This year has been full of the unexpected. I have chosen a life where going with the flow is literally what I do for a living but it has also seeped into my mentality and led to many adventures including an amazing opportunity to dive in the Philippines. As I write this I’m six hours into my fourteen hour flight from Manila to London and I finally have a chance to reflect on the ten days I spent diving in Puerto Galera and Dumagueta with Dive Worldwide at Atlantis Dive Resorts.
As my parents can testify this trip began like every other, with a sudden realisation twenty four hours before the flight that I was going abroad and shit are my jabs still in date, did I need to get anti malarias, where the hell is my diving equipment….and oh yeah hang on wasn’t I meant to get a new passport! Luckily in my 25 years I have always managed to avoid disaster even with my preference for last minute packing and I was met at Heathrow with a speedy check in and enough time for a pint of Guinness (my Irish mother was very good at ensuring I got my daily iron intake).
Fast forward a flight, a night in Manila and a beautiful boat journey accompanied by dolphins I touch down in Puerto Galera with my eight fellow diving companions. There is no faffing about in this place and gentle efficiency means we are diving just a few hours later and WOW… I have never seen so many colours and types of coral. We spent four days diving in Puerto Galera and for any nudi lover (no not the naked picture type), there is an incredible assortment of sea slugs. Our guides were impressive and could spot the tiniest and most camouflaged of marine animals. I personally managed to tick off two critters from my bucket list, the pygmy seahorse and the orangutang shrimp. Whilst there we did a day trip to Verde Island, “the centre of the centre of marine biodiversity” and it certainly lived up to that title.
The time came to leave Puerto Galera and we journeyed onto Dumagueta. Now if I thought the resort at Puerto Galera was great then Dumagueta was what dreams are made of…my bed was big enough to fit me in it ten times over and I was happy to share it with half a dozen of the fluffiest pillows ever!
Critters galore is probably the best way to describe Dumagueta’s diving, a mixture of muck and reef diving and a haven for some of the most fascinating marine animals that inhabit our Oceans. Any underwater photographer or marine biologists would be in their element there. Unfortunately for anyone reading this, that is already envious it only got better when we arrived at Apo Island. Just to put into context how beautiful the diving at Apo Island was…in our group we had one of the most widely dived gentlemen I have ever met and it was the best dive of his life! For those of you who have dived with me you guessed right I cried in awe during our dives. Whilst drifting I was encircled by a huge school of Jacks as a giant Trevally swam past and a Turtle drifted to the surface for air. Our wondrous Ocean was truly showing off all its finest wonders that day.
So whilst I reflect on this trip I realise how fortunate I am to have explored another tiny part of our incredible Ocean and all its hidden treasures. The pockets of beauty I found in the Philippines have made me hopeful for the future of our Oceans. I have seen species of corals and marine animals I never knew existed. I have sat with a turtle and we have looked into each others eyes inquisitively. I have swam with one of the most deadly marine animals (I did not realise at the time I was inches from a blue ringed octopus!!!!) and he was beautiful.
May my explorations continue and the beauty I witness never cease.
Check out my Underwater Photography from this trip @ThatFishPhoto on Instagram