I had the opportunity to be back again in MADRI, although I was clueless for the perennial year-end dive. I was overtaken with other concerns and priorities. My dive buddy just pop-up to come over, because he wanted to have his last dive of the year with his favorite dive buddy. It was like an ambush though I have no qualms about being in the depths. It has always been my therapy for all the unrestlessness, especially with year-end hullabaloos.
The distance of the airport and inconvenient flight skeds to CdeO wasn’t of help for a timely arrival in Mantangale, coming almost 11am the most that we could do was only for two dives instead of the usual three dives. Luckily, the weather was sunny like summer and I could only expect good viz for our descents.
Speeding our way under the noon sun, our first descent was at the house reef (aka Banaug Shoal), it has been a favorite spot and again it didn’t disappoint us. My colds slowed my descent through the bouy line and thankful I made it. The unequalled diversity of marine life is simply engaging, swarm of damsels and chromis abound as we reached the hill. The snapper couple was also there, following us as if asking for food. The black corals and a variety of hard and soft corals decorated the shoal. The tangles of soft corals blocking my way felt like I was in the grasslands finding my way out. There were nudis, the clownfish that played hide & seek on anemones, anthias, angels, moorish idol, box fish and more. But I missed the resident moray eel, the stonefish and pygmy seahorse. The leaf fish surprised us, I wasn’t expecting to meet her again, discreetly it was swaying with the current between the corals. Our DM was too keen to notice this elusive specie, but we failed searching for macros in the soft corals. The currents could have swept them off. We ascend after 44 minutes at 32.3 meters as my deepest.
Our surface interval was spent back at the resort dive shop, sitting and watching the horizons – blue waters, blue skies and Camiguin island afar! Finishing up our left over food (fish & chips with rice pop), sitting comfortably with afternoon breeze and the rustling leaves blown by the wind – was purely relaxing. MADRI is always home to me, the familiar surroundings gave me such comfort. There were no other guests, so it was like an exclusive dive for us!
Our DM suggested for Lapinig Island for our last descent, speeding our way almost 3pm to this lowly uninhabited island, the waters went choppy already. There was mild current as we descend on the sandy slope. We went around searching for macros but we found more trash, so it was some kind of clean-up which we always do as our commitment. There were sea fans, nudis, clownfish, anthias over corals, butterflies and more tropical fishes. The spot is a ground of bristle worms, there were plenty of them embedded on the corals. We stayed over an hour going around feeling the warm afternoon waters, my deepest at 28.9 meters. Both dives were in enriched air with no extra cost!
It was over two months from my last dive during the International Clean-Up Day, the two descents undoubtedly freshen up my dried-up gills! It was such bliss to be back in Mantangale, surely there will be next time to be home again.