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scuba diving

Sunrise Dive with Katherine Cure, Apo IslandAug 21, 2011
Dive #12

Sunrise Dive with Katherine Cure, Apo Island

Back to Apo Island
After swimming to shore from Harold's boat, I was once again in Apo Island, at Mario's Scuba Diving and Homestay, to spend the night and chillout with marine biologists Amanda Ackiss and Katherine Cure. I don't exactly know what they're doing, but Amanda is into genetics and Katherine is into Lion fish. It was likewise a joy to see Mario (I got certified through him) and Mila, his lovely wife, and the rest of the crew - Chef Tere and Divemaster MakMak.

Amanda's Quest for her Male
I went with Amanda later that night to see how she samples the freshly caught fish from Apo Island - yes, Apo Island is a protected marine area, but fishing is allowed in certain parts under rigid conditions. While there are plentiful fishes in the market, she needs it as fresh as it can possibly be - short of being with the fisherman on his boat. She was able to get a male of the species she was working on, and was quite happy with her find! As I heard Katherine put it, "Amanda was so happy to have found her male with lots of sperm!"

Apo Island

Lion Fish Observation
Early the following day, I joined Katherine on a sunrise dive to watch Lion fish behavior at the break of light. Apparently, fish behavior vary radically at dawn. It's feeding time and the otherwise melancholy fish becomes Attila the Hun in search of blood. It was still dark when we went to shore where a boat was waiting for us. Watching Kat do her thing in the water (even as beautiful as she is) is not exactly an adrenaline adventure - she's in the muck with not much else (not much reef or fish) but perhaps a lion fish. She keeps her distance making sure she's amply anchored to the muck for stability while she notes down fish behavior - for long minutes, trying to be as motionless as possible. With my bouyancy issue, I started stirring up the sand - it was time to leave her alone.

Joe Blow
If I were a marine biologist, I'd probably be riveted to my piece of rock watching a fish thriller unfold before my eyes. Sadly, I'm not there yet. I'm just a 'dolphin-hugging' Joe wanting to see a big grouper. I strayed a bit into the reef to see the change that was about to happen (the feeding frenzy). But it was overcast - there was hardly any activity. Oh well, there's always another sunrise.

Lingering Thoughts
I like doing new things, and this time, I got to experience a sunrise dive and watch marine biologists do their thing from a ringside seat. I also get to listen (without understanding) to them talk techno-marine jargon which sounded like Opera to me (read: music to my ears). How cool is that?

--- TheLoneRider

Amanda and Katherine, thank you for tagging me along!

amanda_katherine apo_island apobeach beach_hut
katherine_cure makmak mario_pascobello  

Apo Island FYI / Tips

  • Apo Island boasts of having the freshest fish on your plate - avail of it!
  • even though a marine sanctuary, fishing is still allowed in Apo Island, providing livelihood to the locals - but controlled fishing
  • electricity is only from 6:00 pm to 10:00 pm
  • internet is painfully slow and intermittent when on
  • public eating areas are hardly available except from resorts where guests are checked-in
  • drinking water is still sourced from the mainland

Apo Island Cost Index

(US$1 = Php 45.26 as of July 7, 2015)
  • $44 medium boat ride from Malatapay to Apo Island up to 4 people, roundtrip (Php 2000/boat)
  • $66 big boat ride from Malatapay to Apo Island up to 8 people, roundtrip (Php 3000/boat)
  • $22 open water dives (average, Php1000/dive)

How to get there from Dumaguete:

  • take a tricycle and ask to be dropped-off the jeep terminal going to Zamboanguita (the terminal is near Robinson's Plaza) - P8.
  • at the terminal, board the next jeep for Zamboanguita. Just tell the driver to drop you off at the Malatapay Market. P20, 42 minutes.
  • upon disembarking at Malatapay, walk towards the beach until you come upon the pier office. This is where you sign up for a boat ride. They're organized here with posted rates.
  • get onboard the pumpboat and enjoy the boat ride. For 4 people, P2000 return. For 8 pax, P3000 return, 40 minutes. (rate as of Nov 2011)

Apo Island Blogs:

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Katherine CureKatherine Cure
(Sep 11, 2011) Hey I really liked your dive blog and all the pictures. You made me look good :) I am really happy you are getting to know more of the marine life and I totally think you should invest in the gear and make a bigger deal of your dive blog. You are a good writer!

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