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Malapascua Oct 2006 Trip Report

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Malapascua Oct 2006 Trip Report

Post Number:#1  Postby BubbleBunny » Fri Nov 10, 2006 6:08 pm

Malapascua, Philippines Oct 2006 Trip Report

Located north of Cebu in the Philippines, Malapascua is a tiny island with a local population of about three thousand. The island is a gem amongst the nation's seven thousand islands and the experience of having dived there was truly amazing for a macro critter enthusiast like myself.

The initial plan for our group was a revisit the rich waters of Bunaken National Park in Manado, Indonesia in search of weird and wonderful macrolife, but flights from Singapore to Manado were fully booked for the festive season the trip was planned for. Although initially hugely disappointed at having to forgo Manado, the prospect of diving at a new destination excited me and before I knew it, I was psyched once again for the trip.

Getting there
Our trip started off with a 4 hour flight from Kuala Lumpur to Cebu via Kota Kinabalu at 9am on October 19th, 2006. By the time we reached Cebu at Cebu-Mactan International Airport, it was about 2pm. Our transfer from the airport to the Malapascua took another 3.5 hours by van to the northern tip of Cebu and a 30 minute boat ride to Malapascua. It was 7.30pm by the time we arrived at Malapascua.

Accommodation
Like many other diving hotspots, Malapascua has no shortage of resorts within earshot of any dive centre. We chose Hippocampus Resort next to Thresher Shark Divers (TSD), which was convenient, affordable and owned by Filipinos. Although the rooms are somewhat small and there are no hot showers, the atmosphere at the resort is very intimate and the friendliness of staff more than make up for it. Electricity runs for most of the day - enough for batteries to be charged - but shuts off for a 3-4 hours from around 8am to 12pm daily. The food at the resort was decent and there are plenty of good restaurants around the island within walking distance. There's a top notch Italian restaurant down the beach for those who love woodfire pizzas and authentic pastas for extremely reasonable prices. Personally my favourite and one of the best I've tasted anywhere.

Dive Centre
The dive centre we made all our reservations through was Thresher Shark Divers, run by Trevor and Andrea. When we arrived at Malapascua, we were greeted with a warm welcome and after the usual paperwork was done they gave us a brief orientation of the dive operation and what to expect from the diving - especially the thresher sharks that Malapascua was famous for. TSD has a very clean and well organized operation. From the start, our equipment was handled with care and placed in small crates marked with our names and in the  morning, our equipment was assembled and brought onto the dive boat. Nothing wrong with a little pampering.

The Diving
Monad Shoal
On 4 out of the 5 diving days, we went in search of the thresher sharks that Malapascua is so famous for. Never in my entire life have I woken up earlier than 7am for four consecutive days. The earliest we had to be at the dive centre was at 5.30am, when the sun is already up and the chickens are already crowing. So we dragged ourselves out of bed and headed to Monad Shoal for the dives -  a submerged reef with a plateau at 23m and a wall that drops to a couple hundred metres. The top of the reef is said to be a cleaning station for the threshers and other pelagics like manta rays and eagle rays. The reef is covered with Xenia sp. soft corals and is a habitat for crinoids, nudibranchs, sea snakes, reef octopus, peacock mantis shrimps, morays and lionfish. We didn't see any threshers during out trip, but managed to spot a large manta on the edge of the drop-off and some schooling barracuda, which was in itself an exciting moment.

The Lighthouse
This particular divesite is known for guaranteed sightings of mating mandarinfish during sunset dives. After the short porno session, we swam off to look for other twilight critters and spotted free-swimming flatwoms, nudibranchs, banded boxer shrimps, bobtail squid, various species of scorpionfish, lionfish, many crabs and shrimps. Being a shallow site of an average 10m, we enjoyed a longer bottom time of 80 minutes.

Dona Marilyn Wreck
This wreck is said to have been a large passenger ferry that sank during a typhoon and claimed the lives of many passengers 20 years ago. It now lies on its side at 35m. The entire wreck is encrusted with both hard and soft coral due to the strong currents that bring nutrients from the surrounding rich waters. The sheer size of the wreck is enough to keep any diver occupied with searching its outer shell for scorpionfish, nudibranchs, etc.

