Anilao and Apo
Anilao and a Return to Apo….
The divers arrived in Anilao for our next trip aboard the Philippine Siren which would take us also to Apo Reef, Verde Island, Puerto Galera and back to Anilao. After embarking them we proceded with all the boat and dive briefings, introduced the Philippine Siren crew, set up the dive gear for the next day’s diving and practiced our usual muster station drill with our guests who joined us from South Africa, Germany, United Kingdom, Malaysia, Thailand and Holland.
Early the next morning we started our dives at Koala where we spotted our resident black frogfish and pygmy seahorses. This dive was followed by Twin Rocks, Dead Palm and back to Twin Rocks for the night dive. All our divers enjoyed the great biodiversity and soft corals the Anilao area has to offer. In the evening we moved back to the calm bay of Anilao to enjoy once again a superb dinner prepared by Chef Boy and his assistant Jonroy. Sombrero Island was our destination for the next day’s diving where we dived twice Beatrice Rock. Although the current was moderately strong this permitted us to spot some pelagics such as wahoo mackerels while at the same time enjoying the incredibly healthy corals of that dive site. The last day dive was at Coral Garden with a much milder current which allowed our repeating guests and u/w photographers, Bob and Hilmar, to enjoy its macro life. The night dive in Anilao Bay gifted us with a very sighting of a juvenile Batavia spadefish plus bobtail squids, pygmy octopus and cuttlefish, plenty of nudibranchs and pipehorses.
After a couple more days of critter diving in the Anilao area we decided to sail off to Apo Reef. We crossed over calm seas during the night to reach Apo Major where we started our first dive with an incredible 40 metre visibility and the visit of white tip and grey reef sharks. In between the dives our guests were able to visit the ranger station on the island. Although some areas in Apo Reef have suffered some damage from the Yolanda typhoon we spent one additional day there enjoying the corals and pelagic sightings before we made our way back towards Puerto Galera ahead of the forecasted strong easterly wind.
Puerto Galera welcomed us in its scenic sheltered bay with some incredible macro dives with plenty of seahorses, frogfish, ghost pipefish and loads and loads of nudibranchs with which to enjoy during our liveaboard safari. Our dive sites during the next two days included Giant Clam, Manila Channel, Shipyard, Paniqian Reef and Alma Jane Wreck. By that time our Dutch diver Andre had completed his nitrox course with our instructor Max, while I was close to finishing the Advanced Open Water Diver with the Siren Reservation team’s Jon.
The next day we stopped at Verde Island just an hour away from Puerto Galera. We started the day with an awesome dive in San Agapito pinnacle. Although sometimes challenging due to the strong currents in the area this pinnacle offers amazing fish life and healthy corals. This is such a good dive that it is worth diving more than once. Turtles, brown marbled groupers, hundreds of red tooth trigger fish, anthias and plenty of other fish accompanied us during the dives but by then it was time to head back to Anilao and spend our last diving day in that area.
Bahura, Kirby’s Rock and Cavan Cove were our dive sites of choice. Our last evening was the time to give the nitrox and advanced certifications to Andre and Jon while we congratulated and gifted our Siren Repeater Divers Bob, Hilmar, Heike, Jon and Phim with a thank you letter on behalf of Siren Fleet and a Philippine Siren polo shirt. Next morning after the taking the group photo together with the complete Philippine Siren crew we disembarked our guests in Anilao but in the knowledge that we will see them again on one of Siren Fleet’s yachts. Once again thank you all for a fantastic cruise!
Photos by Diego