Back to Paradise and Aquarium!

your clean up countsAfter a wonderful get away with Angel at Anilao for our long planned dive, I had the opportunity to dive again with my mentor’s group for a cleanup.  It was unplanned though to have another dive on a consecutive weekend. It was just hard to resist aside from being low-cost, I will be revisiting one of the amazing sites in Duka Bay for underwater cleanup – my first time to be involved in such endeavor! Grateful that my dive mentor invited me even on a last minute notice!

 So on a downcast Saturday morning, I woke up too early to pack up, get on my contacts and catch the early aircon bus, I need to be there by 9am. I noticed it’s bit windy as we go along the way, the tree tops and branches were swaying – I was hoping the waters won’t be too choppy for a dive.  I arrived little bit past 9am but just on time before the cleanup, Ann & Kris was there to welcome me. Other divers were dressed already, for sure they arrived too early.  It’s good there’s another lady diver around, at least I have some company other than the guys who are strangers to me. It’s good to see Mario, Lemuel and PJ – my constant companions in my dives at Duka & Agutayan – they’re so kind to me, always they made my visits as comfortable as possible, they are always ready to accommodate my requests.  J 

 We were the first group to do the cleanup – six of us – Eduard & Raul (40 ft), Brandy & Karen (50 ft), Lemuel and me (60 ft). We should be parallel with each other, and must stay close with the buddy. Armed with scissors and net bags, we descend near the Aquarium.  A site so abundant with fish life – colorful and varied species just like in an aquarium!  Crinoids, sponges, hard & soft corals, and of course the debris. uwSince it was near the shore, all we got are fishing lines entangled on rocks and corals, long nylon rope and plastics.  Bouyancy control is needed in underwater cleanups, I got stuck with crinoids since I have to go low near the bed.  I have wanted to enjoy the scenery but we are focused with the task – Lemuel nudge me now and then to hold the lines, I got distracted with the fishes getting near me! J  We ascend after 35 minutes (too short!) with a bagful of trash. I still have 1800psi air, I could have stayed longer…

 We went for another dive after our lunch with another group, not a cleanup anymore but plain fun dive to Paradise – as it’s noted for its alibuag, crevices, caverns and abundant fish life. It’s a deep dive and I love to stay immerse in the cool alibuag – simply amazing – fresh water spring deep down in sea water!  But the current is getting imminent , we could feel it and we’re beginning to drift away. My buddy (I forgot his name), tags along with me and holding my BC which I don’t like – I prefer to be alone! And more than that, they signaled for an ascent! With just 35 minutes bottom time and my air still at 1500psi, I’m bit disappointed. I could have stayed longer and explored more even a the shallower area – I can surmise that they don’t have enough air more than the current, so we end up sooner.  Next time, I should request a buddy with efficient air consumption, I found it disgusting to just end up the dive because my companion have no air enough. Nevertheless, all the guys had lot of stories – one had zero air and use alternate from buddy, another had the mouthpiece of his regulator detached and gone kaput so he use his alternate air source – different lessons learned…

 We packed our gears and convinced Karen to just come back with me to the city, she decided earlier to stay for a night bash at the resort – the men are having a party! We settled our bills and waited for Mario who was diving with another group.  When they got back, we had pictures for Project Aware documentation, a form was filled up for the marine debris gathered.  We said our byes and we we’re transported to the bus stop.  It wasn’t long the aircon bus came and finally coming home. Unknowingly, the typhoon has ravaged the metro and in state of calamity!

clean up guys,,,

In a way, the day has been fruitful even if I still have lot of things to work out at home. Such a joy to do something good for our second home – the sea.  And the sights at Aquarium and Paradise never fails to captivate me again…

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