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skin diving

Skin Diving at Maayong Tubig' Marine Sanctuary

May 14, 2010

Half-Baked Skin Diving at Maayong Tubig Marine Sanctuary

KM 22 Meet Up
I was supposed to hitch a ride with Maria, a German diver getting her Advanced Diving Certificate with Max, to KooKoo's Nest. Max informed me that they'll be doing a dive at KM 22 and that I can meet with them at 1pm for KooKoo's Nest. Since I'll be at the dive site anyway, why not come early and do a little dive myself?

Top Loading on a Jeep
Boarding the jeep early to squeeze in a dive, I also top-loaded myself. I usually do this if the trip is less than an hour (over an hour and you get sunburn, butt discomfort [since you're sitting on narrow steel tubing] and fatigue). Being on top, I could see so much more. With my GPS in tow, I started taking waypoints on every interesting spot I passed (marine sanctuaries, beach resorts, etc.)...something I couldn't do inside the jeep.

Maayong Tubig

Maayong Tubig
I got off KM 22 and learned there's a name for the dive site - Maayong Tubig Marine Sanctuary. Max and Maria were doing their lessons. Said Hi without causing a disturbance and slipped into my snorkeling gear.

Amihan Factor
With the coast being hit by Amihan (wind coming from the north east), the sea was rough and the surf was breaking. The current seemed strong as well. Hmmm...I could always bail out.

Rough with Poor Visibility
When I got into the water, it was a challenge overcoming the waves. When I got a little deeper, I couldn't see anything...too much sand being churned. The waves were too strong, even at 15 feet, the plants and soft corals were still swaying with the wave. The corals were concentrated in small patches and they looked great but it wasn't easy fighting against the pounding wave. I stayed for another 10 minutes until I decided it wasn't worth it.

Money Issue
Max dropped us off at Zamboanguita proper to take the habal-habal (motorbike) ride to KooKoo's Nest. The driver wanted P150/head one way. I wasn't expecting that. I thought it would be P20, not knowing how far KooKoo's Nest is from the main highway. I was adding the expenses in my head - habal-habal P300 + lodging + food + others. I decided to bail again - too much money for an ocular. Maria went ahead, had her 2 20-kilo suitcases strapped on the motorbike, and was off.

The Other Beach Resort
Max felt bad for me and on the way back, dropped me off a beach resort in Bacong to chillout. The resort catered to locals and was practically beside a copra processing port. I had a relaxing conversation with the owner...talked about Dumaguete, the local politics, the new president of the republic, etc. He even added that there's no dive site in front of his resort, but just underneath the pier where copra was being transported by ship, is an interesting dive area. Hmmm....I'd be 5 meters away from the cargo freighter's hull! And the ship just might empty its ballast tank while I'm underneath! No, thank you.

I would say the beach resort episode was even the highlight of the day for me.

Cold Beer, Rock & Roll and Sky Flakes
I went to the nearby store for Sky Flakes and a cold beer on a beach side hut while listening to 2 local guys jamming with their guitar.

Ending Thoughts
I didn't get what I expected for the day. Half baked dive, no KooKoo's Nest. But a few other equally interesting things happened. Top loading on a jeep, being on a new beach resort, interesting conversation with the owner, Sky Flakes and cold beer at dirt cheap prices (P30), being a beachside audience to 2 guys jamming with their guitar....can't complain at all. Money or no money, life is good.

--- TheLoneRider

ps - no pictures? My Olympus 1030 SW, a digicam good for underwater photography up to 10m...took water inside! Read up on what it's like to claim warranty on Olympus digicams in the Philippines.

    How to get there from Dumaguete:
  • take a tricycle and ask to be dropped-off the jeep terminal going to Dauin (the terminal is near Robinson's Place) - P8.
  • at the terminal, board the next jeep for Zamboanguita or Siaton or Dauin. Just tell the driver to drop you off at KM 22, Maayong Tubig Marine Sanctuary. P16, 40 minutes. Best to be vigilant as well on the kilometer readings. It's exactly at the KM 22 mark.
  • upon disembarking at the highway, walk towards the beach...7 mins.
  • pay P50 to the caretaker and dive!
    Travel Tips:
  • since the jeep ride is less than an hour, best to top-load on the see so much more. The conductor will allow you to do this when you've passed the main city hub.
  • this marine sanctuary is not as developed as Dauin's Poblacion 1. Bring food/water in case you need it.

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