White Tip Alley (Gato Island)
Gato Island is a gazetted sea snake sanctuary and has a series of underwater tunnes running through the small island. Any nudibranch enthusiast will enjoy this site as everywhere you look, you will find nudis of all shapes, sizes, colours and textures. As the DM was pointing out different nudis, everyone had already spotted nudis they haven't seen before and there were more nudis than time to photograph them all. Other things spotted there were zebra, spotfin and common lionfishes, scorpionfish, resident white-tip shark, different types of seahorses, big-mouth mackerel and peacock mantis shrimp.
BubbleBunny
 
Topic author

Re: Malapascua Oct 2006 Trip Report

Post Number:#2  Postby BubbleBunny » Fri Nov 10, 2006 6:14 pm

Tapilon Wreck
The wreck was an old wartime ship destroyed by torpedos in the 40's. Its remains at 30m are now barely recognizable with corals incrusting its body. What was once a vehicle of destruction, now brings life and is a haven for many species of flatworms and nudibranchs. Black coral of various shades of pink and green branch out like epiphytic orchids on a dead piece of wood. On the sandy debris strewn bottom was a fingered dragonet scurrying around camouflaged in its surrounding rusty habitat hoping it wouldn't be detected. In the end, the feeling of 'too much to do, too little time' was evident as we were reaching our no-deco limit after only 26 minutes.

Chocolate Island
Every macro lover will be blown away by this site. From the surface, this dive site appeared as though it was going to be uneventful. But looks can be deceiving! Water was green, small scattered patches of coral on a sandy bottom and visibility was limited. what seemed like 'boring' surprised us with treasures in every nook and cranny. Many sightings were first encounters and other were pleasant rediscoveries. We saw seahorses, fire urchins, anemone shrimps, mantis shrimps, porcelain crabs, cockatoo waspfish, urchin shrimps, striped catfish, dwarf lionfish, banded pipefish, spotfin lionfish, white eyed moray, clouded moray, urchin clingfish, juvenile barramundi cod, long snout pipefish, flounders, juvenile sweetlips, various nudibranchs, and the icing on the cake was a HAIRY FROGFISH.

Bantigi
Sandy bottoms are usually overlooked as being underwater deserts but like the deserts of Africa, Bantigi is an oasis of hidden life. Seamoths walk in pairs, flower urchins scurry along, devil scorpionfish, lay in the sand, snake eels peep out of its hole, mantis shrimps guard their burrows, panda clownfish tend to their eggs, porcelain crabs hide amongs their anemone home, etc. By night, lionfish are on the prowl and others go about their nocturnal duties.

Overall, diving was fantastic. Although Malapascua lacks big schools of fish, it more than makes up for it with its endless supply of 'muck' diving and photographic opportunities. Service was great and good company meant hours of laughter and fun. Highly recommended for those interested in the small stuff. Big thanks to Jasmine, Keith, Henry, Siew Yien, Evie and Rendy for a kickass dive holiday. Also special thanks to Felimar (DM) from Thresher Shark Divers.

On a separate note, hearing bomb blasts underwater from blast fishing around the islands was a freaky experience.
BubbleBunny
 
Topic author

Re: Malapascua Oct 2006 Trip Report

Post Number:#3  Postby evo5555 » Fri Nov 10, 2006 6:31 pm

Dona Marilyn Wreck
This wreck is said to have been a large passenger ferry that sank during a typhoon and claimed the lives of many passengers 20 years ago. It now lies on its side at 35m. The entire wreck is encrusted with both hard and soft coral due to the strong currents that bring nutrients from the surrounding rich waters. The sheer size of the wreck is enough to keep any diver occupied with searching its outer shell for scorpionfish, nudibranchs, etc.

Wreck is big, but except coral i have not found anything on it..:)

White Tip Alley (Gato Island)
Gato Island is a gazetted sea snake sanctuary and has a series of underwater tunnes running through the small island. Any nudibranch enthusiast will enjoy this site as everywhere you look, you will find nudis of all shapes, sizes, colours and textures. As the DM was pointing out different nudis, everyone had already spotted nudis they haven't seen before and there were more nudis than time to photograph them all. Other things spotted there were zebra, spotfin and common lionfishes, scorpionfish, resident white-tip shark, different types of seahorses, big-mouth mackerel and peacock mantis shrimp.

