Day 1 – Low Lee ledge and the Primrose
Well we weren’t expecting much on this holiday owing to a forecast which stated that the mini “Beast from the East” would strike the West Country over the next few days.
To our surprise Mounts Bay was fairly calm with light Northerly winds but very cold.
We are diving! Our DO announced, so we loaded up and headed for the Low Lee ledge
Our DO soon realised he had the wrong dive bag, so had to dive with Carol’s gear, oh yes, he had also left his hood and gloves in the truck, so Graham obliged with those (no competition for the Monkey award!).
The wreck of the Primrose was buoyed off so no need for the anchor, Malc, Jen and Keith were first down the line but Keith soon returned with a major leak in his dry suit, oh well better luck next time (watch this space).
3M underwater visibility was far more than we expected but the water temperature was the coldest we have ever encountered in Cornwall, only 7DegC.
Sea Urchins, Starfish, Wrasse and a Cray Fish were all seen in the 35 minutes dive.
Day 2 – Alice Marie
Freezing conditions this morning, we had to break the ice on the boat cover!
Flat calm seas and a light North Easterly wind, perfect for diving!
No chance of the Alice Marie being buoyed off, so 5 minutes of searching and in went the anchor.
3 to 4M underwater visibility on the wreck, so a really pleasant dive, although it was very cold and, yes you guessed it – Keith’s dry suit flooded again!, he was the hero of the day in that he completed 25 minutes before the cold forced him to go up. We sat him in Sullivan’s while we recovered the boat; they felt sorry for him and gave him a cuppa FOC.
Day 3 Low lee ledge, Primrose and Cannons
How long are we going to get away with it was the weather comment of the day, a forecast of SE winds arriving by 1000hrs, so another very early start and more ice clearing before we left.
We needed to make this morning’s dive quick, so we opted for a dive back on Low Lee.
We split into 2 groups of 3 for this dive, leaving Keith in the second group in case his dry suit (despite all the repair work) leaked again.
The underwater visibility had improved slightly (4 to 5M now) and we all had a great dive on the wreck, reef and cannon site and Keith’s suit kept him dry (thank goodness!).
By the time all our divers were up the SE winds were starting to get up, so a quick run back to the harbour.
Days 4 to 8
No diving for 5 days [:o(] but great fun on the beach!
Well, all fairly standard stuff though we went from LGW for a change (it was cheaper). Painless connection at Dubai then on to an early arrival in Cebu.
A transfer to the Henry Hotel took about 45 minutes in rush hour traffic but it was great to get in to our room and some air conditioning. It was 31 degrees in the late afternoon and sunny.
We are currently dining at the oversized table, hopefully the portions will not be quite so oversized.
Iced tea (but not the one from Long Island).
All set up for a 04.30 pickup to go to the ferry in the morning. The need for sleep is considerable!
We are sitting at the terminal, awaiting the arrival of the ferry to take us to Cebu.
It has been a sad morning…
Saying goodbye to all the people at SBSR, both staff and new friends. Making sure that that they don’t see anything on the dives that they do today and that they miss us greatly.
We didn’t sleep well, possibly something to do with the fact that we were too busy having a nice time last night and didn’t do any packing.
We both awoke earlier than usual and we set to with sorting everything out. A hot business! Breakfast was the normal at 7am followed by the long goodbyes. We had to be ready by 8am and at 7.57 Richard still had no clothes on! We made it, followed by more goodbyes.
The transfer, in Bambi’s taxi, bedecked in brown corduroy with scatter cushions, was a relaxing affair. We made it to ferry terminal in plenty of time.
The ferry has arrived, so that is good!
The luggage arrangements on the ferry are much improved. The bags are stacked in the third class section rather than on the back.
We are in our seats 1A and 1B, right at the front of the first class section and a spare seat next to us. Oh yes!!
We have an excellent view of Celine Dion on the telly. Although I appreciate that some may think being in third class would be better than being subjected to the theme from Titanic for the billionth time.
As Celine is was giving her rendition of ‘I drove all night’ I though it might be best to look out the window, greeted by this….
They really don’t like the sun here. They want their skin to be white. There are lots of potions and ointments to make this so. This was the body wash in the apartment.
