Our 7 day cruise started on the 28th of March and we left Puerto Princessa in the afternoon on our 40m long luxurious Pinisi Schooner “Philippine Siren”. We arrived at Tubbataha National Park the following morning, and all divers were excited to get in the water, conducting our first dive at “Malayan Wreck” located at the North Atoll. Having once more a very international group of divers on board, coming from Canada, USA, Germany, Russia and the UK, everybody agreed on one thing immediately: Diving here is great! And the water was a toasty 28C! Living the Liveaboard routine (diving, eating and napping) during the day, the evenings brought time to sit together..
Our “married couple” Walker & Jeff, as well as Lilly, Cheryl, Richard & Milli were found most evenings in the dining area, chatting and laughing, having “serious” discussions. Like the one, concerning which part of the UK has the most ridiculous nicknames for each other… At least I know now that Scottish people are referred to as “wet socks”, so glad that this info was shared with me, thanks Walker! Heino on the other hand could be found most evenings at the bow of the boat, enjoying a cigar, watching the stars and chatting with John.After one day of diving at the North Atoll, we spent the next two days at the South Atoll, enjoying the pristine waters of Tubbataha and some spectacular diving: White Tip Reef Shark, Grey Reef Shark, Black Tip Reef Shark, Manta Rays, Giant Trevally, Big Eye Jacks, Brown Marbled Grouper, Moray Eel, Sweetlips, Fusiliers, Rainbow Runner, Snappers, Marble Ray, Napoleon Wrasse, Dogtooth Tuna, Oceanic Trigger Fish, Green and Hawksbill Turtles, Napoleon Wrasse, Schools of Humphead Parrot Fish and so much more…
Followed then by one more day diving at the North Atoll and being spoiled with another 4 great dives, we had our grand finale at Jessie Beazley Reef before our crossing back to port in Puerto Princessa. At the dive site “Donato’s Special Lobster Lair”, a Whale Shark gave us the honor, and stayed with us divers for a little while. A truly spectacular encounter!!! Funnily enough, this dive site is named after our guide Donato, who took a group there last season and found a large number of Spiny Lobsters in the wall. His guests were taking a lot of pictures and were truly excited, until coming back from the dive and hearing that the other group saw a school of Hammerheads, whilst they had they heads in the reef watching a group of lobsters…. Donato and the guests took it with humor, but the dive site was renamed after this event!
Between dives we were spoiled with delicious meals from Jimmy and Boy, and enjoying their entertaining meal briefings: “Let’s begin fist one: Philippine Steam Rice!”Also lots of relaxing opportunities were given, either in the comfy Salon, outside in the dining area or on our large sundeck, reading books, editing pictures or simply having a nap. Our visit to the Ranger Station was also very enjoyable, and a few T-Shirts were purchased and John was claiming to have started a new fashion boom with the Tubbataha Reef Floppy Heads, but this point remains still to be discussed…On our last evening the Chefs prepared a fantastic BBQ feast, and afterwards almost everybody was sitting on the Dive Deck with the rest of the Crew partying. Why parties always happen on the dive deck instead of having them in the comfortable dining area remains a mystery to me, but nonetheless we all had a really great and fun evening!
A truly enjoyable Trip with lots of great Diving!