Philippine Siren diving Southern Leyte & Southern Visayas
Philippine Siren diving Southern Leyte & Southern VisayasWe left our home port in Cebu – Mactan on the 28th of April for our 14 day cruise on our 40m long luxurious Phinisi Schooner “Philippine Siren”. This truly exciting trip was designed as a special charter, covering once again two outstanding destinations we offer in the Philippines: Southern Leyte and the Southern Visayas!!
All the guests on board were experienced and well traveled divers from the US, traveling together for many, many years under the lead of Captain Casey from Blue Kirio Divers!
Our trip started in Limasawa (Southern Leyte), where we conducted our first dive, followed by some truly exciting snorkeling with whale sharks in the afternoon. Three of these gentle giants gave us the honour of their company and stayed for hours around the boat. One very large female and two juveniles, although I am not sure if you actually can call an animal a baby if it is already around 3.5m long! This was a very special encounter for everybody, being able to see and follow them so closely, and during dinner three more gave the boat a short visit, circling us for a while and then disappearing back into the blue. What a start to our trip!!!
The next few days we spent in the Southern Leyte region, where we had some truly amazing dives. Everybody was thrilled by Napantaw with its unspoiled reefs and the sheer abundance of fish life. Colourful nudibranchs, lionfish, scorpionfish, schools of drummer fish, surgeon fish and midnight snapper, enormous quantities of anthias, moray eels, giant trevally, green sea turtles and hawksbill turtles, brown marbled groupers, humphead parrot fish and so much more…
Another highlight during our time in Southern Leyte was definitely our night dives at Padre Burgos Pier. We didn’t even know where to look first, and the first few minutes all we could hear was tank-banging from excited divers, although they realized quickly that they would have to bang their tanks constantly on this dive, as everywhere they looked critters looked back at them… Pygmy cuttle fish, giant and small frogfish in all shapes, forms and colours, octopus, snake eels, longnose pipefish, moray eels, cockatoo wash fish, levy dragonet, seahorses and too many shrimps and crabs to count.
Before crossing to Southern Visayas where we spent the second half of our trip, we stayed one more day in Limasawa, looking for whale sharks – and we were not disappointed! It was almost if they knew it was our last day in Leyte and were coming to say goodbye, giving everybody the opportunity to snorkel once again with these gentle giants. The next morning we arrived in Balicasag after a good night’s rest and a wonderful calm crossing. With its brightly coloured reefs and abundance of soft and hard corals the Southern Visayas is a great area for macro diving. All the divers were thrilled by the variety corals, fish and critters this region has to offer, not to forget the black sand diving in Dauin!
To make the trip even more exciting, Casey designed a little photo competition since almost everybody owned a professional camera setup. Each morning a theme was set for the day, which left a few group members wondering if they should have better studied marine biology! Cuttle Fish, frog fish, moray eel, what the hell is a fish and what not… But all was sorted in the end, including lots of laughter and some discussion with Casey as to whether a turtle shot would count as macro if they call it pygmy turtle. The lucky winners of the different days were Lucy, Tim, Dorothy and Kur, and the overall winner of the competition was Lucy. Congratulations from all of us!!!!
During the dives and throughout the day our chefs, Jimmy and Boy, treated us with delicious meals and in the evenings we were entertained by Jimmy’s famous dinner briefings. We also had a celabration for Keith’s birthday at which Jimmy and Boy spoiled us with a wonderful cake and all crew sang some songs for the special occasion. Lots of opportunities relaxation were available either on our large sundeck or in our comfortable salon, reading a book, getting tanned or working on camera settings.
A truly enjoyable trip with lots of great diving! Hope to see you all again in the future!