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Dive Malapascua – The Treasure the Thresher Brings

Thresher Shark – that puppy-eyed , long-tailed underwater creature. That’s what we wanna see. Reason why we found ourselves in Malapascua – the northern most part of the province of Cebu.

We took the last flight from Manila to Cebu. We arrived in Cebu around 10pm. We took a cab to the North Bus Terminal and checked for trips going to Maya. The first trip was around 1am. We waited for around 3 hours. It’s not a lounge, not your usual Manila coffee shop. It’s a provincial bus terminal. Get the picture of the place being described?

The bus is a non aircon bus. I think it was a 40-seater bus and we were just less than 10. Even before boarding, we were prepared to pay for 2 seats (which cost around Php 70 1-way) for convenience. But since the bus was empty, we saved a few pesos.

And the 4 hour bumpy bus ride began. Maybe because it was empty and a portion of the trip had rough road.

We arrived at the Maya terminal around 4:30AM. It was raining – not drizzling. Apparently there was a low pressure area somewhere in Mindanao.

We were waiting for the scheduled boat trip to Malapascua. They said it was 8AM but it depends if there are passengers. Locals offered to 1,500 for a private trip to Malapascua. We insisted to take the 8AM trip. It was 7AM and it was only us who were waiting for the 8AM trip. A few groups arrived and took the private trip. We who wanted to save a few hundreds of pesos eventually took the private trip.

Sun started to show up around 7AM. Gave us more reasons to smile. Malapascua looks like a mini-Boracay of old. White beach.

We headed to the dive shop and asked for the first trip to see Thresher Shark. But they left 5AM. They offered to Gato Island instead. It was a 45-min trip from Malapascua. It’s a small island where you can find lots of sea horses, sharks, cuttlefish, octopus and the list goes on. Beneath every rock lies a shark deep in its sleep.

Highlight was the cave where at the entrance you would see sharks. It was dark inside – seems night dive. It’s true that there’s light at the end of the tunnel. And not just light but sharks swimming and blocking our way out. Fascinating. Thrilling. Slowly and cautiously we approached the exit. Even before got near the exit, the king of the seas were kind of enough to move away.

The next day, we were up by 4:30AM. We were leaving 5AM for the 6AM slot of Thresher Shark at Monad Shoal. Yes, there’s a schedule per day per dive operator in the island when to visit Monad Shoal so as not to overcrowd the area.

One thing I like about the Monad Shoal is that there’s a buoy where boats anchor. I hate it when boatmen throw anchor to station at a dive site.

Upon reaching around 50ft, we already saw maybe 2 thresher sharks. We thought it was that “easy” to spot one, so we didn’t pay much attention immediately. When we’ve settled at 75ft, no sharks around. We moved from one station to the other and maybe after 15 minutes, you won’t definitely miss that 12ft longtailed creature with remoras swimming with it. It was a bit far – maybe about 35ft.

We decided to dive again in Monad Shoal the next day, hoping to see Devil Rays, maybe Mantas and of course Thresher Shark. One diver who has been in Malapascua for the past 2 weeks has seen more Devil Rays than Thresher Sharks. Our second time in Monad Shoal, gave us another chance to glance upon the Thresher Sharks. No rays for that day. Maybe some other time.

We’ll be definitely back in Malapascua. Next stop would be Kimod Shoal for the Hammerheads in January. And I want to be in Nitrox to extend my bottom time.

TSD says, ”You go to Malapascua for Thresher Sharks, you leave remembering Gato”.

After 3 days of diving, we rented a boat from Malapascua to Bantayan Island. It was Php 3,000. Then from Bantayan, took a Ferry going to the Terminal then took a bus back to Cebu City.

Dive Site: Monad Shoal / Gato Island
Location: Malapascua, Cebu
Dive Operator: Thresher Shark Divers
Getting There:

  1. Fly to Cebu
  2. Take a cab from the airport to the North Bus Terminal (20 mins)
    1. Taxi Fare would be around Php 120
  3. Take the bus going to Maya
    1. Cost?
    2. 6 hour bus ride

i.      Shorter if you get a private van

ii.      Only around 4 hours if you travel by bus past midnight

Boat Ride from Pier of Maya to Malapascua Island (30 mins)

    1. Cost: ?

Photos: http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.435619134071.218443.88066009071

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