We awoke well rested and with another full day of diving ahead we were excited to get started. Since all of our kit was assembled from the day before we were able to sleep in until 7.30 before grabbing a quick breakfast with the group before heading out on the boat. Probably some of the most famous diving in the Moalboal area is at Pescador Island which is a short 15 minute boat ride (pretty much the same distance as every other site in the area) away. We headed out to the west of Pescador Isand and jumped in for our first dive of the day. Pescador Island is a large round island with fabulous wall diving and if you go deep enough sharks and rays. We headed straight down to 30m and managed to spot giant grouper, scorpionfish, stonefish, butterflyfish, pufferfish, moorish idol, titan triggerfish, nudibranch and clownfish on our leisurely dive which had a bit of current so pushed us along nicely. We also had the chance to go inside a small cavern where the light from the surface shined through illuminating the shape of a spooky face staring back at us. We swam out through one of the eyes before continuing the dive.
We had a lovely hour of sunshine as we waited on the boat for our safety stop however, TRAVEL TIP: If you are going to have a nap lying on your front ensure you apply sufficient sun cream to your nether region – burnt bums are the worst! We then jumped in and descended down for our second dive. spotting giant lobster, parrotfish, a very cool turtle, butterflyfish and some goatfish. I have to say I was mightily impressed with the quality of the walls at Pescador. We saw a lot of cool stuff and when the walls are so nice even if you don’t spot loads of critters just watching the wall as you float past is nice enough in itself.
It was back to the dive centre for lunch – I opted for the sweet and sour fish which was delicious and exactly what you needed after 2 hour long dives. We then headed back out for an afternoon dive on the boat just me and Carolyn. We headed to Talisay Wall in a very heavy rainstorm, but underneath the water you would never have known. We jumped in and floated off enjoying another fab hour of really chilled diving. One of the main advantages of the Philippines as a diving destination is how chilled out the dives are (in general) v how much there is to see. There are many destinations where current can be tricky or it is very cold. Here the conditions are absolutely perfect but this is coupled with really great stuff to see (both big and small) making it one of the best all round destinations I have been to. We spotted a porcelain crab, sailfish, huge pufferfish, parrotfish, titan triggerfish, moray eel, white eyed eel and scorpionfish on our dive and emerged feeling a mixture of sad and happy emotions for our final day dive of the trip.
We headed back to the dive centre but we had planned another mandarin mating dusk dive rather than a night one so we didn’t have long before we were heading back out again. We made our way to the dive centre where Deloy was waiting with bad news – the conditions had worsened a lot and the house reef was really murky so the chances of us seeing the mandarin fish doing their mating dance were low. I was really gutted, this was to be my 100th dive (a pretty big deal in the diving world) and I really wanted to make it a memorable one. Given it was our final dive of the trip and it would be a big milestone for me we decided to chance it and I am so glad that we did. We geared up and Deloy dragged us out again to around 3-4m where we descended and started swimming around. We immediately started spotting fish and the murky conditions didn’t detract from that. I then had the most beautiful encounter with a sleeping turtle. I settled in to watch her as she rested and she opened her eyes briefly to check me out before going back into a daze. She then decided it was time to wake-up and swam right up to me checking me out before having a good old scratch on some coral before swimming off. It was a perfect encounter and nice that I had seen a turtle on my first even try dive in 2011, one of the reasons I became so entranced with the underwater world, and then another on dive 100. We then settled in to watch the mandarin fish dancing and again it was an extraordinary encounter. There were loads of them coming up and dancing together and Carolyn managed some pretty fab photos. We emerged on such a high and enjoyed a good giggle as Deloy dragged us back to shore.
We quickly brushed up for our final night as a 6 person group and headed down to dinner. It was another great evening where I enjoyed the seafood spaghetti which was again delicious with just a few rum and cokes and gnts to celebrate the 100th dive achievement. The next day was our final day in the Philippines and so we were off on a land based adventure to give us the requisite 24 hours dive free prior to our flight the next day. Richard and Yvonne were also heading off to Magic Oceans – the resort we had stayed at in Anda all those days ago. It was a lovely final night together comparing photos and again getting diving tips from everyone. Why do all good things have to come to an end?