Philippine Siren in Tubbataha
Philippine Siren in Tubbataha
We left Puerto Princesa on the 21st of March for our 7 day cruise on our 40m long luxurious Pinisi Schooner “Philippine Siren”. Our crossing to Tubbataha National Park was a little bit wavey, but after arriving the following morning on time, the weather gods were with us and we had calm sea and blue sky throughout the week. Our divers came from all around the world; New Zealand, USA, Switzerland, Philippines, Germany, Australia, Belgium, Spain and UK ensuring a great mix of languages and cultures, united by the love of diving and traveling and guaranteed a trip where you never run short of stories or laughter.
As Tubbataha National Park is only open for a short window of approximately 3 months per year, a very small number of divers (750-800) have the privilege and joy to dive in these very pristine waters. Being one of only two strictly marine UNESCO World Heritage sites worldwide, Tubbataha plays a very important role as spawning and breeding ground. This means for us divers, extremely healthy reefs and fish, fish and more fish (including some of the big fellas)!
Tubbataha Reef consists of two very small atolls (south and north) plus Jessie Beazley Reef and covers approximately 97.000 hectares. We started our liveaboard diving trip on the north atoll, where we spent two wonderful days, followed by two days at the south atoll and our last diving day finished with the grand finale and last two dives at the north atoll. On every dive we experienced encounters with White Tip Reef Sharks, Grey Reef Sharks, Black Tip Reef Sharks, Eagle Rays, Schools of Giant Trevally and Chevron Barracuda, Big Eye Jacks, Blue Fin Trevally, Fusiliers and Sweetlips. Big Dogtooth Tunas and Napoleon Wrasse, Rainbow Runners, Moray Eels, Lobster, Squirrel Fish, Brown Marbled Groupers and so much more…
Truly exciting were the shark encounters at the dive sites Shark Airport and Amos Rock, where we were able to dive with Manta Rays, Silvertips and a Tiger Shark. John probably saw the Tiger Shark closer than he actually would have wanted, but it was most definitely an adrenalin-fuelled encounter! In addition we were spoiled with wonderfully healthy reefs with huge Gorgonian Fans, a wide range of soft and hard corals, large healthy table corrals and an abundance of colorful reef fish, including cchools of Humphead Parrot Fish.
Taking advantage of good wind conditions, we hoisted the sails and everybody had the chance to hop in our dinghies to get a better look, as our Philippine Siren truly looks great under sails, not to forget the feeling being on a sailboat! We were also able to make a visit to the Ranger Station to say hello as these boys are protecting the National Park for a 2 month period at the time before the next shift arrives and therefore always appreciate some company. Only the Ranger Station itself looks a little bit funny, as it gives the impression of a large white Igloo, in the middle of the green lagoon…
Between dives, our Chefs Jimmy and Boy treated us with delicious meals and in the evenings we were entertained by Jimmy’s famous dinner briefings. During the day there was still enough time to enjoy our large sundeck to read a book or get tanned. Arne & Heidi and Joachim & Claudia loved to play games in the evening in the salon, whilst the rest either enjoyed a good chat in the dining are or at the bow-prow.
A truly enjoyable trip with lots of great diving! What are you waiting for?