Basingstoke sub aqua club
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Basingstoke sub aqua scuba diving
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Basingstoke Branch 2117

Blue Water Diving Philippines trip.
1
st 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 Malapascua.

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.