Malapascua, a small island off the north of Cebu in the Philippines is known for thresher sharks. What it should be known for is amazing diving: with or without thresher sharks. Like many others, I came to see the threshers and wasn’t disappointed. Visibility wasn’t the greatest so unfortunately, this photo is the best I can share and doesn’t do justice to these beautiful fish. They live at depths well below what a recreational diver can go but come up every morning to a cleaning station where divers line up to watch the show. With their long tails, these are the most graceful sharks I’ve ever seen and I had a nice moment with one coming within 2 meters of me as it began its circle back to the murky blue.
In addition to seeing the thresher sharks at Monad Shoal, I dove at Gato Island and Bugtong Bato and would happily return to any of the sites I visited. One of the Gato Island sites involves swimming nearly 30 meters through a tunnel lined with crabs, lionfish, and all sorts of sharp coral and rocks. And it’s dark. Dark enough that a torch is necessary to navigate. Fortunately, it’s between 5 and 10 meters wide at most points so it’s a relatively easy swim with a gentle current helping. I’m often not a fan of swim-throughs and caves but if I find more like this tunnel, I may become one.
With Jen back in the U.S., I’m making a real effort to improve my underwater photography but I have a long way to go. I’ve only just arrived in the Philippines and with so many incredible places to dive, I expect I’ll be here for as long as I can afford to keep diving.
In addition to what’s pictured above, I saw harlequin shrimp, the biggest nudibranchs I’ve ever encountered, plenty of anemone fish, a cuttlefish, spider crabs, hermit crabs, white tip reef sharks, gorgeous seascapes of colorful soft corals, and so much more. It’s been a wonderful entree to diving in the Philippines.
I’m a little behind these days with the blog so please be patient with me as I fill in a few Malaysian gaps while exploring the Philippines, a country I fell in love with my first day on the ground!