12 critters of christmas

In the countdown to Christmas, Atmosphere is celebrating the incredible diversity of amazing critter species we can find along Dauin’s coastline! Here are some of our favourite critters … 1. The ambon scorpionfish (Pteroidichthys amboinensis) This sedentary scorpionfish is top of the list for many muck divers. To enhance its camouflaging abilities it gathers drifting algae, making it incredibly difficult to spot. Then, once it has had enough, it sheds the outer layer of skin and starts all over again. 2. The candy crab (Hoplophrys oatesi) This cryptic crab, also known as a soft coral crab, is the only species …

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I recently wrote about my 14 month-long search for the elusive greater blue-ringed octopus and the running joke that my bad luck had become in the dive centre. However, it’s as though they heard my cry. Just a couple of weeks later I SAW MY FIRST ONE! Joining guests who were sympathetic to my status as a bad luck charm, I ventured out with my camera and a small bubble of hope that this may be the day. Just 10 minutes into the dive our guide Sai put out the ‘I’ve found something’ noise of “ding, ding, ding” and gestured …

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Blue-ringed octopus at Atmosphere Resorts & Spa Philippines - photo by Don Tan

I’ve been Atmosphere Resorts & Spa’s marine conservation biologist for 14 months now and I dive regularly. In fact, it’s unusual to see me with dry hair. Coming from a coral reef and megafauna (the BIG stuff) background, many of our critters I’ve excitedly encountered for the first time. However, there is one particular little 8-armed guy that I have yet to set my eyes on – the elusive (I recon “mythical”) greater blue-ringed octopus. Octopus can pop up at many of our dive sites. However, we have one particular site which, at certain times of the year, is your best bet …

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Blue Ringed octopus by Donald Tan at Atmosphere Resorts & Spa Philippines

Octopus season is upon us! At least seven species are seen along Dauin’s coast (if you know where to look). However, there is more to these clever cephalopods than meets the eye. What you don’t know about octopuses… They’re related to your common garden snail Octopuses are members of the Phylum “Mollusca”, which puts them in the same mixing pot as snails, nudibranchs and scallops. All molluscs have some form of shell and bilateral symmetry (split them in half & the two sections appear the same). One heart just isn’t enough – they have 3! The main heart pumps blood …

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Beach clean-up at Atmosphere Philippines

We regularly conduct beach cleans here at Atmosphere. As 15th – 22nd September was Project AWARE week and Saturday 21st was International Coastal Clean-up Day, we stepped things up a gear. Diving against debris Seven divers, including our PADI Regional Training Consultant Pam, sunk beneath the surface of our house reef to Dive Against Debris. Even Oli, our Dive Centre Manager, donned a wetsuit (this never happens!). After searching for 60 minutes we collected just 8 pieces of trash – a good problem to have! Hitting the beach Our beach clean-up proved a little more fruitful with 20 staff collecting …

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