Whale Sharks of Leyte
Whale Sharks of Leyte
Our guests arrived for the trip to Southern Leyte, in search of the elusive goliath, the whale shark. With just 6 nights and 7 days aboard the Philippine Siren to enjoy this remote part of the world it’s all systems go for the first few hours; paperwork, briefings, set-up and finally lunch. We managed two dive‘s on the first day, great! The check dive went well and everyone managed to avoid the nesting triggerfish. Little gems were spotted lincluding ornate ghost pipefish and banded pipefish, well spotted Gabi.
Overnight we sailed on smooth sea’s to Limasawa, where our hunt for the whale shark began. As always our spotter/fisherman was out at dawn’s first light in hope of locating this large fish. Local dive sights turned up a plethora of exciting species to include; Giant Grey Frog Fish, Green and Hawksbill Turtle, Sea Snake and Octopus to mention just a few. The visibility on the north side of the island was extraordinary and the hard and soft corals, pristine.
Next on our list of places to dive was Napantaw. This place is awesome! It has been a marine protected area for over 10 years and you can see that as soon as you jump in. Rich, untouched coral reefs with so many schooling fish. The tiny pygmy seahorse and three frog fish were seen and photographed on the first dive. We did three more dives here and everyone loved this place.
After two days with no sightings of whale sharks we moved onto Padre Burgos for some more memorable diving but after just dive one we recieved information that a whale shark had been spotted just 1 hours sail away, we took a vote and decided to chase the rumors. It’s always exciting when we go off plan. Adventure! The result was, we had spotted two whale sharks before lunch. I have to say, i was very proud of our guests, they all surprised me with their snorkleing skills and determination. Exhausted but jubilant we returned to our home and a glorious welcome from Jimmy and Boy, our resident chefs. A banquet, fit for a king was served following which we dived a previously unknown site. Contented, we sailed back to Padre Burgos for the night dive under the pier which turned up some great finds; seahorses, leafy dragonet, bobtailed squid, octopus, and the resident freak show.
Our final days diving found us closer to home, first the Island of Nalassuan where blue ppotted stingrays and a couple of really large eagle rays glided by. Just for a moment i thought we had manta. Big grouper were to be seen everywhere. This was a big fish dive site and everyone enjoyed the spectical. Next stop was Hilitungan Island with it’s beautiful wall and coral garden on top, lovely.
We finished off where we had started at Dakit Dakit and the Shangri-La House Reef. The latter should not be dismissed as it is one of the best dives in this region. The topography is diverse with a wreck, white sand a mini wall, sea grasses and plenty of healthy coral. Schooling fish can be seen and a few treats such as, giant clam, jacks, and batfish put in an appearance.
All in all it was a really super trip made so by the efforts of many but equally by a special group of guests. Guys you were great! From the crew of the Philippine Siren, thanks for sharing a fabulous week with us. When you go back to your regular lives remeber we are still out here waiting for you to come back and share some, Happy Days!