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Thread: CCR trip report Malapascua Philippines with Evolution Divers

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    CCR trip report Malapascua Philippines with Evolution Divers

    Hello all, my wife and I returned a week ago from a great CCR trip to the Philippines. My wife is a newly minted CCR diver, so we were looking for easy dive logistics/conditions in that most fascinating of oceans, the tropical Pacific. Evolution is a very CCR friendly operation with sorb, O2 booster, BO cylinders, etc. It is run by a very experienced CCR diver, Matt Reed, who was very responsive to emails and equally as helpful when we arrived. This was a big part of why we chose his operation. I asked him about longer dive times and could we make sure we didn't run into any OC divers. He gave us several options, including allowing us to dive by ourselves on the recreational boats and to enter the water first/return last, or to opt for technical dives, which included in the price our own boat, O2 fills and him as a CCR guide. This turned out to be the best arrangement as it gave us maximum flexibility in terms of time and dive site selection, and an excellent value as well.

    We settled into a routine of 2 x 90+ minute dives a day, one in the morning the other right after lunch. The dives were either from the larger Bangka/outrigger boat, which was giant stride entry with a good sized step style ladder for exit, or a smaller, standard type boat with back entry and a steeper exit ladder. Both had plenty of shade and none of the boat rides were more than 45 minutes, most less. This was the off/typhoon season the weather was mostly sunny and it only rained twice, but the wind speeds are slightly higher which caused some choppy seas and reduced visibility. Though the seas never got bigger than 3 or 4', a picnic compared to what many of you cold water divers are used to. Below 100' the viz was 100+, shallower it was as low as 40. Apparently the low season is usually better and less windy than this, but we still had some really exceptional dives.

    The main attraction in Malapascua is the aggregation of pelagic thresher sharks at the protected shark and ray sanctuary on Monad shoal. The top of the shoal is about 75', which makes this a perfect air dil CCR dive location. We would spend an hour or more of bottom time observing the shark cleaning station, pushing the NDL and slowly working our way up to the top of the shoal at around 40' for ascent. We saw sharks on every dive and got within arms length several times. It is remarkable that such a solitary animal which spends its time mostly in the deep ocean, could ever get used to divers at all, much less the great numbers of OC divers who visit the shoals during peak season. We did several deeper dives over the shoal wall and saw thresher sharks there as well, though not engaged in cleaning. I also saw one black tip, the first I have seen in 2 trips to the Philippines. The Monad sanctuary is only 14 months old, and already they have seen an increase in fish populations. We also did two deeper deco dives on the WW2 wreck Mogami Maru It's a great dive with tons of fish, great visibility and there are even some artifacts left...if your guide knows where to find them..!

    We also did a few dives on the shallower recreational sites, I found the coral very healthy and an abundance of macro and odd critters. Including a weird batfish I've never seen before, weedy file fish, Pegasus sea moths, pelagic sea snakes, bobtail squids, cuttlefish, blue ring and other octopuses. But the healthiest fish populations were at Monad shoal, and that is where we did most of our diving. I really hope the sanctuary at Monad turns out to be the success it potentially seems. It could be a model for the rest of the country as the majority of the local economy is supported by dive and other tourism.

    The resort has a very good open air restaurant and bar where we ate most meals, and had some great fresh fruit cocktails. Breakfast was included with the rooms which had AC and were made up/cleaned nicely each day. There is not much else to do on Malapascua, other than dive and lay on the beach. There are some other good restaurants on the island if you want more variety and a bar or two, but it is not party central. Thankfully!

    Getting there is not difficult, 3 hours by car and boat from Cebu, which is the 2nd biggest city in the Philippines and has daily flights to major Asian cities.

    I have a nice video of a good sized thresher taken by Matt, but am awaiting a Google Drive share permission from him... -Andy
    Last edited by silent running; 3rd September 2016 at 04:39.

  2. #2

    Re: CCR trip report Malapascua Philippines with Evolution Divers

    Thumbs up for Evolution on Malapascua, too!!!

    I have been there last year and did some cracking dives with Matt.

    Fully CCR Support is available and Matt is really experienced with diving CCR.

    He is totally taking care of you and your wishes of diving...

    You can do there everything from 0m to 100m+ and i promise that this is the truth...

    greets Tim

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