Liveaboard diving in Southern Visayas : whale shark and frogfish
Liveaboard Diving in Southern Visayas : whale shark and frogfish
After a year’s diving in Komodo, Thailand, Burma and the Andaman Islands I returned to the Philippines and welcomed our international guest aboard the “S/Y Philippine Siren”. We started our Southern Visayas tour in the yacht club in Cebu and after check in and harbour clearance our captains Bagos and Bernes sailed us south direction Cabilao. The next morning everybody was ready for the dive briefing when a pod of dolphins passed by and said hi to us. We started our diving cruise at “”Canbaquiz” with sightings of different pipefish and frogfish. We spent the whole day around this lovely island and dove “Talisay Tree” and “The Lighthouse” in the afternoon to see the pygmy seahorses before returning to “Cambaquiz” for our night dive with pleurobranch, frogfish and spiny devilfish. What a beautiful day to start our cruise.
After an early start we arrived just in time for our first dive at Balicasag, and it was a dive to remember “Black Forest”, known for its black coral but this time we saw hunderds of barracudas, trevallies and of course a 6m whale shark. I love Balicasag, even if it is not a marine sanctuary it has amazing coral and fish life. During our dives at “Sanctuary” and “Divers Heaven”, we had again so many trevallies, a few turtles and nudibranchs. In the evening we celebrated Marion’s and Thibaud’s first wedding anniversary and Marion also completed her open water course. The next day we arrived early at Dauin and enjoyed a full day of diving around the famous dark sand that these area offers. Starting at “The cars”, where we saw the usual suspects like ornate, robust and rough snout ghost pipefish. After two days of diving at the dark sand around Dauin the S/Y Philippine Siren moved up north to Moalboal and Pescador Island. We had an early wake up to have “Pescador Island” just for ourselves. It was again stunning to see the millions of sardines moving around and trying to hide inside the amazing school.
After 3 dives around Pescador we went for our night dive to “Sunken Airplane reef” to encounter blue ring octopus, green turtle and pleurobranchs. The wind calmed down completely overnight and flat sea awaited us for our first dive at “Kasai Wall”. A few guests had a sleep in, so that dive guide Jojo only took the parents Daron for the morning dive to show them 10 green turtles. Today we did all our dives at the coast of Moalboal with lots of turtles and mandarin fish and again a blue ringed octopus at the sunset dive.
Right after our divers came back from the last dive of the day, our captains headed south again for Apo Island. We hoped the weather would be nicer than 2 days ago. Good planning again, the weather was perfect. A medium current at “Coconut Point” and “Cogon” made us feel like in fish heaven. The coral life around Apo Island is stunning and reminded me of the top spots in Raja Ampat. The afternoon dives at “Rock Point West” and “Chapel” been also beautiful with lots of triggerfish, turtles and sea snakes. After an again great dinner from Chef Jimmy we headed north direction Panglao for our next dive adventures. The shallow reef top at “Arco point” with only 5m visibility was perfect to conduct the navigation dive for Louis, Tristan, Alienor and Paul. However down the wall the visibility improved a lot and it was great to dive along the shallow wall and see a nice white frogfish. Than back to the boat for a big breakfast and warming up for the next dive at”BBC”.
In the afternoon we visited ”Rays reef”, or should we say frogfish reef, since our guides Jojo and Donato found 4 giant frogfish . Even on our night dive we couldn’t get”rid” of the frogfish, we found another giant one and robust ghost pipefish. We left Panglao at 2 am to make our way to Cabilao, where we spent our last day of diving. We visited “Paradise”, “The Lighthouse” and “Cambaquiz” and looked for more pygmy seahorses, nudibranchs, leaf fish and trevallies. After lunch the crew lifted the 7 sails and everybody took the opportunity to see the “S/Y Philippine Siren” in her full beauty. Our last night dive had some surprises for us a beautiful blue ringed octopus and only I saw a mimic octopus! Back at the boat chef Jimmy prepared an amazing barbecue for us and our guests made plans for their next adventure.
I hope to see you all again
Photos by Chris Von Damm