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skin diving

picture lifted from

Jul 8, 2010

Swimming with Junior Greenback (a Green Sea Turtle)

Location: District 1 Marine Reserve, Dauin, Negros Oriental

A Beach Ocular
It started as a beach ocular with Dudz at Lowlands Beach Resort for a Saturday get-together with the Eco Adventure racers/organizers. But hey, the beach resort was right smack in front of my fav dive site, District 1! Time to take a plunge.

Titan Triggerfish
We were told that the Titan Triggerfish were done nesting so it shouldn't be precarious being out in the water again. Still, I remained vigilant. I spotted a few huge ones and stayed clear out of their range. I seem to be developing my instinct for them...he-he.


Low Light
It was close to 5pm and visibility was low. When the clouds covered the sun, waterworld was transformed to the underworld...dark with ghostly shadows. We could hardly see the bottom anymore. There just wasn't enough light.

No Oscar Night
The stars of the reef were all in trace of Mr. Grouper or the big cuttlefish, although I saw 2 immature barracudas. They seem to travel in pairs.

Junior Greenback
There wasn't much happening down there until after this one plunge. What appeared to be monochromatic coral from the surface turned out to be a green sea turtle when I got closer. It had a carapace about 30 inches - fairly big, but nowhere as big as Mr. Leatherback. I'll call this turtle, my Junior Greenback. I was careful not to spook it so I watched from a comfortable distance as it glided leisurely.

Inching My Way
I gradually inched myself, testing the turtle's comfort range as it slowly hovered over the corals, perhaps in search of food. Not that it didn't mind my presence, but it seemed like it wanted company...seriously! It made me feel welcome. It came to a point I was literally swimming underwater beside it. Of course I had to go up for air, but I'd be down again, and it would still be there! It was though it was waiting for me! We would then swim around - me and this turtle....maybe just a meter apart, swimming together. I could have touched it! This went on for sometime until I lost it after coming up for air.

A Third Wheel
As I was heading back for shore, it showed up again, but with a partner. I tried coming close, but the partner was aloof. It disappeared into the depths taking Junior Greenback with it. I guess I was a third wheel.

Ending Thoughts
This is a major first for me. Seeing a turtle in the wild is something to celebrate about. Getting close to it before it swims away is a eureka moment. But to actually swim with one? This totally blows me away. This one's for the books! Whoa !!!

Now, I count my undersea blessing. I've already made a few friends from the deep - Mr. Grouper, Mr. Leatherback, and now Junior Greenback. Yes, even Titan the Terrible (the Titan Triggerfish that attacked me). Wow!

--- TheLoneRider

Dauin Poblacion 1 Marine Sanctuary Links on

How to get there from Dumaguete:

  • take a tricycle and ask to be dropped-off the jeep terminal going to Dauin (the terminal is near Robinson's Place) - P8.
  • at the terminal, board the next jeep for Zamboanguita or Siaton or Dauin. Just tell the driver to drop you off at Dauin's Poblacion District 1 Marine Sanctuary. P15, 40 minutes.
  • upon disembarking at the highway (almost immediately after Dauin's Poblacion), walk towards the beach...5 mins.
  • pay P50 (snorkeling, all day) or P150/scuba dive to the caretaker and dive!

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Reader Comments:

Dada Macusi
(Jul 13, 2010) Panalo!

»» next story: Charlene C. Tan
»» next Skin Diving story: In Search of Mr. Leatherback

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