Finally, Apo Island!

Apo Island

Year ago, I went to Dumaguete for a planned dive at Apo Island but was bit perturbed when I was diverted to another sites in Dauin & Bacong – all in Negros Oriental.  I remembered calling up  Angel telling I dove in other sites though equally stunning but missed the famous Apo Island.  I promised myself to be back in Dumaguete for one reason: to dive at Apo Island hopefully soon with Angel!

After being disturbed with work schedules and activities I finally made it to leave CdO last flight on a Thursday night after a long day at work.  It was raining and flying to Cebu at night was something new to me, I usually leave early mornings. Arrived at my lodgings late already, but need to wake up early next morning for my early flight. I was glad I didn’t bump with anybody I knew at the airports!  🙂

Left early for my next flight the next morning, and we touched down Sibulan Airport as scheduled. Fortunately, I was met by our hostel’s transportation and so arrived in perfect shape at our lodgings. I still have enough time to freshen up as I wait for Angel and diveshop pick-up at 8:30am.  Promptly, the front desk called up informing that our dive transportation is waiting, went down informing them that Angel is due in few minutes from his Manila flight.

Finally, we set off for Malatapay station for the cruise to the island.  We passed along Valencia, Dauin, Bacong and finally Zamboanguita – I remembered my dives last year.   It took us about twenty minutes to cruise for our first descent at Coconut Point.   It’s only us who were booked at Scuba Ventures for the island, I learned later that other divers were scheduled at Dauin. It was a sunny morning, so the visibility was good.  The scene was more of pelagics – unicorns, trevally, jacks, groupers, wrasses & parrots. There were sweet lips, fusiliers, damsels, butterfly,

school of jacks

snappers. I think I caught sight of a ghost pipefish and trumpets!  We spotted too a pair of lizardfish, and a field of healthy colorful soft and hard corals – anemones, staghorns, lettuce and sea fans. I wanted to linger and absorb

sea turtle!

the vastness of the glorious display of marine life but we were drifting, I was in oblivion! It’s unspeakable, another evidence of a great work of the Great Creator!  We had a dose of jacks, in schools! We had the opportunity also for a close encounter with a turtle, I watch in awe as it swam gracefully.  We ascend after 53 minutes with 22.7 meters as our deepest.

Our boat anchored near the island station and resort, just right at island’s landmark, those big black granite boulders that looks like on top of each other and there’s one almost to fall off. It was a great scene – white sands, crystal waters, blue sunny skies!  We had our lunch break there, Angel and I shared our meal we bought from a

torquise waters, blue skies, white sands and granite boulders

carenderia in Dumaguete, we catch up with our stories but mostly mine, how I managed to squeeze skeds and how I fret few days back about an out of town meeting!  And when my leave was approved and the meeting was finally held in CdeO, I tried not to spill again any hint of excitement! 😛  We took off then from the boat and got a stroll around near the resort and granite boulders.

Our next descent was at Mamsa Point, again it was a drift dive.  I told our guide Sam, that we must not go beyond 23 meters.  True to its name there was lot of jacks, in schools again!  I wanted to go near but they swam away. We spotted stripe fish, a flounder, juvenile anthias, anemone fish, lizardfish, fusiliers, snappers and more.  There were soft and hard corals too, cabbage, staghorns, and table corals.  But surprisingly, I didn’t see any nudis, sea fans or gorgonians and other macros.  I was hoping to find a frogfish but wasn’t lucky.  We ascend after 54 minutes with 24.5 meters as our deepest, we went beyond our plan as we were chasing a huge school of jacks!  Somewhere in the mid of the dive I felt giddy – sure, it wasn’t narc, I was thinking clearly! 😛 I tried to control and slowed my moves so I could finish the second dive.

I tried to take a nap during the surface interval to relax a bit from my giddiness so I could make it for the last dive, I wanted to complete the plan because it would appear we were paying more for the two dives only.  So when

diving is always a joy...

Angel asked if we will do the third descent I nod solemnly (silently praying I’ll make it!) and declared we should to make most of our time.  Our last descent was at Kan-uran Point, I told our guide we must stay shallower and not long.  We drift around the reefs covered with a variety of colorful corals.  We spotted and followed a banded sea snake slithering around!  🙂  There were occasional damsels, juveniles scattering around, clown fish and anemone fish.  We ascend after 40 minutes at 15.6 meters as our deepest, it was a success I made it to finish our last dive but still I was feeling lightheaded when I got to the boat.  But it was such a marvelous experience to dive in one of most preserved marine and coastal resources in the country.

Apo Island – checked!  After a year of waiting I made it and able to share another great underwater experience with my friend and dive buddy Angel.  We had our first drift dives with no dive master but just a guide, we’re learning every descent we had.  But I guess I need to learn more on the dive computer, somewhere while underwater it kept blinking and I don’t know why!  😛

We cruised back to Malatapay and drove back to downtown Dumaguete with smiles. Finally, I met Ms. Percy when we got to Scuba Ventures. I learned that DUCOMI Pier is not available anymore for diving, it has been closed for repairs. I was aghast and felt sorry for the amazing underwater scenery at the pier, I realized it was a blessing in disguise that I dove last time there instead in Apo Island.  I remembered how I feasted in the rich biodiversity down there, now it has gone – what a misfortune!  After settling our bills, we hastily went up to freshen up and still discussing the day’s dive sightings.  More than that, we also chattered where to dine as our tradition every after dives.

After an hour later, we walked down the boulevard to search for a resto after we got to Sans Rival already closed…..

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