Visayas whale sharks and macro
Visayas whale sharks and macro
Our guests from US, Germany and England arrived to join our 10-night trip in the Southern Visayas, with good weather, some old friends and plenty of energy. For the first diving day we chose Cabilao Island where we saw many interesting critters and crustaceans including peacock mantis, harlequin and porcelain crab, orangutan crabs, squat lobsters. Tiny pygmy sea horses were also spotted whilst colourful reef fish encircled the divers. Not wishing to over-tax ourselves on the first day, some of our guests decided to ask Cathy, our masseuse, for a nice massage.
The following day the Philippine Siren moved to Balicasag; with its stunning walls and amazing shallow green grass plateau and though the school of big eye jacks didn’t put in an appearance, we still had three day dives with plenty of fish activity in the blue as well as sightings of turtles, nudibranchs and other macro life. We found our first frogfish of the trip, a lovely white one hiding in one of the overhangs on The Cathedral. Almost everybody joined the night dive, afterwhich Noel was ready to receive everyone with her/his favourite drink. Heading south our next diving destination was Moalboal on the west side of Cebu Island, the highlights being the turtles, turtles and more turtle!. Our divers also met a very friendly banded sea snake, an octopus, great barracuda, stone fish and the usual school of fishes (surgeons, fusiliers, big mouth mackerels, unicorns). For dinner, our chefs surprised us with a really fresh tuna sashimi. Thanks Jimmy!
Pescador Island, also in Tanon Strait area, was the selection for dive day number four. We conducted three amazing dives, where we floated in the middle of thousand and thousand of green, orange and purple damselfish and we also took some time looking for the resident frogfishes with the result that two giant ones and two small painted frog fish appeared, and also a leafy dragonet, many longfin comet fish, turtles, banded sea snake, whilst out in the blue, sardines, tunas, barracudas, big eye and blue fin trevallies darted about. Back in Moalboa,l for the last dive of the day at Copton Point, we found robust ghost pipe fish, squid, pygmy cuttlefish, flatworms, pipe fish and the always dancing juvenile harlequin sweetlip. In the evening we celebrated Kath and Mick 26th wedding aniversary with chef Jimmy‘s yummy two layers cake.
Moving on to Negros, we arrived in the Dauin area where we could enjoy looking for something different along the black sand slopes. With very mild currents these sites are perfect for finding some of the usual suspects such as the sand divers, frog fish, ornate ghost pipefish and roughsnout pipe fish, and then perhpas some of the more unusual ones – pygmy pipe horse, juvenile emperor angel fish and juvenile stone fish, white and black blotch razor wrasse and other weird critters. We spent the day diving here before crossing to Apo Island. Amazing and colorful diving, with plenty of healthy hard corals, soft corals, sponges and all combinations of colors on the crynoids. Giant frogfishes turtles, humphead parrot fishes, banded sea snakes, juvenile blue spotted ray, moray eels and lots of schooling fishes all around. The sea was a little chopy but our dinghy drivers Francisco and Ariel did a fantastic job colecting all of us in between the waves.
In search of calmer waters we opted to revise our itinerary and move northwards once again to the well protected Sumilon Island where a few of our guests saw three black tip sharks. One of them was a very big one and another a juvenile one (the sharks not the divers!). Then it was time for one of our trip highlights; seeeing whale sharks at Oslob. We had eight in the area, moving in between the fishermen‘s bancas and after one hour of pure joy the snorkellers return to the yacht with huge smiles their faces. The night dive close to the pier in Sumilon Island was a good closing for an awesome day!
Returning to Cabialo Island, we had three wonderful day dives. The Pygmy sea horses were there waiting for us and the critters of Cambaquiz showed up: bent stick pipe fishes, a school of cuttlefishes and the ornate ghost pipe fishes, also more giant frogfish, Pegasus sea moth, pipefish and cowries. Returning to Mactan we stopped at Olango Island for the last dives of the liveaboard safari at a lovely wreck Talima, after which our crew showed our Indonesian phinisi in her “best dress” as the sails wre hoisted and we cruised to the harbour. After a tasty barbecue the party got started; guests and crew, together as one big family! Time for the last pictures, time to say goodbye, or much better… See you soon! Thank you for an amazing trip, Eva and the Philippine Siren team.
Photo by Ann & Greg Brown,Glen & Eileen Weierbach,Justina Cotter,Michael Gulson