Diving in Tubbataha is breathtaking!
The Philippine Siren welcomed on board a new group of very excited divers ready for their next liveaboard holidays in Tubbataha! Many of them were repeater guests and they felt at home very quickly!
The check dive was done at Malayan Wreck where guests got a good feel of how healthy the coral life is in the whole Tubbataha reefs. Grey reef, Whitetip reef sharks abound, spiny lobsters, the curious dogtooth tuna, the usual school of reef fish sitting in the current and the hawksbill turtle that seemed unaware of all the cameras surrounding it. Second dive was still on the same site but from the other end of the divesite. The highlight of this dive would be the school of oceanic triggerfish, the skittish longnose hawkfish, the shy fire dartfish and the intelligent reef octopus. At Gorgonian Wall., it’s always worth taking a look at these massive gorgonian sea fans and its smaller cousins for pygmy seahorses. And voila! A pink Denise pygmy seahorse was spotted which made the dive extra special. In addition to this, the massive pineapple sea cucumber also starred in this dive.
Similar to the first day of diving, the guests woke up to an amazing morning breeze. It was scenic over the horizon and calm waters ready to welcome the divers. First dive was done in Shark Airport; whitetip and grey reef sharks, a school of yellow-tail barracuda, surgeon fish, big-eye trevally, oceanic triggerfish. dogtooth tunas were seen skimming shallow and deep waters. On the top reef were thousands of anthias and damselfish darting around staghorn corals. And what should not be forgotten is the unlikely group of friends hunting for food around the top reef. They would be the longnose emperor, blue-fin trevally and the humphead wrasse. Other sightings on this dive are hawksbill turtle, blue-spotted ribbon-tail ray, and the juvenile rockmover wrasse. Washing Machine started with a mild current taking the divers slowly along the wall. Towards the corner, the current picked up and the slow drift became a fun and adventure-filled ride. The guests were treated to big schools of big-eye trevally, pickhandle barracuda, surgeon fish, redtooth trigger fish, and longfin batfish.
Arriving at the South Atoll, we geared up for the first dive at Ko-ok: Great hammerhead shark was seen passing by at deep. Lucky Guests!! A tornado of big-eye trevally was just having a show to the delight of the guests. In addition, a group of bumphead parrotfish was skimming through the reef, while some of them stopped by to be cleaned by cleaner wrasses. Also present was a school of diagonally-banded sweetlips sitting in the current. Following this successful dive, we then went to Black Rock. Mr. Tiger Shark was having a stroll above some guests, around 2meters, and made headway to the deep. Short and curt but it was the time needed for everybody’s day to be wonderful. Just after that we saw big schools of big-eye trevally,blackfin barracuda, golden batfish, pyramid butterflyfish, surgeonfish, oceanic triggerfish and many more. Grey reef, whitetip reef sharks and bumphead parrotfish were also all over the reef. Third dive was at Black Rock South. Following the current, the guests were treated to an amazing plateau of hard corals, soft corals, white sandy bottom and zillion of colorful small fishes. Fourth and last dive of the day was at Black Rock North where we descended right at the corner of the dive site. It took us on a ride along the wall with a good view of our friends: big and small grey reef sharks, huge dogtooth tunas, giant trevally, a school of big-eye trevally and a school of gold fin batfish. Somehow the current stopped so we were able to take a good look at other friends hidden beneath the rocks/corals such as: giant moray eels and spiny lobsters. Elegant crinoid squat lobsters were also spotted on the base of crinoids/feather stars. Some guests who surfaced earlier than the others saw big reef mantas at the surface. All in all, the dive was, again, a success. And it was capped by a big, amber-colored, and round sun setting far in the horizon.
‘Magnificent’ seemed to be the overall description of the day especially the diving. First dive was at Delsan Wreck. This dive site unraveled its magnificently starting from the descent with a tornado of big-eye trevally. In the heart of dive site, the deep slope, big fish congregated and gave us an awesome show: giant trevally skimming, dog-tooth tunas getting closer to divers, Whitetip and grey sharks swimming back and forth. Continuing forward, another massive school of big-eye trevally was swimming by- cautious of big fish swimming around. In the absence of the big fish, the small fish came into play- a zillion damsel and anthias darting in and out of corals, school of butterfly and banner fish. Towards the end, two silvertip sharks decided to show up. And while we are talking of sharks, how about a school of baby grey reef sharks (approx. 25) playing around the reef margin just before our safety stop. Just magnificent! Back to Delsan Wreck! It seemed like it was the first time we’ve been in this divesite. No matter the number of dives here, it is always a privilege to witness the magnificent fishes in their natural habitat. The guests were witness to the hunting of bigger fishes such as giant trevally, dogtooth tuna, whitetip and grey reef sharks. The school of big-eye trevally was swimming nervously around the edge, cautious of the big fish swimming by. It was such a show!
What a better way to finish our Tubbataha liveaboard than at Jessie Beazly. Two dives were done on the southeast tip of the reef. Part I was left shoulder to the reef.. A lot of whitetip sharks were seen swimming around and some of them lying on the sea bottom. A school of baby grey reef sharks (15 oat least) was playing at shallow waters at 10meters. Abig reef octopus showed off its camouflage ‘skills’. What a scene! Part II or the second dive was right shoulder to the reef. The current brought us massive schools of surgeon fish, rainbow runner, fusiliers and snappers. Of course the sighting of whitetip and grey reef sharks are very common, including a group of baby grey reef sharks playing by the reef margin, unaware of the awed stares of the guests. Towards the end of the dive, the guests were ushered into a beautiful reef top – colonies of different kinds of soft and hard corals, while thousands and thousands of anthias and damsel fish inhabit the reef top.
We are certain the trip to Tubbataha Reefs made a remarkable impression to all of our guests as it did to us! We hope to see you soon on board for another great adventure!