it is sunny. Lounging on my beach chair was comfortable enough. The sunny skies and blue waters were nothing different back home, I was wondering what was beyond the surface.  At a distance, we saw a head or two of seals bobbing up the surface, its either getting away from predators or looking for prey in shallower waters.  Few sea gulls flew over humans perhaps looking for food scraps while few also flew over the waters perhaps eyeing for fish.

Obviously, Nauset is part of wildlife sanctuary network in the Cape. Last July 18, 2018 swimmers and surfers fled the waters as shark attacked a seal just few feet from the shoreline, though no human injuries were reported. (

Pristine and so enticing for swimming or surfing!

Newcomb Hollow Beach is located at northernmost of Wellfleet, it featured a scenic stretch of ocean beach backed with stretch of sand dunes.  It is pristine just like other beaches in the Cape and its blue waters were truly inviting not only for swimming but also for surfing as there are bars for waves breaks commonly for short boards.

It was just too interesting to try swimming in an Atlantic surface, the water is cold according to my sister but the blue waters with soft waves were just too enticing.  The good thing was my nephew and niece joined me for the swim, being out of waters for almost ten weeks it was some sort of deliverance from sea sickness, I was like hyper ventilating! And again, its waters was also rich with marine life as sharks are patrolling the area for preys. There were times when closures of the beach is necessary if a number of sharks sightings were observed.  There was a recent shark attack in this beach just when official summer was over. (

20180704_200940It was in Fourth of July when we visited Duck Harbor Beach, still in Wellfleet.  You need to pass along a stretch of sand dunes, thankfully the parking was free though you need to be early before it gets full. It was dusk and we were in for a glorious display of colors of sunset, the sky was clear and we could saw faint image of the Pilgrim Tower in Provincetown from the horizon ahead of us. Just when the whole country was celebrating this big day  we were out there walking along the shore and later sitting in our beach chairs watching the changing hues before us. It was just relaxing!

On a BySide!

Grand Central Terminal

I was on my way looking for the Flatiron district in Manhattan, my few remaining hours in the city should be maximized to the fullest.  The reason why I transferred to a hostel in Chelsea area and left my refuge in the past days at Jersey City. It was past 7pm but summer has illuminated well the street, in fact not a common condition back home. It could have been dark already, and most likely I wont venture searching a spot in a strange city. Lugging my backpack, I was determined to find this unusual building, cautious yet relying a bit with google map. 🙂

So, I was lost a bit but not worrying because I know I will surely find it in the end. Unexpectedly, as I was silently treading West 21st Street, the familiar dive flag sign caught me off guard. Yes, I was passing a dive shop by my left side  – I grinned from ear to ear like my face would split in half (sorry, I’m exaggerating)! I wasn’t expecting to bump a dive shop right in Manhattan, it was a total surprise. I silently touched my dive computer which has been my travel buddy for this trip.  My feet just brought me there to brighten up after a hectic day.

I peek a bit through the glass windows with a smile and left with quick steps for my destination. Scuba Network Manhattan was a lovely sight to me as a diver!

The sun was still bright when I got to Flatiron Building, unfortunately it was obstructed by Marshall’s ads installation, so it wasn’t a pretty sight for photos. I ended up at Madison Square Park sitting on one of those park benches, watching passersby, taking my time until it got dark.

It was just a beautiful day!

My refuge in Manhattan!

A Decade of Wonders and Wanders

DSC06757 willow

“The sea, once it cast its spell, holds one in the net of wonder forever.”
~Jacques Yves Cousteau~

Last year was an important milestone being in my tenth year of this intoxication, apparently, the lure of the marine world has never waned and after such time still the intoxication is very much alive. The allure is clearly stronger than ever.  And again, it always felt beautiful lifting me occasionally out of the realms of everyday into something otherworldly, getting into nature in the raw, somehow gaining a deeper sense of my own humanity in the process.  It is humbling and felt privileged to have explored in part the mysterious yet interesting marine world. This enriching experience had maintained my equilibrium.

