The morning of the 20th Mamie and I awoke to commence our dive trip in Malapascua. At reception we found out our trip to Gatos island was cancelled that day due to weather. We decided to dive the house reef they were going to instead and enjoyed seeing lots of different types of shrimps, a big mantis shrimp, five different seahorses, pipefish, horned filefish, flounder, lion fish, and a sea moth!!! I saw so many new things on this first dive I was already in love with what the Philippines had to offer.
That afternoon we arrived back at the resort around two in the afternoon where we chilled and ate at the resorts restaurant. Later, we went to explore the town/island. I found that with the small and winding roads it was very easy to get lost. However, the island is small enough that after a few wrong turns the pathways started to look a little familiar. This island was different for me. The interior is carved out by very small narrow mostly dirt roads, there were only motorbikes, no cars or trucks. Everything wove around each other with no real rhyme or reason. One moment you would be walking along a tall wall that bordered a resort and the next minute you would be looking into someones private yard or home. Once we were on what I considered the main beach there were more resorts, restaurants and dive schools lining the beach all offering something a little different. This was where we saw the most foreigner influence. The menus offered Italian, Thai food or Western fare and there were almost always a few Filipino items as well. After a fabulous pasta dinner including interesting and great cocktails we wove our way back to the resort to rest for our early morning dive.
The next morning we awoke at 4AM to go to Thresher Shoal where you can almost be guaranteed to see thresher sharks. The dive consists of a long wall where the sharks come to “cleaning” stations in the morning. We followed our dive guide Victor eagerly and although we weren’t able to sit along these roped areas and watch as the sharks went by we were greeted delightedly by one curious thresher coming right next to our group, and then another later on that we thought was soaring into a cleaning station but alas he kept swimming. Even though our sitings were short-lived we were ecstatic and I managed to get a pretty good GoPro video of the first one cruising by.
After our thresher dive we arrived back at the island where Mamie and I had a nice post dive breakfast. We parted ways that day because the Gatos Island trip was back on and Mamie having seen the island diving previously, decided to rest for the afternoon. Gatos Island was a glorious dive site filled with so many arrays of healthy corals and fish that I was constantly distracted. I saw squids for the first time, I know this seems unfathomable but it’s true! I saw my favorites, cuttlefish and varieties of nudibranchs. I was most excited to see the largest banded sea snake I have ever seen. Malapascua diving was setting a high bar for the rest of the trip.
The next morning we were off early early to get the first “ferry” and then a bus from the port to Cebu City north bus terminal then a taxi to the south bus terminal, a bus/car ferry to Dumaguete, then a bus to the middle of no where, and a tricycle taxi to finish the journey to Liquid in Dauin.