Dive Tales Tubbataha Reefs – Day 2

12 April 2009

Dive 1, 7:30 am, Bird Islet’s Washing Machine

Schooling jacks - LOTS

Schooling jacks – LOTS

Hardly any current, but this dive was fantastic. Our dive master Omer Alanis already pre-checked where the huge school of jacks was, and made us go down exactly where they were. The water was finally crystal clear, and the jacks magnificent. We followed them and would have happily stayed with them the whole dive, but they didn’t want to play anymore. What replaced them, though, was a big school of batfish that went to deeper waters. We went deep after them, but they didn’t want to play either, so we left them alone.

These beauties didn't mind having their photos taken!

These beauties didn’t mind having their photos taken!

On the reef top were about eight to 10 butterfly fish eating a soft coral. Even with a camera closely pointed at them, they didn’t budge.  One or two would swim away, but always came back. We stayed with them a good 10 minutes, and it was an absolute pleasure watching them. It was such a lovely dive. And to have clear water just made all the difference.

Dive 2, 10:15am, Shark Airport

The dive started quiet with a nice, white sandy bottom at about 10 meters. Nice corals, nice barrel sponges and hmmm, sea fans – without current, you can’t seem to imagine fan corals on the reef tops.

There were two white tip reef sharks on the sand – nice garden eels going about their business. Then when we wanted to photograph our two models Tina and Warren in their brand new Aqua Lung dive outfits, the current decided to turn on us. It was manageable in the beginning, and then Yogi decided to abort when the models were having difficulty posing. We had no choice but to drift, and then the current ripped to what felt like a hundred kilometers an hour. It was looking meaner by the minute, so we surfaced. Our great chase boat driver road the big waves with ease. The boat was flying on the waves. Scary thought, but we made it. What an adventure that was.

Away we go!

Away we go!

Dive 3, 16:15 exploratory dive in the opposite wall of Shark Airport (near sea fan alley)

Beautiful sea fans

Beautiful sea fans

Very calm dive, considering how the ripping current ended the earlier dive. Therewere sea fans here and there, different varieties.  What I’ve been noticingis an abundance of schooling babies everywhere. It gives such a nice feeling, as “The Nursery of Life” really takes shape.  There were also a lot of juvenile Napoleon wrasses scattered here and there, mostly female.  It would be good to see big ones once in a while.

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.