Diving at Audanao and Tagpopongan
I have been on transit these past days, packing and unpacking bags has become my latest bustle, in fact bags lined up at the foot of my bed. I’m beginning to get tired with packing and sorting, that I just pull another bag and stuff my things for the trip. It felt like I’m in haze with all the goings. J It was about task and responsibilities at work. Anyhow, on a Friday rushing to get back to CdO from Lanao Norte I have to cram my backpack for an anniversary trip with travel friends. We planned for this trip before year-end, everybody is looking forward to see each other again. And I am even more forward looking because I’ll be diving again at Samal Island.
I have read an account about Aundanao and I was getting interested to see the place. It was just perfect since we will be going the northern part of the island. I’ll be diving with Angel as we promised our selves – our first dive together after he become a diver. I tried to convince our friends to try intro diving which everybody did – looks like more will be taking diving course soon. J
After hurriedly packing and forcing myself for dinner (it’s gonna be a long trip), I picked up Rico at his hotel for the bus terminal. We boarded the aircon bus wondering there were many lining up for the regular bus – probably because it’s a Friday. I was thinking for 12:00mn departure but it promptly left at 11:00, it’s too early to arrive 5:00am at Davao as I’m sure the diveshop would still be close. Anyway, we sleep on our way – bearing the ill-temperatured transpo, it was just too cold! Arriving Davao too early, we landed at Jolibee for an early breakfast and morning routine – I have to change ready for the island cruise…
Rico and I arrived early at the dive shop, it was embarrassing staying long waiting for the 8:00am assembly time. We got a bit adventurous and decided to ride jeep to Monteverde Street from JP Laurel Avenue – it only costs P 14.00 compared to the Taxi! J It’s heart warming to see friends at the shop (DM Maeng, DM Arnold, DM Yoyong). Our friends finally arrived, was too glad to see them again – Carina, Mario, Angel, Jen, Kay! So kuwentuhan, kumustahan…. Jen, Carina, Mario & Owen (DIY Coron Batch 2), Angel & Kay (DIY Samal Batch 1) not to mention Rico (DIY Batch 9 with Mario, Jen with me), it’s good to see them again.
We left for SAmal with the divers, the sun brightly shining, DM Maeng informed us that we will have our lunch stop at Hayahay Resort ( owned by Sonny, a diver too), which will be featured in Mabuhay mag April 2009 issue. It has unlimited shower having a fresh natural spring – so cool! We cruise for over an hour to Aundanao, I feel like I wanted to take a nap, J sleeping in the bus sitting wasn’t fun actually. L We were able to convince our friends to try intro dive except Mario and Owen who preferred only to snorkel. Well, photos again – walang katapusan! Mario & Carina got new DSLRs – so we pose, pose, pose and they shot, shot, shot! J
Angel and I got into our gears, this gonna be our first dive together – at last! We descend with DM Yoyong, funny since I got used to briefing before a dive but we got none. We leisurely examine the wall looking for critters, found big clams, sponges, colored soft corals, nudibranches, seafans until we got into the current. I was flapping my fins hard but I wasn’t moving, I was in jitters I was breathing hard. I waited for our DM to look my way but took him few minutes before he signaled the other way! I hinted for my air. We ascend after our safety stop near the boat. It was my shortest dive so far and least air at 500psi….. DM Charlie commented we surfaced too early!
We sailed off to our Lunch stop after our friends got their intro dive. Hayahay is a quiet place waiting to be discovered, it has few huts, a duyan, flowing fresh water shower and a scenic view. No sandy beach but clear turquoise waters – such a perfect place for a leisure lunch….. I failed to savor the place as I climb up the boat after my lunch, I feel more at home on the boat. I relax to prepare for our next dive.
We cruised again for our next site at Tagpopongan, actually we are sailing the circumference of Samal passing the small & big Ligid Island, Vanishing Island, the resorts along the shore and more. We finally had our second dive, Angel and I went with DM Yoyong again. We descend to a wide sandy area until we got into a wall, the viz wasn’t really good. We passed a hazy area, and proceed to explore to site. I found fish traps again, something I didn’t like to see underwater. I was wondering I didn’t encounter big fishes. There were seafans, sponges, colored soft corals, nudibranches, amazing ghost pipefish; we saw puffer fish too, a minute robust. We encounter currents again but this time we drifted and surfaced away from the boat. We swam going to the shallow area until I was able to stand on my fins, until finally we swam towards our boat . That was my first time not to be picked up – it was tiring but a learning experience. It’s good that there were no waves and no current, I still had 1300psi of air.As soon as all intro divers finished their second dive, we sailed off completing the viewingaround the island. We had photo sessions during a brief stop at Punta del Sol… We had chats with the other divers in the boat, as always Keiko and Ernest/Marco was there with us. It was dark already when we finally arrived at the wharf.
Not an End
Our day was full, but again Samal is till worth coming again as there are still sites waiting to be explored by a diver like me. It was tiring I guess but the beauty experienced down under can not be equaled by scenes in the metro. In the near future I’ll be back again for my great love – underwater life… We hastily left for our lodge as we still have more adventures in the next hours, in the next days…