Yves Herraud from Plongee Zen and his fifteen divers boarded Philippine Siren in Cebu for a 10-night liveaboard cruise which would take us through the Visayan Islands all the way to Moalboal, passing through Negros Island, Cabilao, Apo and Balicasag before taking us back to our starting point. After the boat and dive briefings, introduction to our boat crew, setting up the dive gear and doing our muster station drill we were ready to set sail towards our first destination. We reached Cabilao Island in the early morning and although the weather conditions were not optimal we did our first dives knowing the weather forecast would deliver us flat seas for the rest of the trip. Diving in to the 28C water we found our resident pygmy seahorses seemed to have moved somewhere else but yellow giant frog fish and bent end pipefish were there to welcome us and did not disappoint our photographers.
As expected the weather improved and after a smooth navigation through tranquil seas we reached Balicasag Island and its clear waters packed with fish and green sea turtles, after several dives along the steep walls with sea fans, soft corals and the school of jacks we headed off to our next destination; Dauin in Negros Island. But not before a short stop at Oslob where we had the chance to snorkel with over ten whale sharks, a nice contrast with the small critters that would be expecting at Dauin’s numerous muck dive sites. Thorny seahorses, different kinds of frogfish, flamboyant cuttlefish, ornate ghostpipefish, sawblade shrimps plus many other things gave our divers a good idea of the marine biodiversity the Philippines has to offer. In the evening we were invited by Atmosphere Resort for a drink at their bar next to the infinity pool – a good excuse to stretch our legs on dry land for a change!
Coconut Point in Apo Island is a must do and that’s where we did two of next day’s dives. The current, as mostly during the whole trip, was not strong but that did not prevent the school of jacks, giant trevallies, fusiliers plus many other species making an appearance. All this in the amazing underwater landscape of Coconut Point, dark sand and reefs covered in colourful sponges and feather stars. By now all our divers were feeling the tiredness of our no time limit dives and began requesting the services of our massage therapist, Maureen, who steadily got busier and busier over the next few days. Two days were spent in between Moalboal and Pescador Island where, although the visibility was not as good as usual, we still managed to track the sardine ball in Panag Sama. We were also happy to see that our two resident giant grey frogfish in Pescador Island have had a baby.. congratulations to them!
By then it was time to start heading back towards our starting point but with some stops again in Dauin, Sumilon Island and Cabilao Island. The latter this time offered far better diving conditions than on the first day which allowed us to spot the big school of big eye jacks. On our last evening on board we celebrated Catherine’s birthday with the crew singing happy birthday and Chef Jimmy preparing his famous mango flake. Next day early in the morning we disembarked our guests hoping to see them again on any of Siren Fleet’s liveaboard yachts. A big thanks from all the crew to Yves and his group of divers!