From pygmy seahorses to thresher sharks! This is Philippines!
The Philippine Siren welcomed a group of divers coming from all over the world! Germany, France, Kuwait, and the US. All the ingredients were there for a great 10-days liveaboard adventure diving in the Southern Visayas.
The first day of diving we spent around Cabilao Island. This picture perfect tropical island is famous for its fields of soft coral on the shallow plateau, and for the Denise Pygmy Seahorses that live in the Gorgonians on the dramatic steep walls. We started the day of with a check dive to get everybody comfortable in the water again. After that we continued with three more great dives. The catch of the day: Denise Pygmy Seahorse, hunting Trevallies, Reef Squid, Bobtail Squid, and a Spanish Dancer. After the last dive the captain drove the boat over to Oslob for the night.
On the 11th we started with the famous Whale Sharks of Oslob. We got up early to beat the crowd and spotted four different gentle giants. After the dive we moved over to nearby Sumilon Island for a nice drift dive. A Blacktip Reefshark smiled at us and the current picked us up along eye blinding white sandy bottom. After two hours of driving we arrived in Dauin for the afternoon and night dive. The volcanic black sand with its crazy creatures were a surprising variety of the day. The “mmmm” and “eeeeeh” sounds we could hear from the regulators were the enthusiastic response of our guests by seeing a 1 cm long juvenile Paited Frogfish, huge Miller’s Nembrotha, mating Lined Nembrothas, Bobtail Squids, Leaf Scorpion Fish and Ornate Ghost Pipefish.
The next day started with a sunny and calm morning dive at Apo. The healthy and rich reef amazed us again as if it was our first time. A Banded Sea Snake was swimming along while a Green Turtle was still half sleepy lying on top of some Staghorn Coral. The two other drift dives at Apo brought us big schools of Black Jacks and Giant Trevallies and a lovely Green Turtle family. The high lights of the night dive at Dauin was this time: Common Seahorse, Flamboyant Cuttlefish, Juvenile Painted Frogfish and Coconut Octopus.
A beautiful sunrise welcomed us on our fourth day of diving. We made our back roll into the chilly 26 Celcius degree waters of Dauin where we encountered nine Ornate Ghost Pipefish and two Robust Ghost Pipefish as well as tiny little baby Painted Frogfish at different dive sites.
The next day, we hit the waters of Pescador Island, Moalboal. We found a Reef Octopus, Green Turtle, beautiful Nudibraches like , Heron Ardeadoris and Gabriela’s Tambja, Bearded Scorpionfish, many many Anthias in all kinds of colors, schooling Fusiliers and Glassfish. The small to medium current was responsible for opening up all the colorful purple and yellow soft corals. The highlight of the day was definitely the 7.346.288 Sardines we saw in Panagsama beach. It was absolutely awesome with the afternoon sun splitting the schools of Sardines in a dizzy making dancing show performance.
Moalboal hosted again our two morning dives on the next day, which resulted in seeing a Giant Frogfish, Banana Nudibranch, Green Turtle and Orangutan Crab as the highlight of the day. The sixteen hours of driving all the way up to Malapascua, our next destination, was a welcome excuse for our guests to relax the whole afternoon.
As the sun rised at Malapascua’s first dive site Monad Shoal, we descended all the way down to encounter the Thresher Sharks. We saw two of them at 27 meter and one was cruising around on the plateau at 16 meter. The rest of the day we spent our dives around Gato Island. Because of the incredibly fantastic dives, we decided to stay there for the night dive as well. We encountered four White Tip Reef Sharks at the end of the tunnel. Many Nudibranches were to found as T-Bar Nudibranches and Blue Dragons. While two Broadclub Cuttlefish were dancing with us, the movements of a school of Longjawed Mackerel were just providing us the disco light.
The second last day of diving we spent the morning at Calangaman. This beautiful – too good to be true – island made some of the guest swimming and canoeing to the beach instead of diving. They had to miss a big school of Big Eyed Jacks and one of photographer’s favorites, the Longnose Hawkfish but they enjoyed doing something else for a change. Chocolate Island was our destination for the afternoon and night dive. The amazing diving here brought us Painted Frogfish, Painted Stingfish, Strapweed Filefish, Ringed Pipefish, Kurbayana’s Nembrotha, Persian Carpet Flatworm, Pleurobranch, Racing Stripe Flatworm, Pimpled Phyllidiella, Slender T-bar Nudibranch, Reticulated Chromodoris, Sponge Crab, Decorator Crab, Porcelain Crabs, Hermit Crabs, Night Shrimps, Banded Coral Shrimp, Starry Night Octopuses, Black Banded Sea Snake, Blunt-End Sea Hare, Black Velutinid, Dwarf Cuttlefish, Reef Squid and Black Spotted Egg Cowrie.
As all the guests couldn’t get enough of the Thresher Sharks, we went to Monad Shoal once again on our last day of diving. And we were meant to do as we dropped on top of two Tresher Sharks while descending and we could see them many times from very close. The Eagle Ray recognized us and waved at us many times. The last dive of the trip we spent at Deep Rock, where an orange Frogfish, Solar Boxfish, Hypselodoris, Miller Nembrotha, Crested Nembrotha, Gloomy Tambja, Reticulated Chromodoris and a huge Broadclub Cuttlefish said goodbye to us and wished the guests safe travels back home.
What an incredible trip! Thank you very much for sharing it with us!