Philippines liveaboard safari -Tubbataha and Southern Visayas

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Philippines liveaboard safari
Tubbataha and Southern Visayas

southernLeyte1Fair weather and warm water (28C/83F) awaited us on our 13-night Philippines liveaboard safari to the pristine reefs of Tubbataha and Southern Visayas! This truly exciting trip was designed as a special crossing – cruise, covering two outstanding destinations that Siren Fleet offers in the Philippines. Tubbataha spoiled us with big pelagics, healthy walls with amazing soft and hard corals and an enormous quantity of fish live! In the Southern Visayas we had a fantastic variety of colourful reef and black sand dives, offering an amazing variety of critters and reef fish.

Photo-Southern-LeyteOur guests on this trip were the Bartosz group from Poland, who has sailed with us on numerous occasions to destinations including Southern Leyte, another Philippines favourite! Being friends for many years and traveling together all over the world, everybody settled in immediately and made themselves at home. Scott our token American who joined the group, began polishing up his Polish but quickly realized thats language barriers no longer exist when it comes to dive stories and of course underwater sign language is very international on every level! Most of the divers brought big cameras and there was a lot of information shared and analyzed. Most evenings before dinner we watched slide shows or underwater movies on the salon;s big HD TV-screen, whilst after dinner everybody enjoyed themselves either in our comfortable dining area or on the bow of the boat, watching the stars, catching up with stories and most importantly, laughing a lot!!!

sweetlipsWe started our dive trip from Puerto Princessa, Palawan, heading straight for the Tubbataha National Park, which is one of only two strictly marine UNESCO World heritage sites worldwide. The reef itself covers approximately 97.000 hectares and by crossing between south and north atolls we were able to pick the best dive spots for each time of the day. We had some truly amazing encounters: Nurse Sharks, White Tip Reef Sharks, Grey Reef Sharks, Black Tip Reef Sharks, Manta Rays, Eagle Rays, Schools of Giant Trevally, Barracudas (Chevron + Yellow Tail), Big Eye Jacks, Blue Fin Trevally, and Sweetlips. Big Dogtooth Tunas, Napoleon Wrasse, Rainbow Runners, Moray Eels, Lobster, Squirrel Fish, Brown Marbled Groupers and so much more… In addition we were spoiled with superbly healthy reefs with huge gorgonian fans, a wide range of soft and hard corrals, large table corals and an abundance of colorful reef fish, along with Hawksbill + Green Turtles and schools of Humphead Parrot Fish. During dives at sites “Shark Airport” and “Washing Machine” the divers experience some adrenaline-pumping encounters with sharks, mantas and fast currents! For some reason, which is not fully understandable to me, the group decided to rename the dive sites to “Shark Machine” and “Washing Airport”, so I guess there will be some curious dive log entries…?

anemone-fish-reefOn our last day in Tubbataha we took the opportunity to visit the Ranger Station for some T-Shirt shopping and a chat with the Rangers, before starting our crossing to Cagayancillo. We arrived in Cagayancillo the next morning on time and conducted our two planed dives on unspoiled walls with beautiful corals that attract an abundant fish life. Leaving around lunchtime on our crossing to Southern Visayas, the rest of the afternoon was spent watching movies, enjoying a glass of wine (or two), sunbathing on the sundeck or simply having a nap- all of which were well deserved after such an experience in Tubbataha and necessary to prepare us for fantastic dives that were to follow.

frogfishThe following day we arrived safe and sound in Dauin, where we enjoyed 3 very spectacular black sand dives. Here every critter imaginable can be found from microscopic painted frogfish to mimic octopus and skeleton shrimps. Then it was a day of diving at Apo Island, famed for being the first successful marine sanctuary in the Philippines, and with such corals it is easy to see the success story here. Moving slowly towards our home Port in Cebu we spent one day each at the islands of Sumilon, Balicasag and, for the grand finale, Panglao. Throughout our dives we were spoiled with an assortment of colorful Nudibranchs, Lion Fish, Pygmy Seahorse, Ghost Pipefish, School of Big Eye Jacks and Snappers, Pipefish, Moray Eel, Filefish, Tiger Cowrie, Bigmouth Mackerel, Fusiliers, Squid, Octopus, Big Frog Fish, Small Frog Fish, Big Schools of Anthias and Fusiliers, Hawksbill + Green Turtles and lots of Shrimps and Crabs.

What an amazing trip, full of fantastic diving and fun company and not to forget all the sumptuous meals created by our two great chefs Jimmy and Boy, and of course their legendary lunch & dinner briefings

 

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