Amazing dives all along the diving cruise!
The Philippine Siren welcomed on board a brand new group of divers all ready for their liveaboard diving holidays in the Tubbataha Reef! The first dive day started at Jessie Beazley Reef. We did two lovely dives along the dramatic walls and over the shallow plateaus. We spotted numerous grey reef sharks and loads of whitetip reef sharks. The amount of fish just off the wall was again unbelievable. Everybody got a taste of Tubbataha’s beauty and was eager to have another bite of it. Next on the schedule was Malayan Wreck. The wreck itself sits on top of the shallow plateau and with the absence corals or big fish isn’t the main attraction of the site. That would be the nearby corner where the currents come together from different directions resulting in an upwelling of nutrients attraction loads of fish. And with that the dogtooth tunas, giant trevallies, grey reef sharks and white sharks. The nervous darting around of the fish really works well for our guests. It’s hard not to get excited yourself too when you see so much life around you. All in all, we drew the conclusion that it had been a great first day of diving!
We got up early and drove the boat over to the southern tip of the South Atoll for the day’s diving. A little after 06:00 AM we plunged in and dropped right on top of a hawksbill turtle. That was a good start of a great dive. How about this list: hammerhead, reef Manta, whitetip reef sharks, grey reef sharks, and to top it off a massive dogtooth tuna that really came close and curiously checked us out. It continues to be a top of the bill dive site. One of the highlights of the second dive at the gorgeous site Staghorn Point was the ‘typhoon’ of Bigeye trevallies. They allowed us to get really close to them and we’re given the (big) eye by quite a lot of them. We moved back to Delsan Wreck for the third dive where we were inspected by more schools of fish: surgeonfish, redtooth triggerfish, bigeye barracuda and more bigeye trevallies. The last dive of the day was at Southwest wall where we add a whale shark to our list of the day! Everybody went to bed smiling, and looking forward to the next day in the water!
On the third day of diving covered the northern part of the South Atoll. We started off at the dive site Ko-ok and were treated on: a scalloped hammerhead and a whale shark. Both of them swam right up to us and gave us their best poses. At the end of the dive we roamed around in the shallows and encountered two schools of bigeye trevallies, and quite a few bumphead parrotfish. What a way to start the day. Rounding the corner of the atoll we went over to Black Rock area where we would send the rest of the day’s diving. Some of the divers headed off North and some headed off South exploring different parts of the dive site. Here’s what the group came up with: manta ray, eagle ray, schools of midnight, black and humpback snappers and loads of whitetip and grey reef sharks. The third dive over Black Rock North was one with a strong current and added some more goodies. One of the highlights was a big pack of giant trevallies hanging in the current waiting for non-suspecting little fish to swim into the ambush.
The last full day diving we wanted to spend at the North Atoll again, so we set off at 04:00 AM to arrive at the dive site Shark Airport just after sunset. The rays of sunlight made for a perfect backdrop for the big schools of reef fish. Add to that some patrolling grey reef sharks and whitetip sharks and you have a top start of yet another great day in the Tubbataha Reefs National Park. The second dive at Washing Machine wasn’t as scary as it sounds. There was a nice current taking us along the wall, but nothing drastic. Marbled stingrays and an eagle ray combined with some very friendly green sea and hawksbill turtles were the highlights of this dive. For the third dive we moved over to the southern part of the area and we dropped in at the dive site Northeast Wall. We were happy hearing some of our guests declaring that this was ‘the best dive’ and ‘the most beautiful dive site’. No big sharks or rays, but a gorgeous picturesque and dramatic wall with overhangs, crevices and chimneys. We were picked up by a medium current and flew past all this beauty. When the current settled down we went on to of the shallow plateau and spend another thirty minutes roaming the coral garden. What a celebration of life.
Last dive of the day was at Wallstreet. Where the sharks are. We bumped into quite a few grey reef sharks and whitetip sharks, as well as schools of bigeye trevallies, and giant trevallies and an old, scratched and battered eagle ray.
We went back to the highlights for the last two dives of the trip; Delsan Wreck and Black Rock. At the first dive site we dropped in and swam a bit towards the famous corner in the reef, finding a massive school of barracudas and trevallies. Continuing over the very busy reef, we spotted some hawksbill turtles and green sea turtles, as well as dogtooth tunas and giant trevallies. This dive site definitely continues to be one of the best of the park.
During breakfast we moved over to Black Rock were we found mirror-like conditions; a flat sea mirroring a blue sky. We jumped in and were picked up by a nice current, taking us over two dive sites. Along the way we saw a school of blacktail barracuda, the inevitable bunch of grey reef sharks and whitetip sharks, and a reef manta. It was a nice ending of a great week in the Tubbataha Reefs National Park. With hardly any waves and a clear blue sky we set off for Puerto Princesa. On the way we had good fun taking the traditional group pictures and toasting on a successful week of diving, eating and sleeping. We arrived in the harbor late at night when most of us were already sound asleep.
The guests left in batches, and went on to their next destinations. Thank you very much everyone for this great trip! It was great having you on board! We hope to see you soon!