Blue Water Diving Philippines trip. 1st to 17th October 2017
Week 2 9th to 16th October, Exotic Resort & Dive Centre, Malapascua Island
For the second week we transferred back to Cebu then in another minibus transferred
to the other end of the island where we were transferred on a local Pump Boat to
Exotic Resort was a little larger than Blue Star, situated on a white coral beach.
The beach extended right into the restaurant and through to the accommodation. This
meant that we could walk around barefoot almost all the time. Once again the dive
centre was right on site.
Weather this week was drier but the wind picked up in the middle of the week, requiring
the boats to be moored further away in a more sheltered area.
Diving here was also from Bankas, these could take between 16 & 22 divers, we were
usually picked up in a small motorboat and ferried out to the dive boats which were
moored slightly offshore. Dives in Malapascua involved trips of usually 30 to 50
minutes to the dive sites, most dives from moored buoys in depths of 15m+.
This week we had a larger variety of dive types, more seabed and less coral dives,
on the second dive of this week Bryan saw 3 white tip reef sharks, by the time I
caught up, Ronel, our guide, pointed to a hole in the reef and I looked in to realise
I was nose-to-nose with a shark, Bryan says that once he saw them, 2 swam off and
the other went into this hole. Ronel was very good at spotting tiny creatures, he
would often point at something that it would take ages for the rest of us to be able
to identify, particularly pygmy sea horses! He did however also find a few “normal
sized” seahorses. Other specialities of his were tiny, transparent shrimps and crabs
which were so well disguised they looked like the items they were living on. Again
this week we saw several Sea Snakes, Frogfish, a Stargazer (Highfin Snake Eel?),
Spider Crabs, various types of Moray Eel, Harlequin Fish, Harlequin and Mantis shrimps,
Shoals of Small-mouth Mackerel, File Fish, Cuttlefish, Stone Fish / Scorpion Fish.
There was an artificial reef they had created close to the resort on a mainly sandy
area, here we saw Batfish, a different type of Sea Snake, more Scorpionfish and a
very large group of Catfish hiding out in a structure that was like a huge basket.
On four mornings we were up at 4a.m. to travel out to Monad Shoal where we were told
the Thresher sharks were likely to be seen at around sunrise, first trip was unsuccessful
and nothing was seen, however on each subsequent trip the sightings were better each
time, however the weather seemed to get rougher as the week progressed and each trip
more items broke on the boat, we lost several supports to the canvas awning and on
the last trip one of the entry/exit ladders also fell off. Thankfully everything
had a secondary attachment made with strong nylon fishing type line so although it
was no longer providing support it was not lost overboard.