Dive Day number one at Palau Mantauan

Mantabuan Travel Blog

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After last night and this morning it really hit me that I'm a little bit out of my comfort zone. I arrived at my hotel in the dark and felt like I shouldn't be wandering around alone in the dark, especially when I don't know my way around. My hotel room was ok, and I fell asleep listening to a car driving past the front of the hotel blasting 'Ja Ho" by the Pussycat Dolls, which was not the first song I would think that would be played here at 10pm.

This morning I woke up early and gave myself lots of time to get to the dive shop, which ended up being a good decision. I wandered around and was completely lost. When I'd ask someone where the harbour was, the first thing they'd do was laugh and then ask "Taxi?". That so was not helping. Eventually I found the bridge my taxi driver took me over last night when he thought I was staying at the Dragon Inn.

Assuming that's where the dive shops were, that's where I headed, loaded down with a gym type bag, my purse bag and a pair of flippers. I definitely didn't do a good job of blending in!

I walked into a scuba shop asking where Sipidan Scuba was located and she pointed me back across the bridge to a bunch of buildings. I finally got there, after wandering around in the heat and brutal humidity for about a half hour. But my day only got better from there.

After filling out lots of forms and signing my name, what seemed a hundred times, I had my gear and met some of my fellow divers. A Malaysian man arrived with pre-packed lunches for 5RM each. Since I had no other option, I went along with the crowd and did the same. All he kept saying was "ones with x means no spoon".

6m deep water, view from the boat. It's soooo clear
I went with the one that looked like chicken. It ended up being ok.

Once we had all our gear on the boat, we set off for the 30 - 45 minute sail out to the dive site of the day, Palau Mantauan. The water is soooo clear and green, it doesn't look real. Pictures just won't do it justice. The water was so calm, I was so realived that I wouldn't spend the day feeling seasick. We sailed past what was either a large hill or small mountain with locals fishing closeby and each one we would sail by, we would get a wave back from those on the boats.

Our first dive for the Advanced Open Water people (like me) was a deep water dive. We had to do a simple math equation on the boat and then we did it again at 26 metres to show us how being under water makes it more difficult to think.

Mantabuan Island, view from the baot
He also cracked open an egg, which had the yoke stay in a perfect little ball that we were nudging towards each other, which was pretty cool. He also showed us a tomato under water and then above water to show how objects lose their colour at depth.

Besides the learning stuff, we also saw heaps of stuff. I saw two turtles and most of the fish I see in Australia and lots more. I saw the most awesome Lionfish ever as well.

For our surface interval we docked on a small island, which took us 20 minutes to walk around. I can think of way worse places to eat lunch!

Back on the boat, we went out for dive number two. One of the guys was doing the underwater photography lesson while me and my dive partner, a British guy in the Royal Navy, did the fish identification lesson.

View on Mantubuan Island
Once again we saw heaps of fish including the smallest lionfish ever. Oh and more turtles.

After another surface interval, we were back in the water where the instructor, me and my dive buddy did a drift dive. We saw lots of really cool coral but not a lot of fish. It was ok though, the diving is amazing. And did I mention the water's about 30 degrees :)

After the course I walked around the town and tried to get my barrings. I had read that the Turtle Tomb Cafe was a good spot, so I stopped in looking for dinner. I ended up seeing the Navy boys so I stopped to have a beer with them. One beer turned into several and then some more. The guy who delivered lunches also put on a BBQ. For 30 RM we had steak (cooked to order), tuna, garlic bread, spring rolls and calamari. OMG YUM!

 

 

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6m deep water, view from the boat.…
6m deep water, view from the boat…
Mantabuan Island, view from the ba…
Mantabuan Island, view from the b…
View on Mantubuan Island
View on Mantubuan Island
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Our group
Mantabuan
photo by: alanmica