Ten years wasn’t very long but the journey is long enough to realize that life isn’t what should be as planned by the Creator without experiencing the underwater realm. The planet is composed more than 70% water, unmistakably it must be understood deeply so that all forms of life shall survive. Getting into the water is the only means we humans will understand how fragile and important is our oceans for our subsistence.


Just as it is, my dive trips were taken slow but persistently – one dive at a time so they say, learning from every descent and felt so blessed I sustained this madness. Last year, just in time for that anniversary I logged in my 200th dive! Although, exclusive in this country I have no regrets, being in the tropics I can dive whole year round without worrying about cold waters. And all these sites are slices of paradise without doubt, each of them have its own attractions and what a joy! Together with my buddy we searched the far corners around the islands, to our surprise there are lot of unknown sites in diving map that are at par with touristy ones if not more rich and astoundingly unspoiled – Bongao, Cortes, Maasim are just few of towns in Mindanao or Anini-y, Siquijor, Pandan in the Visayas – that have their own sanctuaries and have endeavoured marine protection awareness in their local communities. Or even watching the majestic Mt. Mayon over the horizon as you surface from a dive. And yes, always yearning to be back in this marine world heritage site in Sulu seas – the Tubbataha Reefs!

P1060799Diving, like any other sports requires good health and lean physique necessary enough if not to be agile for the rigors of dive trips. In other words I need to be conscious about choosing wellness which is more than about eating.  I just thought lugging extra pounds in my body is not what it take to be a scuba diver, being heavy is a no-no  for aquatic pursuits and that needs no explanation.  That’s victory for me in a way, I’m still using until now my dive gears I acquired after I got certified – after ten years it’s almost tattered but it’s more than proof that its purpose was maximized. It’s more than just economics, it’s an evidence of healthy lifestyle!  🙂


Silence is something that has almost ceased to exist in this world, and diving become my escape, that deserted place where I could be silent and momentarily be in a different biosphere. You get down unto the depths and it’s absolutely quiet there apart from my own breathing, there is complete silence. Undoubtedly, the spirituality benefits of diving got me to the core, like that holistic consciousness of my existence, very few activities that could match this dimension. I admit and I mentioned this over and over again that diving has become my de-stressor after these years. I believe the Lord has led me to the restful waters that refreshes my soul.  The blue world has been and always be my inspiration in this journey. And I know I shall dwell in this perfect contentment for years to come!

Passion for the Depths!

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This blooming branching corals can only be seen in the depths!

Just recently I came across an article about scuba addiction citing all the symptoms of being one, bit hilarious but in a sense there some truth in it. For many and that includes me, has been bitten by the bug, and again I would say this could last a lifetime.  In my own terms, it’s not addiction but more of passion, not an obsession but fervent devotion, not merely fancy but true admiration of the life beyond.

The lure of the underwater world sets a diver on a great voyage that goes to the bottom of the sea. A journey beyond the terrestrial dimension that set him apart from the rest after such glorious experience in a universe populated by  weird or wonderful cast of thousands.

So in many ways, our passion would manifest in our behavior, habits that could become a lifestyle. Generally, there is nothing verbal but in many subtle ways the assertion is essentially clear of being a true blood diver.