‘Whitening and refreshing’ sounds more like toothpaste. Obviously, we didn’t use it, didn’t want to come back white.
Oh… We are off… 65 nautical miles to go…
Been going about two hours, we had about 20 minutes of the film John Wick followed by some dreadful film with Mike Tyson and Steven Seagal, The China Salesman. (3.9 out of 10 on IMDB) We have opted for our own entertainment. Me – Harry Potter for the umpteenth time 🤓, Richard – various music, probably from the seventies and possibly prog rock 😵.
Whilst looking out the window I have just seen a manta jump out of the sea! Never seen that before. It does remind me that we saw a swordfish repeatedly jump out of the sea on one of our trips to Little Lembeh (don’t think we put it in the blog).
The ferry was on time and we were collected by Nelson, who was very chatty.
Smooth, so far.
We arrive at the airport early, about four hours before departure.
That is kind of where things ground to a halt.
A queue to go through initial security. We had to join the queue half way to the other wing of the terminal, outside!
Check in was easy.
Queued to pay the terminal fee.
Queued to go through second security.
Queued for passport security.
At last! We are in and it only took about two hours!
In the lounge now. Richard has taken to drink.
The flight to Dubai wasn’t so long as expected. I think I might have had a snooze…
At Dubai Airport now. An hour and fifty minutes between arrival and departure. No problem. At the security entrance to the gate I get waved through leaving Richard to go through with the rest of the plebs!
The flight to Gatwick was uneventful, for us. A couple of people on the floor with their legs in the air whilst sucking on 02.
Ebo was waiting for us when we arrived, as reliable as ever. The taxi ride was filled with Ebo winding Richard up, as usual.
So over 32 hours, door to door. It’s a long way.
We had a wonderful holiday, just trying to work out when we can go back. Is June too early????
This is it, the last day has finally arrived, sadness is in abundance 😭 We do however have three more dives here so all is not yet lost!
The plan is to do Bunga Bend and Voltaire’s Rock this morning. Both dives feature spectacular topography and are teeming with life.
Mixing things up a little I changed my breakfast order to French toast, yum!
Excitement is starting to mount as preparations are well underway for Jo’s 1200th dive. We have dive gear, a diver and a boat, totally ready for it.
Morning dives completed as planned, a lovely dive on Voltaire’s Rock with some bog frog fish action at the end, they really can swim!
After or surface interval we jump in on Bunga Bend. The first job is to find the Seal Pup nudis, epic fail!
We head off (and down) to the bend where at around 32m there is a spectacular overhang which is dripping with soft and other corals n crystal clear water.
We make our way back up again to a very sunny reef of coral outcrops where we actually do manage to find a Seal Pup nudi!
Back on shore it’s lunch time, we just heard that the afternoon dive will be at 2pm and not 3pm which is great for drying stuff and no fly time, not so good for the slightly larger than usual lunch we ordered. Maybe we shall be hearing from that again (probably for the entire duration of the last dive).
The sun is still shining and there is a helpful drying breeze as we prep for the last dive. A group of 10 had just arrived from Sweden and they are joining us on the boat this afternoon, a good time to be moving on I feel, 4 of us on that tea tray is bad enough!
Jo and I will be jumping from the boat and swimming ashore at the end of the dive whilst the new arrivals do their own thing somewhere else, result!
A briefest of lunches was taken in the shortest of time, the consequences of which were indeed felt (certainly by me) throughout the entire dive.
We get back on board ahead of the Swedish contingent (who’s gear has already been taken on to the boat). I think that Sweden must rank fairly highly on the Hollis worldwide sales chart -it’s sidemount city and sure enough, as they get on board mayhem ensures as they all need to prep all their cylinders with weights, steps, regs and guages. Fortunately for us, we are being dropped off somewhere else for our dive and in moments we are away. Were were joined by one more guest for the dive so Jo and I get in. By now we have established that when we are ready, we can go down and start the dive whilst waiting for the rest of the group, so we descend.
After a minute or so it becomes obvious that the other guest had some problem descending so I digest that we commence the dive proper, we have a plan so we dive that plan, exit is to the shore and we are in familiar territory. We descend over ‘The Bight’, make our max depth about 20m and start hunting for photo opportunities. We move slowly along the wall looking at all kinds of stuff. After about ten minutes we catch sight of Pedro and the guest, all is well. They stick to above 18m as we continue along the wall. At one point I get close to a fairly large Sweetlips which is being serviced by cleaner wrasse.
