Almost two years ago, I had a brief hop to Samal with my sister and cousin. I was not yet a diver then, but I promised myself to be back again to explore more of the beauty and secrets of the island. I took the opportunity to join the DIY trip of Owen, thinking it will be a wonderful trip since I’ll be diving in one of the famous destination in the country. It is even more forward looking aside from having my sister with me, I’ll be seeing DIY friends – Angel & Owen, and meet other joiners to this trip. And I need to get away…..
It was another busy day at work and there was lot to attend to – Excom meeting, documents, referrals, communication to prepare and so on. I left at 6:30pm hastily to have dinner early, I have to catch up a community teaching at 7:30pm at the Cathedral. It was almost 10pm when it ended and I have to rush away for home. I still need to finish packing for the trip. I finally left almost 11pm for the Agora bus terminal, I was not sure on aircon bus departures for Davao. I was blessed to get a non-stop bus for the trip, I can be sure to arrive on time. The bus finally left at 12:30am…
I was trying to calculate the time we got into the Arakan Valley – the critical area we will pass going to Davao – good enough, it will be morning already and not dark anymore, it will be safer. I tried to take a nap but it was too cold – brrrrrrr…. My sweater, pashmina, and socks didn’t quite help. L I whipped out my music player and had praise songs all throughout the trip. I arrived at Ecoland bus terminal at 6:30am (6 hours indeed), but my sister’s bus was still on the way so I waited for her. We left the area after our breakfast and arrived Davao Scuba Dive past 8:00am already. At last! 🙂
Maeng, our dive master was there to welcome us – I was just too excited to hear more from him about our exploration today. Denise pygmies! I haven’t seen one before, that would be amazing! I was introduced to fellow divers for the day – Ernest & son Mark, Keiko (Japanese national), a foreigner couple, and dive guides. After awhile, the group arrived – so kumustahan, kuwentuhan…. 🙂
We are so blessed for the good weather. We left Sta. Ana Wharf at about 9:00am, DM Maeng said I still have time to sleep since it would be more than an hour to our first stop (he knew it was a long night trip from CdO). Well, the same PADI professionalism I was enjoying from dive centers I got into! J I invited my fellow joiners to try intro diving – Gilbert, Angel, Kay, Dan & Donnabel – considering the fee, at P 750.00 it’s the lowest cost I have encountered so far.
We proceed to Babu Santa for our lunch and surface interval – a beach perfect for fun under the sun. But I don’t need the scorching heat, I just need a break for my next dive and some food for energy…
Our next stop was at the Coral Gardens for my second dive. I dive with Keiko and DM Arnold – it felt free swimming and watching in awe all those wonderful creatures – giant grouper, sea snake!, “lato”, lion fish, stone fish, variety of hard and soft corals, sponges, sea fan, and more…. We surface after 65 minutes far away from the boat, I never had done this before, my buddies made sure we’re near the boat when we ascend. But I wont see much of the gardens if we wont go far, anyway the boat picked us up with no hasssles – I guess the operator had binocular to keep track of their diver guests! No worry – no waves, no current – the waters was perfect for swimming.
We had a brief stop at Isla Reta 2 to explore a small cave, but there’s nothing much to see. We waited for the divers who tried their luck to see a dugong or whaleshark, but there’s none. On our way back, we had tour along the coast of Samal viewing the beach resorts lining up the beach including the famous Pearl Farm and Malipano Island. We had the opportunity to watch the glorious sunset at Davao Gulf. It was already dark when we finally got into Sta. Ana Wharf. After settling our bills, we headed for our lodgings at DMSF. Of course, we need good dinner to regain back our energy. We went to Penong’s at People’s Park… My plan to go up Jack’s Ridge was cancelled. We settled for our beds when we got back to DMSF, everybody was tired….
Kay and I woke up to attend a morning mass as planned. After a brief morning chat with Gilbert and Angel, we rush to San Pedro Cathedral. We were just in time when the mass was about to start. We catch a brief walk to find some place for breakfast. We rush thinking we could still catch up the guys back at the lodgings, but they had left laready when we got back. We finally pack and catch a taxi for the bus terminal. We’re going home…. There is a reason to be back in Samal, northern part of the island is also an interesting spot to explore. One day…
Another wonderful trip to be thankful for!
- Paradise Island Dive (cbartazo.wordpress.com)