Spearfishing — my new passion!

I love the adrenaline and the flow of a good hunt. I have, like many men, an instinctive fondness for hunting.

Fishing is like hunting but it really isn’t. Hunting is more active. Hunting to me is to use a spear to snare the fish and then to carefully harvest the catch to eat later. That dry description masks a world of challenge.

That’s what makes it a sport.

The French Connection

Nicolas, Adrien, Thomas, Alex after a late lunch at Balinsasayaw Restaurant.

Nicolas, Adrien, Thomas, Alex after a late lunch at Balinsasayaw Restaurant along Manalo Avenue. We started lunch after 2 and diving is a strenuous sport that makes you hungry. We spent P450 each and we almost wiped out all the food!

Last week my interest in the sport received a helpful bump when I met Adrien, one of three Frenchmen on holiday here in Palawan. Adrien has been spearfishing for the past three years in the Mediterranean. And he claimed that his record best is 20 meters (65 feet) but when he accomplished it, he just had enough reserve to tap the bottom before heading back up. I can believe it. Last week we went diving in three locations at the mouth of, and outside, Puerto Princesa Bay. Nicolas and Adrien were going to get certified. Thomas was already certified and so am I.

Adrien and Nico are getting SSI dive-certified (SSI is a major rival of PADI) with Moana Divers located here in Puerto Princesa. Getting certified in the Philippines is less expensive than getting certified in developed countries. It cost each of them less than 350 Euros here versus between 500 to 600 Euros in France.

Hunting Grounds

I can only describe my hunting grounds because my underwater camera is inoperable until I retrieve its battery charger which I forgot in the States. Good thing Benjo’s almost back!

"Alex and Nicolas. "Nico" is an aeronautical engineer from Paris. He has experienced American life previously (when he was sent to a GE aircraft plant in Cincinnati, Ohio)." retirednoway

Alex and Nicolas. “Nico” is an aeronautical engineer from Paris. He has experienced American life previously (when he was sent to a GE aircraft plant in Cincinnati, Ohio).

Our first dive spot was called Maris. It’s a kilometer below the tip of the dick. (What dick? Well, it’s the “bite mole” and more will follow in the next post.) Beneath the waves the bottom was a flat plain of sand interspersed with plant-covered boulders. There were also a few clumps of small coral formations but it was the boulders that dominated the underwater landscape. It was seven meters deep (23 feet deep). We kept on going down and then up. I am very pleased to note that I could do it although I wonder how many more years I can descend to that depth. (And I can stay there for only a measly five seconds.) There were no table-sized fish that we saw for the next 45 minutes. None and that’s alarming! The seas are being depleted of fish. We’re harvesting fish faster than our environment can replace them.

"At 0830, Alex, Brian Roh, Nico, and Thomas are getting ready to dive." retirednoway

At 0830, Alex, Brian Roh, Nico, and Thomas are getting ready to dive.

The second dive spot was called Something-River. That’s not its real name of course. I just don’t remember the first word. I think it’s named after the small river that discharges into the sea near this point. It was here that they had the best dive. While I spearfished, the Frenchmen and their Divemaster checked out the underwater topography. They reported seeing many medium to large cliff dwellers and coral reef fish: a school of about 20 barracuda, a stingray, a 2-meter long shark, and even a turtle. But they were all too deep. For now I can only descend to a practical depth of five meters (16 feet) since I need a few seconds to at least shoot. Tsk, tsk…

"Nautical Chart of the southern coast below the mouth of Puerto Princesa Bay." retirednoway

Nautical Chart of the southern coast below the mouth of Puerto Princesa Bay. “Something-River” is encircled on the right. The bottom of this area is ideal for spearfishing. It is a flat plain like “Maris,” the dive spot I mentioned in this post. It is a flat plain but deeper. Adrien and I agreed that it was seven meters deep but now, looking at the nautical chart, it must have been deeper.

The third dive spot was called Crossing. It was here that Divemaster Danny proposed that I follow them. I would follow their bubbles, on the surface, as they traced the outline some 20+ meters below of a well-populated deep reef. Perhaps their human presence down there might frighten a large-enough food fish to the shallows that are 7 to 10 meters deep. There would be no such luck. No such luck at any of these dive spots (which we explored over three dives in two days).

It’s made for small-to-medium sized fish.

"Bruno testing the gun. I don't know how to explain his attire except to say that men, especially those working under the heat of the sun, like to work topless." retirednoway

Bruno testing the gun. I don’t know how to explain his attire except to say that men, especially those working under the heat of the sun, like to work topless.

This is a JBL Magnum, model Custom. It is 80 centimeters long (31 inches long). It is powered by two thick rubber slings. Its spear is 62 centimeters long (24 inches). The spear has a cord attached to tip of the gun barrel. In the water, in an extended position, I can hit anything within 3.7 meters (12 feet) of my eyes and the cord will hold on to the spear.

"Test-firing the spear into a mound of loose soil." retirednoway

Test-firing the spear into a mound of loose soil.

Care & Maintenance

After every use, everything is rinsed with fresh water. Sea water is corrosive and should not be allowed to dry on anything manmade, even rubber.

"These are regular diving fins. The ones worn by spearfishermen are black, longer and narrower." retirednoway

These are regular diving fins. The ones worn by spearfishermen are black, longer and narrower.

"My Akona gear bag. It's a mesh bag that can be carried like a duffel or a backpack. It's great!" retirednoway

My Akona gear bag. It’s a mesh bag that can be carried like a duffel or a backpack. It’s great!

"Diving Gloves. (Not!) I found them at a True Value hardware store in Manila. They work as well as real diving gloves and, best of all, the pair only cost $1.00!" retirednoway

Diving Gloves. (Not!) I found them at a True Value hardware store in Manila. They work as well as real diving gloves and, best of all, the pair only cost $1.00!

"Drying the speargun on my garish-looking bathroom sink. The yellow cord that tethers the spear to the gun is two meters long. The disassembled tang of the diving knife is visible on the left." retirednoway

Drying the speargun on my garish-looking bathroom sink. The yellow cord that tethers the spear to the gun is two meters long. The disassembled tang of the diving knife is visible on the left.

Get a Glimpse!

YouTube is the first place to go. Check this out.

Benny, this is my response to your question friend. Hope you enjoyed it!

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6 responses to “Spearfishing — my new passion!

  1. This is no easy task but it’s so amazing how you do this kind of adventure! You look great and everything else and you seem very fulfilled. 🙂

    Like

  2. Wondering what’s the status of your Bancao Apartments project?

    Like

  3. Kathleen Sarenas

    Hi Alex! This is Kathleen from last saturday’s dive at crossing. We’ll Definitely go back to palawan and hope to try your passion also. 😀 It was nice hanging out with you and goodluck on your spearfishing ventures! 🙂

    Like

  4. What the fuckles

    Like

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