Sunshine and smiles greeted our 13 guests from around the world as they boarded the Palau Siren on the last day of the year. After everyone settled in and had dinner many people stayed up late in to the night chatting and getting to know each other until it was that special time. At midnight we rang in the New Year with a champagne toast with new friends in an exciting destination. Shortly thereafter everyone said their good nights and made their way to bed.
The Philippine Siren crew got ready for another amazing liveaboard dive trip to Tubbataha Reefs. Reaching the Park, we started the day diving at Malayan Wreck twice, located at the Northwest tip of the North Atoll. School of big-eye trevally was seen at the reef margin, grey reef and white sharks were present swimming along the wall, Different schools of reef fishes were also enjoying the current such as: fusiliers, surgeonfish, pyramid butterflyfish, as well as yellowtail and blacktail barracuda. One the second dive, while cruising the gorgonian-filled wall, an unexpected friend showed up –Mr. Scalloped Hammerhead Shark. He gave us quite a show by swimming in circles several times before moving ahead into the blue-ness of the ocean. Everybody was thrilled and excited seeing our old friend. Next on the diving schedule was Gorgonian Wall.
The Philippine Siren welcomed on board a brand new groups of divers ready for their liveaboard dive trip in Tubbataha. After a quick talk from the Tubbataha management Office about Park rules and regulations, we lifted the anchor and sailed away to Tubbataha for another amazing dive trip. We commence the day’s diving in Malayan Wreck, southwest of the North Atoll. Not only was it nice and comfortable diving, there were sightings if interesting marine life all over the dive site, namely: school of blackfin barracuda, surgeonfish, Randall’s fusiliers, oceanic triggerfish and midnight snappers. Likewise, a ‘train’ of mature grey reef sharks were swimming against the current and a bunch of baby grey reef sharks were also present; whitetip sharks circling around a cleaning station; hawksbill turtle undisturbed and munching away on corals. Second dive we also dived in Malayan Wreck but entry was a little bit closer to the corner.
The Palau Siren crew was ready to welcome a brand new group of enthusiastic divers. Their diving adventure began with the Imperial Japanese Navy oiler and supply ship Iro Maru, bombed during operation Desecrate One on March 30th 1944 she sank after burning for three days. Running 143 meters in length Iro is a treat for divers with over 70 years of coral growth and plenty of marine life now calling her home. After a relaxing dive we returned to our home for the week and enjoyed the view of the Rock Island as we ate lunch and cruised to our next anchorage near 2 Dog Beach in the Ulong area.
The Philippine Siren welcomed on board a brand new group of divers 9 different nationalities for a special #Shark trip. We were honored to welcome Gonzo Araujo, the Executive Director of LAMAVE (Large Marine Vertebrates Research Institute Philippines) and everybody was very excited about this trip as of the first minute.
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.
What a great honor to welcome back 4 guests from Belgium who were with us on Fiji Siren in February of last year, it’s always exciting when we have friends return for another visit. As is typical we seem to have another United Nations delegation on-board with no less than 10 different nationalities present for our 119th charter. Our shake-down dive was at Corridors of Fun where we saw some beautiful soft coral, healthy sea fans, scorpion fish, blue dragons and plenty of very large electric blue jellyfish. From here it was a smooth overnight voyage down to our southernmost stop at the island of Gau some 11-hours away.