It's about diving. And cats.

Me diving

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Dumaguete: Day 4

Clown frogfish
For the first dive of the day, we went back to the Tires site for the first dive, though on this dive, we spent a bit less time on the tires and more time on the sand.  I found two awesome slugs on the sand, and one more on the tires (which was unfortunately very curled up and hard to see, though Rob managed to get a nice picture of it anyway!).  We haven't been able to ID any of those three slugs, sadly.  Later, Rob found a neat little slug (that reminded me of Armina californica) on the sand, and we continued to see quite a few more of those throughout the day.  Once we ID'd that slug, we found that it was in fact an Armina.  It was also a great dive for frogfish, which isn't too surprising, since we saw a ton of frogfish on the tires previously.

Unknown nudibranch
The second dive was at Dauin Sur, which is (mostly) in a reserve.  It is a sloping reef, which I would describe as patchy, or rather some parts of the reef aren't super healthy.  We continued the theme of new-to-us slugs, and also saw some other oddities, like a mantis shrimp with a mouth full of eggs.  Rob was having some problems with his camera in the latter half of the dive; for some reason, it wouldn't focus.  (I don't remember if it turned out to be in-water user error, or if something wasn't setup quite right inside of the housing.)  That was a bit of a bummer, since the mantis shrimp with the eggs was super cool!

Another unknown nudibranch
For the after-lunch dive, we went back to San Miguel, which we'd done the previous night.  We found a lot of the same critters from the night before (no giraffe nudibranch, though), but with slightly less silty conditions.  Rob and I have managed to get pretty good at finding the tiny nudibranchs that live on the green leaves (whatever they are) in the sand, so I amused myself with looking on the back of every one of those leaves that I could find, and found quite a few of those slugs.  Actually I found two different kinds of slugs on the backs of those, so that was exciting.  We also saw quite a few pipefish.

Mandarinfish smooching
We did the mandarin fish dive at dusk.  Actually it was a bit before dusk, which was kind of a problem.  There is a rubble pile where the mandarin fish live (in the cracks and crevices of the rubble pile), which is really close to the mooring.  Maybe a one or two minute swim.  So the plan was to go to the rubble pile and watch the mandarin fish, and then once we had seen enough, we'd continue on to dive the rest of the site.  In hindsight, this was backwards, because it was way too light out when we got there.  So we spent the first 45 minutes of the dive watching the mandarin fish scurry around the rubble pile, not actually mating.  Then in the last 20 minutes or so they finally started to come up off the bottom to mate.  So we spent the entire dive at the rubble pile, and actually overstayed the dive time by about 15 minutes.  The other dive team got bored with the mandarin fish after like 30 minutes and went off to do their dive elsewhere, and missed all of the action.

Harlequin shrimp
It would have made more sense to stop at the rubble pile on the way back at the end of the dive.  Or even more sense to start the dive later.  We asked if we could do that the next day (do a night dive on the site, since the night dives always started at dusk anyway), but apparently this site is in a marine reserve, and night diving is not allowed.  So that explains the poor timing for the mandarin fish dive.  Overall I'd say that if you've seen mandarin fish elsewhere before, unless you have a real love of mandarin fish, this dive probably isn't worth doing.  The mandarin fish dive at Puerto Galera was definitely a better experience (although there were like 12 people on that dive, so at least on this dive, by the time the fish were out, we had them all to ourselves).

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