At 9:00 am we were ready to start our 2 diver day-trip to Gato Island, just before Malapascua with Exotic Dive resort. Some pack-lunch and water had to be organized individually. I actually like that as I don’t wanna eat much on daytrips and see no need to pay for a buffet. All in all I appreciated that we just need to pay the additional Marin park fee for Gato Island and not some ridiculous high daytrip-fees like in many resorts in Dumaguete when going to Apo Island.
The briefing was held by our guide in the restaurant of the resort and included all basic information needed. The Bankas are of Exotic are really big and there was plenty of space available for I think all together 15 divers plus guides.
The groups were kept small with a maximum of 5 divers. The boat ride to Gato Island took less than an hour, the sea was calm and the sun was out. A perfect day for diving.
Our first dive at Gato Island was on a sloping Reef with plenty of coral formation and a nice seascape. Our guide had a wonderful slow pace and made sure during the whole dive that all is god and that we see enough during the dive. Plenty of nudibranches, some sleeping white tip reef sharks and a free-swimming banded sea snake plus the usually coral reef life made the dive very interesting an there was no minute I felt bored in any way.
After about 45 minutes I entered the Banka again and it was time for some Water. The sun was already and my sunburn was guaranteed. In my opinion the lunch break was a bit stretched and too long before we got ready for the second dive.
The second dive was along a coral covered wall with a gentle drift. That’s my diving, being absolutely lazy, no effort at all. The bottom of the wall was about 25 meters with some wonderful big blocks to explore and swim through. Highlight of the dive were the 3 white-tip which were swimming around in the open and it seemed that they couldn’t care less who is around them.
After the dive we entered the boat and when all divers were back we headed towards Malapascua.
In the diveshop we signed up for the Monad Shoal Dive at 6 am next morning to see the Thresher Sharks. All in all a wonderful first diving day and time for a rest.