A dive in the underwater Garden of Eden

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The Philippine Siren liveaboard was once again ready to welcome on board a great group of divers all very excited to dive in Tubbataha Reefs National Park.

The check dive at Malayan Wreck was nice, but we went there for the second dive also and the second time around it was really impressive. We spotted a scalloped hammerhead and thirty seconds after that we saw a tiger shark. Further on in the dive there was a nice pack of whitetip reef sharks, roaming the reef wall. Our third dive of the day was Gorgonian Channel. It was a very pretty dive on the reef to edge with lots of big schools of small fish darting around. At Amos Rock, the current took us along the reef wall with lots of fish action and frantic swimming around of everything with a tail. We spotted two marbled stingrays, one of which was a huge one. To close the sale on this dive we encountered a large school of bigeye trevallies. We concluded that it was a great day diving.

We were spoiled during the first dive of the day. Raising the bar even higher for the rest of the trip, we spotted a manta ray and a whaleshark at Delsan’s Wreck. And that is besides the obvious stuff we always find at this amazing dive site: a big school of bigeye trevallies, different schools of different kinds of barracudas, whitetip reef sharks, grey reef sharks, giant trevallies and massive dogtooth tunas. The next dive at Staghorn Point was a gorgeous one. The amount of fish knocked us off our feet. Immense schools of sweetlips, bigeye trevally, fusiliers, snappers and damsels all danced around on top of the reef. For the third dive we went back to Delsan Wreck, where we saw curtains of fish everywhere and on top of that at one point we counted at least eighteen grey reef sharks.

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It was another dive day that began with mirror-like conditions on the surface. Watching the completely flat sea over a light breakfast, made us even more eager to jump in and see what was going on down there. Ko-ok was dive site that was first on the schedule of the day. We found a nice school of blackfin barracuda doing the typhoon thing. On the shallow plateau we swam through walls of bigeye trevally and fusiliers; a true fish soup for diving breakfast. We hoped around the corner of the South Atoll to the area of Black Rock. Pristine waters, hardly any current and lots of awesome sightings: multiple manta rays, a scalloped hammerhead and a whaleshark that swam up and down the reef and was seen three times. Wow, what a dive! The next dive at Black Rock South was called ‘A dive in the underwater Garden of Eden’ by one of our guests. A lovely sunlit reef top exploding in life, that’s what we encountered when we jumped in for the first afternoon dive. For the last dive we went back to Black Rock again where we had another interesting dive with ripping current that made us fly over multiple dive sites in no time. Underway we spotted a scalloped hammerhead that was obviously having less problems swimming against the current, because it just hung on the wall while we were struggling to keep our masks on our faces. So we had a very diverse day with big fish, sharks, rays, pristine easy-peasy diving topped up with a genuine adrenaline dive.

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Our first stop of the day was at Shark Airport, but after the dive our guest Yves renamed it to Trevally Airport, because of the numerous hunting packs of giant trevally. They were everywhere and together with all the grey reef sharks joining in the hunting it turned into a very exciting dive. The second one was at Washing Machine, but the launderette was closed. It must have been because it was Sunday. There was hardly any current, so that made for a pleasant rather than a hectic dive. Some highlights of the dive included two marbled stingrays, lots of grey reef sharks and the enormous resident dogtooth tunas. After lunch we took a rest and soon got geared up for the next dive at Northeast Wall. The beautiful sunlit reef top revealed itself in all its grace and color. The action lovers got their share in the last dive of the day which was a combination of two dive sites, Shark Airport and Washing Machine. The fast current blew us along the wall and through schools of nervous fish. We came up with smiles and the orange glow of the sunset on our faces.

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The final two dives of the trip were scheduled at Jessie Beazley Reef. This gorgeous reef was added to the park some ten years ago, expanding the total area to 97,030 hectares of marine ecosystems. The two dives brought us an uncountable amount of fish. At the corners of the reef that we dived we found walls of life. Surgeonfish, fusiliers, rainbow runners, butterflyfish and redtooth triggerfish all being backed up by a zillion damselfish and Athias. The top of the reef is at some points unbelievably pristine and dream-like. One of our guest remarked that it really made him feel privileged to see such a thing and be able to dive. Now that is why we love what we do!

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Staring over a completely flat Sulu Sea we drove back towards Puerto Princesa. Another great dive was nearing its end, but not before we toasted on a great sunset on the sundeck, and had a lovely last night barbeque dinner.

What an incredible trip! Thanks everyone for sharing this great adventure with us! We hope to see you soon!

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