I’ve been diving for almost four years now and logged about 150 dives. I’ve also dove in some of the best sites around the Philippines—Tubbataha, Apo Island, Coron, Malapascua, Moalboal, Puerto Galera, and of course Anilao. But on this trip, diving with Bob Yin and Gutsy Tuason, 2 of the most prolific scuba diver—photographers in the Philippines and internationally, I feel like a child. I feel not-worthy but extremely lucky! We’re not just doing a dive; we’re doing over 10 dives in the next 5 days. I was also fortunate to be placed in the same hotel and share meals with them, so that I get to talk with them off the limelight.
“The key is to live long enough.” This was Robert Yin’s advice to me when I gape over his accomplishments. “If you don’t succeed today, then tomorrow.” Cool.
Bob is 79 years old and is one of the pioneer divers of Anilao in 1960. 50 years and counting, he logged 3330 dives today. He knows exactly how many dives he did. Most of the people he started diving with no longer dive, but he just came back from a back to back Tubbataha trip (2 weeks) before this trip, and absolutely had no problem diving for 80 minutes.
I’m getting a whole lot of history lessons about the beginning of diving in the Philippines. He reminisces fondly about the past recalling people he dove with. I have black and white images in my head. But he’s not all about the past too. He would easily discuss, compare, and even advice Gutsy on their identical Sony NEX5 camera in a Nauticam housing.
He’s a natural mentor and would point out cool stuff to me while diving. He would also give advice freely and tips on photo techniques.
“There are many places in the world that I never dived in.” He told me. “Because they are not worth my time.” We laughed. But really he had dived all over the world. For him the 4 best sites are: Anilao, Tubbataha, Sipadan, and the Galapagos. A-ha!
Bob hailed from Shanghai and is now based in San Diego, California. In the 1960’s he was based in the Philippines as a paper engineer and set up some of the biggest paper mills in those days. Three times a year, he takes a diving trip somewhere. He dives Tubbataha every season, and has recently been going back to Sipadan. When he’s home in California, he plays tennis everyday. He’s seeded at #21 in men’s singles for his age group in the US.
His photos are seen everywhere–Lonely Planet, dive magazines, dive books, oceanariums, marine parks, etc. He also published many books, recently a set of books introducing children to the underwater world hoping to encourage them to scuba dive. See some of his best photos on his website at www.robertyin.com
… Gutsy next, maybe.