LOL – Lauren on Location – Calanggaman Island diving, a wedding, and the final dive at Monad Shoal.
On the 29th of May Gordon and I headed across to Calanggaman Island, a few hours South from Malapascua on a fun dive with Divelink. The first dive was an incredible wall dive, with huge soft corals and sponges, caves which pocket the wall and lots of reef fish as well as invertebrates to keep everyone happy.
During the surface interval we pulled alongside the impressive sandspit at Calanggaman Island which gets exposed at low tide, and joined a wedding reception! Perhaps not the usual surface interval – but I wish it was! Nick & Flor Martorano were the perfect hosts and didn’t mind one bit that a bunch of diver’s some in wetsuits some in bikini’s had effectively crashed their wedding! To be fair it wasn’t as random as it sounds, Nick is good friends with Gary Cases (owner of Divelink) who was the best man and Nick & Flor had spent several days on Malapascua in the run up to the wedding where we were all introduced. By happy coincidence they live in Palau (where I am headed on the 9th of June) where Nick works as a dive instructor and underwater photographer/videographer (see www.oceanwonders.org) so hopefully we can catch up there.
The Bride and myself (probably the strangest wedding outfit I will ever wear!)
Following great food and a cheeky beer we completed a second dive (which the newly wedded couple joined us on) and then headed back to Malapascua, we had barely left Calanggaman when we were fortunate enough to see a whale (which is believed to be a sperm whale) at the surface then diving down raising its tail fluke in the air! Incredible!
A Sperm Whale
This week was my last diving Monad Shoal, and I was treated to a fantastic final display of Thresher sharks, Manta Rays, banded Sea Craite (Sea Snake) and spotted dolphins. Also a particular highlight for me was a Grey reef shark which came on to the cleaning station when I was conducting a fish census, I wouldn’t perhaps get so excited over a grey reef shark under normal circumstances, but although the grey reefs have been captured on an unmanned video camera no-one has seen them in person at Monad Shoal, so I was delighted with that unique sighting!
Well ‘Tempus fugit’ as they say… I can hardly believe that this weekend marks my last few days on Malapascua Island working for the Thresher Shark Research and Conservation Project, I will be going to Palau shortly and will continue the blog from there, from what I have learnt so far I cannot wait to dive there and hope for some more amazing experiences!
I would just like to thank everyone – staff and volunteers of the TSRCP for my time here which has been incredible, but of course the real star’s of the show, that have literally taken my breath away are all the inhabitants of Monad Shoal, with special mention to the Thresher Sharks and Manta Rays!
Can I pick a favourite? Staying true to form I would have to pick the Thresher Sharks…..