Another very early morning start but we were well used to them by now – or were we? The answer is a resounding NO WE ARE NOT! Today we were once again on the boat with Jerome and his amazing underwater camera but also we had a couple of New Zealand guys accompanying us as well. We got onto the boat a wee bit tired but once the engines got started and we set off – whilst the Sun was struggling itself to get up (Lazy Sun) – it was all not so bad. Along the way I had a coffee or at least some sweet brown sludge answering to that description, either way by the time we reached the dive site – The Monad Shoal again – I felt almost human again or as near as yours truly gets to this state of being.
Once again we would be pushing the dive times because we would be diving deep once again. No luck higher up so we had to go all the way once again to the 30m mark fenced area but this time we managed to see two Thresher Sharks so double the fun. On the return trip to the surface though this time we saw a deadly Lion Fish, as well as a vivid green and black Nudibranch and something which looked like a hairy Caterpillar which I have thus far not been able to find out what it was. The reason for my lack of internet success could be because my searches have been for ‘hairy underwater caterpillars’! Could it in fact be a new species? I have always wanted an underwater caterpillar named after me ‘The Hirsute Hughes’ perhaps as opposed to ‘The Common Lesser Spotted Balding Hughes (me)!!! – It was probably just a scuba diving caterpillar!!!
Once again we came back to the island for some breakfast before setting out for the second dive this was to be at a place called ‘Manta Point’. Now we had been to similarly named places before and with very disappointing results. However, here we had great success as we saw three or four rays – which we thought were Manta (note below). Rays are possibly the most graceful things you can see underwater and I do not have the words to describe the way these fish look such is the ease with which they glide through the water – absolutely amazing – they look like they are flying! This was not all though as we also saw a very large and very ugly Grouper and a couple more of the Lion Fish this time as well so all in all another successful trip. Jerome took a couple of photos of me and Liz diving right way up and everything – we actually look like we know what we are doing.
It turns out when we got back to the dive shop all had not been as it had seemed to us amateurs as the Dive Instructors there seemed to take great joy in telling us that what we had actually seen were not in fact Manta Rays but Devil Rays a smaller type of ray. It could still not take the shine off the dive for us but I am not so sure I liked the way they enjoyed imparting their knowledge – in a smug and European way.
As it was to be our last night on the island we asked Hiedrun (aka Hiedelburger aka Madge with the mahogany ‘skin tone’, she really was that brown) to come out with us to a nice restaurant she had told us about. After the day we had we were feeling quite expansive so the beer flowed somewhat and we over ordered by quite a fair bit which is not a very backpackery thing to do but this is the effect Threshers and Rays can have on a person – beware! All in all it had been a great day followed by a great night with Hiedrun as she really is good company and it was interesting hearing more about her life in the Philippines and how she just seems to do whatever she wants in life – excellent attitude.