My First Shark Bite.........Shot(s)

Trip Start Apr 14, 1992
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Philippines  , Central Visayas,
Thursday, June 7, 2012

At TSD they have a tradition that every time you earn a certification with them, you get a special shot on the house. This shot is called a shark bite shot, which was created by one of the owners years ago and is a top secret recipe. The shot itself looks really cool, split up into 3 different layers, the top layer being light blue, the middle layer dark blue, and the bottom layer red. Before you take your shot(s) one of the instructors gives a nice speech relating to what each layers means and announces to the bar to everyone what you're taking them for. In my case I was taking two of them, one for my rescue diver certification, and the other for my enriched air nitrox certification. After the speech is given, it's down the hatch, and the shots are almost too sweet to handle. Those shots were the first two of many to come for me during my stay here, and I'm definitely looking forward to the rest.

As far as diving has gone the past few days, it has just been awesome. I took my first day trip to Gato Island which is the best diving around here as far as variety and corals go. It's also a sea-snake sanctuary and home to some very big white-tip reef sharks. I decided to introduce the Tubbataha method of the crunching bottle to attract sharks during the dives here, and I don't know if it was just me, but I thought it seemed to be working. During one particularly dull part of the dive where there was a break in the coral and it was just a straight sandy bottom, I decided to just crunch the bottle to see what happened, and next thing you knew there was a 5-6 foot white-tip following us around for a minute or two, then we turned the corner to the next part of the island where the reef picked up again. I had my first close up encounter with a thresher shark that was incredible. The visibility was pretty bad so this shark literally came out of nowhere, and was circling basically right above us for about 5 minutes, the closest it got to me was within about less than 10 feet. We could have stayed and watched it longer, but our no deco times prevented it....The next day on our way to the dive site, around 4 dolphins decided to give us some company on the boat and were riding the waves directly infront of the boat, however this encounter only lasted for about 20 seconds then they were off. We were going to the same dive site that you see the threshers, however it was in the afternoon, where mantas are the more prominent sighting. We were only on air so our bottom time was only around 25 minutes there as it gets pretty deep and we had already done a deep dive earlier in the day. After our bottom time, we were all pretty bummed that there was no manta, however we did see a white-tip reef shark. So we headed back to the safety line. We have to make a 1 minute safety stop at about 12 meters on the line, and during this period we were all looking down, hopeful to spot a manta. Next thing you know, I was getting a rather violent tap on the shoulder and right when I turned around, a massive manta that we estimated between 13-15 feet across was gliding right under us! As soon as we saw it, even being in safety stop mode, everyone bolted back down the line as fast as they could and next thing you know, the manta was just 3 meters below us! Something that is that big in the water almost looks unnatural, it almost looked fake how big it was, and how smoothly it was just gliding through the water. My first giant manta encounter, and the manta season has just begun! Hopefully the next time I see one I'll actually be on the bottom though.
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