  • Sporting a bulky watch even for women is not weird, because the dive computer will become one’s treasured time-piece. Now, I found it practical to wear my dive computer on my other trips other than diving, even if I went on my weekend walking. It has practically become my buddy!
  • My so called de-stressor trips revolve around dive plans, seeing one new place is something therapeutic for me but it must have dive sites and obviously dive operator. My official trips sometimes are coupled with a dive plan if such destination has diving opportunities.
  • Yes, my certification cards are in my wallet (all three of them), just to keep them handy. It might get misplaced if I keep it somewhere else!
  • I can have all my essentials in my back pack but I do always get extra kilos exclusively for my gears, always requesting the airline crew for tagging as “fragile”. Extra time is necessary for some questions and signing the waiver.
  • Well, incredible memory is necessary – for all the story telling what was seen underwater. The key is being mindful for those amazing moment, it is needed for taking notes on your log not only for sightings but more importantly for the lessons learned. You can always narrate when you saw your first shark, turtle, ray or whale. Or mention a site, and you can always tell stories what not to miss. 🙂
  • Learning and knowing an extra language in hand signals. You have leveled up actually, the “OK” sign is not about money anymore, or the “thumbs up” is always about going up. You easily get confused when such signals are used on the surface!

If these are not weird and all sound too familiar for you, then you are a diver by heart, the depth of your passion has sunk in your innermost being.  Needless to say, if you don’t have these qualities, you’re not a real diver. Chances are, it was merely a whimsical urge which after a time, when the excitement wane it will become a thing of the past.  A passé but never a passion….

CHOICES for the Great Beyond

An explosion of colors in the depths, slowly deteriorating and maybe lost if we do not do something about its protection and preservation…

The choices we made reflect more of who we are, far more than our brains, skills and abilities…..

Our impact on land is important just as in depths, our choices as human beings has effects either blatantly or subtly. Years back, I was struck realizing that marine world is in great peril, the value of the reefs can never be underestimated. Human induced global warming now poses perhaps the most serious threat of all, the evidence is very visible. Before it leads to extinction, protection and preservation are all necessary with consuming effort by humanity.

Questions to Ask

Do I really need that car journey?
Do I really need all those plastic bags at the supermarket?
Do I need to fly as often as I like?
Do I really need products with all those packaging?
Do I need to change towels everyday?
Do I need all these dust-gatherers in my room?
Do I need to indulge in the bath tub weekly?

Basic and simple questions that need simple but radical decisions and change of lifestyle, indeed conservation starts at Home. By this time, I believe many are getting the message. It’s not something new, and many are seriously involved now  more than just marine enthusiasts. Clover’s book, “The End of the Line”, stated that citizens need to reclaim their stake in the future of the seas.

Decisions, Mature Decisions

Do I need to dive weekly or monthly? Do I need to take advantage of airline seat sales? For almost five months I had no dives, I was like a fish out of water! I knew that my presence underwater has ill effects though subtly, it was difficult but that break provides space for my underwater friends. My presence is not necessary for them to survive, in fact it poses danger to them.

I haven’t flown for almost three months and my travels were limited to work that can’t be delegated. These “low cost” airfares are misnomer, actually there’s a great cost and we are all going to pay for it whether we fly or not. Take this, flying to Maldives emits tons of carbon dioxide, an effective way in helping to sink them. With that reality, I can not visit this marine paradise and explore its wonders if only to make them afloat a little longer. All my plane fare now includes WWF donation to compensate for my carbon- emitting flight.  A diver like me needs to rethink about limiting trips, and reducing ecological footprints.  As the saying goes, a true ecotourist never get on a plane!

Just mid of last week I had dinner with friends, trying this new food chain in town – the seafood is great according to them. Maybe, it was filled with people when we got there.  But I was aghast of the plastics they use – from plastic gloves (eat with fingers), plastic bibs or apron (it’s messy), camote fries was on wax paper, and the worst was – our one (1) pound hot shrimps with garlic/butter sauce was in clear plastic (food grade I hope) tied on its top end, delivered to us like a bag of groceries! I can not imagine the bulk of plastic garbage they dumped everyday in the land fill, most likely tons – it was disgusting! I know I have no good reason to be back in that resto.

Seriously, if we need to make a difference, difficult decisions has to be made. I believe that the greatest wisdom is being able to master the things that enslave us – our passions, desires and wasteful habits that tries to consume us but we can be free and rise above all of these, all for that greater love and passion of the great beyond.