Special guests in the Philippines

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Special guests in the Philippines

groupOur second Southern Leyte trip of the 2014 season included divers from all over Europe and the United States. Among these we also had the presence of Dr. Simon Pierce and Steve de Neef, both renown whale shark researchers. All the crew was ready early in the morning to welcome our guests onto the Philippine Siren, after our usual briefing and setting up the dive gear we were ready to enjoy a superb lunch prepared by Chef Boy. The n we ready ourselves to dive Talima, our chosen site with the banca wreckage in Mactan, where we spotted loads of nudibranchs, pipefish, shrimp fish and the very special pegasus seamoth.

simon-presentationWe reached Limasawa Island after a smooth overnight crossing. This island is known for whale shark sightings and also for being the first place where Magellan landed in the Philippines. Whilst we got in touch with the local municipality spotters we made our first dive on the south side and enjoyed the company of green sea turtles. Later on we moved to the west side to dive Gunther’s Wall and Adrian’s Cove, both wall dives with a great variety of both soft and hard corals. We ended the day with a night dive in Limasawa Pier where Jan was able to spot finger nail-size frogfish. Later that evening Dr Simon Pierce made his presentation “Connecting the dots: Solving the whale shark mystery” and explaining about his ongoing project to identify and tag whale sharks worldwide.

steveEarly in the morning we cruised to Sonok Bay and started the day with a dive in Sonok Point where Donato found a black frogfish while Jan found a white one; a little dive guide competition has been started! In between and with the help of the local community who provided us with five spotters we searched for the whale shark along the San Ricardo coast line. Unfortunately the lack of plankton meant we would not be lucky in our search but it was great to out on the water and it being ‘Saint Valentine’s Day’ we all enjoyed the special heart shaped fruit platter! After returning to Sonok Point for a night dive it was Steve de Neef’s turn to do his presentation on free diving photography with natural light.

fruit-platterThe third day we spent it a bit further north at the Napantaw Sanctuary. Although this is a small dive site the growth of soft and hard corals and abundant marine life allows for at least three dives. Orangutan and porcelain crabs, shortnose pipefish, hawksbill turtle, giant trevallies, nudibranchs, cowries plus countless reef fish made our divers happy. For the night dive we decided to move to Padre Burgos and “muck dive” its pier. This is perhaps one the best night dives that can be done in the Philippines: cockatoo waspfish, seahorses (over a dozen that night), daemon stingers, pygmy cuttlefish, bobtail squid, pleurobranchs, nudibranchs, decorator crabs, stargazer and pipefish are all there to the delight of every diver. We spent our last day in the Southern Leyte area diving and whale shark searching in between Padre Burgos and once again in San Ricardo. Although we were not lucky in our search our guests still managed to enjoy the stunning views of Napantaw and its surroundings. As its tradition on Siren Fleet yachts when we have a repeat visitor we like to provide a little gift – So Steve was presented with a Philippine Siren poloshirt and a thank you letter from Frank and Mark. We hope to see again on board soon Steve!

On our last day and once again after a smooth crossing back to Cebu we dived Tambuli and Daket Daket. Both sites are in Mactan and were the perfect ending to a very enjoyable trip in company of great divers and guests. Thank you all on behalf of all the Philippine Siren crew.

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