Southern Visayas July 2011
Southern Visayas July 2011Hot, sunny and no wind were the weather conditions when Alain’s group from Belgium arrived in the Cebu yacht club to board the S/Y Philippine Siren.Most of our guests were returning to the Philippine Siren again after last year’s trip in Coron, so it was a great reunion for everybody & a special birthday celebration for Marleen. We lifted the anchor and cruised south towards Cabilao Island, whilst Chefs Jimmy and Boy had another task to do baking an amazing birthday cake!
The first dive the next morning was on ‘Cambaquiz’, which started with sightings of a giant frogfish & Donato found a wonderpus.During our next 3 dives we encountered barracuda, green turtle and many species of pipefish amongst the wonderful corals. Divemasters Jojo and Donato took all the men off for their night dive meanwhile I stayed on the boat to keep the ladies company. We then set sail for our new destination ‘Balicasag Island‘ this little island has some of the most beautiful coral gardens in the Visayas & we stayed the whole day here enjoying diving at ‘Black Forest’, ‘Divers Heaven’ and ‘Sanctuary’. Everybody was happy to see green turtles, schools of barracudas and trevallies. After 4 dives we were in need of the ‘calorie free’ dinner and perhaps a second portion of delicious dessert.
The weather was getting better and better and some of our guests got up early to enjoy the beautiful sunrise at Negros Island. Dark volcanic sand & critters were for today program. We started with my favorite site ‘The Cars’, with many ghost pipefish, frogfish and even a green turtle happily had her breakfast in the shallow sea grass area, as divers could approach and get close up. Next up was ‘Dauin North’ where Thomas found a lovely freckled frogfish. The afternoon dive at the house reef from the Atmosphere Resort was pleasant as ever with turtles, sea snakes and a variety of fish life. Then it was time for the mandarin fish mating rituals at ‘Bahura’. After a welcome nights rest we embarked to Apo Island to begin our dives at ‘Coconut’ and ‘Cogon’ with just a mild current, but lots of tuna, trevallies and even a bumphead parrotfish and an eagle ray. The wind picked up in the afternoon and we had to change plans and after 2 more dives here in Apo we cruised through the night to ‘Pescador Island’ and Moalboal where we would spend the next 2 days.
The schools of millions of sardines are every time very impressive, as if there is a dark cloud in the water. It’s great that ‘Pescador Island’ is protected and no commercial fishing is allowed. Three dives today to see also giant frogfish, tuna, trevallies and rainbow runners. No luck for us this time with a thresher shark, I am sure next trip when Chris and our new Cruise director Andrea is onboard they will see some. Moalboal is famous for turtles and we saw lots of them; on our morning dives 15 green turtles per dive. In the afternoon we visited a wreckage of a small plane, after which the group decided they had made plenty of dives for the day so the ‘young’ ones did some wakeboarding on our brand new wakeboard.
Our captains have been driving through the night to bring us back to Apo Island. Today we dove some sites we missed the last time, starting with ‘Chapel’ and ‘Rock point west’ with sightings of giant frogfish, giant trevally, hawksbill turtle and Malabar grouper, whilst DM Jojo turned into a tour guide taking 12 of our guests on a hike around the island. The local ladies also came aboard to sell their sarongs & t-shirts (a fantastic enterprise that helps support the local community with less reliance on fishing)
More fun diving the next morning on the coast of Panglao Island. At first we went to ‘Arco Point’ to visit the resident giant frogfish and then to ‘BBC’ and we found a tiny pygmy seahorse and a spiny devil fish. After the dives some of the guests rented some jet skis from shore and hade a fun time cruising around the ‘S/Y Philippine Siren’, showing of their driving skills. For our last two dives of this 10 night safari we were back at Mactan * Olango Islands, visiting for the first time season the sites of ‘Tambuli’ and ‘Talima’ before we got the wakeboard and waterskis out for another action packed afternoon in the Philippines.
All photos by Lee Black