tatio – Of Mandarinfish and seahorses that only come out at night
11th Dec 2010, Malapascua, Philippines
9am for the first dive. We headed towards Lighthouse, the site of hull of a Jap WWII wreck, just 10m deep. We didn’t get a chance to do the dive sites at Gato Island, which was 45 minutes boat ride out. There needed to be at least 4 of us before they could take us there. Nevertheless, the next best alternative at the Lighthouse was a pretty good one. After all, we were getting one bangka boat to ourselves, with a 2 DM to 3 divers ratio.
Dive 4: Lighthouse. Hard corals, long dive since it was only 10m deep. Dive 5: Deep slope, which is a semi-wall dive, my favourite kind. The sheer amount of nudibranches spotted was enough to keep me happy all day. A moray roaming the slope was icing. Dive 6: Lighthouse (night). We returned back to Lighthouse for a dusk dive, ready to spot the elusive mandarinfish, a colourful fish that shies away under hard coral. They come out only at night, and since they fit into the palm of your hand, you can imagine how hard it is to find one in the water at night. Our DM Jojo was the hero, finding a mandarinfish almost immediately at the beginning of the dive. Additionally, he also found plenty of seahorses, a first for me in over 50 dives. Crabs, hermit crabs, cuttlefish and more boxer shrimps made up the night party.
Dinner was at one of the beachfront restaurants. Dishes were around the 150-300 range, fairly reasonable. There was an absence of local type eateries here in Malapascua, since most of the food is home cooked for the family. I had adobo, which is any mean cooked with vinegar and what seems like soy sauce.