Diving Tubbataha is just amazing!
The Philippine Siren was ready for another great liveaboard adventure diving in Tubbataha! First in the list, Wall Street and Gorgonian Channel! We encountered a massive school of bumphead parrotfish and plenty of whitetip reef sharks sailing in the current. After a sturdy lunch we visited the Park Ranger Station – and bought some t-shirts. The third and fourth dives were also on the south walls of the North Atoll and we bumped into some pretty cool photo opportunities with enormous sea fans, reef sharks, marbled stingrays and a zillion colorful anthias.
In the early morning, we drove over to the south side of the South Atoll. Still it was a bit choppy, so we hid behind a corner of the reef before getting into the dinghies for our first dive of the day at Delsan Wreck. Already one of the favorite dive sites of the dive guides, it quickly became one of the favorites of the guests also. There was a little current and that allowed us to stick around on the corner of the reef where we found lots of fish action: huge schools of chevron and pickhandle barracudas, bigeye trevally and surgeonfish, and a hunting pack of dogtooth tunas and giant trevallies. The next dive at Staghorn Point left us in awe of all the colors of the hard and soft corals. The sunlight hitting the reef top made for a fairytale scenery. We went back to Delsan Wreck for the third dive and again we encountered large schools of fish such as bigeye trevally, chevron barracuda and surgeonfish. The last dive of the day was a rollercoaster ride along the Southwest Wall. The current took us fast through big schools of fish, one of which a large school of quite rare sailfin snappers, and along great hard and soft coral formations. The gorgonians and sea fans added some more color to the scenery and made it a really nice dive. All in all we logged lots of action on this dive day.
Ko-ok was the first dive site on the days schedule. And it turned out to be a good start of the day. Many saw two manta rays, a few huge dogtooth tunas and a lucky few got to see a big tiger shark patrolling the reef wall. Happy faces at breakfast, during which we drove over to Black Rock for the rest of the day’s diving. A sweeping current rushed us along the wall at Black Rock. We stopped and had a good close up look at some pretty awesome manta rays being cleaned at a cleaning station, before setting off again flying past tons of fish and sharks. The next dive was at the southern part of the Black Rock area. Most of our guests would describe it as a very pretty dive, spending time on the reef top edge that was splashing around its colors in the sunlight. The enormous resident schools of midnight snappers, harlequin sweetlips and bigeye trevallies were chased up and down the wall by dogtooth tunas, giant trevallies and the odd reef shark. Back to Black Rock for the last dive of the day and we caught a glimpse of a whale shark, an eagle ray, a manta ray and had close looks at heaps of reef sharks. Do you still wonder why this dive site is one of our very favorites?
We moved up to the northeast corner of the North Atoll for the first two dives of the day. There was little current at Shark Airport which made it an easy going dive along the wall and back over the shallow plateau with its white sand and patches of beautiful hard and soft corals. At Washing Machine, the highlight was a troop of 15 whitetip reef sharks that was patrolling a corner together with two big bully giant trevallies. During lunch we moved over to the west side, to the dive site Malayan Wreck. There we back rolled in for the remaining two dives of the day. The first one was a gentle drift dive with the usual suspects on the reef. We have to mention the large amount of titan and yellowmargin triggerfish nesting in the shallows. They were very serious about protecting their eggs and chased everybody around a bit. Nobody got hurt. 😉
Dive number 17 and 18 – the last ones – of this six day trip were at Jessie Beazley Reef. From the surface it only shows a very small sandbank and it is truly amazing to dive in and find dramatic steep walls with overhangs and coral fields as far as the eye can see. And with visibility of 20-30 meter that is quite impressive. The divers were in awe of the sheer amount of small fish on the reef. Thousands and thousands of damsels, anthias, fusiliers and butterflyfishes were darting around on top of the reef edge and the shallow plateau. The last dive became an amazing goodbye dive. Dropping in on the southwest wall we descended and were totally surrounded by immense schools of fusiliers and surgeonfish. Gliding along the wall in a mild current we ended the dive on a corner where we had serous quality time with a whale shark! They seemed very curious and went from one dive group to the next and one group even saw two circling around them. What a fantastic way to end the trip. Happy faces all around while we commenced to our weekly ritual of the washing the gear of the guests. While lunch was served we set off to Puerto Princesa on Palawan Island.
Once again, we had an incredible trip! Thank you guys for sharing this experience with us!