Swedish Photo tour in Tubbataha
Coinciding with the Philippines calendar start of the summer we headed with smooth seas for our next 6 day trip in Tubbataha. On this occasion Jennie Soriano, ambassador from Scuba Travel Scandinavia, would host a photography trip for her group of Swedish divers including Annica, Mattias, Daniel, Tomas, Per and Johan as regular repeaters on Siren Fleet liveaboards. All the dive equipment and cameras had been set up on the evening prior to our arrival to Tubbataha in the Sulu Sea. Wall Street, Ko Ok and Staghorn Point in the Southern Atoll would be our choice for the first dives. As soon as we jumped in the water a 30m plus visibility welcomed us together with schools of big eye jacks, giant trevallies and loads and loads of white tip sharks. This was just a warm up for what was expecting us the next day in Delsan Wreck, where with once again great visibility, we had the chance to dive with schooling adult and juvenile grey reef sharks while surrounded by huge schools of big eye jacks. As usual when our divers came back on Philippine Siren our host Danilo would be welcoming back with their favourite choice of drink on the dive deck.
On our third day we did our classic sunrise dive in Ko Ok and although this time we did not spot any hammerhead sharks we were lucky enough to see nurse sharks both swimming along the wall and resting in the overhangs. Also the resident school of juvenile bumphead parrot fish came to check as out at the end of the dive. In the meantime Antal had already completed his nitrox diver certification with our instructor Kenny and decided to start immediately on his advanced diver certification.
Even if Tubbataha is well known for its healthy coral reefs and large pelagics its macro life cannot be underestimated since we have been spotting regularly pygmy seahorses, leaf scorpion fish, hairy squat lobsters, pipefish and plenty of nudibranchs; all this for the delight of the photographers on board Philippine Siren. Jennie Soriano also had the chance to go around giving advice on the photos taken and also do her photography presentations in the evening after dinner.
Shark Airport and Washing Machine were our early morning start for our next full day of diving. Once again great visibility and plenty more white tip sharks, marble and blue spotted stingrays. After our third dive in South Park also in the Northern Atoll our guests went to visit the ranger station although this time with the added novelty that they had challenged the rangers to a beach volley game. After a tight match the Swedish eventually won on the match point.
The last day started in Malayan Wreck with more pygmy seahorses spotted and finished 9 miles away from Tubbataha in the remote Jessy Beazley reef. In the latter not only did we have schools of midnight snappers, big eye jacks, surgeon fish but also grey reef and white tip sharks. Some of our divers were also lucky enough to see a whale shark in the shallows! A perfect ending to an awesome dive trip with flat seas on our cruise back to Puerto Princesa.