Our next trip in the Southern Visayas with our 15 divers from the US was to be the last of 2013. After introducing the Philippine Siren crew we sailed early in the afternoon of the 26th towards Cabilao Island near Bohol. That same evening the dive gear was already set up and everybody was keen to start diving early in the morning the next day. Cabilao’s extremely healthy coral reefs and marine life were not to disappoint our divers who made the most of our no dive time limit. Although the visibility was not as good as usual we were able to track again our resident giant yellow frog fish that had gone missing for the last two months!
Early in the morning we moved towards Balicasag Island and here the visibility would be over 30 metres. Plenty of turtles and the big school of big eye jacks accompanied us during the dives in Diver’s Heaven, Cathedral and Sanctuary. Our divemaster Donato was as usual able to spot new frogfish, including freckled, giant white and warty. A thunder storm that night, made Captain Russell decide to move earlier towards Oslob in Southeast Cebu where early in the morning our guests would snorkel with 10 whale sharks. Even before our divers had breakfast a curious whale shark decided to come and roam around the Philippine Siren. From there we sailed to Negros Island and dived Ceres and Atmosphere Resort’s house reef. The usual suspects were there: flamboyant cuttlefish, robust ghost pipefish, painted frogfish, thorny seahorse and after spotting on the previous trip a wonderpus on this occasion we found a mimic octopus. In the evening we were invited by Atmosphere Resort for a drink next to their infinity pool.
Our divers kept asking if everyday we would still be able to beat the previous day’s diving. We certainly did in Coconut Point in Apo Island. With a moderate current we drifted along this stunning dive site while sighting hawksbill turtles, giant trevallies, schools of jacks and the bumphead parrot fish. After the first dive we took our guests for a visit along the quiet village of Apo Island and its friendly residents. Rocky Point West and Boluarte would complete the rest of the days diving with plenty of green sea turtles and banded sea snakes. In the evening Chef Boy prepared a birthday cake for Judy and also for Julie, Mike, Carla and Paul whose birthdays had been the previous week but decided to celebrate it together.
After sailing all night we reached Pescador Island and Moalboal and once again we enjoyed flat seas and great visibility. We did our first two dives in Pescador Island and enjoyed seeing dolphins from the boat during the surface interval. But the highlight was the night dive in Turtle Bay were once again Donato was able to find a blue ring octopus amongst plenty of other critters. It was Halloween Night and our guests had brought their own pirate costumes for the evening. Chef Boy and his assistant Junruy joined them with their own costumes and prepared a Halloween pumpkin.
The last day of diving was spent once again in Apo Island as its reefs deserve more than just a single day’s diving. Next morning we were to disembark our divers in Atmosphere Resort were they would spend another week’s holiday and dive the coast of Dauin.Philippine Siren then sailed off towards Cebu to get ready for our next itinerary in Coron-Batangas. See you next year Southern Visayas!