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Me diving

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Dumaguete: Day 1

Leaf scorpionfish
On the afternoon of our arrival to Dumaguete, it was raining like crazy when we got to the resort.  It actually started raining on the drive there; it wasn't raining when we flew in.  When we walked down to the restaurant to fill out the paperwork to checkin, I looked at the water off of the beach, and was a bit surprised by what I saw.  The ocean was angry.  The dive boats are all moored just off of the beach, and brought up to the beach to board.  They were bobbing around like toys on the tops of the angry waves.  I couldn't imagine walking into that water to board the boat.  It turns out, we had caught the tail end of a typhoon, and by the next morning, the water was dead flat, and very pretty and tropical looking.  Phew.

Ornate ghost pipefish
For the first day of diving, we had to show up a bit earlier than usual, so that we could fill out the forms for diving, etc.  There was a video that we were supposed to watch.  When it came up that we had been to Atlantis Puerto Galera before, one of the DMs said we'd probably already seen it before.  Even though I'm pretty sure we hadn't, Rob assured them that we had, and thus did not need to see it again.  Which was good, since there were some technical difficulties preventing them from showing it.  We filled out the paperwork, got the tour of the dive shop, were shown how to use an O2 analyzer :P and then we setup our gear for the first dive.  They loaded our gear on the boat, we had the briefing, and we were off.

(Muppet) scorpionfish
For the dive, we went to Dauin Sur, with just a divemaster and one other diver.  I guess this was our "checkout dive" and since the other diver was an OW diver, we were constrained to a max depth of 60.  However, I don't know if this really affected the quality of the dive.  There was a patchy, often rubbly reef, so it wasn't really a muck dive, but also not really a reef dive, or not in my mind anyway.  We started out on a sandy, sea grassy area, and after a shorty swim, we came to the patches of reef.  While we were on that area, I spotted my first "critter" of the trip, some kind of fish that looked just like one of the leafy pieces of sea grass.  Of course once I signaled Rob, the fish disappeared into a hole in the sand :)  We saw a bunch of nudibranchs, though I don't think any of them were new to us.  Very near the end, I did find a cool tiny aeolid, but Rob was not responding to my light signal (we were very shallow at this point).

Costasiella sp. a.k.a. dang small nudibranchs
For the second dive, we went to a site called Bahura, and we were diving with one other couple and the DM.  This site was a reef on a slope.  We saw a bunch more nudibranchs on this dive, including finding two small white aeolids in the shallows, which I think were probably the same as the one that got away on dive 1.  Since Rob actually managed to get pictures this time, we were able to ID them as Flabellina bicolor (or so we thing).  I also found a very nice scorpionfish sitting on the reef, almost impossible to see at first.  Overall, I felt like I was a bit more useful at critter spotting for Rob on this dive (though still not nearly as useful as a DM :P)

Filipino Dirona (Phyllodesmium sp.)
After lunch, we headed to Ginama-an, which is a lot of sand, sloping down, and then there is an area containing tires.  The tires are super covered in life, which were put there as an artificial reef.  They are really quite encrusted with life, especially compared to all of the sand (which has lots of interesting critters, but none of the colorful encrusting reef-y stuff).  Lots of colorful sponges, tons of crinoids, etc.  The highlight of this dive was that there were lots and lots of frogfish.

World's cutest crab
The fourth dive of the day was at Sahara, which is so named because it is all sand.  It was more of what I expected muck diving to be (so was the first half of the tires dive site).  It was a lot of fun just wandering around the sand, looking for weird creatures.  There were plenty of those, including some sea horses, more slugs, and ghost pipefish (which I love, but for some reason Rob is not so impressed by them).

Hairy squat lobster
For the night dive, we dove the house reef, though still from a boat.  It was like a 1 minute boat ride :)  It was mostly sand at first, but then down the slope, there are some tires, and also some big structures which are, I think, concrete blocks (mooring blocks, maybe? but really big).  We saw a turtle snoozling amount the tires, and a whole bunch of cool tiny critters, including a tiny snail on a sea fan and those tiny little crabs that live on sea whips.  I thought that the best find of the dive was a tiny little pink crab on a pink soft coral; it blended in SO well with the soft coral!

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