Like mentioned earlier, there was a Typhoon warning and that tail of it hit Dumaguete City with full force. When we reached the divesite big waves were rolling in and the visibility was less than one meter in shallow water. A strong surge was present and pushed us with each wave some meters to the left and pulled us back with the outgoing water. We rushed to get below 5 meter where the visibility was acceptable and no strong surge anymore. We rushed through the skills and headed down to 18 meter, the maximum of Open Water dive 3. With the “little” work out on our way out we reached quickly half tank and made our way back. Due to the decreasing visibility and increasing surge we surfaced quite a distance from the shore and the waves helped us to push us in.
During our surface interval the wind increased dramatically and out changing area was totally under water. This place is usually such a peaceful spot where locals meet to have a great BBQ and to chill out on a lovely beach. Not today…. The place was flooded and the ocean showed his force. I wanted to skip the dive but Mike told me he wanna finish even with a short 20 minute dive. So we geared up and try to enter the water. This was very clear against Neptun or Poseidons plan. A huge wave grabbed us and spitted us out back on the beach, or what was left of it.
Mike didn’t wanna give up and after 10 minutes of catching breath we gave it another try. I was counting the waves, height and strength the whole time and figured out a rhythm when it’s the best going through them. We helped each other through the breaking waves and swam out as far as necessary to descend into a brown soup. I could not see the end of my own arm and we were holding each other until we hit the ground. Again, we rushed to go deeper but even on 12 meters the visibility was below one meter. Deeper at 16 meters we had about 3 meters, enough to let each other go. The surge was still there and even the Clownfish were all over the place, but not in the Anemone, where they usually belong. The underwater navigation was even for a UPS Pilot a drama but finally done. We decided quickly to return and get back to shore. Somehow we managed to get out of the water… not without the help of some locals, thanks for that. We quickly disassembled and rinsed before we were heading back to Dumaguete for a hot shower and a cold beer. If somebody can dive in this condition he can dive everywhere. Great Job Mike !!!!
Typhoon Frank hit the Philippines badly and left huge damage and plenty of victims behind. We were lucky ones this time to “catch” only the tail of it. Everybody says that the Central Visayas and the area around Dumaguete is safe and very protected, but who does really know ??? If the nature wants you it will get you.
all the best
Dumaguete, is the capital of the province Negros Oriental, in the central Visayas. You can get to Dumaguete either with a 60 minutes flight from Manila or by bus and ferry from Cebu. Most of the Dumaguete dive-sides, hotels and dive center are 15 kilometer south of the City in the beautiful little town of Dauin.
Diving in the Philippines don’t has to hide from any “big” destination in the world of diving. It is a paradise for macro-lovers and many professional underwater- photographers are coming to Dumaguete. The diveresorts around Dauin are also the starting-point for full daytrips to the well knows surrounding islands like Apo Island, Sumilon Island or Siquijor Island. Some dive-operators are also offering Island-hoping to the more remote Islands of Bohol and Malapasqua. The dark volcanic sand is home to a enormous variety of critters. The 15 divesites around Dauin can be reached within 15 Minutes with a speedboat. Some of them are accessible even as a shore-dive.
Most operators are offering up to four dives daily and additional Night dives and Mandarin fish-dives. All divespots in this area are protected areas, so called „Marine-Sanctuaries“ A line of buoys around this sanctuaries that no boat and fishermen enters this area. That also means the the diveboat ankers outside and the diver has to swim inside the sanctuary after the water entry and has to return to the boat at the end of the dive. Depending on the time of the year, the moon and the tides you can get into some currents from time to time. The well trained guides usually change their diveplans if that happens and drift with the group all the way to the other side of the sanctuaries. The diveboat will follow the group and picks it up on the other side of the sanctuary.
The local community is also charging a marine-park fee. But instead of a daily or weekly fee the decided to get a fee per dive. It is advisable that the diver informs himself if this diving fee included in the dive-package or not. Some operator run a quite low-price policy but with extra charges for boat, guide, marine-park-fees you pay more than at another diveshop which includes all fees in the original dive-price.
It is relatively quiet after sunset in Dauin. Who is searching for some nightlife goes to Dumaguete. The city has a good number of Restaurants, Bars and Discos. This transfers can be organized through the resort or you jump in a public transport and drive for some peso to town. The surrounding areas of Dumaguete are also worth to explore. Make a trip to the Casaroro Waterfalls, Twinlakes, the wednesday Malatapay Market or the Geothermal Power plants on your non-diving and off-gasing days. For some more thrilling action you can book an ATV-Tour through the jungle of Negros Oriental. There are also some professional SPA-center for your “head to toe ” relaxation and a nice Golf-course in Dumaguete.