The 2019 edition of the Reef Photo and Video Anilao Underwater Photo and Video Workshop wrapped up last week. This was the 6th annual Reef workshop in beautiful Anilao, Philippines. Each year we’ve been treated to some of the best diving in the world, with an astonishing assortment of underwater creatures for subjects. Our host was the idyllic Aiyanar Beach and Dive Resort. Chris Parsons filed daily reports from Anilao about the Workshop.
Days 0 & 1 (Saturday/Sunday):
Greetings from Anilao, Philippines!
Yesterday (Day 0) was the official arrival day for our guests. A few guests who had done this workshop previously arrived a couple of days early, but the bulk of the group arrived via van yesterday. After a lunch and a welcome briefing, our guests began to put together their underwater camera rigs. Reef Photo staffers and u/w camera gear experts Phil Burghard and Lee Burghard were on hand to help with any last minute set up questions or issues. We then offered a session at the pool for everyone to shake out any little bugs with u/w cameras, scuba gear, etc, as I patiently waited at the pool with an icy cold beverage. This is a tough job. The pool here at Aiyanar has an “infinity” edge looking westward over Balayan Bay and is an amazing place to watch the sun set in the gorgeous Philippine sky. It’s an incredible setting to host an event like this. After the pool session, it was on to dinner and an overview of Anilao diving.
Day 1 diving is now in the books. Our group this year is spread out into 5 different boats for the week. Each boat has the same captain and deck hand daily. Our hand picked local dive guides will be rotating each day among the 5 boats, giving each guest an opportunity to dive with each of the guides at least once. While all of the guides are outstanding, each one has strengths finding different sorts of creatures, so by rotating, the guests get to experience the best of each guide.
In addition, Phil, Lee and I will be rotating boats as well, so we can make sure to spend lots of time with each guest. I’m hoping to be able to use a GPS tracker app on my phone to record the dive sites we’ve visited, and I’ll post some of track maps of my dive sites over this week.
Making a list of creatures I saw on each dive would be more than I can remember, so I will just list a few of the highlights each day. For me, Day 1 creature highlights included a flamboyant cuttlefish, a couple of mimic octopus, hairy frogfish, and the ever popular “Sean the Sheep” nudibranch.
The morning briefing today focused on camera settings and getting started/ready for the week. More about how we do these briefings in tomorrow’s post.