Sunday, 13 January 2013

The Philippines - Bohol (Balicasag Island and a night dive on the house reef of Alona Beach)

Today our dives were scheduled around Balicasag Island. I was really hoping for some nice dives as the place is a Fish Sanctuary. I wasn’t disappointed.

The first dive was the perfect dive. I simply couldn’t imagine anything better. As soon as we were dropped down Paul pulled my arm. I looked at him. He showed the sign of a turtle and pointed. I looked and did not see anything apart from a big rock. I put my hands up asking ‘what?’. He dragged me and pulled me to the rock that turned out to be the biggest, oldest green turtle I’ve ever seen! It was huge! It looked like it’s having the time of its life lying on the sand munching on sea grass. From his belly two long remoras were hanging. Here it is:

Paul had to drag me away from the turtle but we were in for another amazing treat. A huge school of trevally fish was hanging around above the beach. They moved like one entity. It was quite hypnotising to watch them. They were following us for a while like a little doggie, moving and changing shape continuously. Paul even took a video when he went through the school.

On the top of the reef we caught a current. It was going in the right direction and just at the right speed so we just crossed our legs (not literally), folded our arms (literally) and drifted in it while the reef went by in front of our eyes. Just like watching a film, only popcorn was missing. There was so many fish, so much to see, we didn’t even know where to look. Our guide was Alvin for the day. He was amazing! He spotted so many cool sea creatures that we ourselves wouldn’t have been able to. 

After this amazing dive I couldn’t wait to get back into the water again. Our second dive was nice but a bit different. The wall we swam in front offered very dramatic scenery, lots of little caves and shelves that stuck out of the wall. This was the first time I saw an eel swim, so far I’ve only seen their heads poking out of their whole. A few pics:

The third dive was kind of similar, however this time we saw some bigger fish as well, not just the usual pretty little reef fish. Pics:

 Today was the first time we did four dives on one day. We wanted to do a night dive as apparently you can find interesting things that come out only in the evening. We only went a few meters away, stayed on the house reef. Oh, my! I was so sad when we dropped down in the water. I’ve never seen so much broken and dead coral anywhere before! It looked like a cemetery. I could only imagine how pretty it looked before. We were looking around for some sign (any sign) of life with our torches and I seriously wondered why do people take money from us to see this. I believe however that if there is only one special thing you see during a dive, something you’ve never seen before or a whole new experience, it was worth doing it. Just like on this dive. 

At some point Alvin got very excited. Paul had a look and started taking photos. They motioned for me to go and have a look. There was nothing there. They were pointing to a place and Alvin asked Paul to take more and more photos. There was a sea urchin behind the rock. It was nice but surely it wasn’t what they were looking at! Then Paul showed me a photo of the thing. It was a blue ringed octopus. Again, it’s very small and very hard to notice. Due to the night light Paul took a really lovely shot of it:

After four dives we were absolutely shattered.  I felt like I could kill for a pizza (please, no more rice!) so we ordered a pepperoni. Never in my life was I given a fork and a spoon to eat pizza with. We humoured them and ate it like that. Also never in my life I’ve had a pepperoni with bacon and olive pieces on it, and an amazing amount of melted mozzarella on top. There’s a first for everything, they say.  

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