We then start to reduce our depth, the objective being to find the spot where we had previously spotted a large number of these massive fish. Sure enough, there they were, not doing much, just slowly moving around each other as we watched them. My wide angle lens was too wide to get any close pictures, Jo’s was to Macro, need something in the middle!
After this we continued or bimble around large coral outcrops, each festoon (sorry for the over use of that word but that’s how it was) with soft corals and thousands upon thousands of tiny fish and Anthias.
After 70 minutes we exit the water, all dives done, Jo’s 1200th done, all pictures taken, time to think about packing.
Pedro and Puloy grab our kit and commence desalination. We grab the small stuff and cameras and retire to our room to work on that.
After about an hour we head down to the restaurant area with the idea of having 🍹🍺 and ♣♦♥♠ but instead we end up taking with Pedro for an hour (whilst taking 🍺🍹) before moving on to Almer and Jerry’s for our final meal there.
We arrive and it’s none too busy (just us and the Russians). So we commence crib. After half an hour we are joined by Gisela and Tim (as we have been on previous occasions). They were also expecting to be joined by Pedro and Clark (Clark spends months at a time here). Then a couple of retired Australian gents with there Filipino wives turn up and finally the Swedish 10. The place is heaving! Consequently food takes a while to arrive. We finish our game, Jo scrapes a win by some considerable margin, food arrives and eating commences.
For our last meal we had the near compulsory Lumpia (small pork filled spring rolls) followed by sweet and sour chicken, spicy pork ribs, stir fried vegetables and garlic rice. Slightly more Red Horse was consumed than usual. Finally we finish eating, say our goodbyes to Almer and Jerry then head back home at which point we mostly collapse and so head to bed 😴😴😴😴😴😴😴😴
Side note: we must tell you about:
The Russians (Doctor Zivago)
Gisella’s boots and hat (There’s something about Mary)
Our suspicions about the Swedish group (glug)
.. And in other news, just arrived today:
Jen and Jo fox would especially like these!
As our holiday is approaching its end (today is the penultimate dive day), I am still chasing the elusive 1200. This means four dives today…
It is not sunny yet, but that can change in the blink of an eye. The wind is about a force 4, in contrast to yesterday’s complete absence.
Just for completeness, here is a picture of our photophobic dog.
Just outside the house we have a goat. No I am not kidding you.
So, the order of the day is four dives and no swimming against the current as my knee is still in recovery.
We crossed to the other side of the bay as the dive sites are protected from the wind. Calmness and serenity…
Dive 1- Santa Paz
Down to the pinnacle, the back up along the wall to Ghost Town. The pinnacle really is very beautiful; it’s covered in white hydrozoas.
We also saw…
- The killer clownfish!!!!
- Pretty shrimps
- Razor fish
Now, what is the sign for Razor fish? I gave it a go, pretending to shave my face, obviously male Razor fish… Richard gave it a go for the female Razor fish… Made me laugh and laugh, water filling up my mask. Richard shall be demonstrating in person…
Really bashed my bad knee on the giant stride so going in via the ladder on the next one.
Dive 2 – Napantao North
A steep slope, followed by a vertical wall, followed by a bimble back across the top of the reef.
- White tipped reef shark
- Large turtle
- Lots of Christmas tree worms in different colours
- A very photogenic balled up anemone with anemone fish
That’s it for the morning. Lunch followed by a dive at 3pm.
I am on track!
Two more dives done.
Dive 3 – House reef
Excellent dive. Us, Pedro, Iain and Clark (if you’ve seen a photo posted by SBSR then it is probably one of his).
Just a bimble about really.
- All the usual suspects
- Very pretty nudi at the end under the boat.
After the dive I stayed on board whilst Richard went ashore to change the lens from wide angle to macro.
Dive 4 – House reef night dive
We jumped from the boat and swam back to the shore. 98 minutes!
