We arose early for our final shark dive on Malapascua. Despite the mixed diving the day before this place had really left me spellbound. It is one of these places (a bit like Utila in Honduras or Koh Tao in Thailand) where everyone is there for the same purpose – to dive. You get so wrapped up in your little sleep, eat, dive, repeat lifestyle and even though we had only spent a few days on the island I felt a sadness for leaving more so than anywhere we had visited. This could also have been connected to the fact we were nearing the end of our time in the Philippines. We were diving with Christine – our first local female divemaster which was great. She was super enthusiastic and actually affiliated with a different dive school – Dive Society just around the corner. We headed out to Monad Shoal for the final time and dived in. We headed along the sandy slope way searching and hung around at the cleaning station we had had all the luck on the first day with but there was no site of those silver beauties. The current was quite strong and so we held on to some rocks to stop us being swept away but after around 20 minutes and only a far off shimmer in the distance we headed back. We had at least managed to spot batfish, triggerfish, garden eels bluestreak cleaner wrasse and puffers.. It was lucky that we did as just as we neared the end of the dive a weaving small male thresher glided past us at close proximity definitely checking us out. It then turned and swam back to have another look, despite the other divers banging metal sticks and swimming after him (the threshers are sensitive to sound and light and scare easily so both of these behaviours are prohibited). It was a fantastic last encounter and we ascended on a real high and feeling very privileged to have spent the last few days hanging out with these majestic creatures.
We enjoyed a final breakfast at Oscar’s of Nasi Goreng and a yummy mango juice before making our way back to Tepanee to pack and check out. Thresher Shark Divers are nice enough to transport your luggage from the dive shop where the boat collects you and your resort and do the same for the return journey. We spent an hour or so enjoying the cold a/c and relaxing before the porters came for our bags and it was time to say some more goodbyes. Given that we were leaving in the morning, it was high tide and so the boat took us straight from the shore to Maya without any hopping between different sizes of boats. Our driver from Magic Oceans was waiting for us in Maya and we were off on the four hour journey to Moalboal – our final stop of the trip. We slept and blogged on the journey but definitely noticed a huge difference of ‘friendliness’ between the drivers on Bohol who were lovely and chatty and the ones on Cebu. This driver didn’t speak a word to us the entire journey, including at the lunch stop where he got out and ordered for himself and we had to just follow. It was a similar local lunch stop that we had experience on the way to Malapascua except there was a lot less choice and the pork stew we opted for with rice was cold. It was quite a hair-raising journey with the roads of the Cebu towns we passed through a lot busier than those of Bohol we were used to and so we arrived late afternoon looking forward to a relaxing evening.
Magic Oceans is the sister resort of Magic Island that we had stayed at in Anda and looked and seemed the same in almost every way. Our room was located right in front of the pool and the resort was generally a lot smaller and easier to navigate. We had our briefing and then sat with Jamie the dive manager to organise our dive plan for the next few days. We wanted to dive Copton (a plane that had been sunk), Pescador Island and the sardine run as well as checking out the other diving that Moalboal had to offer. For our final day we were going to do a land-based trip so we had the requisite 24 hours prior to flying post dive. It was lovely having someone to organise everything and all the staff were hugely accommodating to our needs. We spent the rest of the afternoon before dinner catching up on life admin. At dinner we met the other 4 guests; an older couple from the UK and a lovely couple from Australia. Despite the menu being the same as Magic Island the quality of the food was much better and so we enjoyed a feast of Chicken and cashew nuts with rice and then a mango ice-cream pancake for dessert. This coupled with the diving chat from Richard, Bell and Russell was great and a really enjoyable evening. Around 9 we headed to bed for an early night – we had 2 days of 4 dives ahead of us.