Diving a Small Islands Volcanic Walls

Trip Start Dec 18, 2011
Trip End Feb 26, 2012

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Flag of Philippines  , Visayas,
Friday, February 17, 2012

Day 1 - Arrival and Dive at House Reef
Had wanted to go up to the Thresher Sharks so decided to a stop along the way to do a dive would be a good idea. Moalboal was suppose to have nice diving so decided to stop here for a couple of days.

Wasnt in any real rush since it was roughly a 3 hr trip so had a late start. Sais by to the people I had met and spent the morning booking the flights to/from Coron since these were the last things I had to sort out for my time in the Philippines. Could have flown back to Manila on the 24th but decided to fly back on the 25th since the flight got me in at 12pm and my flight to Oz didnt leave til 3pm. That gives me 3hrs which provided nothing unexpected happens should be more than enough time. Guess we will see.

Since Moalboal and Malapascau both didnt have an ATM decided to borrow a bike and headed to an ATM to get a bit more cash. Paid the bill and while told the tricycle would be 100P managed to get it for 80P without bargaining and may of got it for less if I tried. Happy I didnt since it was a fairly long ride (certainly more value for money then airport trip).

Manage to time it perfectly with the boat across to Cebu leaving a few minutes after I arrived. This trip was a 30min or so trip across some bumpy water. Once on the other side had to get a bike to the bus station and the guy wanted 50RM. Had no idea how far I actually had to go since I had no idea where the station was managed to get the ride for 30RM. Give the distance I ended up covering this was certainly a good price.

Had a bit over 2hrs on the bus to reach Moalboal which was a few Kms away from the area with all the dive shops. Here a moto at first wanted 150RM for the trip but eventually went down to 70RM. Decided not to take it and when the next guy started at 200RM I wasnt sure if it hadnt been a bad idea. Thankfully the third guy had a passenger and was willing to take me for 50RM even if he wasnt exactly sure where the place I wanted was.

After a short detour down a dirt road reached a strip of seaside houses, restaurants, bars and dive shops. Found my accomodation without to much problem and at 450P for a dorm (room 550P but none available) it was certainly a lot cheaper then a resort which there seemed to be many of in town.

Checked in and ended up settling for a dive shop up the road with whom I organised an afternoon dive with (given it was just after 12pm) . This dive headed out to the House reef just off the nearby shore. Had the boat take us out but then followed a wall back towards the dive shop and got out pretty much just in front of it. Did the dive with Lydia who was in my hostel and saw lots of hard coral growing up and down a large wall. Also saw some interesting tuby things (should really learn name) that stick out like fans (before you scare them).

Besides the purple stone fish not much else to be seen except a few shrimp and fish. Also found the coral that was here very different from Apo Island near Dumaguete.

After the dive wandered around town a bit which seemed to pretty much exist for tourists and had dinner at a seaside restaurant. Really nice meal here with a big piece and nice cut of pork in a mushroom sauce

Day 2 - Airport Dive and Pescador Island
Had planned three dives today but ended up only doing two. Met at 7:30am for the first dive which was at a site called the airport. Had originally be scheduled to dive in the Marine Park but plans got changed due to a large group of chinese divers who were doing their last day of diving. These guys had some big and expensive camera equipment and wanted to go look for pygmy sea horses.

At the airport dived with an irish guy since Lydias synuses were stopping her from equalising (she gave up to quickly). Here the first thing we found was the small plane after which the site is named. After taking a photo in the plane we headed towards the wall and then down it to about 30m. Here we looked at a fan coral which I realised was an attempt to find a pymy sea horse. While I think the dive master found it, I couldnt see it.

Given how roughly my dive master and the chinesegroup dive master handled the fan coral am not sure how much harm they do the animals. In sipidan saw a sign about what you shouldnt do and here they seemed to be doing more than half those things. Guess if it keeps up the pygmy sea horses wont be around much longer.

Swam along the wall for a while but not much to see. The whole wall here pretty much seemed t be covered with sand which someone later mentioned was a result of the earth quake. Seems that in years past quite a nice coral reef existed on the wall.

Towards the end of the dive swam by the reef on top of the wall where I saw some nicer looking corals. Here I saw a black and white nudibranch as well as a few pipe fish swimming on the coral. One of these pipefish was a black and yellow ghost pipefish I would never have spotted without help. Guess the fact that it blends in so well with the soft coral that it floats above is why its called a ghost.

From here headed back to the dive shop and had a 1hr break before the second dive. After the break headed out to Pescador Island which I had been told was one of the better dive spots here. Since Lydia had taken some medicine to clear her sinuses she was also able to dive.

Found that while there wasnt a lot of fish life around the walls were nice. Seems that the island is a pile of volcanic rock that has step side dropping down into the sea. Under the water could see this volcanic rock as which wasnt just a straight wall.

During the dive sent a fair bit of time on my back looking up at the overhanging wall. At one point we also swam into a small cave that had a swim through about 8m from the bottom of the cave. Was quite nice to dive here and its a pity I didnt have a camera.

After swimming for a while we stopped and headed back the way we had come. Managed to see one turtle on the way back, before it took off, as well as a couple of yellow frog fish.

Once back from the second dive I headed back to the Hostel where I planned on a short break before heading out for lunch and spending and afternoon catching up on blogging and photos. Unfortunately I felt myself burning up. Not sure why this was.

I hadnt put on sunscreen for my first dive so I could have been burnt but it felt different even if it was only my top half overheating. While I felt hot I didnt have the red shiny or sensitive skin that comes along with the level of heat I felt. Most of all my ears were burning hot and they are normally quite cool.

Was feeling sore (probably from the previous few days activities), weak and hot so decided to lie down and take it easy. Was guessing I had a fever so after an hour or so headed out for lunch and to cancel my night dive. At this point was hoping I hadnt picked up Malaria or dengie fever since it wouldnt be the best way to end my trip.

Decided to head to the same spot I had lunch the previous day and had another nice meal. When it came time to pay I was once again short changed. Meal was 180P, I gave 230P and got 20P change. Unlike the rest of SE Asia where I didnt worry about being short changed I now find I have to check since I have already been short changed 5-10P here and there.

When I looked at the change I got I found 20P instead of 50P and since the clours are so similar it wouldnt be hard to make the mistake. Noted the wrong change and got the correct change with a smile and another thank you for coming. Definately need to be more careful in the Philippines about getting ripped off.

Decided to pop a couple of anti biotics and wait to see if the fever broke by the next day. If not decided I was going to have to stop in Cebu, go to a hospital and have a blood test.

Rested the rest of the afternoon and went for a short walk around sunset for a few photos and to check out the town a bit. As I had expect lots and lots of resorts. After getting back ended up chatting with Lydia and Roy (Israeli) at the hostel about travel and had dinner with Roy before calling it a night.

Had cooled down a bit during the day but started burning up again in bed. Cooled myself with water and after over an hour of staring at the ceiling managed to get to sleep. Woke up again around 2am to thankfully find my fever had broken (or sun burn decreased). Still felt a bit like shit but certainly a lot better than the previous afternoon. By the time I woke up for the morning bus I was feeling shitty with a blocked nose (probably cold) but thankfully had no more fever.

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