It's about diving. And cats.

Me diving

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Philippines 2012: Day 5: A little of this, a little of that

The previous day, when we figured out who we’d be diving with the next day (Richard, a marine biologist who was just as happy as we were to inch along taking pictures of critters), we formulated a plan.  In the morning we’d do some wide angle sites, and in the afternoon, he and Rob would switch to macro.   So the first dive of the day was at the Alma Wreck, which was really close to the resort.  It is in about 100 feet of water, so it was a fairly short, square profile kind of dive.  The main cool thing about the site was that it had a school of batfish living on it.  Also, at the very bottom, hanging out under it, there were some sea kraits.  Rob was trying to get me to pose under there, and I was getting a little nervous next to them!

For the second dive, we went a little further afield, to Canyons.  We zoomed by this site on our way out to Deep Atolls earlier in the week, and it looked really nice.  We dropped in the shallows and swam out.  We pass “Hole in the Wall” and swam through it.  When we dove Atolls, I had missed the hole, but I had heard Steve and Ferg joking about going through the hole.  And now I understood what a ridiculous suggesting that was, going through with bottles and scooters.  It felt like a bit of a squeeze in a single tank!  From there, we snaked along down that canyon, and ended up on a little plateau with a lot of small fish and soft coral.  It was actually probably the nicest part of the dive.  From there, we headed deeper, and got caught in quite a bit of current.  The viz also wasn’t very good when we got deeper.  Eventually we made it to a relatively sheltered area, and hung out there for the rest of the dive.  This spot had lots of sweetlips, of a few different varieties.  After entertaining myself with the sweetlips, I just spent the rest of the time looking at slugs.  The current prevented us from coming back into the shallows, so we thumbed it and did a blue water ascent.

After lunch, we headed back out, over to Giant Clam, which is a muck dive over in the bay.  This was an awesome dive.  I found a flamboyant cuttlefish, woohoo!  It is amazing how they can hide themselves.  When I found it, I had just been staring at a patch of sand, waiting for Rob to finish taking some pictures, when suddenly I realized I was staring right at one!  Then he gave us a light show :)  There were just so many cool critters, well-camouflaged in all sorts of odd places.  One of the best had to be the tiny little crab camouflaged on the forehead of a sea cucumber.  Plus even though the muck dives aren’t supposed to be the best for finding slugs, we collectively found a couple of pretty cool (teeny tiny) slugs anyway!  This was a totally awesome site, one of my favorite dives.  I could have happily done muck dives all week.

After a brief surface interval, we headed back out in the other direction to a site called Sabang Point.  This was a pretty silly dive.  Rob and Richard were both shooting macro, but we ended up dropping into a raging current.  It was insane.  We were flying along the reef, and at some point I found a big boulder behind which we could hang out and hide from the current.  So I started searching around for subjects, and when I looked up, I realized that no one else had decided to stay behind the rock, and they were WAY down the reef.  Oops!  Eventually there was a lull, and then in the second half of the dive, the current switched directions and we got to ride back to where we started!  At the end, it calmed down a bit, and we were actually able to find some nice subjects, including a cute little moray eek peeking out from a rock, and (my favorite) one rock that was covered in Phyllodesmium briareum, probably about 20 of them!
For the night dive, we went to Mini Reef, which is really close to the resort, just off it to the right a little.  We were on the hunt for stargazers and we were quite successful with that.  There were more cool shrimps and crabs, and one pretty interesting fish – a flying gurnard.

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