We have made our way over to Dumaguete for the second half of our trip. The first day of dives were great – serious muck diving. Muck diving is where the bottom of the ocean looks like a desert. There is little to no coral and at first glance appears to be quite lifeless. However, the creatures that we’ve come across muck diving are quite unusual and exotic. The sand here in Dumaguete is very brown which makes a decent background to photograph some of these exotic critters. Some of the critters like the painted frog fish are extremely small and hard to find. The one we saw was about the size of a pea. On the other hand some creatures that are normally quite small (like nudibranch’s) are huge here. We saw two large white nudibranch’s yesterday that were the size of a small loaf of bread. They are normally quite small (about an inch or two). Yesterday during dinner we saw a couple local boys take their water buffalo into the ocean. One boy was riding it and the other was leading it around. After dinner there was a large group of locals, young and old, that took a fishing net out into the water to catch some seasonal fish that they hope to sell at the local markets assuming they catch more than they could eat.
After spending the day and one night at the Midas hotel in Manila we all got on board a bus and headed south towards the ocean. We saw a lot of interesting things on this 2.5 hour bus ride.
The traffic in Manila is quite chaotic. I would not want to drive through the city as traffic signs seem to be a mere suggestion with motorbikes and motorized bikes weaving between the vehicles. The traffic would often have more lanes than the road was marked for and they love their horns here! Once on the freeway we saw some quite pretty countryside. We saw quite a lot of small farms along the way and happened to see 4 or 5 farmers working in their fields with animal drawn implements plowing the fields. Once we got to Batangas City we wiggled our way down their narrow streets and parked near a large hill that overlooked the ocean. From there we hopped in a smaller taxi that took us down the hill. At the bottom of the hill were long powerboats setup with large bamboo outriggers that we boarded and took a 1 hour ride to Puerto Galera.
We are now settled in Atlantis resort in Puerto Galera. Our orientation is complete and our first dive to check things out was great! Claudio found an octopus and we saw a lot of cool things that we are anxious to see more of. The colors, visibility and abundance of coral has us all excited to get diving!!
No pictures to post yet but hopefully later today. Our camera gear is setup and ready for action!