It's about diving. And cats.

Me diving

Monday, August 10, 2015

Dumaguete (Apo Island): Day 2

On Monday, we went to Apo Island, which is a tiny little island that is a 30 to 40 minute boat ride from the resort.  The island is surrounded by a marine sanctuary, and is fabled to have actual reefs, as opposed to the muck diving around Dumaguete.  I originally thought that the island was uninhabited, but that's not true.  There's a very small population on the island, plus a couple of (small eco-)resorts.  Atlantis seems to do trips to Apo Island several days a week, at least while we were there.  Our week-long package included two day trips there.  Since it is a "long" boat ride (35-ish minutes), the boat leaves a little earlier in the morning, and there are three dives, with lunch between the second and third dives.  You get back in time to do a night dive, but not in time to do the fourth dive of the day.  In other words, it's a 4 dive day instead of the usual 5 dive day.

On the day that we went, the ocean was a little lumpy on the way there, but it flattened out throughout the day.  So the ride there was a bit longer than the ride back (when the water was super flat).  We were on the bigger boat, which is one of those outrigger-style boats (a pangka). We did three dives at Apo Island, which were all very close to each other.  The first and third dives were both on sloping reefs, which were perfectly nice reef dives, but they weren't spectacularly colorful.  We saw several turtles, including a pretty nice swim-along with a very small one.  The second dive was a wall dive, which was a very nice wall.  I was worried it wouldn't be a very impressive wall, but it was pretty nice and vertical.  Rob shot wide angle, and while the reefs (and turtles) were nice, there were quite a few interesting macro critters that almost made me wish he was shooting macro instead.

Lunch and entertainment on the boat was interesting.  I thought that we would land on the island for lunch (like we did when we went to Verde Island from Atlantis PG), but lunch was actually prepared on the boat.  There were a variety of tasty and tasty-looking dishes (unfortunately I wasn't feeling too well, so I didn't eat much for lunch), and the crew played some music for us using some interesting "instruments" (think paint can for drums).  I also learned on this trip that the platforms that run on top of the outriggers make an excellent sun-bathing platform.  Or warming up between dives platform.  We rode back on those platforms, it was nice and toasty in the sun!

Thecacera pacifica, the Pikachu nudibranch
We did the night dive back at Dumaguete that night.  We saw lots of great critters, including a bobtail squid (or the Bob squid, as I like to call it), more weird shrimps on whip corals, a flamboyant cuttlefish, a different (we think) species of Phyllodesmium, and drum roll... a Thececera pacifica, the so-called Pikachu nudibranch.  Definitely one of the cutest nudibranchs of the trip!  It was a great night dive, I just wish I had more room to include pictures in the writeup :)

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