One day, as I promised myself to revisit Mantangale – a place dear to me as it’s where I subjected myself to the rigors of diving. Not so long ago, I had my open water course at Mantangale waters so coming back to the place is some kind of paying homage. Since Angel was coming to CdeO over the weekend for some adventure trip with friends, we included a 3-dive sked for Camiguin if possible. Since DiveSpecial have nix, I booked with MADRI thankful that Sir Dong Uy was very encouraging for Camiguin. I have promised Ma’am Nana to blow bubbles again with them one of these days.
Angel was just in the nick of time, I asked the driver of the 7am King Long bus for a moment as Angel was just a few steps away. We’re grateful we arrived at the resort earlier than expected, and after some welcome pleasantries we were ushered down to the diveshop where Sir Dong was waiting for us. He was thankful too that we’re early, he was seeing white caps at the front waters and was concerned it might be too choppy for the dives! While we’re having our breakfast, we discuss and agree for the sites then he gave us a quick briefing for our first descent at the house reef. Actually, it felt good to be back – sitting comfortably in peace as you watch the horizons, Camiguin in her stark splendor in view – is pure divine! 🙂
Banaug Shoal is a deep dive so it must be our first descent, I looked forward to once again enjoy the rich marine biodiversity of the site, it was pure bliss watching in awe the active fish life at the spot. From the speedboat we transferred to Sea Reyna – the beautiful, spacious, comfortable dive boat of the resort. And indeed, as soon as we reached the shoal the resident fishes decorated the environs, we went around the shoal – puffers, lionfish, snappers, anthias, damsels, angelfish, butterfly, nudis, and moray! I was amused with big moray, he came out from his sanctuary when Sir Dong tapped his gauge on the rock. The pymy seahorse was all pink clinging to a rose seafan! We have circled the shoal at 32.2 meters as deepest. We slowly ascend holding the bouy line, as I watched the moray eel and a lionfish swimming coyly displaying its intricate fins. It was splendid!
We cruised for an hour to Mantigue Island which served also as our surface interval, watching in distance the white sand beach surrounding the island. I was wondering if we could get the chance to walk around at the beach…. For our second dive, Sir Dong gave us a surprise! We will be diving in EAN (30%) with no cost! He said it will be credited if we took EAN certification course. Angel and I was excited to try nitrox. Our next descent was at the Marine Sanctuary – again it was a colorful display of a rich marine biodiversity – hard and soft corals, crinoids, sea fans, sea cucumbers, anemones. Colorful anthias are all over, wrasses, fusiliers, damsels, jackfish in schools, groupers, snappers, lionfish, scorpionfish, clownfish, puffer, pipefish and more. It was truly alive with fish life! I wasn’t expecting such display of marine life – it was another paradise underwater. Angel held my hand and looked his eyes as we float weightlessly over the colorful reef. The little mermaid in me was again rejoicing! 🙂 We ascend after 63 minutes with 29.2 meters as deepest.
Our lunch break served as our surface interval for our last dive, we enjoyed our fish n chips wrapped in banana leaves still warm. Sir Dong suggested we again go down at the sanctuary but on the opposite direction. We geared for the last descent but alas, the assistant mistakenly failed to bring another set of EAN so we used again ordinary compressed air. 😛 Although it was the same site but definitely it didn’t disappoint us, there was another display of rich marine life. There was scorpionfish, snappers, groupers and jacks – a long parade of jacks in large school. There were some nudis, lionfish, cowrie and wide spread of soft and hard corals. We lingered just going around the slope searching for macros among the corals. We finally surfaced after an hour with 14.9 meters as our deepest. All were great dives!
As we cruised back to the resort, we took some nap to regain enough energy to finish off a full day. After washing up and packing our gears we went up and chose to have an early dinner, having our left over fish n chips from lunch plus a banana split ice cream – yummy! 🙂 We wanted to linger more in luxury and comforts of the resort, there were no other guests that day so we had the place all to ourselves.
So near yet so far! Finally I explored part of Camiguin depths with my favorite dive buddy – indeed there is always a right time for everything. After a brief wait at the bus stop, we boarded a King Long bus back to Cdeo. It was a long day but promising ourselves to be back again for another wonderful dive in Balingoan and Camiguin surrounding waters.
Photo courtesy of Sir Dong Uy of MADRI