Diving in December!

I never knew that getting into the depths in the last days of the year can be more challenging!  🙂

Amazing Duka Bay!

There is always something new in every dive I had and indeed there are surprises and lessons in store in my every underwater encounters – what a joy!  J  Despite pretty hectic schedules in December, Angel and I tried to fit in one dive trip (my last for the year) last weekend.  Mindanao has a perfect sunny weather on year ends except two weeks ago when Typhoon Urduja strike Northern Mindanao leaving floods and landslides in some parts in Misamis Oriental.  I was suggesting for a hop to Camiguin but Angel wanted to have a side trip to Butuan for his cravings at Margie’s Kitchen.  Duka Bay would be a strategic site for our dive given itinerary plans.  I have been eagerly waiting for this last 2009 dive with Angel.

Full & Complete Saturday

Waking up early for the preliminaries – setting up uw cam and my contacts plus final packing,  promptly got a message from Angel of his arrival a little bit past 6am. I rushed thinking to get the 7am Bachelor Tours for Butuan.  It was fortunate to chance up a King Long bus, Angel was just in the nick of time when he arrived, the bus promptly left like 2 minutes after he got into the transpo!  It was a sunny morning indeed though when we arrived Medina, the skies went downcast.  Bubbles and Edward came to our aide, there were no other divers, just us and I like it.  We geared up for our first site, but we’re not on a dive boat but on a baruto – such a crude and spartan way to reach the dive spot though much better than swimming! We headed for  mooring bouy – it was that simple –  paddling to the spot riding the big waves! J It was something new and bit challenging, I only had my water entry during my night dive lessons but I had all the assistants surrounding me.  The water was choppy so we need to hold on to the mooring line for our descent.   It was amazing because it was plain clear and current-free down, we had a great deal going around – the crevices, small cave, drop-off.  We tried to search for critters, carefully probing corners.  We swam along the fresh water spring (alibuag) deep down, I went round again and again savoring the cold waters! It’s a wonder…  Near the spring were drop offs, we got down unto a sandy area and took photos.  We went round savoring the scenery and had our safety stop when our air got down to 80 bars, we went 110ft as our deepest! Well, taking off the gears in the choppy water is challenging indeed! And I got difficulty getting into the paddle boat but I made it though…. 🙂

When we got back to the dive shop, we took our early lunch and had some rest for our surface interval.  We geared up again for our next descent after more than an hour but this time the waves got higher!  This time we got a little pumpboat instead of the baruto, which was better especially that the water is getting more choppy. When we had our stop for the descent, we were tossed by the big waves. We started at the shallower part of the Aquarium going deeper. We went around, and the usual abundant fish life in the sanctuary is truly engaging – anthias, gorgonians, colorful crinoids, basket sponges, hard corals, soft corals.  We didn’t miss too the artificial reefs and swam on top of it, to get a glimpse of the giant clam perched on the AR crown.  We stumble upon a sea turtle – watching the creature wading its limbs was wonderful to behold!  J We followed him swimming. We sighted too a moray eel, puffers and lionfish trapped inside a basket sponge, and  school of angel fish and batfish.  Really, the sanctuary has truly an abundant fish life – just perfect for its name – Aquarium.  We prepared for our ascent when Angel’s air was almost zero.  It was getting more choppy and we were tossed when we surfaced, getting off from our gears.  Angel has to help me to get up into our boat, it was challenging but I was learning.  🙂

DM Edward suggested to call it a day, the waters became too choppy and the viz is getting hazy.  Angel and I planned for three dives but agreed with him, we felt exhausted too after the two challenging dives.  We packed our things and left Medina for Butuan a little past 3pm.  One thing keeps nagging my mind – I need a dive computer soon!  We arrived home after sundown, just right for our plans for the night.

Margie’s, Oh Margie’s

I was getting famished already and after settling our luggage we hastily left for my favorite café – which has become Angel’s favorite too.  He just loved the English beer battered fish n chips in tar tartar sauce plus the cookie monster and cheesecake.  He has these cravings months ago after he first tried it last April!  And indeed, we were blessed that fish n chips is still available (hallelujah!) – we had a sumptuous dinner , actually it was utter indulgence! The rich cookie monster and blueberry cheesecake  plus the langka homemade ice cream was so tempting – I’m feeling guilty of eating that much! 😛  I needed help from Angel for my crispy beef tadyang! Angel and I was biding our time – for me it was like savoring life’s pleasures – to brace me for the all too hectic days ahead during year ends. It was some kind of regaining my equilibrium, to keep me perfectly sane… 🙂

I guess Angel  is getting fanatic with Margie’s, because the next day before our leaving back to CdO we went there again with Kay for lunch, just imagine we were the first customers on that Sunday, we were just right at their doorstep when the coffee shop opened!  😛 We tried other menus but never eliminating the cookie monster and cheesecake, we had another sumptuous meal again!  It would still be long before Angel could get back to Butuan for Margie’s Kitchen.  This time we never missed the chance to scribble on the café’s wall, we tried to beg the staff to let us do it.  Voila, Lakwatsero invades Margie’s Kitchen!  And yes, we had our photo taken by the shop – hopefully to be posted in the shop’s bulletin board.

Another Great Weekend

Angel was saying his weekend is full, so much has happened – well, two cities , in two regions in Mindanao, two dives in two wonderful sites in Duka Bay and two sumptuous meals at Margie’s. It was full indeed, and no doubt pleasurable.  We arrived CdO past 4pm just right for Angel to catch up for his flight back home.  New lessons, new learnings and new challenges.  The Lord has always done marvelous things for my trips keeping things in perfect order. Indeed, all things work for good to those who trust Him…

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