AnneMarie and Andrew

Annemarie and Andrew – Trekking Asia

Diving Day 3 – Turtle watching

As the dive master JoJo was ribbed somewhat about missing the turtle the day before we were going to try again. Prior to turtle spotting we were going further round the island to another spot known as the ‘hole in the wall’ where you can swim through a hole. The water was deep here, around 18m near the coral and then there was a slope down reaching 24m in depth. Today would also be the day where my ears were playing up. I had itchy ear canals suggesting a problem with my ears and as we descended my right ear would not equalise. I had to keep ascending and finally with a loud squeeze some air was released but my ear would continue to bother me on this dive. I had to try and equalise every few metres and it wasn’t going to plan.

Nonetheless, this was a good dive as we swam beside a huge strip of coral. At one point a black and white sea snake slowly made its way through the water and onto the sea bed. Camera issues and it’s failure to adjust to the lighting at this depth meant the colours were wiped from the pictures and instead I have a green-out but you can still see the snake. (Will add pics later). The reality is it is a really colourful world down there. Our dive was 44minutes but we didn’t get to the ‘hole in the wall’.

Dive two began in extremely shallow water. It was only 2.5m. Dive boats go overhead in a criss-cross fashion. Probably the most dangerous part of diving is surfacing. One of the instructors at Badladz relayed a story about a diver surfacing complete with a bright orange buoy to signify divers and yet a dive boat went straight through the group. The propeller sliced through the woman’s skin all the way to the bone. The boat drivers work with divers and are supposed to be vigilante for buoys and divers. The woman supposedly survived and the boat driver arrested – which in a corrupt country is a positive because things don’t always get done. Back to the dive.

My ears were still playing up but luckily the shallow water made it easy to equalise. About five minutes in, JoJo tapped his tank to signify he’d spotted something and lazily but also majestically swimming through the water, just at the surface was the turtle. I scrambled for the camera and got a rather shadowy image of the turtle. You could just make out it was a turtle. Thinking it was swimming away I took as many hazy photos as possible. But then the creature turned and swam to where we were floating at the sandy bottom. It too hovered and then came to a rest on the sandy floor before it began eating. Its friends, the little feeder fish also joined it. We were able to take many photos of the turtle that was in touching distance of us. They really are impressive creatures, around 2m in length. What is quite astounding is the fact they don’t get hit as they live in the shallows and the seabed in this area is a constant cacophony of engines droning through the water.

After turtle watching, which really was a highlight of the dives we made our way to the wrecks. The wreck sites are brilliant because you are surrounded by many species of fish. Everywhere you look you see fish. Unfortunately my camera was unable to capture this but just imagine turning in every direction and seeing a fish. Then look up and down to see more fish. We spotted a moray eel as well as a naked slug in the area. There were multiple examples or corals and sea anemones complete with clown fish.

44minutes later we were done and I’d finished my six dives. This area is fantastic for diving as you don’t need to go far from the shore to see the variety of marine life. But if you are not diving then there really is nothing else in Mindoro. It’s diving or nothing!

All photos from my dives can be viewed here.

Posted from Puerto Galera, MIMAROPA, Philippines.

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