Friday, July 22, 2005

Coron Diving part 2

It's been almost a week since I was in Coron and the days passed by like a blur. Just came back from an official trip to Bohol and now it's weekend again! Hooray GMA! May you fall from grace a million times for declaring Monday a public holiday! Hehe.

Discovery Divers is a nice resort to stay in and I really didn't mind having BIG geckos in our room and everywhere else. I also liked hanging around the dock during the night, watching the stars, looking into the water and listening to all sorts of sounds all around me. Sounds that one can never hear in Manila and would probably ignore it because of the hustle and bustle of urban life.

I woke up refreshed and had a quick breakfast then prepared for our two dives. No wrecks that day and I knew some coral reefs will be part of the dives as well.

Gunter's Cathedral

No wrecks but entering a crevice underwater still made me stop and have second thoughts about entering. When I did, I immediately saw the blue-green glimmer of light at the end of the short tunnel. At the centre of the cavern, I looked up and saw the sky from underwater and the stalactites hanging down from the cave: a most magnificent sight indeed! When the rest entered and explored the cave, I just stayed in the area where I could see the sky. When I surfaced, Aris took a picture of me which I wouldn't post here. I had the okay sign but my face belies the fact that I was wetting my pants! Hehe!

We went out and explored the reef outside. Nothing spectacular, Palawan-wise that is (what can I say? We all hear about Palawan as the Philippine's last wildlife frontier so we have great expectations...), but the reef obviously was just recovering from dynamite fishing.

The last dive for the day was Barracuda Lake. Ron, our divemaster, described the dive perfectly: it's truly like diving in an alien planet. I should've listened when they told me that a wetsuit is unnecessary. BUT owing to my low pain threshold, I decided to wear one anyway knowing that we're going to climb up limestone walls. Just before entering the water I looked around me and saw a very picturesque view of the lake. I quipped: the Philippines is truly blessed! (note: but we're not doing a good job of protecting it!).

After we entered the water, the thermoclines got to me and I started feeling hyperthermia (read: TOO HOT! VERY HOT!) and had to unzip my wet suit so some water would go inside. We went around the lake and I truly enjoyed seeing the unusual fish life (the water's brackish): big-eyed catfish, shrimps, fishes of all kind and blennies. Melody, the DM trainee, showed us the pile of silt when one can dip their arm up to the elbow and I decided to dunk my head in. Wow! Soft and lots of silt!

After what seemed like endless swimming, Ron signalled for us to stop and gave us the sign to look at the thermocline. He was bloody right! For a time my eyes and the rest of my senses wouldn't agree. My eyes "knew" that I was out of the water but my eyes and the rest of my body "felt" that I was still underwater. That part was enough to complete the dive even without seeing the famous barracuda! (by the way, never saw scale nor tail of the Barracuda)

When the time came to leave Coron it felt like my feet were glued on the pier. The dives were great but I told my friends it's a place I would want to go to after a couple of years or so, unlike Tubbataha. So next year, that's where I'm gonna be!

Danny in Coron: I was there!


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