13 April 2009

Dive 1, 7:30am, Malayan Wreck

Blue water hang at 20 meters, waiting for schooling hammerhead sharks to pass by. This was a test of patience. We have never been lucky with hammerheads and often have to explain to the dive masters that we bring bad hammerhead luck. But the plankton was interesting. There was a cool translucent slug moving its entire body for propulsion. Too bad we didn’t have our aquarium.

Dive 2, 10:30, Ko-ok

Briefing was great – schooling jacks, barracudas, bumphead parrotfish! When Wayne the boat manager checked the current and saw the school of bumphead parrotfish, he made us anticipate the dive, and we dropped in 100 meters behind them. We drifted with the current towards the point where the schooling fish were, but as luck would have it, the current changed direction! Bummer! So it was a nice ride back. Along the way, saw an eagle ray on a mission and lots of blue triggerfish.

Dive 3, 16:30, Delsan Wreck

Tubbataha Lighthouse

Tubbataha Lighthouse

Again, big expectations on this dive. Marble rays, sharks, schooling fish. The story of this wreck is amazing. This oil tanker ran aground one evening in 1981. Our boat’s engineer was on board that tanker. In the morning, when they awoke, there were pirates who took all the oil and all the salvageable parts of the ship, keeping the tanker’s crew in the lighthouse. The pirates only reported the stranded crew to the authorities, to be rescued from the lighthouse, but after more than two months, and only after they had cleaned out  the tanker. The pirates came from Southern Mindanao, but some say the nearest island was Cagayancillo . . .

So back to our dive,  a slow drift that got faster and faster. There were beautiful fans, big barrel sponges, and at one point, a huge marble ray.

Big marble ray

Big marble ray

That’s when everybody stopped drifting and clung to a coral head. I had a reef hook and hooked myself to a dead piece of coral at the edge of the reef. Below me, a big school of jacks hung facing the current, hardly moving at all. It looked like they were hooked on the reef, as well. Then it was time to unhook, and off we went. There were so many jacks passing– not in a ball, but in one marching position. You wonder where they go . . . At the end of our dive, when we lost the group for the nth time, we had two special interactions with two different turtles. They were so calm, and we got close, really close. That made our day!

Wonderful turtle interaction.

Wonderful turtle interaction.