Highlights of Diving Tubbataha
Highlights of Diving Tubbataha…
Our latest Philippine Siren trip was chartered by Sea Explorers owner Chris Heim, who hopped aboard a little earlier than his group to discuss the trip with me and the team. All plans made quite quickly we were ready to welcome the rest of the group and as soon as everyone was checked in into their cabins we lifted anchor for our first stop: Jessie Beazley Reef.
I always try to keep expectations low. The higher they are, the higher the risk of being disappointed. But after day one, the low expectations were gone. First dive of the trip on the south east of Jessie Beazley Reef we got treated to a very friendly Whale shark and a single juvenile Scalloped Hammerhead Shark. These sightings were not even the highlights. Every single dive on that day the whale shark showed up and played with our bubbles, sometimes spending up to 15 minutes with our divers. The current picked up for dive number three as we back rolled in on the south west wall and this was certainly the right choice as in the deep the action was phenomenal. Schools of Scalloped Hammerhead Sharks (uncountable), Silvertip Shark and the rare Bull shark checked us out real close, while we were drifting with the current. The adrenalin was high, the dive memorable; one of those dives where you are just at the right time at the right spot. After surfacing, some people were just speechless and didn’t know if the last one hour was real or just a daydream. The day ended with a delicious dinner and the moon shining as its brightest.
With my briefing for the first dive of the day I tried to get the expectations down again. The chance to hit the jackpot two days in a row is low. So I told my guests to watch out for a blue, yellow and red fish – knowing that we for sure will see these three fish species!. We went for an early morning dive at Malayan Wreck, where we enjoyed the beautiful seafans and hard coral formation on the plateau. At Seafan Alley a school of Big Eye Jacks caught our attention. We had a closer look and the cloud of fish started to move to the side. What we saw next was putting us in real excitement: the huge Guitar Shark was cruising around again – very nice! Washing Machine and Shark Airport were our last dive sites for that day, where we one once more had an encounter with the Guitar Shark.
We don’t like to be with other boats at the same dive site and as Delsan Wreck was occupied with two Liveaboards we chose to postpone Delsan for the next day and to go for a dive at Lighthouse instead. The strength of the current was optimal. Lighthouse has a great wall, covered with yellow broccoli coral, which reminded me of Yellow Wall of Texas, a dive site in Komodo. At 40 meters depth (we had 28% Nitrox) the wall turns into a gentle slope. And it was there we finally saw him; the infamous Tiger Shark! I was looking for him all around Tubbataha for the whole season already so it wasn’t only the guest divers whose eyes were popping! We decided to jump again at Lighthouse and we scored again – so cool! It was the number one subject at breakfast and lunch. Black Rock and Southpark were our afternoon dive sites, before we were meeting the rangers at their station. The sunsets in Tubbataha are stunning and Noel, our always-smiling-host, was so kind to prepare a cool box stocked with beer for us to bring to the beach; A great way to end a perfect day.
The days were flying and then there was already the last day of diving. Because the guests enjoyed Jessie Beazley Reef so much, we went back there for three dives. Our Whale shark showed up again – but this time a different one than five days ago and he brought his eagle ray buddy along too. I heard shouts of joy from our divers’ right after surfacing as we were also treated to Silvertip Sharks, Black Tip Sharks, school of Barracudas and school of Big Eye Jacks. During the dive we heard dolphins so I was on the lookout in our surface interval. It didn’t take long until I spot them and the guests and I are in the dinghy heading out equipped with masks, snorkels and cameras we prepared ourselves for a back roll into the midst of the school of spinner dolphins. Surprisingly they didn’t bother about us at all and the experience was a great one all round, ending with the dolphins playing in the wake of the dinghy, jumping out on the side and riding it in the front! What a great way to end an amazing liveaboard trip, each day was a highlight and our guests a delight to have on board.
From everyone here at the Philippine Siren we say thank you and we hope to see you again aboard any one of our other fine Siren Fleet yachts!