As I fin forward, the light around me takes on an eerie, inky hue. I crane my neck to either side, before realising that swimming above me are millions of sardines, their school so thick that they block out much of the ambient light…
Going to school in Moalboal
Every few metres, you see a new sardine ball drifting in the seas. It’s like school has let out and they’re just hanging around at the nearby mall 🙂
This was a really easy dive – the sardines just hang out around the shore of Panagsama beach which meant that we walked into the water from the beach in front of Savedra Dive Centre. It was an amazing sight to see – I’ve only seen huge schools like this in Sipadan, in the Tulamben wreck of Bali (schools of jacks) and during my LOB trip in the Similan Islands.
Somehow, the fishermen have avoided overfishing the sardines as it is a huge tourist draw to this Cebuan town.
I’ll still make it to the Great Sardine Run of Africa one day – but for now, seeing this huge balls of Sardines in the balmy tropical waters of Moalboal was simply breathtaking 🙂
Recommended diving experience: Open Water Diver
Great for: Sardine Ball, Airplane Wreck & others (We only had time to do the Sardine Shore dive & Pescador Island dive)
Having heard of Songkran through friends and seen the many videos and pictures, naturally I was keen to head to Thailand for the festival once I found out that it was about to fall on a long weekend in 2017 (even despite my many Thailand Trials which keep putting me off the Land of Smiles).
We made it to Bangkok with minimal fuss – there was some scaremongering that this year’s Songkran would be downplayed due to King Bhumibol’s death however as you can see from our photo, we all had a splashing good fun.
Here’s some things I took away in general from my experience.
This was a big item on my bucketlist. The experience itself? On a scale of “Sign me up for another 4.30 wake-up” to “I should have just pressed that snooze button”, it leaned more towards the former (due to a few nice and unexpected perks!) … but could have easily gone both ways. If I were to return to Angkor Wat, it’d be purely with a better camera to take nicer snaps. But here were the highlights of my visit.
Carmen Chocolate Hills, one of the reasons why we decided to make a sidetrip to Bohol during our one week Cebu stay. Amongst the contenders were a trip to Moalboal, the Kawasan Falls or diving in Mactan. However, since we knew that most of our time in Cebu would be spent diving in Malapascua, we decided that Bohol would make a nice little detour in our trip.
Once we arrived at Bohol (hint: don’t book your ferry tickets online, we got them for much cheaper at the ferry terminal), we asked around and managed to rent our own bright yellow scooter:
We found a place to stay on Panglao Island in Bohol on Momo Beach (although, I wouldn’t recommend it). After which, we set off to see two things that Bohol is known for – the tarsiers and Chocolate Hills!
Malapascua… a small island that is well known in diving circles for the world famous dive site that is Monad Shoal. While not as beautiful as some islands that I’ve been to, Malapascua possesses a certain charm that has managed to capture my heart weeks after I’d left it. If you’re looking for an island populated by local villages and some resorts without massive tourist hordes, sounds like Malapascua is the island for you.
A half days’ journey from Cebu, Malapascua is a small island that promised much and delivered as promised. The trip here was a bit of an ordeal, but the diving was top notch and world class. Never have I ever seen so many different things in a single dive trip compared to Malapascua. Of course, we went there for the famous and elegant Thresher Sharks (check out the bad boy pictured below!) but by the time we left, we had fallen in love with the island and its dive sites.