Tabbataha Reef Part 1

April 27

First day on the boat. Pick up at 2.00 and on the boat by 2.30. Everybody on board. All seem quite nice. After the last two group experiences we were somewhat apprehensive. The crew is super helpful. Can’t make a step without someone stepping up to help. The boat itself is roomy. There are only 20 of a possible 24 on board so there is elbow room The dining area is set out with two long tables and with way more that 20 settings so people are spread out. Over time I think Debbie and I will move around enough to chat with everybody. We set sail for Tabbataha at 6.30pm.

Debbie writes:

Tabbataha Natural Park is about a 10 hour ride from Puerto Princesa cruising at 8 knots. We leave after the port authorities clear us to go, about 6:00 pm. The park is made up of the North and South Atolls and Jesse Beasley Reef. At high tide, it is all covered with water and at low tide, just a small portion shows above the water line. There is a ranger station there whose rangers patrol the area and take care of the reef.

Tabbataha Natural Park

April 28

Up at 6.30am. First breakfast upstairs. Briefing at 7.00 and then in the pangas. Dives are all set for 60 minutes. My first time underwater in a year and I seem to be fairly much at ease right away. The dive master gives the let’s go hand direction and we’re off. There is a mild current and all our dives are drift dives so no battling up stream. I like that and from what I gather so does everyone else. The water is very warm. Haven’t had a chance to check the numbers on the dive computer but I don’t even feel a thermocline as we descend. We drift over the coral, which covers almost every inch of the reef, hardly kick at all. The current lets us drift at a leisurely pace. We can see things and if we want to inspect something we reverse, kick into the current and at least hold our position. Debbie says it is a bit difficult to take photos but she still manages to get a few. There are many fish but only a few schools, mostly individuals today. I still haven’t got my naming chops yet so I am looking but not being able to know exactly what I am looking at.

We are all in groups of 5. Our group has the other two older people, Americans from Houston. And one fellow who was born in the Philippines, with Spanish origins, and now lives in Manila. All nice people and good divers. We don’t get in each others’ way at all and we can all stay down for the entire hour. All things looking good for a fantastic week of diving.

Tabbataha Natural Park

Debbie writes:

I had just been to Roatan diving and the reef there is almost totally covered with green algae. As I looked across the landscape it was green green green. Right from the beginning of the first dive in Tabbataha, I see great swathes of hard corals, all brown in colour (their true colour). Individual soft and hard corals are as big as a coffee table. Incredible that a reef is so healthy. And the fish, huge schools of fish of all colours. And some of the individual fish that are the size of serving platters, or larger. These reef inhabitants are a healthly lot. I am in awe.

Tabbataha Natural Park
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