Box Jellyfish Hunt

10 April 2009 Puerto Princesa Pier Again had lovely breakfast with Angelique, Norman and their son Nathan Songco. Their house is just so lovely and a squirrel decided to pass us by hopping from tree to tree. Not everything with four legs gets eaten in the Philippines, as is the common knowledge. We had crispy fried “danggit” or dried siganid fish, egg and fried rice. For breakfast dessert, we had avocados, bananas and mangoes topped with vanilla ice cream. Didn’t I say earlier this expedition was going to be all about FOOD? We seriously have to watch what we eat or we shall go back to Australia double our size. The Expedition Fleet hosts this expedition’s first dive trip on their nicely named vessel MV Stella Maris. We were efficiently picked up at 11am and upon early request by us, had their chase boat ready and waiting by noon. Call that service! We had been here three years ago and totally by accident saw and photographed a huge amount of box jellyfish in the mangroves. We had been on the box jellyfish hunt ever since we moved to Far North Queensland where they ARE A BIG DEAL every summer! Box jellyfish are so hard to find if you’re looking for them and lo and behold, they were in the hundreds in Palawan’s mangroves. Our jellyfish scientist friend in Cairns Dr. Jamie Seymour flipped when we showed him the pictures three years ago.

Deadly marine stinger

Deadly marine stinger

We were hoping to see the same situation again and upon visiting the exact site, saw box jellyfish scattered all over and not huddled together as we wanted them to be. But they were there!!! The tide at noon was on its way down and Yogi’s theory was they liked to stay inside the mangrove roots during high tide. But nonetheless, we found them in the murky seagrass and for 2 hours in the scorching heat, Yogi snapped away. We are off tonight to Tubbataha Reefs and will be back on land and online by April 22 with lots to tell . . .

About the Author:

Stella was born in Manila, Philippines in 1965. She studied anthropology but ended up in advertising, producing radio and TV commercials for 7 years. After quitting advertising, she ventured into the freelance world in Manila producing video documentaries for a publishing house, government agencies, non govenmental organisations, and the academe. She moved on to producing books and had a stint at working with foreign production companies visiting Manila. Stella, now based in Cairns, produces photo stories with her husband Jürgen Freund.