I recently logged my 100th open water scuba dive, a personal milestone. The site was Medicare in the Santa Sofia Marine Protected Area, near Padre Burgos, Southern Leyte, Philippines.
The site was a 40 minute boat ride form the Coral Cay base near San Francisco Southern Leyte. It was the second dive of the day. My dive partners were Yvonne and Cheryl, a fellow Coral Cay Volunteer. The site is a sloping reef in front of the town of Padre Burgos. Our dive profile was to be 18 meters for 37 minutes. After entering the water and performing an ear check at 4 meters we settled in at about 15 meters. We cruised along with the current southward along the reef, moving almost effortlessly with the flow.
On this dive there were a plethora of damsel fish, butterfly fish (alibongbong isda in Visiyan), Angel fish, a Sea Turtle and a school of 6 Spade fish swimming in formation. The sheer abundance of life in the coral triangle is amazing. Now that I have had two weeks of education in the identification of the life forms found in the local marine environment, I have even a greater appreciation of the complexity of the coral reef environment.
Since the start of December I have logged over 30 dives at Coral Cay. The really cool thing about diving every day for a month is being really comfortable and very efficient under the water. I have discovered through gaining total control of my buoyancy, the experience of scuba diving is like being weightless. You can float around with the thousands of reef fish rising and falling by controlling the amount of air in your lungs, or float around upside down peering into all the nooks and crannies of the coral formations – having reef creatures stare back at you from their hiding spots. This is the Zen of diving.
There are many more dives to be done and the next few weeks are to include survey work in teams of 4 divers.
I am looking forward to the next 100 dives and the different counties and underwater landscapes to be explored.