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Around Cebu in the Philippines are some very nice places for scuba diving. My favorite is Malapascua, where I saw several thresher sharks, a very special experience, and dived on some interesting wrecks. Another good dive area is in Moalboal, sharks a plenty around Pescador island (go early in the morning) and special critters at the other dive sites.
1. Wall of Death: This dive site lies at the southern point
of the large island of Cebu. It is one of several in this area all along a steep
wall (Wall I and II, Lilly's hideaway), combined with dives in flatter water
(Canyon reef, 17m reef). Because of the current this dive is only for experienced
divers. Hard and soft corals, sponges, many nudibranchs. With luck you find
frogfish (we found a black one with orange warts!), ribbon eels, some scorpionfish,
lionfish and cuttlefish. Mantas and whalesharks in March to June.
2. Lilolan and Looc: slopes down to 25m, then sand. Large coralheads, soft corals, rays, sandeels. There might be some fisherman that are working in this area.
3. Sumilon island: this is a marine sanctuary. Slope to 35m, then sand. Hard corals, many coralfish. Small caverns, sometimes sharks. On full moon and new moon there are strong currents.
4. Pescador Island: this is a marine sanctuary. Steep wall with a cave (Cathedral).
Large sponges, soft corals, black corals, gorgonians. Good place to see sharks,
if you go on a early morning dive.
5. Sunken Island: this is a underwater plateau that starts at 24m and slopes down to 40m. Large schools of jacks or other big fish, sometimes sharks and big tunas. Current often strong.
Malapascua island lies at the northern tip of Cebu and west of Leyte. It takes about 3 hours by car from Cebu city to reach the island.
6. Malapascua Island: there is a small Japanese landing craft in the northwest
of the island. The beautiful Mandarin fish (dragonets) lives in the small reef
around it. Visit this dive site around 4 or 5 o'clock in the late afternoon.
That is the time these fish forage for food and are more easily seen. A special
sight is the mating dance, when the Mandarin fish emerge from their hiding places
and form pairs.
Ship wrecks: there are 5 shipwrecks around Malapascua island. Some are quite far away so the dive operators Center only go there if there are enough divers interested.
The "Pioneer" is a Japanese warship which was sunk in 1944 and lies now close to Malapascua in 42-51m depth covered with black coral bushes. Schools of glasfish swim through the wreck and huge skorpionfishes lie everywhere. The wreck is very nicely preserved, you can see the propeller and where the large maschine guns were. This is always a deco dive (stops on 6 and 3 meter!) and only for very experienced divers, since there is sometimes a strong current!
The "Dona Marilyn" (1 hour or more by boat from Malapascua) is a 90m ferry which sunk in a typhoon in 1982. She lies between 18 and 30m on her side. She is nicely covered with mussels and black coral bushes. A large fishernet hangs over parts of the ship. Look out for the flatworms and nudibranchs - very nice!
The nameless Japanese cargo wreck (40 min. by boat) lies from 18m to 27m deep. She was very badly hit, a real wreck! Covered with corals and bushes of black corals (actually greenish to yellow when alive) I liked her a lot. Some parts of it look like the ruins of a temple with pillars, all covered with corals.
Gato Island: this island lies
northwest of Malapascua, 40 min by boat. It is a marine sanctuary. Large boulders
lie around the island and whitetip reef sharks are sleeping underneath. There
are also many bamboosharks under the smaller rocks. There is a large tunnel
that crosses the island and where you can dive through. Also spectacular for
night dives, but watch out for the current.
Shark point: this dive site
lies south of Malapascua. This is a underwater plateau, 20m deep at the top
with walls going down to 60m. A great place to see thresher sharks (Deutsch:
Fuchshai oder Drescherhai) and sometimes silvertips and manta rays. We dived
very early in the morning when the thresher sharks come up from deeper parts
and swim around in circles around the plateau. I was lucky, when I swam to the
edge to look down, a huge thresher shark came out from the dark, looked at me
and lazily swished his long tail and then was gone again. Since you are diving
quite a long time on 20m, watch your computer for deco!
Calangaman Island: this island lies southeast of Malapascua and close to Leyte. There are 3 dive sites around the island, mostly drop-offs with large schools of fish.