Superb divesite

[/quote]
Last edited by evo5555 on Fri Nov 10, 2006 6:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.
evo5555
 
Topic author

Re: Malapascua Oct 2006 Trip Report

Post Number:#4  Postby BubbleBunny » Fri Nov 10, 2006 6:34 pm

Just a few U/W photos from the trip

Image
Sunrise at 5.30am

Image
Chromodoris Magnifica

Image
Ceratosoma Nudi at Tapilon Wrech

Image
Peacock Mantis Shrimp at White Tip Alley

Image
Common Seahorse at White Tip Alley

Image
Hairy Frogfish at Chocolate Island

Cheers!
BubbleBunny
 
Topic author

Re: Malapascua Oct 2006 Trip Report

Post Number:#5  Postby deepblu » Fri Nov 10, 2006 7:03 pm

very well written report, bro.

drooled nonstop reading it.

;D
deepblu
 
Topic author

Re: Malapascua Oct 2006 Trip Report

Post Number:#6  Postby HollowMan » Fri Nov 10, 2006 7:21 pm

Just look at that writing man.. each item described prefectly, must say you did a superb write up.
Keep it up...thanks for sharing ..how much was the total damage bro ?  :D
Last edited by HollowMan on Fri Nov 10, 2006 7:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.
HollowMan
 
Topic author

Re: Malapascua Oct 2006 Trip Report

Post Number:#7  Postby anas » Fri Nov 10, 2006 10:39 pm

superb write-up.
superb picts...

is there any pic of some local people? ;)
anas
 
Topic author

Re: Malapascua Oct 2006 Trip Report

Post Number:#8  Postby mocha » Sat Nov 11, 2006 12:38 am

cool write up man... and after watching the video!!!  :o especially the last part la... haha... the other side of divers
mocha
 
Topic author

Re: Malapascua Oct 2006 Trip Report

Post Number:#9  Postby Snafuette » Sat Nov 11, 2006 12:44 am

BubbleBunny, Absolutely fabulous write up....... You have to go on more trips with me ---- You are such a great reporter....
Please come with me to Indonesia.... i hope you can make it in Feb.....
I have to say that after watching the VIDEO of the trip.... we had a ABSOLUTELY fabulous time... hehehehehhehe
All i have to say, we can dive anywhere but most importantly is the COMPANY that matters most...

Mocha, you missed out on a good holiday to Malapascua... the food on the last night - where we were invited to a beach party-the food was soooooooooo GOOD.. you would have enjoyed every bit of it.
hahahaha  ;D
Snafuette
 
Topic author

Re: Malapascua Oct 2006 Trip Report

Post Number:#10  Postby GOD » Sat Nov 11, 2006 1:50 am

Very detailed & great information ... I just love it.

:oThe pic. .... man the pic are just amazing, KEEP IT UP!!!!!!!!!

Ok I M JEALOUS NOW  :'(

Please give us the break down for the trip for future reference.

I know price can change but for now what is the break down?

;D
GOD
 
Topic author

Re: Malapascua Oct 2006 Trip Report

Post Number:#11  Postby BubbleBunny » Sat Nov 11, 2006 1:21 pm

Thanks to all for your kind comments.

Total damage breakdown:

Flight KL>Cebu RM1399

Package for 15 dives with Thresher Shark Divers and 8d7n accommodation at Hippocampus Resort USD450

Food & Drinks were separate approx RM50 per day

Total damage in Ringgit was around RM3500 *ouch*

Was it worth it? Absolutely! Anything to see Siew Yien and hubby doing underwater kungfu against psychotic Nemo on steroids! That video could make us millions!  ;D
BubbleBunny
 
Topic author

Re: Malapascua Oct 2006 Trip Report

Post Number:#12  Postby evo5555 » Sat Nov 11, 2006 1:33 pm

Thanks to all for your kind comments.

