Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Malapascua Island: Dive 3,4,& 5 - Monad Shoal, Dona Marylin, & Gato Island

My first photo of a porcelain crab. Photo: Ryan Pearson

By Ryan Pearson
Today was the day we were supposed to have our first thresher shark encounter... we didn't. But we did have an epic wreck dive, followed by a dive at possibly the most amazing site I've ever been too. Unfortunately, my pics here don't do it justice, but it was truly incredible. 

The day started off with a 5am dive at Monad Shoal for the thresher sharks and/or manta rays. We didn't get either, but I did glimpse my first ever mimic octopus. Pretty cool, but he was gone before I could even comprehend what he was.

Next up was the Dona Marilyn, a ferry that sank in the late 1980's with 100+ people on board. This is a great wreck dive with soft corals everywhere. But the vis wasn't great, and I don't currently have a working strobe so the wide-angle pics I came out with are average at best.
*Crappy photo* but this is our guide Gibb pointing out a particularly spindly critter.

*Abstract photo* Looking through the hull of the Dona Marilyn from 33m. Photo: Ryan Pearson
Gato Island was easily the highlight of the sites so far. Thresher Shark Divers on Malapascua really know their stuff and the guides find more critters than it is possible to photograph on a single dive. At Gato I had the macro lens on, with only my dive torch as a light so I didn't even try to photograph my first ever white tip shark (which was circling inside the critter filled cave), or the sea snake or 4 giant cuttlefish we encountered outside the cave. But I did get an amazing amount of nudibranchs, shrimps, and crabs. The structures around the area is amazing, and I can't wait to go back. I wasn't happy with my pics from the dive, but I was stoked with the dive itself. Here's what I ended up with.

This is what live at the heart of a feather star... anyone seen one before? Photo: Ryan Pearson

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