CORALREPUBLIC

 

Philippines, 2009

 

 

 

 

 

Trip dates:

4 -14 April 2009

Boat / resort:

Sunsplash Resort, Malapascua.

Dive centre:

Sea Explorers Philippines.

Photo-friendly?:

You should know the answer is yes by now (if you have read my previous reports, that is)

Number of dives:

22, over a 7.5 days of diving.

Diving conditions:

Warm and clear. Water temperature 26-27C. No currents, good visibility, around 20m in most sites.

Comments:

Fourth visit to Malapascua, this time we decided to stay put there and not go to another Visayas spot. We went diving with our favourite dive master and friend Martin Pascobello. I was delighted to take along my best BFF Naomi and Fiachra, her husband. We liked staying at Sunsplash, which was the first resort I stayed in with Carmen, back in 2004. Five years later, the only thing that has changed is they do not organise a shots challenge any more (someone must have told them at last, it is just too brutal to have people gulp down a dozen or so of mixed shots for national pride). Now the board on the wall just registers the numbers per country that have managed to deal with a meter of beer. Of course our boys gave it a try. Another nice addition is the beach setup for dinner and drinks.

Easter is definitely a nice time of the year to go there. Good diving conditions and nice weather, festive atmosphere in the island. But things are changing. There are more dive centres, more boats, more hotels, and the worst, more fences where a nicely open space used to be. I wonder for how long will Malapascua retain its soul. I will keep on going whenever I can, anyhow. The Threshers are still there, and that is what matters.

On this trip, Martin took us to new dive sites, like deep slope, where they have found pontohi pygmy seahorses and other rare critters. I also spotted my first blue ring octopus and an amazing blue bobtail squid here. The nudis and pipefishes in Gato Island were awesome too. Funny enough, they have decided not to mention anymore that Gato is a sea snake sanctuary. Too many people are scared of sea snakes, I guess. But they are really nice and harmless! Never mind. We also tried Kimud for hammerheads. No luck either this time.

 

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