Epic Adventure in Tubbataha…

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Epic Adventure in Tubbataha

sundeck-on-philippines-sirenOur liveaboard adventure began in Cebu, ready for our transition trip back to Puerto Princesa via Tubbataha for the rest of this Tubbataha season. Our guests this week were fourteen in all and hailed from Switzerland, Germany, the UK and France. We met them ready and eager to get on board at the Movenpick Hotel in Cebu and disembarked that evening. We were underway for our two week itinerary; the first stop in the Southern Visayas was Balicasag where we had four amazing dives which included sightings of: Leaf Scopionfish, Frogfish, Nakamoto Okenia, Banana Nudibranch, Snowflake Moray and numerous of Green Turtles.

crocodile-rock2-300First stop the next morning was Oslob to snorkel with a group of juvenile whale sharks. From there we headed further south and crossed over to Negros and finished up our second day of diving with black sand muck dives at: Maiti, Cars and a night dive at Cars. As usual Dauin brought us an amazing array of marine life such as: Juvenile Painted Frogfish, Ghost/Robust/Roughsnout Ghost Pipefish, Ambon Scorpionfish, Pygmy Pipefish, Spiny Devilfish, Bobtail Squid, Cuttlefish and much much more. We stayed in Dauin, seeing as the day before was so good, to continue with the black sand at: Mainit, Kabayo Point and Pyramids. This day brought more interesting creatures such as: Desirable Flabellina, 4 Thorny Seahorses, Oriental Polybranchia, Shortpouch Pygmy Pipefish, Decorator Crabs and of course even more!

san-ricardo-bay3-300We headed out to Apo Island for our fourth day of diving with two dives at Coconut Point and Rock Point East. We saw Juvenile Painted Frogfish, Humphead Parrotfish, Candy Crab, Lined Nembrotha, Crinoid Squat Lobster, Orangutan Crabs and gorgeous soft coral gardens in the shallows. We left Apo early in the afternoon on our 130 nm crossing to Cagayancillo. We arrived at Cagayancillo just after some breakfast for three dives at C4, Bon Voyage and a secret night dive spot we named Captain Billy’s Crazy Bubble Confetti Below. We had quite the first day at Cagayancillo with highlights being a juvenile Whale Shark, Blue Spotted Stingray, school of Bumphead Parrotfish, school of Giant Trevallies, Starry Glossodoris, Heron Ardeadoris and Reef Squid. We continued to dive at Cagayancillo the next day at Gorgonian Wall and Ghost Wall both of which are quite stunning walls plummeting into the abyss adorned with critters such as: Racing Stripe Flatworm, Green Sea Turtles, Candy Crabs, Orangutan Crabs and Denise’s Pygmy Seahorse. After, we motored on past Cagayancillo on our way out to Tubbataha.

We arrived early in the morning to Tubbataha to slightly rocky seas; we decided to move to the shelter of the North Atoll on its south side and dive at Gorgonian Channel, Amos Rock. After, we headed to the southernmost dive sites in Tubbataha at Staghorn Reef and Lighthouse. The highlights of the day were: Dogtooth Tunas, Grey Reef Sharks, White Tip Reef Sharks, Banana Nudibranch laying an egg cluster and schools of all types of fish including, White Tail Chromis, Black Snappers, Rainbow Runners and Big Eye Jacks.

delsan36The next morning we awoke to flat calm seas and a beautiful sunrise that brought with it a magnificent day of diving beginning with two dives at Delsan Wreck where we found: Marble Ray, schools of Great Barracuda, Chromis and Anthias, Grey and White Tip Reef Sharks and a Whale Shark feeding among a huge school of Big Eye Jacks. Our next two dives were at Eiger Wall (Ko-Ok) and Amos Rock where we saw: Schooling Big Eye Jacks and Rainbow Runners among them Giant Trevally and Dogtooth Tuna, on the reef we found Anna’s Chromodoris, Elisabeth’s Chromodoris and some Giant Morays!

seafan alley8The next couple of days were a whirlwind of amazing dives between Shark Airport, Washing Machine, and Black Rock. These high current areas are frequented by the major animal species of Tubbataha Reef and this week was no exception, some of the amazing marine life that we saw included: Giant schools of Giant Trevally, Big Eye Jacks, Batfish, Yellow and Black Tail Barracuda and of course Dogtooth Tunas, White Tip Reef Sharks, Grey Reef Sharks, Hawksbill and Green Sea Turtles and we even got visited by two more Whale Sharks, Denise’s Pygmy Seahorse, Spotted Eagle Ray and a huge and beautiful Guitar Shark!! We also got a chance to go to the ranger station and see how they live while they are protecting the beautiful Tubbataha Reef System.

washing machine12We continued our diving over the next couple days at the North and South Atoll and at Jessie Beazley Reef before heading back to Puerto Princesa. We got to finish up the last two days with sightings of: a school of Scalloped Hammerheads, Spotted Eagle Ray, Marble Ray, Devil Ray (Mobula), Black Giant Frogfish, a school of Juvenile Grey Reef Sharks among many adult white tip and grey Reef Sharks.

As we finished up our diving and headed back towards Puerto Princesa we enjoyed a nice barbeque and a few cocktails while we reminisced about the amazing two weeks we had where we saw everything from pygmy seahorses to four whale sharks sightings not even including the ones we saw in Oslob! What an outstanding charter!
On behalf of the whole crew of the Philippine Siren we say Salamat! Thank you! Merci Beaucoup! Danke Sch๖n! for an amazing two weeks and for choosing to come aboard the S/Y Philippine Siren for your diving vacation!

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