Dive Log – Malapascua, Cebu [Apr 2012] – Part II

And… more dive logs! Check out Part I here and my trip journal here. Most of the pix taken here are mine, though some are from my fellow dive mates on this trip. Dive site descriptions are a combination of my physical logbook as well as the Thresher Shark Diver dive location sites.

Malapascua, Cebu, Philippines

All geared up and ready to go! Pix thanks to XM

Dive 8/12 (#49)
9th Apr 2012
9.20am (54 mins)
Gato Island

We were supposed to head out to the Dona Marilyn wreck, but the GPS was busted and weather in the distance looked quite suspect, so we ended up hitting Gato Island again. This time we headed down to check out the Shark Cave! First we encountered two sharks when swimming under an arch, and then went into this low overhanging cave where there a good 4-5 white-tipped sharks circling in the dark… absolutely brilliant! We spent about half the dive just watching the sharks in the cave.

And even after that, lots of other creatures still to be seen! Gato Island really does have a lot of marine life.


I like this backshot of the Lionfish where you can see the blue spots on its fins
Pregnant shark? This shark eluded us after swimming through the arch, but snuck up again behind us as it circled back!
Many many sea snakes in this sanctuary at Gato!
I had seen one Batfish at first and was trying to take pix of it, when someone else pointed out this whole coral-tree full of batfish 'perched' in it! So bizarre. Someone finned by and disturbed them and they all drifted away.
Scorpionfish quietly sitting on coral, waiting to sting... ouch!


Dive 9/12 (#50)
9th Apr 2012
2.33pm (41 mins)
Monad Shoals – Manta Point

We headed out to a different part of Monad Shoals to the Manta Ray cleaning station in hopes of catching some Manta Rays. It’s really in the middle of the ocean, and all you do is descend on the rope down to the bottom, where there’s a line you’re supposed to stay behind to observe the mantas.

We didn’t see any in the first few minutes, so we ventured a little further down to see if we could catch any there, but unfortunately, no luck! We soon spent our time exploring the scant coral in the area, and entertained ourselves.

On the way up apparently our guide spotted one from the boat, and we did see a suspicious splash in the distance (I didn’t Manta’s would leap out of the water!), but no Manta sighting for me…


Our dive guide blowing bubble rings
These little white things were apparently eaten by another fish after i swam off, oops.
Sea Moth! Weird creature that was crawling on its side fins...

Dive 10/12 (#51)
9th Apr 2012
4.27pm (30 mins)
Monad Shoal – Manta Point

We took a break and went down again, but nope, still no Mantas for me! The other groups saw a glimpse of the Manta going by quite quickly, and even though I was right there, I just, did not, for the life of me, see the Manta. =(

Here we all are, hovering and waiting for the Mantas to show up

Dive 11/12 (#52)
10th Apr 2012
9.15am (43 mins)
Tapilon Wreck

Low visibility!

Last day of diving! We still didn’t head out to Dona Marilyn, but to another wreck instead called Tapilon Wreck. It’s also in the middle of nowhere and the current is really, really strong that day. So strong we had to grab a smaller rope to get to the bigger rope before descending! I was immediately swept under the boat upon jumping in. Getting up was also another challenge, I had my glove on so I could grip the rope without getting cut, and hauled myself up the boat. Others who didn’t hang on to the rope got swept quite far away!

It’s an old WWII plane, and while I didn’t see any bones, my friends took some pictures. No skull though!

This was also the dive where I lost my pointer, but luckily my friends A and S picked it up! Really good karma =)

Old shell casing
Bone! Apparently it's a femur, eeeeh.


Dive 12/12 (#53)
10th Apr 2012
11.24am (64 mins)
Chocolate Island

Last dive of the day! We went to Chocolate Island, so named for looking like the famous Chocolate Hills in Philippines. It was another much diving site with sandy bottom, and it rained while we were doing our surface interval from the last dive. It poured again while we were gearing up so it was a quick jump into the water to escape the cold…

Lots of macro on this dive, and a really interesting encounter with a Cuttlefish threesome where one cuttlefish was trying in vain to cut into another pair’s mating party. It finally gave up after awhile and swam away dejected, but the happy couple remained perched in their spot, not moving even though we were crowded around them for the longest time. It didn’t even flinch when one diver reached out his hand towards it!

Highlights: Nudibranches galore! Yet another sea snake…

You can't really tell, but it is POURING.
Me and XM shivering while waiting our turn to gear up. I have some serious tanlines from my shades
Most of the nudis in this shot are from the last dive
Mating Cuttlefish! There are 3 of them, can you see? The 3rd party is the one on top
That's a tiny thumbnail sized black and white shrimp perfectly camouflaged on a black and white featherstar
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