- Lots of tiny squid, about 5mm
- A very large turtle with two remoras, found twice
- Unusual shrimps
- Juvenile trumpet fish, about 10cm long
The trumpet fish, were manic, swimming in circles then swimming repeatedly at my head. It turns out that space is not the only place where no one can here you scream. Arghhhhhhhhhhh!
During the dive, I was completely lost! Luckily Pedro wasn’t, and we made it back to the dive centre.
We had dinner at the resort. No crib. Sleep. Didn’t even finish looking at today’s pictures.
Woke slightly earlier today so I decided to get up anyway and prep for the day.
After the almighty down pour last night everything is now calm. Not a breath of wind and a flat sea.
The team were on the boat just after five to fix the clutch, clutch mechanism or whatever it was that broke yesterday. Perhaps the lack of frenzied shouting suggests that all is now well, time will tell.
Time for breakfast #1
Today we are trukin’ off to Little Lembeh, transport courtesy of Isuzu. A well appointed vehicle with fully adjustable seating in the rear. Journey time could be up to 20 minutes so we might as well be comfortable!
Well that is not how it turned out. When it was time to go the Isuzu megatruck had been replaced by the small flat back micro wagon and trailer. We load the trailer and climb on board.
It don’t start! After many attempts it is decided that a different vehicle is required. Ten minutes later we are all loaded up and headed towards Little Lembeh.
The trip takes about twenty minutes and there is plenty to see along the way. The village (more like a town) is called Malitbog, our right hand man pays the required fees at some office then we head off for the diving.
We unload and kit up about twenty metres from the waters edge. It’s super flat calm and no current so in we go for what turns out to be a great muck dive.
When we surface at the end of the dive it is raining. We get out for a cylinder change along with coffee, biscuits and fruit whilst the surface interval plays out.
The rain dries up and the sun comes out for the second dive which was equally spectacular.
- Sea horses
- Ornate ghost pipe fish
- Robust ghost pipe fish
- Sea moths
- Cuttle fish
- Flamboyant cuttle fish
- Shrimps various
- .. And loads of other stuff
When we get out the sun is shining even more brightly.
The van is loaded and we head south back to base where we take the usual lunch whilst watching the sunshine and flat sea!
In the PM we do a shore dive with Dave which was really nice, the water is warmer and clearer than of late and we go a slightly different route taking us to new coral outcrops and sandy areas. We go set for macro photography but during the dive we encountered a group of about six sweetlips and they were mahoosive do we day and watched them for a while whilst they did pretty much nothing apart from watching us! There were also a few giant trevally cruising around and occasionally picking off the more absent minded smaller fish.
Many of the larger pinnacles were teeming with small Fry as well as the relatively larger Anthias. At one point all I could see was a mass of tiny fish in all directions. I suspect that each of these outcrops also had a resident lion fish keeping a firm grip on population control.
There were still a few jellyfish in the water, one of which got Dave on the lip just before the end of the dive, much swelling ensued.
Back on land we note that the boat had returned from another successful whale shark trip. This time Pedro had the gear lever in his hand. After helpful comments like ‘what have you broken this time?’ He assures us that he is performing preventative maintenance and that all is still well with the new engine.
Just to recap, not only is the boat new to the dive center but the engine (Mitsubishi) is new to the boat and as well as being an instructor and guide, Pedro is a properly qualified diesel engine mechanic. He fitted the new engine to the boat the week before we arrived.
From what I can tell, that means fixing it to the hull and then connecting the clutch and gear controls in a relatively ingenious/Heath Robinson/Philipino style. The cooling being provided by a series of pipes fixed to the outside of the hull below the waterline. The ships wheel (also from a truck) has an oversized bobbin on the end around which ropes that ultimately lead to a rudder are attached. Further questioning revealed that it runs best in third gear though the lower gears are available for going up hill and the higher gears for economy on a longer run.
After washing the cameras and ourselves we nip down for a drink 🍹🍺 and a game of crib ♠♥♦♣. One win each, let’s call it a draw? No, we move over to Alma and Jerrys to play another game whilst we wait for our food. Another close match, level pegging most of the way around though ultimately one of us managed to creep over the line only a few points ahead.
Dinner consists of the near compulsory Lumpia (meat filled spring rolls) followed this evening by vegetable and fish curry’s and garlic rice.
