My quests in the blue world were not without challenges, some phenomenal but mostly intriguing. Summing it up I enjoyed every bit of these experiences, always coming home with renewed spirit and increasing admiration and love for the depths. It meant traveling far, passing a night at the airport, spending fortune, neglecting comforts, entrusting my life to strangers and extending limits of my self-imposed modesty. Sometimes it was surprising I have gone that far. The scale of challenges is increasing. Yes, I have gone that far.
My search around the country is still on-going and few of them stand out for their mystic and charm, like sucking senses and left a diver fazed in wonder. Here are few sites that captured my heart and curiosity, it felt like I can’t get enough from my descent on its depths.
- Pescador Island, Moalboal
This lowly island held surprising secrets, the phenomenal sardine’s run will stir your curiosity how these millions of small fish come together and synchronize for a tornado. It is so tempting to come and be amongst in their assembly and get lost in their midst!
- The Canyons, Puerto Galera
Dropping at Escarceo Point, drifting fast with the currents passing field of colorful acropora corals, and race over several drop-offs to reach the Hole in the Wall. Steadying for the entrance, I was completely surprised as I was sucked in the hole in a split second! There, the Canyons teeming with marine life.
- Akitsushima Maru, Coron
All the World War II wrecks concentrated in Coron Bay gave me that rush for the penetration but Akitsushima is different. She is simply beautiful, one of the few true warships among the wrecks. We penetrated chambers, crevices, holes and square openings. Mysterious and truly engaging, the dark and its secrets and historic value held so much attraction to me. Its externals is teeming with fish life, remnants like broken crane, canon ball hole, artillery and funnel. It is an advance dive due to depth and currents.
- Monad Shoal, Malapascua
Watching a flock of quirky thresher sharks swimming before me on early morning was one of my unforgettable underwater experience, I almost cried in amazement! I can sit at the viewing edge and watch them until they are gone. Threshers are deep inhabitants but a herd always gathers every morning at the shoal to be cleaned from parasites and algae on their bodies by wrasses, more of a symbiotic relationship as these wrasses were fed from the sharks. Monad offer guaranteed sightings everyday on early mornings!
- Banaug Shoal, Mantangale
The shoal is about 22 meters depth from the surface but this underwater hill can never be outdone in terms of diversity in marine life. The swarm of damsels, red snappers, angels, sergeants, wrasses amidst hard corals and tangling soft corals, it is always as colorful as it was. Moray eel, stone fish, leaf fish, lion fish, nudis, sea stars are just few that inhabit the small hill. It is always tempting to go deeper to explore what’s beyond. This may not be in the diving map but its richness can be at par with exotic dive destinations.
Have you tried diving from any of these sites? I’m still in search for sites and I know I will never exhaust them in my lifetime. There is yet a lot of secrets to unravel right here in my home country.
NB. All photos courtesy of Angel using Tough 8000 with PT 045 casing