It's about diving. And cats.

Me diving

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Dumaguete: Day 7

Mantis shrimp with eggs
For our last day of diving, we had a bit of a mission.  Rob wanted to find a pygmy sea horse, which we hadn't seen yet on the trip.  On our first day of diving, two of the other divers that were on the boat with us saw one at the deeper part of Bahura.  The dive staff was pretty doubtful that we would find one, but they humored us.  So far, we hadn't even seen the right kind of sea fan for a pygmy sea horse to be one.  There was one of these sea fans at Bahura, but it was way down the slope and out over the sand, at around 100'.  There were a bunch of other divers on the boat, though they were diving with their own DM.  So the plan was that when we pulled up to the site, we'd get right in, head down to the sea fan, and look for the sea horse, hopefully finding it (and getting some shots) before the other team got down there.

Banded sea krait, eek!
We got to the bottom of the slope, and swam out over the sand for a bit before we found a lonely patch of reef with a sea fan on it.  Nearby there was a school of barracuda hanging out about 10 feet off of the bottom.  The three of us crowded around the sea fan, each taking a portion of it and searching on it for a sea horse.  We were looking for several minutes when the other divers showed up, and their DM also came over to scan for a sea horse on the fan.  We eventually gave up without finding a pygmy sea horse :(  To slightly make up for that, we did make one good find down on the sand, which was a banded sea krait, all coiled up on the sand under a little overhanging patch of coral.  Those things kind of give me the willies, but they are also kind of awesome.  Rob took a few pictures, and then we headed back up the slope to shallower depths, where there was more to see.

We worked our way up the slope slowly, looking at the usual assortment of nudibranchs and other critters.  The highlight for me was a pair of banded pipefish which I saw (and managed to shoot some video of).  I love these guys, although Rob says they aren't very photogenic, which I can't disagree with.  I still like watching them.

Flamboyant cuttlefish hunting
For the second dive, which would be my last, we did another shore dive in front of the resort.  The plan was to look for flamboyant cuttlefish in particular, since the DM thought he knew where we could find one.   We swam down the slope and to the left from the resort.  Before we got to the area where the cuttlefish was supposed to be, we had an excellent turtle encounter.  We came across a turtle sitting on the reef, who let us hang out with him for a bit.  When he finally swam off, I swam alongside of him for about a minute.  He was lined up next to me just perfectly to video, so I was sort of swimming half on my side, looking at the turtle, framing the shot of him, when I did something rather embarrassing (and not very environmentally friendly).  I swam right into a coral head, and slammed my shoulder into it.  It hurt.  After the dive, I found that I had both scraped and bruised my shoulder... through my wetsuit!  Well I deserved that.  Sorry Mr. Coral Head.

Flamboyant cuttlefish being flamboyant
Eventually we came to the area where the flamboyant cuttlfish were supposed to be.  We were looking and looking and couldn't find anything.  Just when we had given up and decided to turn the dive, I found one.  It was a pretty big and not very flamboyant one.  It seemed rather lethargic, not putting much of a show on for us, but hey, beggars can't be choosers.  Eventually things got a bit more interesting, and it was hunting, sticking its tongue (whatever that thing is) out.  But it still wasn't very colorful.  While Rob and I were watching it, the DM found two more, less than 10 feet away.  They were smaller and much livelier, putting on a very nice light show for us.  Between the three of them, we watched them for quite some time, so that when we finally moved on, it was pretty much time to end the dive.  Not a bad dive to finish up with!

Snacks and drinks at the restaurant
After lunch, I went back to the spa for a massage, and then Rob and I met up at the restaurant to have some afternoon snacks and drinks, before the dreaded packing that we had to do that night.

Our trip home was pretty uneventful, though insanely long.  The one small bit of excitement was that we got upgraded to business class for the (short) leg from Manila to Hong Kong.

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