It's about diving. And cats.

Me diving

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Dumaguete: Day 5

Cardinella ornatissima
While we were at breakfast today, we overhead some other people talking about snorkeling with whale sharks.  We didn't know that there was any place nearby to snorkel with whale sharks, so I told Rob to look into that (while I went to change for the dive or something).  Turns out, there is a place to snorkel with whale sharks on the next island over, which was accessible by ferry.  So if we were interested, we could spend a half day doing that in the next couple of days.  We expressed interest in this, but they needed more than just the two of us to make it a go.  Paul, one of the DMs, made it his mission to recruit more people to go with us, and said he'd let us know when we could go.

Cardinalfish with eggs
Anyhoo, back to the diving.  Rob had been pestering the DMs to take us to a dive site called "Cars" which Frank had told us about.  Apparently this dive site is on the deeper end of things, which is maybe why it is not typically visited.  There are two car wrecks in the sand at around 90', and there are also some other structures like pipes and some other metal structures down there.  Of course this is at the bottom of a big slope from 30' or so, so there is plenty to look at in the shallows as well.  For some reason, Rob had really become obsessed with getting a shot of a Cardinalfish with eggs in its mouth, and he chose this dive to really fixate on that.  I didn't think that 90'+ was the most reasonable place to try to obsessively photograph such a thing, but Rob did.  So I felt like I spent most of the dive watching Rob stalk the Cardinalfish at the bottom.  There was plenty of other stuff to look at too, of course.  We saw a sea spider on this dive (eww), a bunch of ghost pipefish in the wreckage, plus the usual assortment of nudibranchs.

Sea spider, ick!
For the second dive of the day, the highlight was finding another mantis shrimp with eggs in its mouth.  I was really glad that we found this again, because it was such a bummer that Rob couldn't get a shot of it the first time (due to camera problems on that dive).  The mantis shrimp with eggs are so pretty!  Rob also got a picture of a nudibranch, Cardinella omatissima, on this dive, which I think may be the prettiest slug we saw on the trip.  It's pink!

In the afternoon, we went back to what I think was the Dauin Sanctuary, where we encountered a very hungry sea turtle.  It was probably about halfway into the dive when we found this turtle, loping along on the reef, so we started to follow him and video him.  We soon noticed that he was nibbling on this and that as he stomped along.  We followed along with him for at least 20 minutes, watching him move along the reef, stomping on or munching on pretty much everything in his wake.  I guess it's not just the divers walking on the reefs here.  He made for a very cooperative video subject, I think I got at least 15 minutes of footage of him, so we had fun following along.

Blue ribbon eel
For the later afternoon dive, we went looking for ribbon eels, which Rob had specifically asked about.  The dive staff knew exactly where to go to see them, and about 10 minutes into the dive, we found some, first the yellow ones and then some blue ones very close by.  We spent some time getting photos and video of them, before moving along to look at what else that dive side had to see.  We found more clownfish with eggs (which we'd also seen the day before).

Yellow ribbon eel
The night dive that night was a bit of a shit-show.  We were diving the site right off of the beach from the resort, so the plan was to go in from the boat (only because our gear was already all on the boat... the boat didn't even have to start it's engine to get us to the site :P), do the dive, and then swim back to shore.  But there was a bit of a current, which eventually kicked up to what I'd describe as a "raging" current.  So much of the dive was spent looking for little bits of anything sticking out of the slope, so I could hide behind those to avoid the current.  As you can possibly imagine, some of the other divers on the dive were maybe not super comfortable with swimming in current, and there was a lot of flailing.  There was one point where we were on a sand slope, with some sort of thick line that ran down the slope for about 20 feet.  We just happened to be inspecting some critters that were living on the line, when suddenly a wall of silt came tumbling down the slope toward us.  Rob jokingly made the hand signal to get on the line at the line we were looking at :)  Despite the shenanigans, we did make it back to shore and lived to tell the tale.

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