Total damage breakdown:

Flight KL>Cebu RM139

Package for 15 dives with Thresher Shark Divers and 8d7n accommodation at Hippocampus Resort USD450

Food & Drinks were separate approx RM50 per day

Total damage in Ringgit was around RM3500 *ouch*

Was it worth it? Absolutely! Anything to see Siew Yien and hubby doing underwater kungfu against psychotic Nemo on steroids! That video could make us millions!  ;D




hahaha...Maybe i will upload it in Youtube, with the title "the boxing nemo couple"?hahahaha...The flite is quite on the expensive side but what you pay is what u get. Food non stop, and unlimited alchohol..Ooopss..hehe
Last edited by evo5555 on Sat Nov 11, 2006 2:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.
evo5555
 
Topic author

Re: Malapascua Oct 2006 Trip Report

Post Number:#13  Postby deepblu » Sat Nov 11, 2006 5:55 pm

cool write up man... and after watching the video!!!  :o especially the last part la... haha... the other side of divers


got video meh?
deepblu
 
Topic author

Re: Malapascua Oct 2006 Trip Report

Post Number:#14  Postby evo5555 » Sat Nov 11, 2006 7:32 pm

yeah, one of our friend brought video down.   ;)
evo5555
 
Topic author

Re: Malapascua Oct 2006 Trip Report

Post Number:#15  Postby GOD » Sat Nov 11, 2006 11:59 pm

Bubblebunny & Evo,

Please put up some pic. at the Underwater Photography sections.

I am kinda interested to know about the Camera Set-ups & offline work involved.

;D
GOD
 
Topic author

Re: Malapascua Oct 2006 Trip Report

Post Number:#16  Postby Snafuette » Sun Nov 12, 2006 12:20 am

cool write up man... and after watching the video!!!  :o especially the last part la... haha... the other side of divers


got video meh?


We didnt just have a normal video of our diving trip.... we were had special shots of us at a beach party.... we were priviledged enough to be invited by the owner of the resort...... so overall, the trip ended with a great farewell party for us.....
Quite a funny video.... i must say!!!
We are not ready to put in online yet.. there are a few things that we need to edit and make it better.... Innit, Evo?? hahahhahaha
Snafuette
 
Topic author

Re: Malapascua Oct 2006 Trip Report

Post Number:#17  Postby anas » Sun Nov 12, 2006 12:25 am

Bubblebunny & Evo,

Please put up some pic. at the Underwater Photography sections.

I am kinda interested to know about the Camera Set-ups & offline work involved.

;D


I actually have seen Evo's works in his website. At that time, did say much to him. But now, I mustsay that in public:

        :o I am so green in jealousy. blardey beautiful pics. i m hanging my camera for a time being.            just simply can't compete with the giants.

I will surely change this thread title from Malapascua to MELEPAS GUA!
;-)
Last edited by anas on Sun Nov 12, 2006 12:29 am, edited 1 time in total.
anas
 
Topic author

Re: Malapascua Oct 2006 Trip Report

Post Number:#18  Postby evo5555 » Sun Nov 12, 2006 3:38 am

cool write up man... and after watching the video!!!  :o especially the last part la... haha... the other side of divers


got video meh?


We didnt just have a normal video of our diving trip.... we were had special shots of us at a beach party.... we were priviledged enough to be invited by the owner of the resort...... so overall, the trip ended with a great farewell party for us.....
Quite a funny video.... i must say!!!
We are not ready to put in online yet.. there are a few things that we need to edit and make it better.... Innit, Evo?? hahahhahaha


hahaha..yeap...we shall complete the last end and bits of the video before i could edit and compile it for the official Malapascua video.  But its kind of hard to upload cause the file is kind of big.  Perhaps when time shall permit would be able to show you guys the video.   ;)
Last edited by evo5555 on Sun Nov 12, 2006 3:50 am, edited 1 time in total.
evo5555
 
Topic author

Re: Malapascua Oct 2006 Trip Report

Post Number:#19  Postby evo5555 » Sun Nov 12, 2006 3:44 am

Bubblebunny & Evo,

Please put up some pic. at the Underwater Photography sections.

