Philippine Siren in Coron Bay
Philippine Siren in Coron Bay
On the 19th of January our twelve guests from Germany, Croatia, Australia, China, Spain and Canada boarded the luxurious dive liveaboard S/Y Philippine Siren in Coron Bay to embark for our last trip for this itinerary until November. Our first diving day started with a plunge into Barracuda Lake; a very unique eco system where saltwater from the ocean and freshwater from hot springs meet. You could call the dive itself also something like a Spa treatment as the water temperature is about 38 degrees Celsius and you can get a manicure from the over curious catfish, gobies and cleaner shrimp that inhabit this brackwater lake when you put your hands on a rock and leave it there for a moment.
Then it was time to discover what the reefs of Coron Bay have to offer. We dived Siete Pecados with it’s beautiful arrangement of soft and hard corals and many sponges in a variety of colours. It was there that Sigrid saw her new favored animal, the jawfish. We found several of them lurking out of their holes in the sand and some even carried eggs in their mouth. To round the day up we jumped just before sunset at Twin Peaks into the water to watch the mandarin fish performing their mating ritual.Over the next couple of days we explored the fantastic wrecks of Coron Bay. At Okikawa Maru, one of my favored wrecks due to it’s fabulous coral growth, we saw schools of batfish and Snappers as well as a large Crocodile Fish, not to mention the hordes of nudibranchs that crawl on the hull and deck. At the Akitzushima strong currents awaited us, but fortunately there are mooring lines which make the descent to the wreck easier, and once down we found shelter from the current and were able to marvel at the remainders of this Flying Boat Tender and have a look at the relics of the war machinery with a triple machine gun and some ammunition shells still visible. In the evenings we watched the dramatic sunsets and Noel, our host, poured a cocktail for Rick and Jenny and everyone else who decided to skip the night dives. Fantastic dinners prepared by Jimmy and Boy made the days perfect.
After three days in Coron Bay we cruised to Dimipac Island in the hope to find a dugong which sadly didn’t show up, but we were surprised by masses of krill that filled the waters around the Island and attracted a juvenile whale shark and two manta rays cruised up and down the shoreline the entire day which is very unusual for this area that is normally not known for big fish action. Even Andrea and Slavo, our two snorkelers on this trip where able to swim with the bigger manta ray which was almost completely white.
Then we moved on to Apo Reef where we spent two days with fantastic dives at Apo Mayor Southtip with thousands of butterfly fish, whitetip and grey reef sharks, turtles, schools of bigeye jacks and giant trevallies. Also Bahura 29, a sea mount, was one of our guests favored dives here with more sharks and schools of barracudas and surgeon fish.
We travelled further north to the grand finale in Anilao with beautiful coral reefs and muck diving sites. Carmen, one of our guests from Spain, requested to be tied to the Sombrero Island Coral Garden and stay there till the world ends! Also my most favored dive site, the Secret Bay, did not disappoint and all the weird and wonderful critters came out to play with us. The stars of this site are hairy frogfish of which we managed to find two, mimic octopus, flamboyant cuttlefish and all sorts of ghostpipe fish, nudibranchs and painted and clown frogfish.
We couldn’t have asked for more on this trip with a great mix of wrecks, reefs and animals big and small. A great end of our season in the north west of the Philippines.