We based ourselves in Alona Beach, a popular stretch of white sand and clear blue sea. We thought it was rather pleasant but a lot of people complain about how busy it is, but maybe we were there at a good time. We had to wake super early for our 6am island hopping trip where seeing Dolphins meant this early start…luckily it paid off! We saw about 20 or so Dolphins around the area but there were also a lot of boats which was a shame and I didn’t like it how we’d spot some Dolphins and all the boats would charge that way. We did have a dolphin jump infront of our bow which was neat. There were no big groups sadly but about 6 swam through the waters infront of us with a couple doing leaps in and out the water and in the distance was a more acrobatic one. But it wasn’t as good as the large pod we’d seen by chance on the boat leaving Apo Island who must’ve been spinner Dolphins judging by their huge leaps and jumps out the water!
The next stop was Balicasag Island, one of the Philippines top dive sites. We were diving here tomorrow so didn’t really care about snorkelling but I’m so glad we did. As soon as we dunked our heads underwater the sea life looked top notch. We were above a deep wall but the visibility was great and we could see lots of potential for the dive tomorrow with the big fish like giant Trevally hanging out in the depths. The sea was such a nice dark blue colour and my GoPro managed to capture some awesome shots of the fish. There were clown fish everywhere, some hid frantically in the swaying soft coral while others were totally fearless and tried to scare us away. We saw lots of jellyfish and one type was awesome with what seemed like electric lights going through its body. Some fish had congregated around a dead jellyfish and were all nibbling it. There was a nice variety of sea life and two flat navy and yellow fish were following each other in a tight circle like they were doing a choreographed dance or mating ritual. We saw three turtles too, it was really great snorkelling.
We then headed to Virgin Island which has a long sandbar. We arrived at high tide and the water was over all the sand except for maybe 2%. It still looked stunning though and we took a walk all the way along it. The only problem was the water flowing over the sand and our feet contained hundreds of jellyfish, and these ones stung a lot. At the end of the spit there was a cluster of starfish and we carefully brought one just below the surface, got the camera ready and took a quick photo of the colourful star.
The weather clouded over a bit which made it look like we were walking on water as the water all went grey, then the sun would pop out and we were back in paradise. When we headed back to the island 10 minutes later the water had risen even more and we were walking through almost knee deep water.
We went to a different area of Balicasag Island for our dives and could see immediately that it didn’t look half as good as the day before. It didn’t help that the sea became very choppy yesterday afternoon and that had clearly effected the visibility. A huge turtle swam right towards us but that was as exciting as it got. Then a Slovakian girl diving with us lost her weight belt and shot up to the surface with her boyfriend trying to pull her down. The guide told us to wait where we were and luckily an ozzy bloke who lives in Alona and has clocked up over 1500 dives (thankfully we’d chatted to him on the boat beforehand otherwise we wouldn’t of trusted him) gave us hand signals to say us three dive together so we went along with him. The second dive wasn’t any better and the ride back was pretty wild with huge waves spilling over the bow of the boat.