Our first dive in the Philippines was turning out to be a very expensive one. The two “must do” dive site in the Philippines are Malapascua island and Apo Island. Malapascua is famous for seeing large sea life such as the Whale Shark and Mantra Ray, where as Apo is the Turtle Capital. Honestly we wanted to go to Malapascua but the logistics of getting up there seemed very difficult with everything else we wanted to do, little did I know getting around on Cebu was so fast and easy, we could have done it. Anyway, we are here now staring at Apo island as we board our empty dive boat from the dock of our hotel. Being the only people diving on such a big boat meant there was no atmosphere at all, half the fun of diving is talking to other divers and getting excited together
Before we knew it we was anchored just off the coast of Apo Island at the dive site know as Boluarte. Slipping on our gear, buddy checks done, we was soon leaping off the front of the boat, down we go. Or at least the dive master and I went down, Hayley seemed to be stuck on the surface, did she not have enough weight, how embarrassing, ow, here she comes!
I can’t remember seeing anything decent on the first dive, there was a lot of coral but nothing out of this world, man we paid a lot of money for this. The only thing of note was that I freaked out a bit. I started to get a light pain in my chest, I then checked my tank pressure, because this was the only gauge I had, and noticed I’d used hardly any air, I felt my stomach drop, what the hells wrong. I took 10 seconds to really think about my breathing, and then started getting light headed from breathing to deeply. How deep are we? I have no idea, I need to calm down. I remember Hayley saying that when she is filming she forgets about her ear problems so I turned on the GoPro and started filming anything. Instantly I started feeling better and had a joke about it with Hayley when we got back on the surface.
The second dive was world class and one of the best dives we have ever done. The dive site was called Rock Point West and is apparently where the turtles like to hang out. I think we saw 5 turtles in total, some were eating the coral and some looked like they were cleaning there shells on it. What was most striking was just how big some of them were.
The time flew by and before I knew it we was at our safety stop. Before the dive our dive master told us that we wont work hard and will just go were the current takes us. Turned out we had traveled a long way but the boat managed to find us, and nearly plough in to us! One thing we learned is just how hard it is to get your flippers off and get up a ladder in full SCUBA gear when the sea is rough. Definately an interesting experience.
I don’t know about you but diving really knackers us out and works up a massive appetite. Back on dry land we quickly showered and headed for the restaurant before spending the rest of the day recouping our energy and relaxing.
So should Apo Island be a top priority when visiting the Philippines? It’s really hard to say. If we had not seen the turtles then it would have been a lot of money spent for very mediocre diving. If you are into macro diving then its probably a definite, the amount of amazing nudibranchs and sea slugs we saw were much higher than any other dive we have done. But, if you are still new to diving, like us, and just want to see huge schools of big fish Apo Island might leave you feeling underwhelmed unless you want to see the turtles, they are just sensational.