Small critters everywhere!
Small critters everywhere!
18 diving guest got onboard the S/Y Philippine Siren for a 10-days diving adventure in the Southern Visayas.
In our check dive, we dived a completely new dive site that we called “Boom’s bay”. There, we found ornate ghost pipefish and a big helmut gurnard. The rest of the day’s catch: frogfish, bobtail and reef squid, coconut octopus, pygmy and broadclub cuttlefish. Exploring more of Mactan’s Bay we found two banded sea snakes, 5 reeftop pipefish in a mating ritual, a snowflake moray, and a massive crown jellyfish.
We moved the Philippine Siren close to the house reef of the Shangrila Resort where we dived a small wreck was found covered in soft corals and beautiful colored crinoids. The highlight of the day turned out to be the night dive with a big coconut octopus and two ornate ghost pipefishes.
The next morning, we anchored near Olango Island to do a dive at Talima. An amazing amount of schooling fish awaited us. The beautiful soft corals, a bunch of purple crown jellyfish and a large amount of different types of Sweetlips made it a great dive. The second dive was at Tambuli dive site with its small airplane wreck – which was fun for taking pictures. The third dive at Baring added some nice fish to our list: razorfish, juvenile harlequin sweetlips, and plenty of free swimming morays. We ended the diving day of with a night dive at Dakit Dakit with lots of pygmy cuttlefish and more crabs than one can count including a massive sponge crab.
We had a good start at Cabilao’s dive site Talisay Tree. What more to wish for than all the sea life and gorgeous soft corals on an easy morning dive? Gorgonian Wall was up next: denise pygmy seahorses and a yummy banana nudibranch and a nice view on dancing sea grass in the surge on the shallow plateau. We went to Lighthouse for the third dive and spotted school of barracudas, a nice giant frogfish on an elephant ear sponge. The night dive at Cambaquiz turned out to be an exhilarating drift dive. All in all we had happy faces with the diving in Cabilao.
The tropical island of Balicasag was on the schedule for the next day. Lots of fish and creatures were scribbled into the logbooks of the divers: school of big-eyed jacks, some really big green turtles, a leaf scorpionfish, a giant frogfishes and the warty-est frogfish ever. And the list goes on: six different types of nembrotha nudibranchs, a blue ringed octopus, and two lumpy asteronotuses. After the night dive, we started the engine to drive the boat over to Negros Island for a day of black volcanic sand muck diving off the coast of Dauin.
We started with a fresh morning dive at Kabayo Point, finding four thorny seahorses, including a very pretty white one. The rest of the day we found all the usual suspects in this area: ornate ghost pipefish, flamboyant cuttlefish, frogfishes, shorttail pipehorses, common seahorse, coconut octopus. Like during many trips before we again had an awesome night dive at San Miguel dive site, finding a very small juvenile painted frogfish, bobtail squids, a giant box crab and a shortpouch pygmy pipehorse.
The next morning dives were at the dive sites Chapel and Rocky Point at the long-time marine sanctuary Apo Island. The guests were most amazed by the beautiful healthy reef on the shallow plateau. We bumped in to a whole bunch of green turtles. The third dive at Apo was at Coconut Point. This usually is a drift dive, but today there was hardly any current. That allowed us to have a close and long look at the beautiful coral boulders, sponges and crinoids in all colors. For the night dive we moved over Dauin and San Miguel dive site – back by popular demand. We found four ambon scorpionfishes, two of which were juveniles. Other highlights were a flamboyant cuttlefish and a coconut octopus that was running around with some shells.
A fresh morning dive at Pescador Island got us going on the following day of diving. Looking around in the cave that named the dive site Cathedral we spotted an impressively big spiny lobster. After taking some great photos with ‘models’ swimming in the blue from the cave we continued the dive and found a green turtle who was also willing to model for the divers. The second dive we dived Pescador’s shallow plateaus with all the corals and small reef fish. We drove back over to Moalboal for the Sardine dive at Panagsama Beach. The enormous school swung around us and delivered some great shots. The night dive at Sanctuary brought us a candy crabs, two frogfishes and two tiny ornate ghost pipefishes.
The last two dives of the trip were at Oslob and Sumilon Island. The first was an early one, hitting the water at 5:45 AM, we had a great 60 minute experience with 4-5 whale sharks circling them and getting up close to these pretty giants. After breakfast, we moved over to Sumilon Island for a drift dive. We spotted two blacktip reefsharks and had a great ride along the reef and different sceneries of this special dive site.
With the last dive logged, we rinsed our gear and headed back to Mactan, Cebu. During the traditional last-afternoon group picture and cocktail on the sundeck we looked back on the week and celebrated a great diving trip in the Southern Visayas on the S/Y Philippine Siren!