Tubbataha Life

Tubbataha Travel Blog

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stella maris mark
And so it happened!

Our hearts were set to Tubbataha this season, even if it means we had to put our faith in Expedition Fleet once again. It's funny how we were all mum about the whole thing, up to the night before we leave for Puerto Princesa, a complete opposite to the noise barrage we created the first time. Obviously we were afraid to jinx ourselves. Vangie, Zara, and I purposely didn't book the last flight to Puerto Princesa, so that we have room for flight cancellation or delays. We were skeptical like that. :)

When the boat set sail at 7:00 p.m., we were bursting with excitement but tried (really hard) to conceal it. Stephen would periodically remind everyone, bawal magsaya (no display of happiness), because the last time, we also sailed, but ended up in Mamburao (hence, the group name).
boat2
It was deja vu when the boat manager did his briefing. We were rowdy and cracked plenty of inside jokes that we had to explain to our boat mates what happened the last time (flashback: Almost Tubbataha). We were 10 from the old gang and made up half of the divers.

I awoke the next day and heard Lau-tzu said:
"The journey of a thousand miles brought you to Tubbataha.

Tubbataha was everything promised and more! The minute we back rolled into the water, I'm transported into a fantasy world of bedazzling colors and shapes. It was feast for the eyes to have enchanting wall of corals to one side and bottomless abyss of blue on another.

For 50 minutes every time, I feel like a part of the underwater world, finning weighlessly alongside free swimming pelagics: sharks! school of jacks, barracudas, sea turtles, rays, wrasses, groupers, and all those I have yet to consult my fish book.
sharks! sharks!


Now speaking of sharks, everyone I know knew the sharks had been elusive to me. With almost a hundred dives before this trip, I have never seen one! I warned my dive buddies that I am a living shark repellant.

But Tubbataha broke this spell. On my very first dive at the ATOL, I encountered my first to 50th shark!

And the succeeding dives after, we continue to encounter them.

Delsan is a super highway at rush hour where it literally confused us where to focus our attention. We saw a turtle digging as if the world depended on it, then came a densely packed school of jacks on the left, then to our right a long school of barracuda trailed by a couple of white tip sharks. Seriously, were we in Shark Tale?


slide photos by Neil Que, Stephen David, & DM Padoy
This is also where I dove the deepest at 40m.
jacks
I actually didn’t realize it was already so deep because of the incredible visibility.

I was told by many that by third day, I’ll be tired of sharks. They were obviously kidding. On our last day of diving, at the Shark Airport, where full grown sharks rest at shallow depth, my heart still beats like mad at the the close encounters. It was a fantastic way to wrap this dive expedition.

Life in Tubbataha is out of this world.

Literally, it's "eat, dive, sleep, repeat."

We did 4 dives per day and food is served 5 times a day. If we were not doing either, we were talking about diving, reading books on fish, watching videos about the ocean, or looking at photos and videos taken that morning dives.

During the introduction by the boat manager at the beginning of the trip, he told us that we will be hearing bells a few times a day.
blue spotted stingray
This will only mean two things, either it’s time to eat, or it’s time to dive. And if we were confused which is which, he suggested to just touch your hair. If hair is wet, it’s time to eat. If it’s dry, it’s time to dive. It's funny but we've heard the line the last time. :)

This trip was made 10x more memorable because it was shared with a bunch of my closest buddies. I'm super glad I decided to rebook for this trip. Who else but your dearest friends would celebrate your 100th dive with a full production? We set aside time for photo shoot and a surprise awarding of my SDI Advance Rescue C-Card by my friend and instructor, Neil Q.




On our last day, we visited the ranger station on a beautiful islet of white sand. A team of rangers is stationed all year round to police the reef. We went over to say hello, photo ops, and bought souvenirs that help fund the Tubbataha organization.
sunset



The one with the Ranger Station

As if life is not already perfect, every night, we were greeted by the most glorious sunset. A firework of colors that left everyone enthralled and breathless as we prepare to rest for another wonderful day of diving.




Roll Call of Mamburao 10

Zara, Vangie, Monette, Bembong, Kriz, Neil, Stephen, Michael, Bernard, and yours truly.Tubbataha Dive Log:

Day One (April 17, 2010)
Dive # 1: Amos Rock
Dive # 2: Gorgonian Channel
Dive # 3: Wall St. - Amos Rock
Dive # 4: South Park

Day Two (April 18, 2010)
Dive # 5: Ko-ok - South Islet
Dive # 6: Lighthouse
Dive # 7: Staghorn
Dive # 8: Delsan Wreck/Crack

Day Three (April 19, 2010)
Dive # 9: Delsan Wreck/Crack
Dive # 10: Delsan Wreck/Crack
Dive # 11: Delsan Wreck/Crack
Dive # 12: Staghorn/Triggerfish City

Day Four (April 20, 2010)
Dive # 13: Black Rock
Dive # 14: Black Rock
Dive # 15: Malayan Wreck
Dive # 16: Ranger Station

Day Five (April 21, 2010)
Dive # 17: Washing Machine
Dive # 18: Shark Airport
Dive # 19: Washing Machine
Dive # 20: Washing Machine


Additional Note:

On April 6, 2010, Republic Act No.
Shark Finally!
10067 was signed into law by President Gloria Macapagal. The landmark law establishes a 10-mile buffer zone around the park and increases the penalty of violators where the fund will be for the sole use of its management.


Fore more tubbataha info: www.tubbatahareef.org
wanderlass says:
Thanks Rhea. It was by far my best dive trip! It was wonderful and i had hangover for many weeks after. Check what happened to us before

http://su.pr/2YflZA

:)
Posted on: Jun 14, 2010
rheagirl says:
wow! i am so happy to have read your blog. i felt like crying.. i was new then into diving world. i never remember the names of the dive sites but i surely remember every moment i had in Tubbataha. awesome! :D
Posted on: Jun 14, 2010
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stella maris mark
stella maris mark
boat2
boat2
sharks! sharks!
sharks! sharks!
jacks
jacks
blue spotted stingray
blue spotted stingray
sunset
sunset
Shark Finally!
Shark Finally!
divers party
divers party
100th Dive
100th Dive
water
water
the ranger station
the ranger station
sharks! sharks!
sharks! sharks!
jacks
jacks
divers party
divers party
wreck
wreck
me
me
sharks! sharks!
sharks! sharks!
sharks! sharks!
sharks! sharks!
corals
corals
our boat man dindo
our boat man dindo
barracuda
barracuda
at the ranger station
at the ranger station
our fins
our fins
the light house
the light house
deep blue
deep blue
Tubbataha
photo by: wanderlass