Tubbataha and More : Divers Paradise

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Tubbataha and More : Divers Paradise

PhilippinesSirenThe luxurious Phinisi Schooner “Philippine Siren” left Puerto Princesa in Palawan on June 04 for a 13 day diving trip via the Tubbataha Reefs and Cagayancillo to the southern Visayas Islands. The very special thing about this itinerary is the difference of divesites and diversity of animals from tiny to extra-large that one is able to encounter along the way. Our 16 divers on this trip came from Germany, Switzerland, the UK, USA, Canada and the Netherlands. The sea was incredibly calm when we left the port and lay like a mirror underneath the boat.


black rock-shark-diverOur first Stop on this cruise was Jessie Beazley Reef about 20 miles northwest of the Tubbataha Atolls. We did two marvelous dives here with heaps of grey and whitetip reef sharks a couple of silky sharks schools of bigeye jacks and sleek unicornfish but only Sabine, our guest from the US, spotted a scalloped hammerhead shark in the distance, lucky girl! Next on the agenda was Tubbataha‘s southern atoll, where we spent the next two days just off Lighthouse Islet and dived the drop offs and walls of Black Rock and Delsan with an abundance of pelagic fish and plenty of shark action. After that we moved on to the northern atoll and had marvelous dives there with a manta, eagle- and marbled stingrays more pelagics and dogtooth tuna so big that they dwarfed the reef sharks!
the cars-frogfishSurface intervals where filled with delicious meals prepared by onboard chefs Jimmy and Boy or getting a nice tan on the spacious sundeck of the Siren. A couple of guests, like Martin, tested their skills on the 3D puzzles we have on the boat, quite hard to solve these things… apparently!
But the most memorable dive for Nicole, Ernst, Dhruv and Karina was on the last day of the Tubbataha part of the cruise. On the sunrise dive I was just behind their group when I spotted a scalloped hammerhead just off the Reef. I banged my tank with my pointing stick but only these four divers were able to hear it. They turned their heads and immediately saw the shark, that was quite curious and swam up and down in front of us five for a couple of minutes before leaving out into the wild blue yonder. Just after he left we saw another very big hammerhead ca. 15 – 20 m below us and suddenly a 4 m tiger shark crossed the hammerheads path and after a minute or so they together moved away from the reef. Pure adrenaline rush for all of us.
We ventured on via Cagayancillo Island to the Southern Visayas with its beautiful dive sites and lots of smaller animals at Apo Island, Balicasag and Cabilao, but for most of the guests the best macro diving was in Dauin; the Lembeh Strait of the Philippines. Ghost pipefish and frogfish galore, demon stingers and velvet scorpionfish and the rest of the fascinating creatures found in this critterland. I think Gary and Cathy could have stayed there for the rest of their lives they enjoyed it so much. Truly a trip to “Divers Paradise….”

All photos by Chris Von Damm

 

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