I feel that a return to the sweet and sour chicken will be on the cards for our last meal there. We plan to do a night dive under Padre Burgos pier tomorrow so back to A&J’s on Thursday.
Another side note:
A couple recently arrived from Spain, they were going on yesterday’s whale shark trip. We advised them to do what we noticed some of the guests did when we went. Immediately after jumping in, they summoned one of the spotter canoes to pick them up and head straight for the shark. The Spaniards did this and had very close encounters.
It was lovely to hear that our advice worked well for them. They were so excited to tell us about their encounters.
This happened the other day too, a Danish Lady doing her last dive of the trip wanted to see a Seahorse. It was to be her 10th dive (I had to do 100’s before I could see a Seahorse!). Sure enough, during the dive at Little Lembeh, we find the required item and drag her over for a look. She was so happy.
It seems like we have been here forever… The snow and ice at home, seems so far away that it could be the other side of the planet…
Oh, it is.
Four more dive days, including today. Hoping to do four dives today and three at least for the next three days. Chasing the big 1200 and would rather do that here than in Chepstow two weeks after we get back.
We are going to the other side today. Hoping to get down to the pinnacle on Santa Paz, if the current will allow, followed by another dive on the beautiful Napantao. Tomorrow there is a whaleshark trip, we have decided that if the wind is calm we will stay on this side of the bay and take a road trip to Little Lembeh for a couple of dives. It the wind is up then we will go on the trip which is in the shelter of the prevailing wind.
I would say that someone was whistling on the boat yesterday! My thoughts turned to Willy and his view on this and those little animals with long ears and fluffy tails. Well at least we can say MacBeth on the boat! Not sure why you would, but you could, if you wanted, just saying.
When there aren’t so many guests on the boat, they sometimes play music. I am not a big music lover but I like what I like. Turns out that the guys here are really into Queen. Took me back to us all singing Bohemian Rapsody on the transfer from Phuket to Ao Nang.
Dive 1 – Santa Paz
First dive done to plan. Down the wall to the pinnacle at about 30 metres. It is so very beautiful. Back up the wall to the sandy part where we both got viciously attacked by clownfish. Aggressive little buggers! They even drew blood.
- Beautiful hydrozoas on the pinnacle.
- Orangutan crab
- Tiny very bright red and black spotty slug
- Very pretty shrimps trying to land on my camera.
Special Ops for Pedro and Dave. New mooring put in at Santa Paz.
Picture to follow.
We have now arrived at dive site number two. Napantao.
The water looks so amazing.
Ahh, a slight issue…
The boat has clutch failure…
Pedro, in a former life, was a mechanic. So, very like in England, one person in there doing the actual work, every one else standing around the hole, looking in with their hands on their hips, trying to look as helpful as possible.
Once Pedro was satisfied that the boat will get us home, we went for our dive.
Dive 2 – Napantao North
We found the current fish. It was lost and went in every direction. Left, right, in, out and up and down.
Not my favourite dive of the holiday, but it was a very pretty wall.
- Bright red scorpionfish
The trip back was fine although it was a little slow in the beginning. Back at SBSR, mooring was a little hard due to the lack of reverse gear, but the crew dealt with it brilliantly.
So, the plans for the rest of the day have changed. Pedro is tied up sorting the engine out so we are going to dive from the boat to the shore with Dave. Pedro has called it a mini divorce… Or perhaps a cooling off period.
Additionally this evening, it looks like the night dive is off. Hopefully we will be able to do the pier dive on Wednesday.
Lunch was taken on the veranda. Here is the view.
The crew and guides taking kit from the boat to the dive centre.
Unloading at the dive centre.
Dive 3 – House reef
Our dive guide was Dave for this one. We had a bimble about near the boat and then swam back to shore. Lovely relaxed dive.
Soft coral crab
Blennies on glass bottles
Now, in the absence of Mike or Jen here to fall over, I took up the challenge…
Coming back into the apartment, on the nicely polished floor, in slow motion, my right foot slid forward and my left knee hit the floor with a bit of a whack. Ouch, I said…. Currently can’t feel my knee cap, but that might be because of all the ice I have applied. I think I might get a bit of a bruise. It also tore a hole in my very tasteful underwater leggings. 😣
Dinner was excellent as always. Lumpia for starter.
