Unexpected Bonus

Mag-dive ka na, nandito ka na rin, you should dive, you’re already here”.  To be in Moalboal and not dive is indeed ridiculous. But because I was the only diver in the group, I didn’t plan to… until the divemaster convinced me, that is.

So we got up early the next day, sore from yesterday’s canyoning, and headed to this tiny island called Pescador.  Among the many impressive dive spots in Moalboal, Pescador is described to be their “jewel”.  My friends indulged and shared the cost of the banca (outrigger boat) with me.  They went snorkeling while I explored the world under… ok, that doesn’t sound right but you know what I mean.   ;-)

Located in the Tañon Straits, a narrow stretch of sea between the southern end of Cebu and Negros Oriental.  Considered “the most unique in the world” as it has the richest marine biodiversity in the coral triangle in the Philippines.

The island is essentially a wall dive made interesting with the overhangs, small caverns and holes in the reef wall.  It was an easy dive with just the right currents.  I was enjoying the drift, fascinated with all the marine life along the small caverns when divemaster taps me on the shoulder.

He pointed to my left and there, a short distance away, was a giant wall of fish, a silvery cloud of endless sardines against the blue backdrop of the deep, moving in one accord.  I was awestruck.  Never thought I’d ever get to see such a spectacle in our shores.

The first time I became aware of a sardine run was when a friend, years back,  showed me an awesome video filmed in South Africa.  Every year between the months of May and July, this famous shoal of sardines travel from their home in Agulhas banks and head north.  Predators follow this migration making it the main attraction for divers, rivaling the great migration in the African savannah.  This made it to my bucket list.

The tiny island off Moalboal has been host, for a few years now, to millions of sardines running the tropical waters but unlike the migration in South Africa; the sardines in our shores seemed to have made it its home (at least for now).  This wonderful phenomenon is seen all year round.  Predators seen in these side are mostly Threshers, White Tips and Whale Sharks.  Unfortunately, there were no predators in sight in this dive.  We were flying out the next day and couldn’t go below 40 ft.  Although not as spectacular as the South African video, it was an awesome experience nevertheless.

Observing from the surface, the snorkelers had their share of awesomeness from a different perspective.  They had to abort mid-stream though as the water got choppy, making it difficult to continue.  “Super bitin, too short” they said.

On our way back to the resort, the choppy waters were too big for our small boat, breaking an outrigger.

We were dropped off somewhere along White Beach.  Carrying our gears (except the tanks), walked the rest of the way back to the resort.  Awesome day.

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11 Responses to Unexpected Bonus

  1. I love your pictures. Really makes me want to go out and travel! ;)

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  2. ewok1993 says:

    times like this i wish i could dive :)

    amazing trip.

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  3. Andrea says:

    I always see photos underwater from divers like you, and they never fail to amaze me. It is just a bit frustrating that someone from the vicinity of Anilao like me can’t see the underwater diversity famous around the world. I have a phobia for deep sea, it made me take swimming in college PE but it never got me out of the phobia. I passed the course but failed in my dream. I have a book on diving sites and things to see in the Visayan dive spots, as if I am a diver too, haha! Congratulations.

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  4. Jim says:

    Beautiful shots.

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  5. ladyfi says:

    Wow – such azure blue water and sky. Looks enchanted!

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  6. Luna Miranda says:

    for more than a decade that i was regularly traveling to Cebu, i’ve never been to Moalboal. kakainggit ang experience nyo dito. i hope to visit this part of Cebu one of these days.

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  7. Ebie says:

    Tanon Strait has been the subject of the recent earthquake in Negros Oriental. I could understand how the water current changes just so fast! The Philippines boasts in its underwater beauty, what the West has for its tidepools.

    Your experience is inviting but I am not that brave to take that dive…

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  8. Richard says:

    i was awed by your photos here. I’m a diver too but didnt have the chance to see a school of fish like the one you have posted here. Really amazing!

    -r1-

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  9. Sylvia Kirkwood says:

    Love your captures! The water is so gorgeous! I’ve never dived, but have been snorkeling off the coast of Mexico and it was fantastic and so beautiful! Delightful post for the day! Thanks for sharing the fun! Have a great week!

    Sylvia

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  10. Tito Eric says:

    What a lovely travelogue! And all those delish foods and delicacies! Thanks for sharing.

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  11. Beautiful blues and azures in these photos!

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