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Scuba Diving

Diving the Reef of Cagtinae, Surigao del Norte Jul 7, 2013

Diving the Reef of Cagtinae, Surigao del Norte

GPS waypoint: N9 38.422 E125 23.694
Location: Brgy. Cagtinae, Municipality of Malimono, Province of Surigao del Norte

Reef of Surigao
Through Zati and Jeanne, newly met friends in Surigao, I got introduced to more of their friends and tagged along some of the interesting things they do. They are into a lot - running, yoga, traveling, eats and drinks, etc. But perhaps scuba diving makes the most of the natural features that Surigao City is blessed with. One evening, I tagged along Zati and was introduced to her couple friend, Jo and Marlon. The next thing I knew, I was invited to a dive...woohoo! In their candid talks, I've already heard a lot about Surigao's diving features. I even had a glimpse of this when I went snorkeling and free diving at Birok Islet and Nonoc Reef. Finally, I get to dive these reefs and see it up close at depth.

map location Cagtinae Reef, Brgy. Cagtinae, Municipality of Malimono, Province of Surigao del Norte

Scouting for Reefs
A recent 'discovery' by the group is the Cagtinae Reef in Surigao del Norte, about 30 minutes from Surigao City by private car. These divers ask fishermen where they go fishing and how deep the waters are. This gives them a clue on what might lay beneath. Some make the exploratory dive, and if all goes well, the entire group makes an outing for it.

The Boat Issue
Marlon discussed diving around 2 big rocks. Its surrounding walls are said to be animated with lush corals and abundant fish population. Although close to shore, a boat entry was still needed. That's were the problem started. There were too many things that went wrong with the boat episode employing a boatman from the barangay - the rope wasn't long enough for the anchor to be laid, we were dropped too far from the site and had to make a long swim, and we were dropped where we still couldn't see anything at 70 feet, so we all surfaced up. It was a test of patience and restrain on Marlon's part not to go postal on the boatman.

Reef Attributes
We did two dives, but not on the site Marlon wanted. Nonetheless, the dive gave me an introduction to Surigao's seascape. The rock corals were healthy, there were some imposing fan corals. I remember seeing a majestic purple fan. On the second dive, we even saw a school of Trevalis (aka Talakitoks). The water was calm (a reprieve from the torrential currents I'd been hearing about Surigao's dive environment) and the sun was out. Visibility was limited due to the run-off from the Agusan River. Aside from the Trevali sighting, fish population density was fairly thin. Perhaps it's because we were still relatively close to shore.

Peoplescape
Interestingly, as a juxtaposition, I get introduced to the seascape as I am being introduced to Surigao's peoplescape. After over a month in Surigao, it's only now I get to meet on a social basis (apart from clients and colleagues), some of its denizens. They are far more colorful and animated than the fishes I've seen. They'd been here the entire time - I just did see and didn't know. Perhpas Surigao's reef system is also like that. It perhaps harbour the most colorful and interesting fish life...it's just beyond my sight until the right moment comes along.

Thank you Zati and Marlon for peeling off another layered dimension to Surigao City. Big thank you too to Ayet, Boom-boom, Clint and Barok!

--- TheLoneRider

ps - If you want me to objectively review a diving gear or cover a dive for your dive shop for this website (scuba gear, party boat dive, wreck dive, snorkeling, etc.), email me.

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To make scuba dive arrangements in Surigao City and the Caraga region, contact:
Punta Bilar Dive Center Punta Bilar Dive Center
Punta Bilar Dive Center
location: Brgy. Punta Bilar, 8400 Surigao City
mobile: 0920.909.0999 | email: jake_miranda1@yahoo.com
rates: starting at P800 for shore dives and P1200 for boat dives, minimum 2 pax. If you are diving alone, then you pay P500 for the divemaster, which already includes his gear. Gear rental for whole day is only P750

FYI

  1. Surigao divers are strong divers, able to swim against currents that shame the most experienced divers. Some divers at Punta Bilar Dive Center are among the country's most adept cave divers. Read: You're in good hands with Punta Bilar Dive Center folks!
Surigao Travel Information

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(along the Surigao coastline from Surigao City to Surigao del Sur)




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Jul 7, 2013

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