Only one crib game today. It was a close thing…
I won, I won, I won!!!!!!!!!! (I was blue)
A mixture of sunshine and clouds with a moderate breeze greets us this morning. We say good-by to the Danish couple at breakfast, which leaves four divers on the boat today, plenty of room to run around as you do!
There is a friendly dog (oxymoron) that spends a lot of time on our doorstep, this morning Jo discovers that it is camera shy, the challenge has been set.
The bad news is that we have lost the 6 of ♣, the good news is that the restaurant owner claims to have it in hand, we shall see how that plays out later.
On the subject of restaurants, we really must try to order less food🍛🍜🍝🍔🍗🍖🍟🍕🌭🍲🍚🍾🍷🍺. So far we have failed to avoid temptation.
This mornings diving is currently planned to be at Limisawa Island which is about 40 minutes south by boat. We already dived their once this trip, hopefully we can repeat the excellent wall dive at Adrian’s Cove (fate has now been tempted) which has many inlets and outcrops, there is also plenty to explore on top of the wall. Let’s see how that goes.
We made it, it turned out to be a gloriously sunny and not too windy day so we did the dive on Zak’s cove where we saw many frog fish on various colours, the nicest one IMHO was a green painted one. A lovely wall dive, the first half on the wall then the second half higher up and on to the reef.
Back at the boat or was time for coffee, biscuits and fruit. The guides and crew performed boost maintenance during the surface interval. This mostly consisted of barnacle removal from the hull and the engine water coolers.
After a little sun 🌞🌞🌞🌞🌞🌞🌞🌞🌞🌞🌞 and the appropriate interval⌛⏳⌛⏳ we headed over to Adrian’s cove for the second dive. This was a Bible along the top of the wall and then back over the reef.
Back on board, more coffee and more fruit as we made our way back to base for a light lunch.
This afternoon it’s a local dive called Bunga Bend. This dive starts off shallow in an area where we hope to find ‘Seal Pup’ nudibranch. Then we make our way down the reef towards a corner (Bend) where a hard coal overhang is festoon with soft corals.
Let’s see how this plan turns out! If all goes well then we may even squeeze in a fourth dive before tea.
Well so far so good (and all good at Sogod Bay). We went around the Bunga Bend, we found the seal pup nudis and we made it to the overhang at around 31m which was indeed dripping with soft coral loveliness.
Back on board and now soaking up the remnants of the sunshine as we prepare for the dusk dive.
… and then there were two!
Just spotted this rainbow, fortunately no rain here!
The sun is now over our horizon, time to go dusk/night diving!
.. and it was indeed a most excellent dive, the highlight of which was most definitely the juvenile painted frog fish. Black with orange spots and about 3 to 4mm long.
After about 70 minutes we surface right next to the resort, amazing!
Dinner was most excellent, we ate at the resort and dined from the specials menu, Hot and Spicy pork and onion, well, it was hot!and all washed down with calamansi juice and Red Horse Beer.
Windy today but the sun is trying to shine. Should be a good day.
Possibly four dives today, depending on the wind.
A couple at Little Lembeh this morning, Baluarte this afternoon and, if the wind drops, night dive on the house reef.
We shall see…
On the way out to the dive site, the sun comes out. Still a little windy.
Dive 1 – Little Lembeh
Swimming out from the boat, keep the ‘reef’ on the right, then to the shallows and back to the boat.
- Black ornate ghost pipefish
- Sea moths
Dive 2 – Little Lembeh
Swimming out from the boat, keep the ‘reef’ on the right and keep going.
- Two seahorses
- White Robust ghost pipefish
- Imperial shrimps
- Juvenile leaf fish
A very excellent morning of diving. Now for a quick lunch and then back out again at 3pm.
Dive 3 – Baluarte
Dropped in about 150 metres from the mooring and swam back. Lovely bimble.
- Tiny shrimps inside sea squirts
- Porcelain crabs
- See through shrimps
- Eyeball on a string
- Very pretty small scorpionfish
Another excellent dive.
Too rough to do the night dive from the shore, so logging, blogging and drinking before tea…
Tea was a large affair. If it had been the first night we could have called it ‘first night madness’, but it’s not. So we shall just have to call it madness. We had spicy pork ribs, sweet and sour chicken, vegetable tempura with sweet chilli sauce, stir fried vegetables and garlic rice. PHEW!!!