I am kinda interested to know about the Camera Set-ups & offline work involved.

;D


I actually have seen Evo's works in his website. At that time, did say much to him. But now, I mustsay that in public:

        :o I am so green in jealousy. blardey beautiful pics. i m hanging my camera for a time being.            just simply can't compete with the giants.

I will surely change this thread title from Malapascua to MELEPAS GUA!
;-)


Dear sheikh,

i try to post upon your request, and finally i found out how to make it appear in MUW. hehehe.
Melepas gua?hahahah..mana la ada???hehehe...We are not giant, in fact we are just normal photographer....As i have told you, the bahan is the Inon for you to get it, and i think fellow UW experts like bobo or jim could lead you the way on how to take good pics!!hehehe...Its no rocket science though hehe....Anyway still have to learn a lot of skills from sifu like bobo or jim. hehe..thats why we have to go Redang and share their skils???? ;D
Last edited by evo5555 on Sun Nov 12, 2006 4:14 am, edited 1 time in total.
evo5555
 
Topic author

Re: Malapascua Oct 2006 Trip Report

Post Number:#20  Postby Snafuette » Mon Nov 13, 2006 2:27 am

cool write up man... and after watching the video!!!  :o especially the last part la... haha... the other side of divers


got video meh?


We didnt just have a normal video of our diving trip.... we were had special shots of us at a beach party.... we were priviledged enough to be invited by the owner of the resort...... so overall, the trip ended with a great farewell party for us.....
Quite a funny video.... i must say!!!
We are not ready to put in online yet.. there are a few things that we need to edit and make it better.... Innit, Evo?? hahahhahaha


hahaha..yeap...we shall complete the last end and bits of the video before i could edit and compile it for the official Malapascua video.  But its kind of hard to upload cause the file is kind of big.  Perhaps when time shall permit would be able to show you guys the video.   ;)



Evo, maybe you cut the video shorter to abuot 10 mins... then maybe we can have the video uploaded???? what do you think? 30 mins is way too long lah!!!!
Wanna edit it again? get the blair witch project part OUT!!!!  :o
Snafuette
 
Topic author

Re: Malapascua Oct 2006 Trip Report

Post Number:#21  Postby Snafuette » Mon Nov 13, 2006 3:40 am

I celebrated my 100th dive in Malaspascua!! HOORAY

Image
Snafuette
 
Topic author

Re: Malapascua Oct 2006 Trip Report

Post Number:#22  Postby Snafuette » Mon Nov 13, 2006 3:54 am

I took some photos while we were in Malapascua... please mind my picture cos it was my first time taking my camera underwater... I would love to get some feedback to improve my photography skills...... be it bad or good...
These photos have not been editted with photoshop.. direct from my camera.
What are your comments? Please share....

Image
BubbleBunny before diving in the Gato Cave

Image
Soft Coral - didnt know what to take then.. so i just took whatever i thought was worth my time


Image
Evo and BubbleBunny posing....

Image
Crab in the Gato Cave. Looks good enough to eat.. .YUMMY!!!

Image
My favourite Flatworm....

Image
Nudibranch... i dont know the name... hahahhaah
Snafuette
 
Topic author

Re: Malapascua Oct 2006 Trip Report

Post Number:#23  Postby evo5555 » Mon Nov 13, 2006 8:10 am

Evo, maybe you cut the video shorter to abuot 10 mins... then maybe we can have the video uploaded???? what do you think? 30 mins is way too long lah!!!!
Wanna edit it again? get the blair witch project part OUT!!!!  :o[/quote]

hahaha...i think the video is around 1 hour instead of 30 min la wei...i'll see what i can do with the movies, maybe will try to edit it into a small short portion.

