Philippines, 2007





View also Paul’s Thresher Shark Video from this trip in Vimeo



Trip dates:

28 december 2007 – 7 January 2008

Boat / resort:

Hippocampus Resort in Malapascua and Cabilao Beach Club in Cabilao, Bohol.

Dive centre:

Sea Explorers Philippines.


Yes, both places.

Number of dives:

10 dives in Malapascua (4 days of diving), 7 in Cabilao (3days of diving).

Diving conditions:

Windy and choppy often in both locations. Medium visibility except one day in Malapascua, disappointing in Cabilao. Water temperature 26°C. No currents.


Third time stay in Malapascua, it was great to spend New Year’s Eve there, one of the best ever. Sitting on a great beach and watching the fireworks the happy people of the island shoot at midnight is simply moving. Then, the party at the basketball court in open air was a real blast.

This time, it was special for the best thresher shark dive I could imagine. It was so windy, that most of the time we feared the boats would not go out. On 2 January, we were waiting in the dark at 4.30 am waiting to hear we would have to go back to bed when our friend and best dive master Martin said we’d go. It was Paul and me, then a third guest on the boat. Very choppy seas made it hilarious to prepare and drink coffee on the banka on our way to Monad Shoal. But once we hit the water, surprise! Crystal clear water, calm and silent, with the whole site for ourselves. Shortly after taking our places at the edge of the plateau, threshers started to pass us by. I could not believe my eyes! At one point, we had three circling above us. It was unforgettable. And as a bonus, we had tuna and manta passes as well! I was very good, though, and left my strobes off. But Martin said if there are few divers around, they might allow me to use them next time. Too bad, that was our last dive there. On this trip we also visited Calangaman Island on a two-tank day trip (top centre image above). What a beautiful place, awesome walls. But it was so hot we could hardly eat our lunches on the boat. There was nowhere to hide, so we soaked ourselves in the water till it was time to dive again.

After Malapascua we drove to Cebu and ferried to Cabilao. I remember Paul saying “Wow, this is the back of beyond”. A tiny banka took us there from Bohol and we landed on a rugged beach at the foot of a cliff, to find that if our room and the dive centre were right there – good – the restaurant and reception were up the stairs. It was a bit of work making our way up for meals. I was really happy I did not have to carry my gear up those steps. The room was very basic, but we did not mind. Very few people around, all of them hard-core photographers.

I loved the diving, but clearly, we were not lucky with the visibility. Great macro, but the walls were surely magnificent, by the bits we were able to see. Also, there used to be hammerheads at the South sites, if it weren’t for the Taiwanese fishing vessels that wiped them out a couple of years ago. What a shame.


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