15 – 22 March 2010

The colors of Asia comes out with this bright outrigger boat turned liveaboard in Apo Reef

The colors of Asia comes out with this bright outrigger boat turned liveaboard Apo Reef Club I. Diver about to surface after a good dive

With the expedition team complete with our writer Alya Honasan, our first Philippine journey for this leg was to Apo Reef.  We spent a few days and nights on a quaint Philippine style liveaboard named Apo Reef Club I. This boat is smoothly run by Apo Reef Club’s charming Swiss manager Michi Roos and we totally enjoyed ourselves.

Michi Roos atop the Apo Reef Lighthouse

Michi Roos atop the Apo Reef Lighthouse

Crew

The charming Filipina kitchen crew perked the whole trip with their bright “Good morning sir! Good morning ma’am!” Yes. We were back in the Philippines!

Apo Reef is a marine protected area declared a Natural Park in 1996. It is situated between the west coast of Occidental Mindoro and the south of Calamian Island group of northern Palawan. Apo Reef is in the tentative list of UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. Let’s hope it makes it in someday!

A dusk dive in Apo Reef south east corner with Anemonefish in the foreground and an outrigger boat outline in the surface

A dusk dive in Apo Reef’s Action Point with Anemonefish in the foreground with diver

Many types of schooling fusiliers abound and came close to the divers

Many types of schooling fusiliers abound and came close to the divers

Michi videos a feeding hawksbill turtle oblivious of all the divers surrounding it!

Michi videos a feeding hawksbill turtle oblivious of all the divers surrounding it!

In the short time we were there, we were fortunate to be able to dive with WWF Philippines Sablayan Community Facilitator Lito Tiongson and Robert Duquil, Assistant Protected Area Superintendent of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources – Protected Area Office and Ferdinand Magno, DENR Park Ranger.

WWF Lito and DENR Robert do a giant stride to dive Apo Reef's Action point

WWF Lito and DENR Robert do a giant stride to dive Apo Reef’s Action point

They were doing their regular monthly reef monitoring activity in Action Point or Apo Reef’s South East Corner.

Transect lines are stretched for WWF and DENR to monitor the coral reef growth or deterioration

Transect lines are stretched for WWF and DENR staff writing in data to monitor the coral reef growth or deterioration

Strong current raged as these three researchers monitored the reef

Strong current raged as these three researchers monitored the reef

A newly discovered wreck not far from the lighthouse is a steel ship about 50 meters long. It was such an exciting find. Well encrusted with corals and a good amount of fish in and around it, this wreck sits at a shallow 15 meters!

Big porites or hard stone corals grow on this newly found ship wreck. From a rough estimate by just looking at the hard corals, this wreck may be more than 50 years old

Big porites or hard stone corals grow on this newly found ship wreck. From a rough estimate by just looking at the hard corals, this wreck may be more than 50 years old

From the blow of the boat, this shallow wreck is nicely sitting on bright white sand

This shallow wreck nicely sits on bright white sand

It was easy to penetrate in and out of this wreck. Many glassy sweepers made their home here

It was easy to penetrate in and out of this wreck. Many glassy sweepers made their home here

Michi very excitedly showed off this well encrusted wreck. Many divers have something new to add to their Apo Reef dive adventure!

Michi very excitedly showed off this well encrusted wreck. Many divers have something new to add to their Apo Reef dive adventure!

Our Panda flag sits nicely with the red white and blue colors of Apo Reef Club I

Our Panda flag sits nicely with the red, white and blue colors of Apo Reef Club I

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