Atmosphere launches the new PADI Critter Specialty course

We are incredibly excited to launch our new PADI Critters of Dauin specialty course! The incredible diversity of critters along Dauin’s coast has long been a well-kept secret. But not anymore. As the cat slowly gets teased out of the bag, we are launching the PADI Critters Specialty, unique to Atmosphere! Are you a diver who loves cryptic and colourful critters and would like to know more about what makes them tick? Do you think “how on earth did they find that?” when your dive guide points out a tiny hairy shrimp, then this specialty is for you. Kirsty created and …

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Anemonefish in Dauin, Philippines, at Atmopshere Resorts & Spa. Photo by Kirsty Richards

Among the shrimp, frogfish and octopus of Dauin’s coastline, you can find a plethora of anemonefish/clownfish (same, same). We don’t just have one, two, or three, but at least seven different species of this characterful and famous little fish! Found within the fleshy tentacles of 10 species of anemone, anemonefish spend their whole lives in the vicinity of their host. Their relationship is win-win (technical term = obligatory symbionts). In short, the fish are protected from predation by living within the stinging tentacles (a thick mucus protects the fish from being stung). At the same time, it provides cleaning and …

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The humble sea cucumber is not a marine creature which gets a lot of love. Although, spend a few minutes reading up on them and you’ll discover they’re quite the creature with plenty of hidden secrets! Closely related to starfish within the group “Echinoderms”, sea cucumbers have diverged from the 5 fold symmetry of a starfish to a single, cucumber-like, body. With over 1,250 different species, sea cucumbers can be found from the shallowest of tropical lagoons to the deepest, darkest parts of the ocean. Vacuum cleaners of the ocean Ever seen links of what looks like sand poop? It’s …

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christmas critters of dauin

Christmas tree worm (Spirobranchus giganteus) Aptly named to be at the top of our list, Christmas tree worms are a type of tube-building polychaete worm. Their multicoloured (and tree-like) spiral tentacles can be seen poking out of holes they’ve board into corals and are used to catch passing prey which is then passed down into their mouths. Popular with photographers, these brightly coloured underwater Christmas trees will disappear in front of our eyes should they sense anyone getting too close. Humbug dacyllus (Dascyllus aruanus) Despite it’s name, I like to think the Humbug dacyllus is a happy little fish and …

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PADI Specialty courses are a great way to learn specific scuba skills and when Atmosphere’s marine biologist Daniel Geary suggested that he writes his own PADI distinctive specialty course, we knew immediately what it was going to be about. Being an avid fan of frogfish, Daniel wrote the Frogfish Specialist course – and after PADI’s approval, it has proven to be a very successful course, in part because of Daniel’s passion for this quirky fish. Daniel has certified 56 Frogfish Specialists up to today and – unsurprisingly – the course is even more popular during frogfish season. Between April and June this …

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