Heart & Brain Underwater

Malapascua, Philippines (11 Aug 2007)

Details of 11 Aug
04:30 – Got up early, very excited about the Monad Shoal dive, scheduled at 05:30…
05:30 – All set on Exotic 1 & ready to roll… Monad Shoal is abt half an hour away…
06:14 – Dive 2 Monad Shoal
Max depth 23.1m, Dive time 39mins
Dive briefing – go straight to the bottom & wait & do not use flash on thresher shark… Anyway, NO signs of anything big, the viz was bad (5m), the water was a bit warm… After awhile, I got bored at began "hunting" for the other stuff… No much though, pufferfish, nudibrand (B/W), a large & photogenie pacific lionfish & shrimp on bubble coral…
Oh well, we have another chance tomorrow… Keeping our fingers crossed…
08:00 – Shared a banana waffle with Angus. Didn’t wanna have a heavy breakfast before a dive…
09:00 – Exotic 1 to Batu Betong
Realised that I had forgotten to bring my camera (again! Happened in Phi Phi), when the boat was on the way for a couple of minutes… Embarrassed I left in on the chair with the only stuff, thinking Angus would collect everything but he missed the cam… Eye-rolling
09:17 – Dive 3 Batu Betong 
Max depth 24.2m, Dive time 42mins
The pri reg started hissing as soon as I turned on the air, already lost 20bars by the time I dived in… The current was strong. I needed to fin hard. The reg started to make funny noises & I felt like there wasn’t any air coming out, thought that it might be due to me panting from exhaustion… Tongue out However, realised that even when I stopped panting the difficult to suck air & the funny noise didn’t stop… PANIC!  Signaled to Wilmar that I was having trouble with my reg, he got me to change to the secondary. Had to suck v hard but I just didn’t want to abort the dive… Dive Hard… Wink
Highlight of the dive was the green (yellowish – according to Angus) frogfish! Wil was so victorious when he spotted it. Angus had requested to see a frogfish. Open-mouthed Other notables: big nudi (b/w) & small scorpionfish…
Another problem: new dive torch spoiled! Thought maybe the battery was dead… Borrowed the nice gentleman’s one, which was same as mine & discovered the bulb was blown! But how?? The batteries were working… Eye-rolling
11:00 – Lunch followed by a short nap… Sleepy Next dive 2:30pm
14:46 – Dive 4 North Point
Max depth 22.3m, Dive time 43mins
Had a change of reg, much better… A bit of current going in… Not much action for the 1st 10mins. Suddenly Wil clonked on his tank & started to dig viciously into the ground, guess he must have destroyed the home of the mantis shrimp completely… Sarcastic Saw the other group gathered around a gorgonian & shining their torches at it, ah, I knew it would be my 1st PYGMY SEAHORSE! Hang around, until it was our turn… There it was the cute, pinky teeny weeny thing, looking positively tired now, after being shone on & disturbed & flashed on for the past 10mins or so… Sorry kid! Felt bad for it but we couldn’t help being excited, can we?! Pygmy seahorse leh!!!
After that we saw 1 colourful nudi & then a b/w one & then 2 Black Frogfish inside a crevice! When Will pointed out the 1st (smaller) frogfish on the roof, I couldn’t make out what it was! Embarrassed Why was he so excited abt some black thing? He gestured to me again & voila, I finally saw the "light"! Hee, then he pointed to the other bigger black frogfish on the floor… I went in, took a few photos (nothing good, too mch sediments), I turned & totally forgot that the crevice was damn small, knocked onto the ceiling, panicked & kicked up alot of sediment (I hope I didn’t kick the frogfish) EmbarrassedEmbarrassedEmbarrassed Aiyo, any beginner diver would have done better than me! Totally embarassed myself, not cool at all… 
17:30 – Headed out for our night dive, after nap Sleepy My 1st nite dive after a long time, the last was in May 2006, which was really good & so I was looking forward to the next…
18:22 – Dive 5 House Reef (Night Dive)
Max depth 13.3m, Dive time 1hr 16mins
Fantastic!!! So many things to see & the sea was warm & the dive was shallow & ez, didn’t feel like ending the dive. Saw several types of puffers, soles, several types of crabs (1 s round & orange & 2 porcelains & camouflaged), a large cuttlefish, a DRAGONET, a filefish, a sea moth (finally able to take a decent photo of it), a resting lionfish, shrimps, flatworm, flounder & an eel (yellow). There were several installations to promote coral growth, scattered around the sandy areas… 
Topping a wonderful dive, the skies were lit by zillion STARS shining so brightly when we surfaced! StarStarStar

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