Dark sand, strong currents and the pier


Our dive boat slowly got closer to the coast. We were travelling for a couple of hours already from busy Alona beach towards Dauin, a sleepy town on Negros Island. I only remembered this place as a convenient departure point to famous Apo Island which I had the pleasure to visit a couple of years ago. Eleven more couple of eyes were looking at the dark sandy beach and its huge palm trees. It was our last stop on our Visayan diving trip. Would the place meet the expectations of all?

Beach in front of the resort

Beach in front of the resort

After a refreshing welcome drink served by a smiling young lady we checked in our garden bungalows.  No a/c, but a huge fan and a wonderful terrace. The bungalows were great and everyone liked them

Garden bungalow Pura Vida Resort

Garden bungalow Pura Vida Resort

Some of us went  on a late afternoon dive on the house reef, which happens to be a protected area called “Luca Sanctuary”. The place was renamed soon after by my friend Cath who thought “Alice in Wonderland” was more suitable. How to explain this dive? We entered the water in front of the resort. The dive starts on a sandy slope where we encountered the first residents : a hairy frog fish, some cuttlefish and robust ghost pipe fish. It couldn’t have started better. Then from one moment to the other we came to the coral reef…colours exploded in front of our eyes in the middle of this dark sandy spot and fish were all around. Sometimes I had problems to figure out my buddies through the compact fish walls. Upon that we met a turtle having its dinner and a nice sea snake. We hid behind the coral rocks to take a rest from the strong currents and watched the party. It was unbelievable. As we exited the water and the rest of our group asked about the dive we saw in their incredulous eyes that this dive couldn’t be explained with words…

cuttlefish

cuttlefish on Luca Sanctuary

couple of ghost pipefish

couple of ghost pipefish

Luca fish bowl

Luca fish bowl

Strong currents were always around as we were diving during full moon. Night dives were amazing with such a variety of critters around.

praying crab

praying crab

digging

digging

All these strange bebaviours were amazing to watch.

tiny, tiny

tiny, tiny

eye to eye with a skeleton shrimp

eye to eye with a skeleton shrimp

Then came Apo. Known for its strong drift dives and amazing schools of jacks. The coral reef is in a gorgeous state as the area is one of the most protected in the area.

giant frog fish

giant frog fish

There was still this pier on top of our list. Everybody who has dived it told me : You have to dive it. It’s a must! So we organised 2 dives for our group at the DuCoMi Pier. From the topside, nothing appealing really. Huge ugly boats and lots of noise. After the briefing we jumped in the water. What a show! I’ve never seen so many different nudibranch on a single dive. Every leg of the pier hid its own residents : seahorses, froggies, lionfish just to name a few. If you were able to focus from macro to wide angle you noticed the sunrays bursting through the water and the pier legs.

Yves under the pier

Yves under the pier

resident yellow seahorse

resident yellow seahorse

nudibranch under the pier

nudibranch under the pier

couple of resident giant froggies

couple of resident giant froggiescolourful dragonet

I am always amazed to see that you find such amazing creatures in the least expected spots.

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