And fuh thats very power pics!!!Don play play wei!!! ;)
Last edited by evo5555 on Mon Nov 13, 2006 8:11 am, edited 1 time in total.
evo5555
 
Topic author

Re: Malapascua Oct 2006 Trip Report

Post Number:#24  Postby lisa » Mon Nov 13, 2006 5:14 pm

Wow Nohnes, not only are your photos so good (like magazine quality)...your writing oso very high quality. Another career option for you: reporter for a dive magazine or website. Dive for free, get special treatment, take great pictures & then share with the world. Cool wat!  8-)

I'll do my Pulau Weh report soon...but how to add images ah?
lisa
 
Topic author

Re: Malapascua Oct 2006 Trip Report

Post Number:#25  Postby anas » Mon Nov 13, 2006 5:40 pm

Wow Nohnes, not only are your photos so good (like magazine quality)...your writing oso very high quality. Another career option for you: reporter for a dive magazine or website. Dive for free, get special treatment, take great pictures & then share with the world. Cool wat!  8-)

I'll do my Pulau Weh report soon...but how to add images ah?


YES! We'd lke to hear from you on your Weh excursion. Please refer to FAQ which i posted on how to post pics. Or Bobo, Evo, BB, et al can also help you to post.
Last edited by anas on Mon Nov 13, 2006 5:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.
anas
 
Topic author

Re: Malapascua Oct 2006 Trip Report

Post Number:#26  Postby deepblu » Tue Nov 14, 2006 5:05 pm


Image
Peacock Mantis Shrimp at White Tip Alley



bro, how did u manage to get this pose ar? Quite terror this.

i recall trying to take a photo of one of these in Bali, and they were quite quick in getting out of camera range!
Last edited by deepblu on Tue Nov 14, 2006 5:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.
deepblu
 
Topic author

Re: Malapascua Oct 2006 Trip Report

Post Number:#27  Postby BubbleBunny » Tue Nov 14, 2006 9:40 pm

Did a little striptease first. And then she obliged. :o

That shot of the mantis shrimp was a lucky shot. Peacock mantis shrimps are 'smashers', meaning in defence, they will charge at intruders and use their modified forelimbs like hammers smash whatever is in their way. They also use this to hunt for crustaceans by shattering their hard outer shells. They are usually not affraid to charge. Taking advantage of this, tried approaching the bugger with caution and kept my distance to avoid having my housing shattered. Was kinda like a standoff. When I got close enough, I I quickly pressed the shutter. All my other shots of that particular mantis shrimp are side profile shots.
BubbleBunny
 
Topic author

Re: Malapascua Oct 2006 Trip Report

Post Number:#28  Postby GOD » Wed Nov 15, 2006 12:03 am

Peacock mantis shrimps are 'smashers', meaning in defence, they will charge at intruders and use their modified forelimbs like hammers smash whatever is in their way.


You joking right? Can that Peacock Mantis shrimp damage camera lens or housing? ..... I am not going to take that Peacock Mantis Shrimps pic. at all from now on, no close-up shots from me.

;D
GOD
 
Topic author

Re: Malapascua Oct 2006 Trip Report

Post Number:#29  Postby evo5555 » Wed Nov 15, 2006 8:06 am

Peacock mantis shrimps are 'smashers', meaning in defence, they will charge at intruders and use their modified forelimbs like hammers smash whatever is in their way.


You joking right? Can that Peacock Mantis shrimp damage camera lens or housing? ..... I am not going to take that Peacock Mantis Shrimps pic. at all from now on, no close-up shots from me.

;D





Hahahaha...yes we are not joking...The power of of their modified forelimbs is quoted as powerful as a "20 calibre bullet" if i remeber it right.  I did not know that until bubble bunny showed me in the book.  At first i was like you, thought that it is just a normal shrimp trying to scare off the enemy.  When it charges, it would be capable to shatter your port or dome.  I have some frontal shot for the peacock mantis shrimp but it is a bit far, cause im also scared la wei it is sort of trying to charge against my camera d.Better back off la else camera sama itu port semua pecah susah la!!  Perhaps it gets agitated with the flash light..hehehe
Last edited by evo5555 on Wed Nov 15, 2006 8:06 am, edited 1 time in total.
evo5555
 
Topic author

Re: Malapascua Oct 2006 Trip Report

Post Number:#30  Postby mocha » Wed Nov 15, 2006 12:36 pm

The power of of their modified forelimbs is quoted as powerful as a "20 calibre bullet" if i remeber it right.  



wei... 20mm calibre can shoot down aircraft liao leh!! hehehe.....
mocha
 
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