Tuesday 3rd January 2017
Happy New Year 2017! May that year bring you lots of awesome things, and in particular great travels, exploring and learning!
I spent 5 days on the live-aboard during which we did a total of 15 dives. Each of these 5 days really looked like this picture, quite repetitive so I wouldn’t want to create my usual one article per day as I feel I would sound a bit boring, so here is a summary article about these 5 days.
Here is the map of the area where we dived:
I searched all the dive sites where we went and here they are:
During the 15 dives, we saw lots of great stuff. The most incredible thing was to see the thresher shark. The tail is the same length as the body. This shark has a big black eye and is very shy. To eat fish, he needs to remain shiny, that’s why he goes to cleaning stations where fishes come to clean his skin to keep it nice. Then when he hunts, he swirls the water with his long tail and gets the fishes dizzy and then slams them and eats them. Smart hey?
Here is a picture of the shark I took from the Seadoors website.
Copyright: Jonathan Ternoy
The first 2 dives we did were in Monad Shoal, near Malapascua island, going down to see the thresher shark but we didn’t see it. Then we went to Gato Island and did a few dives and stayed there for the night. Then we came back the next morning and did 2 dives again at the same dive site at dawn and we saw it only on the first of those two dives. To see the thresher shark, you go down to a wall and then down to about 33 meters, which is the limit accepted by the conservative 1.4 POP when diving with Nitrox. And you sit there. And you wait. There are sooo many people coming diving here to see the thresher shark as it is reputed to be one of the best dive spots in the world to see it. They even installed some lines to force people to stay behind them so that the sharks don’t go away because of people scaring them.
We were waiting there at those lines. Here was the view to my right. The hard thing is to stand still. It takes a while to find your own comfortable position. Mine was to hold my ankle with my right hand to give myself some stability. You stay there for about 10-15 minutes if you can, as long as the dive computer doesn’t want to send you for a deco which would require some further safety stops than the usual one.
And suddenly, the thresher shark came. On that third dive. It was soooo incredible and beautiful. We had been told to exhale very small bubbles and avoid big bubbles to scare him the least possible. It was the last day of the year and I was doing my 68th dive and when it came, during the next 4 minutes, I breathed the slowest I have ever breathed in my diving experience so far, releasing the smallest bubbles I could, it was exhausting to hold off my lungs to not blow out big bubbles but I was just hypnotised by this shark, such a fascinating creature, so beautiful. It was an incredible encounter. Here is the video I took with my crappy go pro. Start at 1min34, nothing worth waiting for before the 1min34 mark.
What else did we see on all these dives? Schools of hundreds of moorish idols, moray eels, white tip sharks, titan trigger fish, puffer fish, cuddle fish, nudibranches, jackfish, batfish, octopus, dancing shrimps, scorpion fish, lion fish, school of catfish, orang-outang crab (so tiny), a few turtles, lots lots lots of beautiful coral, lots of clownfish (Nemo!) of various colours living in various anemones, lots of various types of butterfly fish, wrasses, garden eels, sea cucumbers.
Here are a couple of photos Eugenio and Kasia took:
During the night dives, we saw the big nudibranch called the Spanish Dancer, some decorative crabs, some frogfish, red and white shrimps,some sea horses (love them!), the star gazer fish.
Here are a couple of shots Dominique took, especially great night photos!
Copyright: Dominique Boutigny
My favourite was seeing a quite big juvenile shaded batfish that I found myself on the last day diving Napantao hey hey. It is a very rare fish and so incredibly elegant fish. It is always swimming alone and it is really rare to see more than one on one dive. This was the only one I saw during all my dives.
Copyright: Eugenio and Kasia – Juvenile Shaded Batfish
The rest of the time, what did we do? We did spend a lot of time eating, taking naps and reading. On New Year’s Eve we went to a small island where we had a nice buffet and danced and even watched some fireworks the crew had brought. The next day we stopped on Camotes Island and walked to a church, on the way were the 14 different stations of the walk of Jesus holding his cross. We also went swimming in a cave in fresh water. On the 2nd January, near Sonok Point, some fishermen tried to find the whaleshark so we could snorkle with it, so we stayed on the small boats waiting and cruising around between 10am and 12.30pm but no whaleshark was found, however a lot of human lobsters came back to the main boat for sure, ahah! We also saw beautiful landscape and islands and sunset during the 5 days. And the food was great, the crew made a special effort when preparing the fruit salads. Here is a bunch of pictures of all this ‘en vrac’ :
Here is a video Giorgio and Marisa made of their 2-weeks on the liveaboard, so it includes a whaleshark but we didn’t see it. That gives a good idea of the coral and fishes we saw, it is 11 minutes of pure relaxation watching it.
Copyright Giorgio and Marisa Morsanti:
All in all, the diving liveaboard experience was great as I improved my diving. At the same time, it was a lot of macro, which means small things sometimes tiny and quite hard to see and as much as I was eager to know how to search and see them, I often couldn’t see anything by myself! I felt I wished I had more dive / snorkeling experience searching for things first and knowing how to do that so that I would have enjoyed the diving more!
Next day, off to Bohol for a day to see the tarsier!