Adiós until next time aboard Philippine Siren…
Adiós until next time aboard Philippines Siren…
We started our week off in Puerto Princessa, Palawan for our second trip of the season out to Tubbataha! We had a full 16-person charter, all visiting us from Mexico City! On our 12-hour journey out to these reefs, we encountered a mild breeze, though with a slight swell, but that didn’t stop some of our guests from dancing on the sundeck, and howling at the moon!
For our very first dive we rolled into the water at Jessie Beazley Reef, though decided to seek calmer waters after and headed down to the southern part of the North Atoll, to Amos Rock and South Park. The sea was still a little choppy; however we had great visibility and conditions underwater to make for a fantastic first day. We saw many species including: Dogtooth tuna, white tip and grey reef sharks, bumphead parrotfish and even Denise’s pygmy seahorses. Once again Tubbataha opened up the week to us in grand style, and showed why it is such a renowned dive location.
The second day we awoke to calmer seas and ventured to the eastern side of the South Atoll, for two dives at Black Rock. The dive site delivered ‘big time’ with unbelievable show of pelagic and reef species, including: over 20 spotted eagle rays, more sharks, schools of blacktail and yellowtail barracuda, with dogtooth tuna darting in and out of the schools of reef fish looking for lunch. We continued south plunging in at Staghorn Reef and Lighthouse, both of these sites having immaculate hard coral gardens, just teeming with schools of anthias and chromis.
The following morning we returned to the North Atoll for three fantastic dives at Shark Airport and Washing Machine. During those dives we had many encounters with amazing marine life, such as the spotted eagle and marble rays, Napoleon wrasse, green sea and hawksbill turtles. Afterwards, we visited the Tubbataha marine park rangers at their station to see how they live, with some of our guests purchasing some souvenir T-shirts and rash guards. After watching the sunset on the sandbar outside the ranger station we headed back to the boat, and enjoyed the rest of our evening.
Day four started off with a very pleasant sunrise and promise of an extremely beautiful day in the Sulu Sea. We took our first stride of the day into the sea at the South Atoll, which brought us more dogtooth tuna, eagle rays and reef sharks in droves. A marlin made an appearance along this dynamic wall and we ended our day with dives on Eiger Wall and Lighthouse, where we found beautiful hard and soft corals and enjoyed sightings of Napoleon wrasse, schooling bigeye jacks and LOTS of reef sharks.
We finished off the week back where we started, at Jessie Beazley Reef, with two dives on the south-western wall. Along this dramatic and stunning coral-encrusted wall we found mantis shrimp, schools of bigeye jacks and rainbow runners, with hawksbill turtles swimming past. We even spotted a longnose hawkfish, perfectly camouflaged, hiding among a sea fan.
After we surfaced and collected by the tenders we returned to Philippine Siren for lunch and began our cruise back to port. The seas were rolling, but following making for an easy journey. Spirits were high with the sharing of stories and friendly games of dominoes played on the aft deck! Arriving back in Puerto Princessa we were greeted with calm harbourage and a beautiful sunrise as it was time to say ‘adiós’ to our divers from Mexico.
We truly had a wonderful week with them and enjoyed every minute above and below the water. I can’t wait to see them in the future!
Salamat (Thank you) from the crew of the Philippine Siren