I learned from this post by the National Museum that today is World Ocean’s day!

Happy World Ocean’s Day!

Early last month I went on this trip alone back to my hometown where an old friend and I planned to dive together. Up until the day of my flight I wasn’t sure I could do it, take a trip alone, without the kids and husband. Seemed like a selfish thing to do but it was like a homecoming trip for a bunch of my high school friends so there was zero chance of changing my mind at the last minute.

Liquid Dumaguete Dive Resort was kind enough to accomodate our request to dive together in beautiful Apo Island. 

Apo Island is well- known for being among the top 10 best diving sites in the world.

It would be my second time to dive but since I am not a certified PADI diver, I could only do another Discover Scuba Diving course.

First we completed a classroom session with a quick learning check. Then we headed for a 1.5 hour pool training where I was re-introduced to the scuba equipment, and did a few exercises with the gear. 

The next day, we started the day off with some snorkelling at the Sanctuary where a turtle swam at me and surprised me while I was snorkelling alone (bonus! I got it on video, scroll to the bottom to view).

 After the Sanctuary, we started our way to the other side of the island with Baluarte (Boluarte in the map below) as our last stop.

ROCK POINT WEST – OW

beginner – maximum depth 20mts

A steep slope that starts in 5mts and tapers out at 20mts. The shallower part of the dive site is covered in healthy soft corals and the deeper sections in large hard corals and sponges. Depending on the current it can be dived in two different directions.

The soft corals are home to a wide variety of macro life including frog fish nudibranchs and flatworms. Large schools of trevally, snapper, and groupers are often seen swimming along the wall and Hawksbill Turtles are a regular visitor. If you are lucky you may also see a manta ray or devil ray off in the blue.

Ready to dive the wall at Rock Point West

When time came for me to jump off the boat I was so nervous and I almost felt like I couldn’t do it. So I told the assistant helping me stand up straight with the heavy gear, 

I can’t do it, push me. 

Then he said he had no choice I would fall backwards if he didn’t. 

Thanks Kuya.

How jumping off the boat with a heavy tank felt like. I thought I would sink into oblivion. 
Image Source

Hanging out at the bottom

That’s me at the left side of the photo above, trying my best not to have a panic attack, swimming with the guidance of Liquid’s Dive Master, Ben. We were 12 meters under on a sloping reef and I just kept telling myself the whole time, Just keep breathing,in, out,inhale, exhale. 

It was a shame I couldn’t bring a camera while diving due to my non-certified diver status but it was also a plus because I was able to focus more on what hand signals to remember and you know, concentrating on not freaking out. The colors of the corals somewhat relaxed me after a while; we saw yellow, lavender, ones that had little moss things swaying with the water.

The most amazing creatures we saw were these giant turtles or Pawikan.

One of them was resting in the bottom of the corals where the water was cold and there were one or two fishes feeding on its back. It was almost as big as a person, I think as big as me (4-5 feet). Two more were swimming a few feet above us but we were careful not to disturb any of these beautiful creatures.

Aside from seeing big fishes (as big as my face) and colorful box fishes, we saw a few blue starfishes hidden in the ocean floor or in between the corals. Truth be told I was thinking the whole time, will I remember what I saw here? I don’t even know what these fishes are called. 

Still, it was a truly breathtaking experience.

Eons better than my first try at scuba diving.

My friends who were already PADI certified Open Water Divers took these stunning photos. Thanks girls for letting me share them here and more thanks for letting me dive with you. I look forward to future dives together!

BALUARTE – OW

beginner – maximum depth 20mts

A stunning dive site that is continuously shrouded in bubbles, created by the volcanic activity under the island. The site itself has a small wall covered in stunning soft corals, that gently tapers into a black sand slope with a spattering of coral bommies, that hide a variety of marine life.

At  last stop the Go Pro I had maxed out its available memory so all I had was this photo I took while swimming to the others who were snorkelling at the shallow area with the geothermal bubbles. There were some colorful nudibranch and we saw another turtle (last photo below).

I was amazed my 8 year old Panasonic Lumix TS1 is still working! Here are the photos I took with it while snorkelling at the Sanctuary.

MARINE SANCTUARY – OW

beginner – maximum depth 25mts

One of the first official marine sanctuaries in the Philippines, this is an enforced no fishing zone and a maximum of 15 people are permitted to dive here daily. The site is formed by a sloping reef covered in amazing variety of hard corals, soft corals and sponges. The sanctuary is famous for the sheer diversity of corals that create a collage of colors that will leave the most experienced diver amazed.

Can you find the turtle?

Watch the video and wait for the turtle that swam right into the camera and surprised me while I was snorkelling! It wanted a selfie.

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Hit me up in the comments if you’re also interested in getting PADI Open Water Certification, I’m looking to form a group to dive with in December. 😉

References :

  • http://www.choosephilippines.com/go/islands-and-beaches/2569/apo-island-marine-sanctuary/
  • https://www.liquiddumaguete.com/
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