After flying into Cebu, a ferry ride took me to Malapascua Island for the first part of my trip; eight days looking for not only macro life but hoping to see thresher sharks. Despite this being my third trip to the Philippines, the odds had never been in my favour and I had yet to see these majestic sharks. It turned out that there were only 3 other divers on the entire island as the Philippines had only just opened back up to tourists after two years and of course, things were only just starting to get back to normal.
The dive guides in the Philippines are second to none and have the most incredible eye for macro life. They spot everything from the Shaun the Sheep nudibranchs to candy crabs and frogfish, seemingly effortlessly and after five days of diving, it was time to move on to larger things and see if I could find what I was really looking for here.
The word around the Island was that the threshers had been spotted on a reef two miles away where fishermen had spotted them jumping out of the water. Its though that they jump to stun or confuse their prey, an amazing hunting technique and makes them easy to track! So for the next three days it was an early 4am start to head out and start our search. The spots here are not marked with all the technological gadgets that we are used to, it is all done by local knowledge and instinctive feelings about the best places to find wildlife. Which then made it even more incredible when, immediately, we hit the jackpot of a busy cleaning station and not just 1 but 5 thresher sharks! At only 12m deep, the dives went for 80 – 90 minutes each, giving me plenty of time to fill my memory cards on my camera.
After an unforgettable experience with the threshers, I moved onto the second part of the trip, a week in Anilao, one of the worlds top macro spots. So with a new eagle eyed master dive guide, I was set up for a great time and spent each dive combing the sand for all the wonders that can be found in the Philippines. One of the highlights of the week for me personally was a golden hairy frogfish along with pygmy seahorses and a myriad of nudibranchs that even I had never seen before. With my macro cup filled to the brim, I headed down to Coron to do a little bit of wreck diving and spend my last few days relaxing on the beach! And so, after nearly 4 weeks of diving 3 to 4 times a day and a hard drive full of hundreds of pictures and feeling fully saturated, it was finally time to head home after a trip to remember forever.