Feeling a little lardy… But it’s ok, I know how to get a bikini body…
Put your body in a bikini!
Anyway, after dinner we popped to the shop next-door to Alma and Jerry’s. We bought Rhum. A litre and a half for 140 pesos. That’s about £2.00.
Just realised that the only pictures I have included today is of alcohol. Hmmmm…..
The half way point has been reached as we enter the second half of our adventure. Clear skies, flat water and plenty of sunshine greet us today.
One point on the crib, when we say all square, we refer to last nights games only where it was a draw. Overall? Not so sure where we stand 🙄
The plan is (once again) to cross to the other side of the bay to dive in the MPA at Santa Paz and Napantao. If we get there we shall be searching for a particular green frog fish 🐸🐟.
Whilst waiting for the boat yesterday we watched a trio of local gents stroking their nicely turned out Cocks. They were obviously very proud of them as they showed them off to each other.
Alarm bells rang at one point when this stroking turned into pushing and pulling. One of the men had a firm grip on his Cock whilst the others went at it with a hacksaw, a bit harsh we thought. It turns out that as the bird (you did know what I was talking about didn’t you? 🐓🐓🐓🐓) gets older it has a sharp growth extending from the rear of its ankle, this can cause a lot of damage when they are in the ring. So they keep them trimmed to prolong the action.
On to the diving, the sun is shining and the sea is flat for our crossing of the bay, a lot less busy on the boat today, just us, Gisela, a Danish couple, Jerome and Pyaulla and the American, we learn later that his name is Dave.
As we arrive at Santa Paz I catch a glimpse of some healthy looking current on one of the buoys. It is decided to do the dive in ‘reverse’ dropping in on the muck dive site called ‘ghost town’ and then make our way with the current to the pinnacle.
Drama ensues when moments before jumping, one of my fin straps snaps. I reach confidently for my spare, fit it with Jo’s assistance and we’re off again, not had a fin strap break in a decade (as far as i recall anyway).
When we get down there is a down current, so it obvious that we shall be sticking to the wall for most of the dive. After the wall there is an up current. The current eases and we find ourselves in an area full of coral outcrops and overhangs. This soon turns in to a labyrinth of corridors and overhangs, little caves and tunnels, all very exciting. Then we head up for a safety stop followed by the boat picking us up.
The surface interval is spent drinking coffee, eating biscuits and eating fruit, or it would have been if the newest guest hadn’t decided to make the fruit his own. We watched with some surprise as he made his way through almost the entire water melon!
We make our way over to Napantao for the second dive. After only 10 minutes in the water, another fin strap snaps, really? So I carry on whilst others look on and occasionally advise me that it’s broken. A lot of finning on one side for me then. (Jo’s note – Picture Richard swimming round in circles!)
The dive delivers the usual plethora of goodies as we drift slowly along the wall including Red Frogfish, Green Frogfish, Giant Trevali and other delights. Once again the current fish was present.
When back on board the crew swiftly replace my broken fin strap with one from their stock (my stock of supplies had been reduced to zero) and we’re good to go again.
Back to base where we meet a new guest, nice chap from Somerset and have fried noodles and salad baguette for lunch.
Back out on to the boat for the afternoon dive, a bumble along max climax wall from south to north to follow a virtually non existent current.
We jump in to the calmest of waters and make our way down.
A lovely wall with all sorts of contours and outcrops, lots of soft corals and teeming with life. At the end of the dive we come across a barracuda, a definite keeper! Then its up to the surface, dodging the plankton on the way (to avoid the stingy stuff). When we get to the surface all hell had been let loose, a good four gusting a five I would say. The upside of this however is that everything is much more comfortable on land, a lot less humid, which is nice. Also good for drying the diving gear which has just had a well overdue wash.
When we arrive back on shore we found a couple of kids 🐐🐐 playing in front of the apartments (pictures may follow). They had escaped but it want long before their owner had them tied up again.
Just enjoyed a couple of pre crib beers, calamansi juice and peanuts, yum!
As predicted, all clothes super dry and all ready for getting wet again!