Philippine Siren Diving from Batangas to Coron

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Philippine Siren Diving from Batangas to Coron

Motodhi-Bluering-OctopusThis was our first trip with the new Batangas to Coron itinerary, so we were all excited about what the area of Anilao might have in store for us. The weather wasn’t in our favor on the first day with a lot of rain but during the rest of the entire trip we had very good conditions with blue skies and beautiful sunsets. After our 16 guests, from Blue Kirio Diving in the US, boarded our luxurious Phinisi Schooner in Puerto Galera, Mindoro, we steamed towards Anilao, for our first dive s of the liveaboard safari. We heard a lot of good things about the area before ( Nudibranch Capital of the World with over 800 species so far counted…, good muck and macro diving… ) but we never would have thought that it is that good! Besides some nice reefs with cuttlefish, pygmy seahorses, lots of nudis, all the reef fish and even a school of juvenile bigeye backs, it was a spot called Secret Bay that amazed us the most! In the beginning of our first dive here, descending down the sandy slope, I thought “well, looks just like your typical muck site” and wasn’t too impressed of the amount of critters, but boy was I wrong! Just when we reached the shallows after 30 minutes of venturing along the slope the real critter show began in not even 6 meters below the surface and this site showed us it’s true potential; a true cephalopod and frog fish heaven. Literally every 3 or 4 meters we would spot different kinds of both genre, and not the large ones but the real macro gems, Besides long-arm and common reef octopus we found mimics and wonderpus, coconut octopus and not only the elusive blue-ring but also his much rarer and just recently described brother the Motodhi Bluering Octopus which has only two large blue rings on his flanks. We saw painted-, clown-, spotfin- ans freckled frogfish in all sorts of colors and sizes and even a hairy one. Thorny and common seahorses, plus a species I’m not able to identify but is so big that you almost could ride them, again a plethora of nudibranchs and all the other wonderful creatures that lurk in the sand like mantis shrimp, seamoths and flying gurnards. Our divers enjoyed it so much that we ended up doing six dives at this, how Jojo one of our DM’s put it, “very crazy place”.

Taiei-Maru6nThe next stop was the world renowned Apo Reef in the middle between Mindoro and Busuanga, right were Sulu and South China seas meet. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, this is a completely different environment from Anilao, with steep drop offs and walls with schooling fish, many green- and hawksbill turtles and reef sharks. But since Kurt, Dorothy, Charlie and the rest of the group are true macro lovers (besides Bob maybe) Casey, the group’s leader opted to do only two days of diving in this place before we moved on to Coron Bay with its famous WW II wrecks of the Japanese Fleet that was sunk during an air raid by the US 38th Task Force on the 24th of September 1944.

mating-nudisOur first dives in the area however were around Dimakya and Dimipac Island, again good macro spots with many types of crustaceans and anemones, much appreciated by Susan, Craig, Sheri, Ann and Jeannie. Then followed the wrecks of Taiei and Olympia Maru, the Lusong Gunboat and Tangat Wreck, which besides being massive in size, hold also a great amount of marine life with schooling batfish, jacks and snappers, good coral growth and more macro stuff! We even found the hard to spot sawblade shrimp in black coral bushes on the wrecks. Our last dive was Barracuda Lake on Coron Island, another unique spot where salt and fresh water meet and thermal activity rises the temperature of the water to up to 39 degrees Celsius, thus creating a very special biotope where salt and fresh water species live together including the name giver of the lake a lonesome Giant Barracuda.

It is the mix of completely different environments that make this Itinerary so special and shows the diversity of the Philippines. Throw in delicious meals prepared by the boats chefs, luxurious outfitted, spacious cabins, professional massages administered by Maureen, a huge sundeck and you have your perfect vacation.

 


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